We still have a Boppy from when Everett was nursing, and while Melissa was pregnant a friend lent her a My Brest Friend Twin Plus. It’s like a buffet table that straps around Mom’s waist. When the twins were newborns it was large enough for each of them and a friend. We called it the milk bar. They are now about five months old and have grown a bit, first by getting fatter and then by getting longer. It is somewhat amazing to think that it’s possible to create a person from breast milk alone.

Soon after the twins arrived we were informed by a lactation consultant at the hospital that breastfeeding requires dedication and commitment from Mom. Really? This hardly qualifies as an insight – what if someone else is dedicated but Mom isn’t? Fortunately, Melissa is determined to nurse both of them and has been doing so almost exclusively since soon after birth. A curious side effect of this has been that it takes a lot of work to get Gwen or Teddy to take milk from a bottle (even breast milk). Also, they are often hungry if Melissa is in sight (or earshot) but seem content for much longer periods between feedings if she isn’t around. Another interesting behavior is that they have become very curious about what’s going on around them, and sometimes get distracted while nursing. Melissa has tried to address this by limiting sensory stimuli.

Having infants has raised our awareness of breastfeeding. Chris has begun to notice “lactation room” signs more frequently, usually on women’s bathrooms, which has renewed his curiosity about what else might be in there. Couches? Home theater systems? A tiki bar? For those of us who don’t have access these ideas don’t seem so far fetched. He has also learned to recognize the International Breastfeeding Symbol,

and has become aware of lactivists, who seem to run the range from educator to fanatic, depending on who you talk to. For example, the International Breastfeeding website also recommends a “truth in advertising” label for baby formula. If you read the language in it you begin to realize that these are people with very strong feelings about breastfeeding, and it may be difficult to walk the fine line between encouragement and fanaticism. Granted, breastfeeding is probably a good thing to be a fanatic about. But what’s troubling are the implications of not breastfeeding. Culling some text from this page, it sounds like breastfeeding is for dedicated mothers who want their babies to be fed supreme perfection. Otherwise, your child can be fed a superficial facsimile that increases the risks of a long list of scary-sounding diseases. That seems pretty harsh. No wonder mothers seem to experience so much anxiety about making the right choices for their children among myriad possibilities. And who can forget the Time Magazine cover with the woman breastfeeding her son with the caption “Are you Mom enough?” The most concerning part about this is that most parents, especially Moms, already have a desire to do a good job, and there are seemingly endless things to worry about with children. So perhaps the best possible approach for nursing Moms is promotion and encouragement, but without some of the judgement. Fortunately we have been able to find people who provide this kind of support.

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One thought on “Nursing

  1. My darlings…what a wonderful family! Someone told me that the memory of the first six months with twins is totally a blank; the next six months calm down somewhat; then crawling and walking is the next big challenge…then things become normalish. love you all

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