Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Sip of Comfort

Continuing in the whole "write what you know" theme, today's post should be about sleep deprivation, because I am exhausted.  The baby seems to have picked up whatever bug the older ones got and was running a fever all night the last two nights.  As long as she was nursing, she was quiet, but if at any point during the night she lost her latch, she screamed.  I held her all night, snatching sleep in five minute increments here and there.  One or two nights like this isn't a big deal, but when they pile up on top of each other, I start getting loopy.  Despite that, though, I was deeply grateful, because I was doing something constructive to help us both feel better.

I hate it when my little ones get sick.  Even though I know their immune systems are strong and can use a little workout from time to time, even when I am reasonably sure that it isn't serious, even when it is short-lived, even though I have faith in the Creator of their precious little bodies,  I still hate it.  I hate for them to feel awful.  And I hate to feel helpless.  I want so much to do something, anything.  I want to be in control.  I hate feeling inadequate.

Last night, I thought for the zillionth time (more or less--too tired to count with any degree of accuracy ;)) how incredibly grateful I am that I can nurse my babies and comfort them.  Being aware that she was getting lots of antibodies and that she felt better because she was nursing was such a relief.  I've read enough about the problems with giving babies Tylenol, etc, that I don't even have any, and I've read enough about the benefits of fever to let it go most of the time.  Breastmilk has only positive side effects, there is never any fear of overdosing, and it doesn't require any special preparation or much effort (have you tried to force medicine into a tightly clamped mouth?).

As she slept nestled next to my breast, I could feel her temperature (and did you know that mothers' breasts automatically adjust to keep babies where they should be, getting warmer or cooler in response to them?  We are their own little climate control!).  I could feel her body relax against mine as she nursed.  I smelled the sweet scent of her head and breathed in peace.  We snuggled close and both began to feel better.  She dug her toes into my side, but I didn't mind a bit.

I've heard some ridiculous warnings against comfort-nursing, and even comforting in general.  Because, you know, they might learn to depend on us.  And think how dreadful it would be if a helpless baby depended on us!  Or how terrible for any person to look to the ones they love most for comfort when they were distressed.  Um, yeah.  Whatever.  I consider myself a healthily independent adult, and still appreciate having my loved ones respond to me. 

There is information at , as well as other places on comfort nursing, but I don't really need it.  I am thankful that there is something I can do to comfort her, not just when she is sick, but any time she needs me.  This quote pretty much sums it up:

"You are not a pacifier; you are a Mom. You are the sun, the moon, the earth, you are liquid love, you are warmth, you are security, you are comfort in the very deepest aspect of the meaning of comfort.... but you are not a pacifier!" -- Paula Yount


Ms. Burrows said...

Sleept deprivation! A subject we know all too well! Hope the little ones are all better soon.

melissa joanne said...

Ah, I could write pages on sleep deprivation as well, but this is much more enjoyable! It certainly does feel incredible to be able to comfort and energize our children, while strengthening the strands of our connection with them at the same time.

Amy said...

Hi! I just followed the link you posted at Code Name : Mama and have been reading some of your posts. It is so true, what you say about comfort nursing; the worst times are when there is nothing you can do to make the little one feel better. I would take sleep deprivation due to prolonged comfort nursing over that any day! And thanks for sharing the quotation at the bottom; I had never seen it before, but it really hits the nail on the head.
amy :)

My Feminine Mind said...

Love it! And I learned something new too.