The Joys of Nursing by Bridget of Life at Le. Rheims

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I’ll let Bridget tell you how we know each other. For now, enjoy this encouragement to nursing moms (like me!). Want to read more of my thoughts on nursing? You might like I Think This Officially Makes Me a Mommy Blogger or Sitting Still Can Be a Finer Thing.

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When my sister was in nursing school, she had to do a standard rotation in obstetrics and its subset of pediatrics. After studying for a time, she had to take a test and one of the questions on it asked her to outline the four steps of nursing. Nursing. That was the word the teacher used, and it was the word my sister read. Of course, what the instructor meant by nursing was the act of being a nurse. What my sister, being in an obstetrical and pediatric frame of mind understood, however, was nursing as a euphemism for breastfeeding. She puzzled over the question for a few moments before finally writing down this:

Step 1: Open bra and expose breast.

Step 2: Position baby near nipple.

Step 3: Feed.

Step 4: Burp.

Seriously.

No joke.

It’s funny to think about it but, in reality, those are the very basic steps to “nursing.” However, any woman who has ever nursed a baby knows, the “steps” to nursing are far more and at the same time far fewer than these four.

To nurse a baby, one does need to perform all of those steps, and so much more. She needs to cuddle, to caress, to snuggle, to coo, to make eye contact and skin-to-skin contact. She needs to relax herself and be simultaneously alert to the needs of the baby. She also needs to drink (that giant water bottle most nursing moms carry around isn’t just for show). Most importantly, she needs to live in the moment because this time of breastfeeding does not last forever, no matter how long a mother chooses to nurse her baby. Nursing, although it can be what I like to call a giant time-suck (like Pinterest), is a fleeting time-suck, so a mother needs to know when to just rest and be with her baby and connect in a way unlike all other connections.

This brings me to the main point of this little post. A nursing mother needs time to rest if she wants to “succeed” at nursing (a terrible word for it, I know, but still accurate). I need to remind myself of this on an almost daily basis. Right now, my living room looks like this:

bridget green living room

In all honesty, my entire apartment looks like this to some degree or another.

And that’s OK. I’ve got a three month old gift from God to care for and she takes precedence.

The apartment will always be here. There will always be another basket of laundry to fold, another sippy cup to clean, another sink to scrub. From time to time the whole place will look like little Sarajevo in the ’90s. Am I happy about this? Not really. Am I happy about the reason for this? Beyond words.

My home won’t always look like this. Even now, in the midst of the chaos that accompanies a new baby it goes for hours or even days at a stretch where it is more or less neat. Right now though, I’m going to ignore the mess and revel in the joys that nursing my baby brings to me.

By the by, that sister I spoke of? She’s an amazingly talented, caring, and more than capable RN who more than understands the steps of “nursing.”

Bridget Green is a wife and mother of six, writer, yarn addict, and lifelong lover of Hanson (which, by the by, is how she and Jessie “met”).  When she isn’t filling sippy cups or (not) folding laundry, she writes about it all on her blog, Life at Le. Rheims.

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