September 19, 2013

Thankful Thursdays - Breastfeeding

As I was cleaning up the kitchen this evening I felt an overwhelming feeling of thankfulness. No its not Thanksgiving yet, but I have been blessed in so many aspects of my life and they are more clear now that I am a mother. Inspired by this evening and trying to savor the moments like my last post I have decided to start a Thankful Thursday ritual. My goal is to reflect on one thing each week. It will make me get here to catalog all these moments, the thoughts that race through my head and help me embrace the present. I plan to still post at other times about more than what I am thankful for.

To start I am very thankful that I have the ability and opportunity to breastfeed. After my post about getting settled you would think I hated it. Robert noted that I didn't paint a very pretty picture about breastfeeding, but the truth is it is not what I had expected it to be. But now that I am 12 weeks in I love it. I love that I can soothe her, feed her, and watch her grow during this magical time. It not only makes my heart melt, but some of her funniest moments and most of her personality really comes out during this time.

Just like she is a noisy sleeper she can be a very noisy eater. There are moments when she lets out these very girly sighs as she is eating and other times these sloppy snorty smacky noises come from her. I think she is her noisiest when her Daddy is trying to get some sleep nearby :) Watching her facial expressions tell me so much about her. For instance many times we arrive at feeding time grumpy and a little frustrated, maybe she is ready for bed or maybe she is just getting up and I am taking too long. Either way her eyes are wide and annoyed, but as soon as she latches on they take on a eagerness and when the milk starts flowing they change to relaxed. Have you ever gotten a massage and you felt so relaxed you let your eye lids sort of fall to a half way open position saying "oh that feels goooood" that sort of what she looks like. It cracks me up.

Robert tells me all the time that I wear my emotions on my face, I express my anger, annoyance, sorrow, and excitement right there. I guess I would make a horrible poker player ;) I have been told by my sister that Marilyn has my facial expressions and I feel like I can read her facial expressions vividly, especially when she is eating. I really love to watch her eyes. Sometimes they dart around looking at the bookcase through my side and arm, sometimes they stare back at me, sometimes she focuses intently on the freckle on my left bicep, or sometimes they are closed. When she takes the time to stare up at me she often will indulge me in a big smile which is adorable! Other times she will furrow her eyebrows and look away, or even funnier she will cover her face with her hand as if I am the stocking paparazzi. This is too funny! There are also the times that she will come off really fast and give out a "whaaa" and then go immediately back on as if it never happened. This makes me giggle tremendously, what is with that? Is she trying to tell me she doesn't like squash etc? Ha! I just love that she has so much personality even though she is so young.

Next thing that I love about breastfeeding is it gives me a chance to see how much she has grown. I don't mean size wise although you can really see it as her feet hang lower and lower off the side of the rocking chair, but I can see it in her movements. I told you about her Michael Phelps arms, and it is these arms that communicate how much she is developing. She started with this almost blinded feelings, like someone trying to walk down the hall when the power has gone out. Then there were the fist slaps, literally her flying fist would hit me as she was eating (this would eventually calm down as she ate more). Then there were the straight up punches. She would take her fist and punch it into me as if to get the milk flowing. One of my favorites has been the full on slap, probably because it reminds me of a drinking game a minor showed this old lady. "Slap the Pig" as it is called, involves a boxed wine, slapping hands, and lets just say you better hope you are not getting a demonstration on brand new wood floors :) Of course if this is what Marilyn is doing that would entail that I am a pig, I am not sure I like that too much. But either way she seems again to be seeking an increase in the flow. See the "tap" runs a little slower at times and this frustrates her. Her newest hand/arm movement is really sweet, she is tickling me almost as if she is playing the piano. Little fingers moving up and down then grasping lightly. It is really sweet.

Lastly I am thankful for breastfeeding because it has created such an amazing bond between us. She needs me for food and for now is able to get that nourishment only from me. That in itself is amazing. The fact that she is living off of me is just somewhat unbelievable. She knows me, searches out for me, and is comforted by me. She can be beside herself and I have the ability to calm her. When she got her first set of vaccinations and was HYSTERICAL from the shots, I was able to calm her. It's wonderful and is why Robert gets so nervous when I talk about leaving him alone with her to do something else.

When I was having all those nursing issues to start I used to say "Men should at least be able to breastfeed". I felt like their role was so minor in this whole process and if I had to endure the pain of labor he could at least endure some of the pain of breastfeeding. However, that pain has pretty much subsided and I am left with this "magical" experience (no wonder everyone says what they do about it) that I would not give up for anything, even the lotto!


Tummy time after breakfast.

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