The Tragic Optimist

a month past breastfeeding

(Sorry for the general blog silence here.  I’ve been spending a lot of time getting my Little Four Eyes blog to look good, and while I’m quite happy with it, it’s kind of sapped me of inspiration for this blog.  Apparently I only have so much blog attention to go around).

It took nearly three weeks for my breasts to stop aching, but they’re back to normal now. I’ve put away all the nursing bras and pulled out my old regular ones. Zoe hasn’t asked to nurse at all since she weaned, but every once in a while, she’ll reach down and kind of rest an arm protectively on one of my breasts, or give one a loving pat. Or if she’s with me when I’m getting dressed and sees me take my shirt off, she’ll get this sudden flash of happy recognition and point and smile. It’s flattering, I guess.

In some ways, it’s felt like I’m needing to learn how to parent all over again.  I used to joke with Chris that when you have a milk-giving breast, every cry sounds like hunger.  Which isn’t quite right, but it’s true that nursing is fantastic for calming down a fussy baby, and can really make things easier.  Kid’s hungry? Nurse. Bumped her head? Nurse. Upset at leaving the playground? Here you go – nurse. Tired, but won’t sleep? Just nurse her to sleep.  Got shots at the doctors?  You guessed it.  So I was a little apprehensive of dealing with Zoe without the advantage of a boob, and, as I mentioned before, a little worried that maybe she just wouldn’t like me anymore without my milk.  But we’ve been very lucky, and she’s a very easy-going kid, though I’ve had to quickly study Chris’s techniques for distracting her and comforting her.

I like bedtime a lot more now.  It used to be that she was so ready for the nursing that she wouldn’t let Chris or me read her a bedtime story.  But now, we snuggle in the rocking chair for 20 minutes or so of reading – usually the same book over and over and over.  But it’s sweet, and I look forward to it.

And, it means that my period is back.  After 28 months, I’d pretty much given up on ever seeing it again, but there it was, back to normal.  Back during those first few months of trying, my period was a sign of failure, and I long for it’s absence to signal a pregnancy.  But then I stopped ovulating, it’s absence was an even bigger sign of failure.  Then, much more happily, a sign of pregnancy, and then a sign of my body providing nourishment for Zoe.  And now we’re here, back to normal.  Not an omen, or portent or signal of anything weighty or significant.  Just the normal passage of time.  I welcome the normal right now.

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4 Comments

  1. I’m glad the transition has gone so well and Zoe is doing just fine and not needing to be nursed…

    Thanks so much for your comment on my blog…it really helps to know that someone else has experienced it, b/c I found absolutely nothing online connecting a hysterosonogram with shoulder pain, so I was kind of worried. Guess I just have to wait it out…

  2. geeksinrome

    When they stop nursing it’s so bittersweet.
    In some ways I can’t wait for Pea to stop needing it to fall asleep and stay asleep during the night (the doom of co-sleeping). But she is teething and I know it ends eventually and so I am trying to cherish it as our moment as mom and baby.

    I hope I can get Pea to like reading for her pre-bedtime routine too because right now she is just too impatient for a book at night. She wails (in a screechy babble that I have deciphered to mean) “Take off your shirt lady and lie down!”

  3. Ha! Yes, that’s exactly what Zoe used to say at bedtime when I would make the mistake of trying to read a book to her. If Pea and Zoe were ever to meet, I get the feeling they would understand each other perfectly.

    Now, she keeps trying to stall bedtime by bringing us more books to read.

  4. Angela Heffernan

    Rowan weaned himself this week — we were down to the one morning nursing, like you, and it had become increasingly intense, with him screaming before nursing, and after, and for a LONG time (nearly an hour.) To give myself a break (and I do feel the guilt) I started switching him to a bottle after about a half hour. I only did this two, maybe three times, and then, one day, Dave brings him to me, and not only did he not scream to nurse, when I offered, he sort of … turned his head, and then, when I offered again … he actually said “no, no, no.” (In his words, “na, na, na.” It was the first time I’d ever heard him say no. And he said it to me … and breast milk. I was shocked, both proud and hurt … and he hasn’t wanted anything to do with breast milk since. The feelings, as you know, are really … ambiguous. I thought of you guys, and was glad I had your story to prepare me a bit …

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