I remember the slow process of getting comfortable with breastfeeding my first daughter. First, she had to perfect her latching technique and I had to perfect my own techniques: holding, situating and getting comfortable for the long haul. Nursing a newborn is not immediately easy. You are taking the world’s smallest mouth and trying to insert into it, the world’s largest breast. Tricky for both parties involved. Needless to say, we both got the hang of it after a few weeks.
By the time I had my second daughter, I had no choice but to do other things while breastfeeding her–namely, things that involved our first daughter who was two and a half at the time. Gone were the days of sitting peacefully in the nursing chair with my feet up and doing nothing more than gazing down at the silky head of my newborn. I soon became an expert at the breastfeeding position known as the One-Armed-Hold-While-Walking-Around-and-Doing-Anything-and-Everything-Else-One-Handed. For example, helping a toddler: pull her pants down and get on the potty, jump safely off the couch, walk downstairs or turn pages of a book. I also would bring in the mail, prepare food and even screw on the tops of sippy cups–this actually takes two hands and therefore involved balancing and cradling the baby on only my forearm while nursing her at the same time.
Other things that I can add to my Multi-Tasking-Mommy List are grocery shopping, eating dinner (both at home and at a restaurant), checking my email and typing one-handed, petting the dog, feeding the dog, serving dinner and setting up art-projects–all done while nursing an infant. It does get harder to do all of this when the baby gets beyond a certain size and carrying him or her one-handed becomes almost impossible. This is when two things come in handy–a baby sling that helps to hold up the baby and keeps your “working hand” free and the fact that your baby, much like a young primate, becomes more adept at multi-tasking–i.e. holding on for dear life while trying to eat at the same time.
Baby Number Three is due in only 3 or so short months. I will have two others demanding my attention and I will be required to do even more while simultaneously trying to feed our son. To be honest, I am not currently sure how I will manage this but I am thankful for the fact that I have long and dextrous toes. I may be needing them.