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Biting the Boob that Feeds You

I'm reading this book about management strategy and it says to look at the bright spots, what small glints of success are in the work you do. The authors also explained that laziness is often a disguise for exhaustion and boy, oh boy am I exhausted! So exhausted that I melt into the couch and exert only enough energy to press the buttons on the remote control, or enough energy to open my mouth and tell my four-year-old to find the remote for me.

One bright side of breastpumping is that there are no teeth involved. Since my baby's teeth emerged -- two small white nubs on top and two sharp square bits on the bottom -- there are some moments of hesitation before feeding begins. There are some days when he bites down as he's nursing and it feels like I'm not so much breastfeeding a baby as I am a sink disposal, the switch flipped on and the metal blades whirring away. I grit my teeth instead of yelping and I do everything in my power not to yank my boob away, which is my instinct when something is hurting me and that something is my darling baby's mouth of pain.

I don't have this experience while pumping. Even though I don't get to rub my son's head nor do our eyes meet as I nurse, I am not in incredible pain because my son is gnawing on my boob as if it's a rib bone and he's trying to consume the last bits of fat and gristle. The pump has never physically hurt me the way my son has. As uncomfortable it was in the beginning to sit and pump, I have never muffled a scream because someone has bit down and then laughed! The pump has never used my body as a chew toy, a loose bag of skin that is full of food and nerves and attached to the person who gave you life, baby!

When I am pumping, I am in control. I can choose how long to pump, where to do it and what I want to surround me -- fruit baskets, vanilla candles, or Sir Mix-a-Lot's Christmas album. I don't have the same luxury with my baby. He needs a soft environment with little light, few sounds. Basically every time he feeds, I have to transform wherever we are into a European spa -- right after I nurse him, he will be treated to a revitalizing scalp treatment, seaweed body masque and spa smoothie while my only luxurious massage is when my four-year-old walks on my back.

Every pumping session I may be reminded that I am away from my sweet, sharp mouthed baby but there are enough bright spots in those moments that it makes it worth it. Plus, this will provide fodder for my pretend parenting book entitled: BABIES THAT BITE!