I had to post this in honor of Babywearing Week and Attachment Parenting Month http://apmonth.attachmentparenting.org/
Now, onto the nursing.
My friend had a very important business meeting: a televised cocktail party in Hollywood, with the foreign minister from her country. She wanted to attend but knew this was one affair that she couldn’t take her baby to. She had never left her 4-month old baby with anyone. She doesn’t own a pump and he’s never taken a bottle.
She knows I am still nursing my 18-month old and although unprecedented, we decided we were both comfortable with the obvious solution.
She arrived at 6:45pm. I had my 18-month old and my four-year old with me; my eldest daughter was at a sleep-over and my husband was out of the house working late. My friend tried to nurse her son one last time before leaving but he declined; my ceiling fan was way more interesting.
The evening proceeded: I put the four-month old in the sling, and then my 18-month wanted in so I used a second ergo for her on my back. I fed my son a haphazard dinner and then my 18-month old daughter joined her brother at the table.
The 4-month old started rooting to nurse while in the sling. While mentally I was still a little unsure about how it would feel to nurse another woman’s child, instinctually, as a nursing mother, it was the most natural thing in the world.
The baby latched effortlessly and within moments he placed his little hand to rest on my chest and closed his eyes. When I looked down and saw his serene face, his full latch and felt his peaceful body in my sling, I felt the timelessness of our human experience and the universality of our human family. Mothers have been nursing babies since the beginning of our species; as children, it is our birthright. While as a modern woman, I had never nursed someone else’s baby, once I was doing so, it was as if he was my own.
Now, how to get the rest of the young children in my home to sleep? It was past bedtime and my four-year old wanted to be with the party instead of his bunk-bed so he hopped in my big bed, next to my 18th-month old, myself and the 4-month old who was still latched. I had a short-lived moment of feeling like the AP rockstar with my daughter nursing on the right, my friend’s baby on the left, and my son still cradled under my arm next to us. I was connected to all my fellow travelers who have tandem nursed and nursed twins.
But, it was short lived as my lively 18-month old got interested in the new baby and interupted his nursing, caused him to wake fully and begin to cry. Everything went array and I had to get out of the bed, turn the lights on and start over.
Being part of a true urban village, I brought the 4-month old to my next-door neighbor’s house, another mother of three, who had offered to help if I needed it. She held the baby and I returned to my house, wherein I nursed my 18-month to sleep while cuddling her big brother. Two-down after twenty minutes.
My neighbor returned the baby to my house, who had fallen asleep in her arms, but he awoke when he touched my co-sleeper. Back to my sling and now to nurse on the other side. Eventually, he fell asleep and then, even though it was all of 9pm, believe me, I went to sleep as well!
My friend returned at 11pm and was beyond grateful. Her baby was worn and nursed and fully content. I was tired from the extra effort, the physicality and the emotional responsibility, but it was worth it to experience the age-old ways of village parenting.
About Jessica Williams
Jessica Williams created L.O.V.E. Parenting with a series of techniques for effective communication, deepened connection and more joy in parenting and life. Jessica is also the creator of www.UltimateParentingCourse.com with the best of today’s progressive parenting experts together in one program. Jessica is a featured expert internationally on both Mothering.com’s Ask An Expert and the upcoming www.KidsInTheHouse.com. Jessica is a regular contributor to Mothering Magazine’s All Things Mothering, LA Parent Magazine, LA Mom Magazine & DailyBuzzMoms. She has been interviewed on television and radio and taught workshops at family wellness centers, schools and doctor’s offices. Her BirthKit has helped women have a transformational & empowering birth. Jessica maintains a private coaching practice in her native Los Angeles where she lives with her husband and their three children. “Truly amazing woman. I love her advice.”—Carrie-Anne Moss. “All you have shared has helped tremendously.”—Lisa Bonet. “I am experiencing nothing short of a miracle thanks to your laser beam approach.” –Andrea Bendewald.