|A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the many nursing personalities of my daughter, O. It quickly occurred to me that as a nursing mom, I too have many nursing identities.
First and foremost is “it’s your fault mom.” Whatever ails my babe; fussiness, stuffy nose, sleep problems, bad skin, colic, crying, diaper rash, or anything else, it is the nursing mom’s fault. Clearly I had eaten too much dairy, wheat, citrus, chocolate, cucumbers, gluten, sugar, peppermint, soda, coffee or booze. All roads lead back to the breastfeeding mom – when I called my doctor concerned about my baby, the solution was always in the milk. I should eliminate some delicious food group or some vice that I couldn’t wait to return to after giving birth.
Next up is “low supply mom.” After worrying about my babe’s ailments and eliminating everything fun from my diet, it should’ve been no surprise to learn that my milk supply was low. Luckily O tried to help fix this by nursing endlessly making sure that I got little sleep and had no time to eat or drink enough. To cure this supply problem, I should have gotten a sitter, taken a nap and eaten a burger. But instead I bought something, a homeopathic tea. I wasn’t sure if this tea was working so I steeped it longer and drank more. Two things happened: my breasts almost knocked me over and I smelled faintly of pancakes.
But I had milk! When O nursed I felt nervous she might drown. After waiting for months to sleep on my stomach again, suddenly my breasts were keeping me up at night I wet shirts, bras, sheets and nursing pads. The milk left soaking in my boppy could feed a second child. I was “abundant milk mom.” My daughter has soft, rolling baby thighs all the way down to her ankles to remind me of this long phase.
Now things have evened out. Supply and demand are finally balanced. My daughter has entered daycare so I can blame all her ailments on the fact that I work, not that I have allergens in my milk. She loves to eat and I love to feed her. The only nursing identity I have is at work when I forget some critical piece of pumping paraphernalia and become “MacGyver mom.”