I’ve blogged before about how lucky I am to have had two babies who have taken well to breastfeeding, continued well beyond the recommended six months, and not caused me a moment’s pain in the process. And I do know how fortunate I am, really.
But 13 months into breastfeeding The Baby, I’m in uncharted territory. Not because this is the longest I’ve breastfed for; The Boy kept going until 20 months. But whereas he, right to the end, treated the boob purely functionally, The Baby seems to think it’s a plaything, comforter and self-service snack bar all in one.
Take the morning feed, for example. Or should I say feeds. On a typical morning, The Baby will yank down my top, latch herself on, have a few mouthfuls of milk, unlatch, climb off the bed, whimper to come back up, pull my top down on the other side, have a few mouthfuls from there, while batting me in the face, unlatch again… You get the picture.
She also quite likes to feed standing up. This is not particularly comfortable, although it must be quite comical to watch.
The second feed of the day is after her nap. Truth be told, she doesn’t need this one any more, but she always wakes in a monumental grump, and a bit of boob helps to ease her into an afternoon of wakefulness. She generally behaves better at this feed, but is still prone to finishing, crawling off, and then having second thoughts 10 minutes later.
And then there’s bedtime. I can’t remember the last time The Baby fed to sleep, but I really wish she still would. Instead, we have a good half-hour of silliness. More latching and unlatching, a fair bit of falling off the breast and having uncontrollable giggling fits (what is she thinking? I’d love to know), and, lately, repeated pointing out of the bedroom door, demanding to be taken to The Boy or her daddy for a night-night kiss. If I don’t oblige, she just wriggles off my lap and crawls out of the room to find them, Grobag and all.
I’m getting the distinct impression that for The Baby, breastfeeding is less about nutrition and more about entertainment. I wish I knew how many ounces she’s taking each day; I bet it’s not many. And while I don’t intend to stop breastfeeding any time soon, I’d prefer it if she wouldn’t shove her hands down my cleavage in polite company.
Still, at least I have milk to give her. Unlike her big brother, who had the unusual experience of his baby sister trying to latch onto his six-year-old nipple in the bath this evening. Fortunately, he saw the funny side – so much so that he nearly stopped breathing. But to me, it suggests that The Baby is maybe just a tiny bit breast-obsessed. And that stopping breastfeeding, whenever that might happen, is going to be her call, not mine.