From the very beginning of my pregnancy, Corey and I knew we were going to breastfeed Miles. This meant we needed to seek out a pediatrician who was supportive of this practice in addition to the midwifery team in charge of my pre- and postnatal care. Many pediatricians say, "Oh yes! Of course we are supportive of breastfeeding...UNLESS..." and then they either outright reveal that they want the kid on formula if weight gain isn't uber-fast or they will sneakily not support you if you have troubles.
At any rate, we found Dr. H, who is so supportive of breastfeeding that we tease him a little bit at our house. In his first visit to Miles at the hospital, Dr. H. wanted my entire family to know that Miles should be spending the majority of his time at my breast, that this should be his "primary place of comfort and nourishment." He wanted to see Miles latch, he wanted me to be nursing when he popped into the room...he wants that baby on the tit all the time. Which is great!
When we went for our checkup yesterday, Miles wasn't quite back to his birth weight. I got panicky a little bit. Dr. H. just said, "Feel free to feed right now, please." Which was pretty much code for "get that baby back on your boob, lady! Stat!" And despite my furious eye signals, Corey was asleep with his head against the wall and didn't hand me my "modesty blanket." So I had to get out my huge nipple in front of our pediatrician while my son made oinking noises and slobbered all over the place.
After the three grownups chatted about breastfeeding for awhile, it was time for Dr. H. to examine Miles. I got ready to detach him from my breast, but Dr. H. intervened. "Oh, no! I can do the whole examination right there at your breast," he said. So we just sort of unswaddled Miles and rotated him a little. He kept eating away while he got the business and a clean bill of health. And all the while I'm trying to cover my aereola with a burp cloth, much like trying to cover one's butt cheek with a postage stamp, because Corey is still asleep with his head against the wall and the blanket it juuuuuuuust out of my reach. And I was thinking how weird it was that I became so tired, I didn't even care that a wild-haired baby doctor was leaning across my bosom to poke my baby's penis and tell us that the white stuff oozing out was just "smegma" and that's perfectly ok. All this information and eye contact while we are hunched over my naked breast.
And then the visit was over and I had no choice but to remove Miles from my breast so we could take him home in the car. This small action, I'm sure, started off a domino effect that made the whole rest of my day miserable. Miles needed to eat every half hour until...well he's still eating right now. I'm typing one-handed while he oinks and slurps. I haven't slept at all. Not one minute.
But just as I'm about to give up and gnash my teeth or pound my fists into Corey's sleeping nutsack, Miles will look up at me and pat my breast with one hand. Then he'll smile a little bit in the brief instant between gasping, heaving gulps and I forget that this is the most difficult thing I have ever, ever thought about doing.
**I felt like I had to add, out of fairness, that all new parents fall asleep with their heads against walls at moments like when waiting for the scale or when Dr. H steps out to wash hands, etc. Corey is very alert when actually speaking with the doctor.