Breastfeeding alone seemed to consume most of my life. After a couple of days of (obsessively) charting Hattie's feeding routine (or lack of routine) we discovered that (on average) babe ate 10-11 times a day, with each feeding taking up a good 30 minutes to an hour. Do the math. Five+ hours a day, seven days a week, equals... "That's like a full-time job!" exclaimed my male, breast-less counterpart in disbelief.
Now, things have gotten a bit easier. Harriet has developed sucking-muscles and a layer of blubber, making feedings shorter and farther apart. In addition, I have developed the (essential) skill of remaining semi-unconscious for night feedings (bliss!). So all in all, my nursing time is down to 2-3 (waking) hours a day. However, this still accounts for 15-20 hours a week.
At first the time commitment nursing requires seemed like a great burden to me. But over the months I have come to cherish the enforced periods of stillness that breastfeeding provides. When I am NOT feeding the baby I am necessarily entertaining the baby, cleaning/changing the baby, comforting the baby, trying to clean the house while carrying the baby...and so on. And when the baby sleeps I am rushing to complete essential tasks during the blessed moments of freedom (i.e. cleaning the house while NOT carrying the baby).
I am not complaining. I love this life with my child. I love the duties, tasks, and challenges. But I yearn for moments of silence. I yearn for time to stop, think--to read.
Read?? The English major/English postgrad in me perks up her ears. Suddenly, I realized the real potential of nursing. It dawned on me--how much could I read in TWENTY HOURS A WEEK??
So I propose a project for myself: to develop a breastfeeding curriculum--a balanced reading diet. As I read I will post (short short--I promise!) reflections on my most recent book.
I see that this post is getting long. (This happens to me. I mean to be concise, but--alas--I am not. Apparently I have not Hemingway's talent for brevity.)
Stay tuned for a future post in which I develop my reading list--and ask you, dear reader, to contribute ideas!