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Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday NIP Marathon

Just before Thanksgiving, my son, Josias came down with a nasty cold. The doctor referred to it as a "croupy virus." Thankfully, the doctor did not feel antibiotics were necessary. I might have saved myself a trip to the doctor's office, though. Josias has been sick a few times in his 19 months and he always knows exactly what he needs: for Mama to hold him and to breastfeed 24/7.

The last time Josias was sick, he was under a year old and was still breastfeeding frequently. This time, though, he is over a year and a half. In the last few months we have drastically reduced the frequency of breastfeeding sessions. I stopped pumping at work a few months ago, so I don't really have any milk in my breasts during the day.

This did not phase him. Milk or not, Josias needed Mama's boobies. So, boobies he got. 

Within a few days, most of Josias' symptoms had disappeared. This was good news since we were planning a trip to visit family over Thanksgiving. Once we got on the road, however, I noticed that although his symptoms had subsided, his desire to breastfeed had not. In fact his requests for "melky" were unending, and when at my breast, he would hold on to it for dear life (see photo, ouch).

Our Thanksgiving consists of a meal at my aunt's house. The number of guests feels like the population of a small town, but in fact is her extended family. After the meal, we sit around chatting while we wait for it to be time to eat again. We then make the rounds of our favorite restaurants in town. The entire trip is focused on eating, and usually in front of a lot of people.

Josias and I have done a lot of NIPing in his lifetime, and no one has ever said a negative word to me. But on this trip, I found myself in new territory. There I was in a different state, traipsing from one public place to another and breastfeeding my (very large, by the way) toddler continuously. For the first time, I felt a bit conspicuous and wondered if someone would say something to me.

The only person that said anything to me was my aunt. She asked questions about how long Josias would breastfeed, why he needs to breastfeed more when he's sick, and how it comforts him. My aunt has three grown children and did not breastfeed any of them. She wanted to know how breastfeeding works and feels, and the impact it has on bonding with a baby. I sensed a bit of regret that she hadn't had the opportunity to find out. As we left, she hugged me and told me what a great job I'm doing with Josias.

I hadn't known at the outset of the trip that we were entering a NIP marathon, but on the backside, I feel like we won the medal. Josias has fully recovered and is still breastfeeding like it's going out of style.

I wonder what NIP adventures our Christmas trip will bring.

Do your baby's breastfeeding habits change when he or she is sick?  Did they change as your baby grew into a toddler?

Photo credit: Author