Saturday, November 8, 2014

Full moon

Actually, I think that the moon was a bit fuller (more full?) last night.  Either way, it is lovely.   I like to go outside and howl at the full moon.  Of course, unless I am alone or with young children, I risk being committed or arrested or something.

Thursday I went downtown (that means D.C if you grew up here), on the Metro.  My first time on the Silver Line on my own.   There's a good deal of walking to find the trains on the Reston end, and a good deal of walking- three + blocks to get to where I was going.  It was cold and drizzly and I was sweating in my efforts to walk fast and not be too late. And now I have a terrible cold.  Oh well.

I spend most of the day at the Breastfeeding Center of Greater Washington.   I have had a contract with the center for years, but since I have been "away" (dealing with my brain tumor), it seems like a good idea to come in and shadow other lactation consultants.  And to learn the new system of paperless reporting.

There are all sorts of items in the center that a new mom might want or need.   As a result, there are moms and babies coming in and out all day!

I enjoyed a mom who came in with her 4 months old to check out the baby's weight.  A beautiful, healthy, chunky baby it was.   I loved watching the interactions between the pair.  Mom says something, baby gazes into mom's eyes and smiles.  Mom smiles and coos.  When I compliment the baby, mom is so pleased with herself.   She says "can you believe that I did this all by myself".  Oh yes, I can.  I remember that feeling of amazing confidence and right.  Knowing that you have the milk and the love that it takes to build a baby is not something that can really be put into words.   It's the look on the mom's face and the way she carries herself.   The way the baby crinkles her face up before mom gives her raspberries in her neck because she knows that this is the dance that mom and baby do.   So symbiotic.   So perfect.  So intense, and so so fleeting.

This is why I love me "job".  I see new moms who are tired.  Exhausted to the point of tears.  They feel so unsure of what they are doing, and if they are doing it right.  Often they have their own mothers and partners saying what they think are helpful things.  And the mom is even more unsure.   This whole, small person depends on you for his very breath, it seems.   The baby cries, poops, looks cross-eyed and often has baby acne.   The new moms think that their baby is the most beautiful.  Sometimes wondering what they have done.  Where did this creature come from.   What was I thinking?  And then they try to nurse and it hurts.

I try so hard to help these moms as if they were my own daughters.   I hear them.  I understand most of their feelings, and I listen.  Sometimes I hug.  I give back rubs and breast massages.  I don't do diapers or baby baths.  I do not want to take the baby from the mother, I want to give the baby to her.

I know that there are times when it just doesn't go as planned.   And we have to improvise.   Babies become attached to eating from a bottle and mom feels rejected.   Mother in law tsk tsks and says "I never had any trouble with breastfeeding"  or "I didn't breastfeed and all of my kids turned out fine".  Yeah, not helpful, but grandmothers feel at a loss and helpless too.

The best moments are the ones where I get the mom to latch on and laugh at the joy of "getting it".   I have put so many moms to bed with their babies and shown them how to enjoy nursing and resting at the same time.

When I see the moms and babies at my Breastfeeding Cafe' every Tuesday, I am so pleased to see these now confident moms and happy babies.  And watching the "regulars" warm to the new, tearful mothers and comfort and welcome them.  They share stories and resources and phone numbers.

Mostly I sit and knit and observe.   I am there if there's a question.   I feel like the mother hen.   It makes me happy.

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