When Sammy first came into our lives I was sure I would never sleep again. He does not have any kind of schedule and will eat anywhere from every 30 minutes to every two hours. Waking up for nighttime feedings was so challenging. I was so tired and taking the time to get get up only made Sammy wait longer for food thus enraging him further. As if achieving a good latch during the day wasn't hard enough, it was virtually impossible at 2 a.m. Now that Sammy is almost two-months-old the nighttime feedings have become one of my favorite moments as a mother.
Before going to sleep I dim the lights in the next room to the lowest setting. I set the DVR to record my favorite shows (Chelsea Lately, E! News, Dancing With the Stars, Top Chef: Just Desserts to name a few). When my husband and I go to bed I'm almost looking forward to feeding Sammy. I have my little station set up with water, the remote control, the nursing stool and extra burp cloths. With his first cry I swoop in and pick him up from his crib alongside our bed and Sammy and I step into our own private little world, for him a private paradise. With the lighting just right I am able to see just enough to get the perfect latch without it being too bright to make either of us fully awake.
In that low light, Sammy and I gaze at each other with so much love you can feel it like a bolt of electricity. His sleepy milky grin makes my heart burst and in those moments I realize that as tough as breastfeeding is it a thousand percent worth every struggle. Through the engorgement, the oversupply, the hideous stretch marks there are these moments of pure bliss, unlike anything I have ever experienced in my life.
Like I said, Sammy is almost two months old now and he is so big that he has nearly outgrown all of his 3 month clothes. This morning as I was changing his diaper I was shocked to see how big he's gotten. In my mind he is still just a days-old infant, but the reality is he is a long, fat, happy baby. In my amazement of his size I realized that it is my milk that I have been giving him that has helped him to grow so big.
Breastfeeding is hard, especially in the beginning, but every night when these moments happen those smiling eyes give me endless gratitude. I think the key is being prepared. Now, let me indicate here that I was not. Until Sammy's sixth week each feeding every night was like another shot in the dark. The learning curve was so steep and only now do I feel like its just beginning to plateau. I wouldn't go so far as to say that we've got the hang of it...yet, but we're getting there. I will say that as I become more comfortable Sammy becomes more comfortable and vice versa. We learn and grow together.
Breastfeeding is the time when Sammy and I are linked back together again. Before it was the umbilical cord, now it's my nipple. As we get better at breastfeeding and time goes on these moments of bliss will become a distant memory and the link between us will only be in the love that we share. That love will be nurtured by these precious midnight moments that Sammy and I have now, so until he's outgrown my milk I will cherish these moments of bliss.