We took the girls out to dinner Friday evening with some friends of ours. They have a daughter who is Abby & Izzy's age and a baby boy who is about 3 months old. Such a sweet couple and their kids are just darling. That little boy makes my ovaries ache, and I could almost swear he might be messing with Dan's mind just a tad, too---see, Dan says he doesn't want any more kids-- he says, "We're done." But I kinda feel like he could change his mind eventually.
At any rate, the baby got fussy and needed to eat. Mom donned her nursing/chest-concealing/blanket/wrap/sling thing and tossed baby up under there, all the while talking, laughing and nibbling on crab rangoon. She made it seem so natural & effortless. He hung out there for about ten minutes or so and when my girls asked what the baby was doing, I told them he was taking a nap (did not want to get into that discussion while we're at a restaurant!). I didn't mean to stare, but I was fascinated, as I am each time I witness a woman comfortably nursing her baby.
Nursing did not go well for me. I had two preemies who fell asleep at the wheel, so to speak, and unless I nursed them simultaneously I found that all I did was nurse someone all day long, basically. We have two incredible photos (one of which I debated posting here, but was too shy and not entirely sure it's appropriate even though you can't really see anything) of one of the few times I was able to get them both to latch at the same time for a feeding. It was amazing. Mind you I had 24-hour access to lactation consultants since the girls were in the NICU for three weeks. Preemies are a PAIN when it comes to breastfeeding (both literally and figuratively). With the incessant nursing and constantly having to get one and then the other latched, re-latched, and latched again, I developed severe lesions and breastfeeding became very painful and stressful for me. In the end, I gave up and resorted to pumping and doing bottle feeds.
I felt like a failure. I don't think I would have exclusively breastfed, but it sure would have been nice to have the ability and the option. But by the time the girls were discharged from the NICU and we brought them home, I was so overwhelmed with two little babies who would scream from hunger and get so frustrated with me...pumping and giving them bottles was so much easier. Some people say it's the easy way out. Needless to say the lactation consultants weren't thrilled with me when I told them I wanted to make the switch to bottles. But we did, and 48 hours later the girls were allowed to come home.
Every time I see a mom nursing I just want to cry and go up to her and ask her how she does it and how amazing it is, and does she take it for granted....because it would have been so cool to bond with my babies that way. I often wish for a third child, a singleton, so that I could try again. I'd like to think I could do it if I just had one baby to deal with.
But I'll probably never know.