The Tragic Optimist

On nursing

Back in November, I wrote about how surprised I was to find that breastfeeding was, well, boring. It was one of the parts of parenting that I was really looking forward to, but at the time, just seemed time-consuming and not terribly fun or interesting. It’s gotten better. I can’t say that I agree with the woman who a year ago told me that breastfeeding gave her such a happy rush that she was sure it could be sold as a drug (that is, if it could be bottled up somehow), but it is one of the few times I get to quietly sit and snuggle with the girl.

One of my biggest fears with breastfeeding was what would happen once the teeth came in. I’d been told that I’d get bitten, and you just had to teach the baby not to bite. That’s scary. I’m tender there. Sure enough, two days after her tooth came in, we had a night of biting. Zoe would nurse for a few minutes, and then bite me. I’d pop her off my breast, tell her not to bite me, wait a moment, and then go back to feeding. Rinse, lather, repeat. Eventually, she fell asleep for the night, and I got to bed without permanent damage. But the next morning, I was nursing Zoe in bed when I was wracked by a coughing fit. She bit down, just as I jerked up. It was bad. There was blood. There was pain. She never bit me again.  I developed a newfound respect for sharp little teeth. It took about a week or so before I could stand to nurse on that side without cringing in pain. I’m not sure if we’ll go through something similar when she gets her top teeth, but at least I know I can survive it.  Barely.

The think I like least about breastfeeding is pumping at work. It takes a long time, and there’s a lot of things I can’t do while pumping. I am lucky, I have my own office that I can lock, though I’ve had people try to peek through the blinds on my window to see if I’m there, and once the custodian thought I was gone and unlocked my door so he could empty my trash. I have a “Do Not Disturb” sign on my door now, though judging from the knocks and comments from others, it still doesn’t quite convey what’s going on. So I’ve decided I need a good euphemism for pumping. “Lightening the ladies” is the best I’ve come up with so far. Someone else must be able to do better.


  1. amy

    How about:

    Caution: Milkmaid at Work


  2. Have I not extolled the virtues of hands-free pumping to you? My band that I made might fit you well enough, we’re moderately close to the same size. Want me to put it in the mail (assuming I can find it)?

  3. annthelibrarian

    Sarah – I think you’ve mentioned it. I use two rubber bands linked together to hook the pump to my nursing bra, so its mostly hands-free – assuming I’m not wearing one of my nursing bras with snaps. If you run across it and want to drop it in the mail, that’d be awesome, but I’m close enough to hands-free now to work on the computer. The thing that’s difficult is finding the time to actually pump. We always seem to have these impromptu meetings that run for hours, and I keep finding myself needing to excuse myself, which isn’t always easy.

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