I don’t know about you, but some of my best friends are addicts. And when I was nursing my babes, I noticed a few, unsettling similarities between me, the innocent, devoted, nursing mother, and my fun-loving, crack-craving brothers and sisters. (Not my actual brother and sister, who are probably reading this and wondering what the hell I’m talking about. Also, I don’t know anyone who does actual crack.)
But nursing is addictive (and lovely), y’all.
Here’s your proof.
1. Nursing mommas gotta get their fix NOW!
Before I had kids, I drove a friend of mine 2 hours away, over the mountains and through the woods to host a bridal shower, quite literally, in the woods. (And yes, we gave wildflower seeds as favors. It was as adorable as it sounds.)
Then we attempted the 2-hour return trip in #RockStarDad’s Ford Escort. Not familiar with the Ford Escort? Well, it’s no Subaru. It’s more of a city slicker. As in, it hates hiking. And since it had already done the mountain thing once that day, it was done.
That little engine just couldn’t anymore. And died several times on the highway, which was, of course, filled with Subarus going VERY FAST.
Then there was the lack of cell service. If you know anything about mountains, then you know they kill your reception because you should be enjoying scenery and birds. We were pretty screwed.
On top of this, my passenger was a kind Southern lady who went batshit. Because she was also a new, nursing momma who’d planned to be home to feed her kiddo, oh, 3 hours earlier. At one point, when I maneuvered the car to the side of the road, she tried to jump out. I’m not sure what her plan was because it was ALSO RAINING. But her eyes had started glowing this weird orange color, so she meant business.
Her next plan was to start screaming. A lot. Which is very distracting when your car doesn’t work, your phone doesn’t work and you’re in a monsoon.
When I finally found an exit, promising food, water, shelter, she really did jump out. And ran to the nearest car and CLIMBED IN!
Holy shit, what just happened? I hadn’t managed to kill the mother of a newborn by forcing her to ride home in a piece of crap. Now she’s climbing into a random dude’s car!! A random dude you can’t size up for signs of “rapist on board” because of GIANT BUCKETS OF WATER FALLING FROM SKY, CLOUDING YOUR VISION!!
I did the reasonable thing, sacrificed my well-being and chased after her. Maybe random dude would notice she was batshit and decide she wasn’t worth messing with. Or he’d think I was a jujitsu master who could take him out. (Jujitsu masters do not drive Ford Escorts.)
He drove us to the nearest gas station where I called my husband to come get us. While Miss Crazed fretted about with milk seeping through her shirt. Because baby was past due for momma love. And momma was ready to kick somebody’s ass (mine) if she didn’t get home ASAP.
Beware of the addict. If you stand between her and baby, well, anything can happen.
2. Nursing mommas enter “that zone” when the feeding frenzy begins.
I’m talking about the zen, mellow zone you’re in when you finally get that fix. Where you kinda notice people and you kinda don’t. You tell the same stories over and over. You’re completely content. Everyone else just melts away.
Nursing mommas get there, too.
Well, some do. Not me. I never really achieved nursing zen. I was more of a “let’s get er done” kinda momma.
But I’ve seen zen in action.
I took a friend out for a fancy lunch once, and her sleeping 4-month-old came along. She told me she’d cover the tip. Halfway through dessert, sweet baby woke up and started fussing. Mommas everywhere know the power of the boob to soothe, and that’s when it began. Suddenly I was talking to a brick wall. Momma had totally shut me out. It was all her, baby, breast. Occasionally she’d say something (to me?) and then repeat herself, completely in euphoric, la-la-land. And when it came time to pay the tip, she zoned out again. Bill? What bill?
I admit it was kinda lovely. She was focused on the right thing. But it cost me ten extra dollars, damn it, so it was clearly a crime against hospitality.
3. Nursing mommas know withdrawal is a bitch.
My oldest quit nursing one-week shy of 13 months. Cold turkey. When he BIT me.
Now, I can’t complain too much because I know lots of mommas with 5-month-old biters. But, OMG, sweet babes have some feisty, little puppy teeth.
When it happened, it hurt like a mother. I screamed. Which meant he screamed. Then he cried. Which meant I cried. After lots of yoga breathing, cuddles and love, I decided to give it another go. He wasn’t having any of it. He’d never hurt his momma before. It was one of those horrific milestones in his short, tiny life: I make mommy sad.
Clearly he’s repressed the pain from this. As a healthy 4-year-old, he doesn’t mind throwing matchbox cars when I don’t let him have a third piece of crack, I mean, cake.
Lactation consultants will tell you there’s a right way to wean. Then there’s cold turkey – which they say you should avoid at all costs.
Because withdrawal is a bitch.
Your boobs hurt – A LOT. They’ve lost their little buddy. They weep tears of milk. To help ’em out, add some cabbage leaves and spearmint tea to your hangover cure.
And sometimes momma’s heart hurts, too. You’ve lost that special, intimate time, that surge of oxytocin, the feel-good, bonding hormone. Your fix is gone and that mellow zone with it. Baby is growing up. And you are, too. Cuddles and hugs are your saving grace now.
And while you can’t breastfeed your kid til he goes to college, you can definitely embrace him tightly in your arms. Every day. Besides, recovering addicts need all the hugs we can get.
Share your nursing mom hangover cures below or on Facebook at MothersRest.
Photo credit: Jordan Whitt from Unsplash.com