Breastfeeding is on my mind a lot these days, since my second baby is due pretty soon. My son and I struggled quite a bit during his nursing early days, but eventually we found a groove and ended up breastfeeding just past two years. As you can imagine, that's a lot of hours spent with each other. It's a good thing, too, since there are countless things you'll want to say while you're breastfeeding your baby. In addition to talking to my son while he had his lunch or dinner or fifth snack, also I passed the time by lovingly staring at him, playing on my phone, watching TV, thinking about the world's greatest problems, contemplating Justin Bieber's career, and trying to recall what life was like when I thought seven hours of sleep was a "bad night."
Granted, it's been a while since I've breastfed and I was lost in a sleepy, hormonal new-mom stupor most of the time, so I don't recall a lot of details about the one-sided conversations I had with my son while he nursed. However, I do have a few solid guesses, and a lot of those guesses have to do with offering gentle encouragement and loving reassurance. Then again, because of the whole no-sleeping thing, I'm sure some of what I said to my darling newborn was probably a lot less profound. Here's a short sampling of what you might want to say while your baby breastfeeds:
"How's It Going? Tell Me Everything."
Hi, baby. How are you doing? I have zero memories of doing what you’re doing, so really, I have no idea what it’s like to be you right now. Are you comfortable? How’s the ole milk supply today? Do you want me to shift? If you’re comfortable, blink once. If you need me to shift, blink twice. Good talk.
"Please Be Careful Down There"
I know you’ve been cutting teeth. While the thought of you using those teeth terrifies me more than The Walking Dead, which I wasn’t able to watch past season three, it doesn’t terrify me as much as weaning you right now. So, I’m trusting you to be careful.
"The Top Of Your Head Smells Amazing"
Don’t mind me, I’ll just be up here, burying my nose into your soft baby hair. That’s not distracting is it?
"Sorry, Was I Staring?"
I must be hanging out with a tiny person who has no sense of societal norms way too frequently, because normally I know better than to stare shamelessly at another human being. Then again, normally I don’t have the sweetest and most adorable bundle of awesomeness attached to me either, so please forgive my learning curve.
"If I Hold My Phone At This Angle, Can You Still See It?"
Long ago, before you arrived, I promised myself that I wouldn’t use my phone when breastfeeding. I know, I know. I’ll give you a moment to quit giggling. However, that was before I realized we could spend upwards of six or seven hours a day breastfeeding, so I'm giving myself a little leeway.
Still, that doesn’t mean I want you to see the fact that I’m streaming absolute garbage TV right now in a (mostly) fruitless effort to stay awake. I’ll just tip my phone to the side, so we can both pretend it’s not happening.
"I Don't Remember The Last Side You Fed From, Either"
Good thing there’s an app for that, right? Seriously though, I’m not just using my phone for entertainment, there’s actually some important information on there, too, like which side you last fed from, access to all the mom Facebook groups my heart could ever desire, and a necessary text change between me and my other friends who’ve been in the night-feeding trenches.
"I Agree, The Football Hold Is Impossible (For Us, I Mean)"
It’s not because I’m not a huge football fan in general, either. Honestly, it’s because my arms are too short. I hope I didn’t pass the "short arms gene" down to you, but just in case I did, please accept my humble apologies. Good thing we have other hold options, right?
"Is This Everything You Hoped It Would Be, And More?"
I don’t even know how to ask this casually, so I’ll just come out and say it. I feel like a server cruising by to check on my restaurant customers. How’s everything tasting? Do you need anything? How about some extra napkins or a side of ranch (ew)?
"Someday I Will Tell You All About This..."
For the record, the ability to bring up breastfeeding in the future and pat myself on the back for it, while simultaneously soliciting your humble gratitude and appreciation, is not my only motivation for nursing. However, if you happen to be a difficult teenager, I will remind you of these 3 a.m. feedings often.
"...And You Will Thank Me"
I mean, of course you will thank me, because breastfeeding is really hard and because your dad and I are going to teach you all the manners. But don’t worry about that, it’s still a few years away. For now, just worry about what’s in front of you.
"Have I Mentioned How Cute You Are?"
Because you are. You so, so are. Even though it’s dark in here and I don’t have my glasses on, I can see enough to know that you are the sweetest, cutest baby that ever existed.
Yep, now I'm crying.
"If You Lose This Latch, I Will Not Pay For College"
It’s not a threat, it’s a simple fact. Because, if you lose this latch, we’re going to be up longer trying to re-establish it, and I will lose even more sleep and be completely unable to function tomorrow. Then, I’ll get worse at this whole breastfeeding thing and my uncertainty and ineptitude will seep into other aspects of parenting, to the point that your ability to succeed in a traditional education environment is affected, and college is pretty much out of the question.
But hey, no pressure.