When we nurse

There are so many sweet things to say about nursing. First of all, I am really glad to have made it this far. There were times in the beginning when I feared June would reject the breast and I am so glad we made it through. I am thankful that I got past the initial pain from poor latching and the early battles with thrush and colic.

In all this time, nursing in bed has been the strong preference. From three months of age June was way too distracted to nurse with any stimulus around. So we would slip away and then she would take her time. She is still very easily distracted but sometimes will nurse in the middle of a hubbub, and I appreciate it every time. It lets me know she enjoys it.

Nowadays June is very forward about nursing requests. She puts her hands up my shirt, down my shirt, or just pats the front and says, "miu." If she really wants to nurse this may include a little meltdown if I am not quick enough in responding. We generally nurse with her sitting up in my lap, facing me, her short little legs around my waist. That or we nurse in bed, to sleep. We've phased out walking to sleep in the Ergo, which we used to do nightly and which worked like a charm. I'd nurse and walk and she'd be out. But as she got heavier, and as she gets older we're trying to slowly modify our sleep routine. The eventual goal is to have her sleep in the toddler bed we got her, which sits in our room. She'll have her own room when we get a bigger house!

All of this is well and good, but I really wanted to write about June's techniques for making the milk come out. Sometimes she'll go through her whole litany in one session, until she is rewarded with letdown. Other moms may know very well how one of those little surprising rushes of love will achieve letdown in a heartbeat. Another thing I do is breathe deeply, and often on the third exhalation my milk will let down. Other times I wait and wait and feel as though she is getting nothing.

Here are some of her techniques:
(1) From about 3 months, if we were nursing in bed she would roll away from me and then roll back. The gentle tug on my nipple often did the trick. She still does this sometimes, and always rolls away off to sleep when I break the latch.
(2) She will "talk" while nursing. I don't know why, but this often works. I love to hear the little sounds she hums out.
(3) She'll give the boob some little encouraging pats.
(4) She has tried biting, but has learned that that does not help.
(5) Looking into my eyes.
(6) Doing something playful, like blowing raspberries on me. This often succeeds in the "love rush" way.
(7) Giving in to frustration and letting go with some cries. This is rare, and getting even more infrequent. Now if she cries while nursing it is usually just because she is tired and needs to let off steam.

Well, this is it for now.


  1. These days go by so fast, enjoy them.

  2. My son has turned into a typical boy when it comes to nursing. The second I lift my shirt and start to unhook my bra, he starts laughing this sort of "huh huh huh" laugh. He sounds like a teenage boy seeing them for the first time. I'm sad to think that this will probably be my only opportunity to breastfed in my lifetime, and that it is probably more than half over. Yes, they are going by fast, indeed.

  3. I wish I could have enjoyed this experience with Billy. He was induced. I had gestational diabetes & that creates huge babies. When the toxemia began threatening us both I was induced only to discover Billy was 5 weeks early but a full 6 lbs & suffered from hyland(?)membrane disease. He was whisked away so fast I couldn't even hold him!

    I was determined to breast feed once he was able, so we were in a catch 22, I did not take the pills to stop the milk but had no baby to suck either. Within 12 hours he was transported to another hospital where he remained 21 days. During this time I tried so hard to express milk to take to the NNICU but next to nothing would come out.

    I would be driving the 90 mins to see him & whoosh, my shirt would become soaked! But when I tried the breast pump....zip. Eventually m breasts became like 2 heavy stones, oh & so painful. That was when my OB/GYN said enough was enough & he gave me some meds & I laid around with heating pads, anything for relief between my visits with Billy.

    You are so lucky to be able to enjoy this one-ness with June, what wonderful bonding & something she will never experience with anyone else her entire lifetime! I wish I knew what that was like. Once Sarah came along, Billy was 2 yrs 3 months & into everything! I admit to taking the easy way out & went straight to bottles with her. But I've come to realize all she & I missed out on by doing so.

  4. I just found your blog, & I loved that you wrote about nursing. I loved nursing my 4 babies. My youngest is now 7, my oldest is going to be 18 on Valentines Day, and I do miss it. I recognize everything you wrote about. These are just the most warm and cozy times, I would nap while nursing & say to myself 1,2,3 & I will put them down as they were asleep too. O.K. 1,2,3, & this time I will put them down, it was no use I loved that special cuddly time and it is so short. But my last babe I must confess that we nursed till she was 2 1/2. I was 40 when I had her & she was so tiny, in the end I knew this was it, & our nursing was only in the morn & evening. The other 3 were done by 18 months. I never thought that I would be one to nurse that long, but I most certainly did.I have no regrets. I might have made a great wet nurse back in the day, well I have always known I was born to late. Amy

  5. Think about the great human interaction/communication skills this teaches June! I mean, it's great for any age you continue, but really, the older the better, because she starts to put two-and-two together more consciously.

    I sometimes think me nursing Sarah so long made her the most socially intuitive child I have.

  6. Nursing in bed= the best. So relaxing for both of us. Bought me at least an extra couple hours of sleep, too.

  7. I'm never giving it up! Never!
    I said to Lala yesterday that Mei will be still nursing when she's 35 & he looked at me like I was crazy. To which I responded with,
    "OK then, let's have another baby."
    Needless to say, Mei with be nursing 'til she's 35...Xxx

  8. Wow, June and my little Noe Bean sound so much alike in this regard! We've been nursing in bed to sleep for many months now and as a full time work out of the home mom this is definitely one of the highlights of my day.

    We also used to exclusively day-nurse with Noe on my lap but I have recently returned to holding her in the cradle position, so we can look at each other a little easier (I am a short woman so sitting on the lap resulted in her leaning her head to one side to see me). I also sometimes carry her around this way, nursing her, when she is having trouble getting to sleep.

    As for nursing in public, I'm certainly never opposed, but thankfully we've been working on sign language and mama's milk was one of the first things she learned, so at least I get a little heads up before she starts yanking on my shirt!

  9. I love hearing from so many proud nursing mamas. Thanks for commenting!

    HSM: I'm a full-time day care mom too and man is it nice reconnecting. I know the feeling.

  10. It's been interesting for me to read these comments on nursing... I haven't had a baby yet, but I feel strongly that I would like to breast feed. My mother breast fed me until I was four years old! We lived in Africa (Blantyre, Malawi), and my mother picked up the habits of African women she was friends with. I have fond memories of nursing, but I guess the downside of being so old when I stopped is that I distinctly remember how hard it was to wean. And I remember squirting my mother's milk across the living room and hitting my 10-year old brother with it! Isn't that disturbing?!

    I wonder how common it is for mothers to nurse into the fourth year in the US? My mother wasn't working, so that certainly helped.

  11. Inv/alt design, I nursed my last till she was two--I wasn't working, as I had been with the other two--and it was viewed as pretty strange, out of step.

    We just kept it quiet. Which is sad, in a way. But I didn't want to cause myself grief, or make a big deal out of something personal, bodily, and nobody's business.

    Maybe I should have rallied for the cause.

    If you want to nurse till 4, I'm on your side!


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