Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I Promise, Not Every Post Will Be About Breastfeeding

But this one will be.

So, apparently newborns fit into one of five feeding styles.  There's the Barracuda.  This is the child who jumps right in and eats the hell out of that milk.  If the Barracuda were a restaurant patron, he'd be eating the garnish on the plate, all the sugar packets on the table, and possibly pieces of the tablecloth.  This little one is HUNGRY and doesn't care who he takes down in taking care of that.  Thankfully, LO is not a Barracuda.  I'm sore enough!

Then there's the Excited Ineffective.  This child is so excited to be eating that she loses her latch.  To continue the restaurant metaphor, this one would keep dropping her spoon, or sometimes the entire bowl of soup, and the waitress would need to bring her more.  I must sympathize with the Excited Ineffective, even though LO is not one of those.  I know whenever I'm in a new situation, I'll get excited and do something stupid--like take the first bus that comes to a bus stop where I'm waiting, rather than double checking to see if it's the correct one.  Or like the time I went to the U2 concert when I was in high school, and I was so excited I screamed myself hoarse and gave myself a headache before Bono even took the stage, and then it was hard to enjoy the music.  I suspect that EI nursers are anticipators, like me.  "This is gonna be so great!!!" they say to themselves, and then they can't handle the greatness.  It happens.

Next is the Procrastinator.  This nurser refuses to do any work until the milk lets down.  There is no rushing this child.  He doesn't nurse in the first couple of days because colostrum just isn't worth his time.  Once the milk comes in, he'll let mom do the work to get everything set.  In the restaurant, this is the patron who shows up 5 minutes before closing, just as all the wait staff are starting to think about going home, and then takes 20 minutes to decide what to eat.  Hopefully he's a good tipper, because nothing will get this child to hurry up.  Thankfully, this also does not describe LO, because unlike the EI from above, I can't really sympathize.

Fourth is the Gourmet.  This child must savor each taste, mouthing the nipple, tasting the milk, then deciding to get down to the business of the meal.  She is the wine connoisseur at the restaurant--even if she is just having a meal at an Olive Garden.  She must go through the ritual of inspecting the cork, sniffing the wine, swirling it,  and tasting it, before she can really enjoy the glass.  And of course, as every gourmet knows, even after all that work, it is foolish to bolt down a glass of wine or a meal.  It must be enjoyed slowly--there's no rush to finish everything.  Leisurely meals are one of life's pleasures.  Again, this does not describe LO, for which I am grateful.  I enjoy a slow, European-style meal as much as the next woman, but in the go-go-go pace of modern SAHMhood, I really don't have the time for LO to enjoy each meal this way, particularly if each meal is coming within two hours of the last.

Finally, we have LO's style.  He is a rester, or a lazy nurser.  In this type of feeder, there is strong correlation between eating and sleeping.  Now, as someone who famously once fell asleep face first in her bowl of spaghetti, I really shouldn't be surprised that LO cannot eat without falling asleep.  But it really does make for long nursing sessions.  LO will quickly fall asleep at the table, and then wake up pissed off that I have taken his food away from him.  Imagine a restaurant patron snoozing peacefully face down in his entree.  When the wait staff wakes him up, takes the food away, and invites him to leave--they'd like to close up shop, for heaven's sake--LO angrily states that he is still hungry and how dare they wake him?  "But sir, you were asleep!"  "Don't presume to know what it is I want.  Now bring me back my food!  I'd like to resume my nap."

Because of LO's eating proclivities, it can be difficult to know when he's actually done a meal.  I will be cuddling my sweet, hungry boy, and his eyes will droop, his mouth will stop working, and he will fall deeply asleep.  I will do what I can to remind him that sleeping while eating is not in Miss Manners's playbook, but he will remain asleep.  Satisfied that he must be satisfied, I pass him off to J.  J has complained, with reason, that when I hand him the baby, it's like I'm passing off a bomb that is about to detonate.  Because it's only a matter of time before LO wakes up angry.  His food is missing, and where else is he supposed to get in a nap?  So, Mom's Kitchen is reopened, and LO resumes his nap.  This is really putting a cramp on my ability to go out or get things done around the house.  I have become an expert on what's on daytime TV.  (I do try to read, but I can only read mass market paperbacks because any other book is too heavy.  I actually didn't get a chance to read The Passage by Justin Cronin because it was an 800 page hardcover, and I couldn't figure out a way to prop it open on LO while he was "sleeding" or "feeping.")

I wonder if LO will grow out of this type of eating.  I suspect so, as it seems fairly rare to see an adult face down in his chef's salad at a restaurant.  I'm just having concerns about his ability to learn table manners if he's sleeping through his lessons.  What if he's at dinner at the White House in 30 years, sleeping peacefully in his gazpacho?  What will President Chelsea Clinton think of my mothering abilities?


  1. Isaac was a eat-napper too! Be grateful - when you'll need him to be quiet and calm, you have one heck of an awesome tool in your repertoire.
    I do remember we used to make sure Isaac wasn't TOO comfy when nursing in the early weeks - no blanket, and I'd tickle his feet, and little things to keep him alert until he'd finished one boob at least!

  2. I suggest a new's only 139$ and you can read 800 page books no problem, since it weighs only half a pound.