Nursing these days is akin to a wrestling match. In fact, just this morning I'm pretty sure I had baby in a half nelson while I attempted to keep her latched on! A typical nursing goes something like this:
Baby wakes up, like clock work, ready to nurse. As we settle down in the recliner she practically hyperventilates as she clamours to get to the breast. If I happen to take too long getting situated then her protests grow voluminously until calmed with the first suck or she may continue to grunt her complaints of my tardiness until the milk finally lets down. As soon as the milk arrives, her eyes roll back in infantile ecstasy and she settles down for about, oh, a minute.
Then she squirms into her favorite position, straddling one arm while I cradle her with the other, she reaches down to grab her foot and proceeds to start the more strenuous nursing sequence: kicks and leg lifts! 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and breath. An audible squelch is heard as she breaks suction to analyse her yoga technique. She's distracted for a few minutes with her feet. Open mouth insert foot . . . literally.
I attempt to entice her back to nursing and, for a few minutes, I succeed. Her free hand opens and closes repeatedly as she reaches for my hair, my chin, my cheek, my sleeve, my shirt and eventually tightens her grasp around my thumb as she continues to nurse. Someone walks into the room and she rips herself away to turn her head as far as she can to get a glimpse of the culprit, Daddy, whom she grants a great big toothless grin. I shew him out of the room and attempt to coax her back to the breast, again. She flips back over, sets her leg up on my arm and proceeds with her, suck 1, 2, kick, 1, 2, all the while her arm has started a front and backward motion that includes a periodic thump on my chest. A new variation of chest presses!
Whoosh! A furry blur jumps past her head as one of our cats makes its way to the window to watch the birds in the trees. Squelch! Baby pulls off and cranes her neck so far until she can get a glimpse of kitty. I wonder if she is preparing to audition for Cirque du Soleil?
Kitty is quickly scared off by baby's squeals of delight (or perhaps it is her continued attempts to grab her tail?) That distraction gone, baby realizes that she had been in the middle of doing something. Hmmm . . . oh yeah, nursing or was that kick boxing?! She begins to nurse again, only this time decides to increase the cardio by adding push ups followed by squats off the arm of the chair. Yes, just as you suspected, neither activity is recommended for use during nursing! I mean, c'mon, baby, I'm not ElastiGirl!
I attempt to calm down the calisthenics a bit and draw her attention back to solely nursing. After a few minutes she assumes her usual routine of leg lifts and toe touches, eventually settling into a rhythmic sucking. I rest my head back and close my eyes, exhausted from these early morning nursing workouts. Squelch! I catch her just before she rolls off the pillow, her attention drawn away yet again by the latest invader of the peace: her older sister is busy gathering her school supplies. Daddy leaves to take Sis to school and the baby follows them out of the door with her eyes, an outreached hand and a smile! They wave good-bye and she turns back to me. Only for a minute, however, before her brother descends the stairs with the morning inquiry of laundry. (Somehow, there are never enough clean socks!) Once I have addressed the daily dilemma, I turn my attention back to baby.
I move her to the other side and the cool down begins. She latches on, eyes closed, leg moving methodically up and down, her hand gently caressing my lips. We have a few quiet minutes until she rests her head back a bit, an intoxicated smile on her face, almost as if to say, "I love you, Mommy!" Drowsily she resumes nursing. Calmly sucking away to her heart's content, she has finally settled down into her cool down cuddle. No longer distracted by the rest of the family, she and I drift off to sleep for a sweet, albeit brief, time after having enjoyed our morning aerobics, otherwise known as nursing.