More than once, other baby-toting mamas have looked me up and down, sighed, and said, "You're so skinny." They is usually followed with an inquiry about how old my baby is, how much I exercise, or what I eat so they can beat up on themselves.
While I don't advocate mamas beating up on themselves (see previous blog), I must say the following, loud and clear.
Yes, I'm skinny. I have earned it.
My children like to eat. And, while they're little, guess what their favourite food is. Fresh, imported from Canada, no added ingredients, instant, 24-hour mama juice.
Some babies get older and gradually lose interest in nursing. Not my kids. No, they are absolutely, 100%, no-doubt-about-it in favor of breastfeeding.
When they're little, it's not so bad. It's free (unless you include the extra fifteen hundred pounds of groceries I eat every week in your calculations), and it's easy. They cry, I whip out the Magic Mammary Gland, they're happy. And I'm happy, too. Until I try to go somewhere.
First of all, when I'm nursing, everybody knows. Even though I singlehandedly keep Gerber and Johnson and Johnson in business with my truckloads of nursing pad purchases, I still produce enough milk when I'm nursing to create a lake with its own ecosystem on my shirt. So I can't go anywhere without a year's supply of little white circles to stick in my bra and a change of clothes.
Then if I'm with the baby and he needs to nurse, where do I go? Feminism has done wonders, but the world still doesn't want to see me keep my baby alive. I could nurse in public, of course, but that carries the risk of getting kicked out, in which case I would call La Leche League to complain, after which they would stage a nursing protest, and who needs that kind of publicity? My next option is to visit the ladies' room, where I could lean my body up against the wall as far away from toilet splashes as possible and try to get baby to eat quickly before my unsupported arms turn numb and fall off. Gloria Steinem, couldn't you as least have gotten us mamas a nursing chair or even some place to sit in public places? I guess the stores figure they'll drum up more business if customers have to keep moving. Let me tell you, if they had a little lounge for me to drop my baby on my lap for a few minutes, I'd drop a few more dollars their way, too.
So now the baby is a year old and I'm starting to think it's not so fun anymore. I'm all about mamas nursing as long as possible. I know it will be a while before we quit. But the fun wears off a little when the child starts to play nursing games with Mama. Let's pull back when we're finished to hear how loud Mommy can scream. Let's act like we're done and then cry for more. Let's cry in the middle of the night so only Mommy can come soothe us. Let's refuse to take a bottle so Mommy can't go anywhere without us. Let's pull up Mommy's shirt in public when we're hungry.
This is why Mommy is cutting him back to nursing only about every 2-3 hours. Yes, this child is one. No, he didn't slow down to 4 or 5 feedings a day like the baby books said he would.
I know that when I stop nursing, I will gain at least five pounds and deal with PMS again. For now, I'm burning about 500 extra calories a day. Let's keep it that way. So unless you are ready to breastfeed your children for years at a time, don't envy my figure. I've spent many hours holding my baby in bathroom stalls getting it that way.