Monday, December 22, 2008

Oh, my little nursling

My sweet Coen is growing up so fast--even faster than his big brother did. With Fintan it seemed ages before he was old enough to eat solid foods, but with Coen it feels like it's taken no time at all. And now on Christmas Eve--his six-month birthday--he will enjoy his first meal from a spoon. I don't know why the thought brings me to tears. With Fintan I never understood the sadness that came with milestones. I only rejoiced in them. But this time it's different.

Is it that this will likely be my last natural-born baby? My last nursling? Yes, it must be, because my heart just broke a bit typing that. I won't go into why it is so--there are many reasons. For now I just want to write about, and relish, my last days as sole provider of nutrition to my baby boy.

I love nursing my babies. Unless you've done it yourself it may be hard to understand why. Even if you have done it yourself not everyone feels the same way. But I love everything about it. When my boys were tiny I loved the searching. The figuring each other out without turning on the light at night. The finally making the connection and relaxing to let my baby eat and feel his breath on my skin. As they got older it's the increasing solidness of their little bodies. And the knowledge that I did that for them. Put the rolls on their legs and the curve in their cheeks. It's also the fact that where Coen once only cried from the discomfort of feeling hunger, a discomfort he didn't understand, he now demands his milk with purposeful bellows and fake coughs from across the room, or with lip-smacking and huffing when in my arms. He knows exactly what he wants and he wants it now. It always makes me laugh, no matter how sad I might feel, when he tells me he's ready to nurse.

I love his concentration while he fills his belly and then, even more, when he pauses to give me a milky smile and says "ohhh, ohhh" like he's sighing with pleasure. His brother used to do the same sort of thing, and my heart will always melt at the memory of it. And often when Coen is cooing, as he did with Fintan, his Daddy will lean over my shoulder to say, in a funny voice, "Drink your milk. You go drink your milk." It's all just achingly sweet to me.

I know it isn't over yet. We have many months still to go. But I'm mourning the end of certain parts of the experience: the nonsmelly breastmilk-only poo, the no teeth for biting, the I-have-nothing-better-to-do-because-I can-barely-get-around-yet phase. The teeny-tiny body snuggling time. He's already not so tiny anymore.

Of course I will also celebrate all of the new experiences (except for the biting--ouch!). I can hardly wait to take pictures of Coen's first solid meal, or to see his first tooth pop through his little gums. I can't wait to see him proceed from rolling to his destinations to scooting and crawling.

I don't know how it's possible to look at the very same milestones with such eagerness and yet such agony. But such is the life of a Mama.


Christine said...

Awww. . . so beautiful!

Layla and Delia said...

Absolutely lovely, Alina. :) After weaning Layla, I couldn't wait to have another child to nurse. It's a beautiful relationship - one that they will never remember, but we will always cherish.

My favorite, too, is the searching in the darkness and somehow (magically!!) they find exactly what it is they're looking for. I know I couldn't find a batch of brownies that fast in a pitch black room. ;)

Congratulations on your milestone, Alina and Coen!

brooke said...

Oh! You have just taken the thoughts right out of my head and masterfully woven them into a beautiful writing. :)

I never, never thought I would cherish breastfeeding as much as I do! And, I know it is strange to admit, but I actually really like the "smell" of breastmilk poo!

It is all so different for me the second time around...I am in no hurry for Tommy to do anything!

Thanks for sharing such a sweet post. :)

Dawn said... I know how you feel! I wish I could put my thoughts down into words half as well as you do!

starfitch said...

That was lovely. I love that we managed to find a community of women with this common bond. I do understand how you feel. My sister has always told me nursing the second one is entirely different and more nostalgic and a ton harder to wean. :-)

Shannon said...

I am sitting here bawling reading this because I know exactly how you feel. I also love nursing my babies and cannot imagine anything more sweet and wonderful. It makes me sad to look at Zoey and have such a hard time even imagining her doing that with me, even though I nursed her for 15 months. Lily is already almost 10 months makes me so, so sad. I wish I could have 10 more tiny babies to nurse.