Laughter Travels: A Breastfeeding Chuckle

By Lisa Johnson
Issue 116, Jan/Feb 2003

boy laughing as he nursesMy son, Izzy, was not quite ready to succumb to the nap sandman this morning, so I did what any intelligent breastfeeding mom would do: I shoved a boob in his mouth. Grabbing the nearest magazine soaked with baby drool, I found an article I’d meant to finish two months ago. We had 20 minutes before I had to leave the house. If Izzy fell asleep, I could tuck him into the car seat and avoid a wrestling match.

No such luck. You know that bridge between sleeping and waking, when babies seem totally peaceful and relaxed-until it’s time to do something? Try to pull them off then, and it’s like trying to take a slippery mango pit from a golden retriever. All hell breaks loose.

I had to get to the post office. But there was Izzy, eyes closed, lips moving two suckles every minute-not quite what we call “serious milking.” He wouldn’t budge. Every time it seemed as if he’d conked out, I’d shift, and he’d suddenly fish his little head around, searching madly for the wait-where-did-it-go nipple. Finally, as they say, I gave in to the Tao. Instead of struggling to carry out the day’s plans, I let go of my mental “to do” list. I looked down at his small face, his lips like a tiny manatee’s, and began to chuckle at this infant/tentacle.

And that’s when it happened. Izzy’s eyes remained closed, but something changed. His body tensed; his skin was listening. All of a sudden, I heard a noise. His mouth was still clamped down on the nipple, so at first it sounded like a grunt, possibly of acknowledgment: “Is that you, Mom? Forgot you were there.”

I giggled. Izzy’s lips pursed on the boob, waiting. The folds of my leftover postpartum belly jiggled beneath his torso, and he paused another moment. Then he chuckled to himself, still half asleep. One little eye slit open very slowly and looked up at me.

It was a chain reaction: I couldn’t stop giggling, and Izzy couldn’t contain himself anymore. His mouth loosened into a wide grin. I cackled. He chortled and flapped his hand against my chest.

This was my last chance. Still laughing, I made my escape. Quickly slipping the nipple out of his mouth, I whipped him over my shoulder and raced down the steps and out of the house, dripping little white blots on the carpet. Into the car seat we shimmied, leaving a trail of giggles and milk.

So add this to your 26 reasons to breastfeed. Stop the presses before another edition of The Nursing Mother’s Companion comes out. Call your La Leche Leader immediately and tell the world: You can actually transmit a sense of humor through your milk ducts.

Lisa Johnson, a full-time mother and freelance writer, has published pieces in Fit Pregnancy and Playgirl; her first book, Rite of Passage: Backpacking ‘Round Europe (Lonely Planet), will be out in March 2003. Her son, Izzy (2), has since given up his milkaholic tendencies. They live in Greenwich, Connecticut.

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