One of the most enduring stories of my childhood–one that my parents liked to tell regularly all through my life–was that I breastfed until I was two-and-a-half years old. My father would always finish the story by saying that he knew it was time to cut me off when I started walking up to my mom and saying, “I want to nanny-suck.” My parents always laughed at this point, sometimes whoever was listening would laugh, too, sometimes they just got a queasy look on their faces. I usually just sat there smiling, I didn’t really see any harm in breastfeeding that long, why not?
Now that I have a 19-month-old that is still breastfeeding I have two reactions to this story. First of all, I don’t think it was exactly true. I may have said that and that may have been why they decided to stop but there’s no way I was a full year older than my son is now when I quit breastfeeding. I know that because my year-and-half old already walks around talking about how he wants to “eat boo-boos” all the time. Occasionally, this involves my wife sitting on a child’s chair with her shirt hiked up while G stands and feeds.
It’s a strange sight (and not the strangest, but I can’t and won’t go into it) and a little unseemly and has us both thinking about when and how we are going to move G on. Quite honestly, I don’t’ see how my parents could have taken 30 months of breastfeeding. In fact, I don’t see how any parent could because it’s starting to get weird around here.
I’ve got a familiar feeling, an ache actually, that’s starts between my shoulders and peaks at the base of my neck, not to mention one in my right elbow that’s almost locked at a 90 degree angle, both the product of long hours of holding the baby. Even though G can’t weigh more than 13 pounds, he gets heavy after a while, and I remember the same symptoms when B was this size and age.
Other than that, Day Four is almost upon me and so far things have gone surprisingly smooth, thanks in part to two of my siblings who’ve helped out with the childcare these past two days (mainly with my whirlwind three-year-old), and then the old lady who has been able to take small breaks from work and continue to breastfeed G who is still not too enamored with the bottle.
But I hear movement upstairs which means a smiling baby, a chatty toddler, and a grumpy mama will be down here momentarily. Gotta go.
Okay, G fought the bottle repeatedly and B had to skip his nap, but we survived. We even made it to a park–Monticello Trail–in the late morning where we played for an hour-and-a-half. For a full thirty minutes before we arrived, though, G cried and screamed, angry that he could not suckle from his mama, incensed that I was shoving this rubber nipple in his mouth. So what if it dispensed her milk?
When we got to the park he was still pissed but I was hoping that being pushed in the stroller would mollify him, and I wasn’t quite sure how much milk had already made it into his gullet. After 30 feet, B running ahead of me while I tried to keep tabs on him, I pulled out the bottle and gingerly put it in G’s mouth. He seemed to take it but milk was still spilling out the sides of his mouth. We continued this pattern, lurching 30, 40, 50 feet, then a little feeding, until we reached our destination, two hollowed out giant tree trunks laid on their sides.
I had brought a few of B’s toys–three Super Hero Squaddies–and he scooped them up and started playing while I stuck the bottle back in G’s mouth and he finally caved, sucking it right down. Glorious. His belly full, he then passed out and for the next hour B (and I) played, throwing his Squaddies through the holes in the old tree.
In the pic, B is about to lob Dr. Doom into one of the holes. If you’re wondering why he has no shirt on, when I first started feeding G at the park B ran over and said he had to pee so I told him to just do it in the grass and that he had to go by himself. He got his shorts down but didn’t lift his shirt all the way. That was hours ago, though, and now the kids are outside with their mama. As a result, I can sit back, sip a PBR, and rest up for tomorrow.