I nursed my oldest child until he was 17 months old, stopping when my milk dried up from my second pregnancy. And I am currently nursing my second child, who is 12 months old.
Through the over two years and counting that I have nursed two different babies, there have been many times that my children were like the sweet, sleeping babies in the breastfeeding pamphlets they send you home from the hospital with. But there have also been many occasions when they were not at all like the peaceful babies pictured there. In fact, some of these moments are so absurd, I was not at all prepared for what they would be like, because I had never seen them depicted in a breastfeeding book or brochure. I soon realized there are 15 kinds of nursing babies that aren't so well publicized:
1. The Clown. Don't be fooled by this nursing baby's name. The Clown is not funny. The Clown takes constant breaks from nursing to stretch your nipple with her fingers, like she is stretching out a new balloon before inflating it, pulling it out way farther than you thought was physically possible. The Clown may not be humorous, but she will laugh a lot. Because seeing you squeal in pain is hilarious.
2. The Judge. This nursing baby cannot keep his hands down by his side. Instead, the Judge insists on chopping his hand into your chest, neck, mouth, cheeks, eyes and nose like he is hammering a gavel, dishing out judgments more often than a listener of Serial.
3. The Dental Hygienist. The Dental Hygienist takes her job seriously, attentively scraping away at your gums and teeth with her tiny but sharp nails, all while nursing, until there is barely any plaque left. Unfortunately for your teeth, there might not be any enamel left either when she's done.
4. The Mountain Goat. Frequently appearing in the middle of the night, or any time you are nursing in a side-lying position, the Mountain Goat is prone to painfully head butting you in the nose or cheekbones so hard and without warning, you're going to be sure something is broken on your end. The Mountain Goat, however, is unaffected, and will continue to head-butt until he finds what he is looking for.
5. The Lost Tourist. This baby can do wonders for your self-esteem. As she tries to find her way without directions, the Lost Tourist often tries to latch onto your belly in her half-asleep state. Because she thinks your belly is as big as your engorged breast. Ten months post-partum.
6. The Serial Nurser. You never know when the Serial Nurser is going to show up, or for how long. He can be a newborn, nursing on and off throughout the day, way more often than the two to three hour intervals people tell you a baby will nurse, or he can be a 15-month-old, nursing every couple minutes through the night as he sleeps, pacifying himself while you dream of icing yourself.
7. The Hawk. This young bird will dig her talons into the chasm of your diastasis recti or take the "handles" part of "love handles" quite literally, as she secures her footing by securing her claws into your sides. While your extra layer(s) of post-partum fat can help cushion the impact, the Hawk doesn't feel satisfied until her prey screeches in pain.
8. The Marathon Runner. This baby will pop off your breast at the most inopportune time, while you are still engorged. He will then proceed to hold your breast, which is now spraying everywhere, splashing his face, and everything in its vicinity, with milk, like an exhausted runner dousing his face with water mid-race. The Marathon Runner seems to be the reason burp cloths were invented.
9. The Yogi. The Yogi is skilled at flexing his body into all sorts of positions, all while latched, yet I have found the Yogi's favorite position to be Downward Dog, as he stands and bends his head down to your lap, all while feeding. Watching the Yogi at work may lead your mind to be more confused than at peace.
10. The Guinness Record Holder. Generally not a firstborn child, the Record Holder seems to be nature's way of knowing moms with more than one child do not always have the luxury of sitting still for longer nursing sessions. This speedy baby gulps milk down in record time, popping off after just a couple minutes, while you are left cleaning up the mess from a breast that is now squirting milk in every direction like a cartoon hose.
11. The Groper. Not one to keep her hands in one place, the Groper will roughly rub your arms and neck, or stick her fingers in your ears, nose, mouth, and try to poke inside your eyes as well. The Groper proves that nobody likes to be groped, even by a baby.
12. The Milestone Hitter. This baby is ready to show off her new milestones. Unfortunately, she is ready to do them while latched. The Milestone Hitter loves to sit up while latched, to stand while latched, to clap while latched, to roll over, while latched. And worst of all, crawl away, while still latched. This nursing child proves it isn't always fun to watch a baby take her first steps.
13. Jaws. The Great White Shark of babies, Jaws is cutting his teeth and finds it very convenient to use what he gets his milk from as a teether. Like a viewer of this baby's namesake film, you will find your heart racing and your palms sweating as you hear the ominous music in your head, signaling the upcoming shark attack. Unlike the film, though, you can't fast forward.
14. Mr. On-Again-Off-Again. This baby gives "on-again-off-again" new meaning as he pops on and off the breast every few seconds or less, distracted by a bird chirping outside, your dog walking by, a toy he remembers is nearby, or for no reason at all. While his breaking of the latch may not be as painful as a break-up, it still doesn't feel fantastic, especially when teeth are involved.
15. The Titty Twister. Enough said.
Author of The Booger Fairy, Nishi Goes to India, and several Indian language books for kids, Supriya works as a screenwriter for the Indian production house, Vinod Chopra Films, and blogs about green living and green parenting at www.wadingthroughsoup.blogspot.com
Follow Supriya Kelkar on Twitter:Twitter.com/soups25