Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Another breastfeeding benefit, maybe?

So, I was conversing with another amazing momma who donated milk for baby E a few weeks ago and something she said has led me to an interesting thought. She was asking how long we're planning on nursing (in a conversational, not judgemental kind of way) and then said she thinks she'll either nurse this baby (her 3rd) forever, or have to keep having babies. Because the oxytocin high is too addictive to give up. She described how she is transported into this blissful state of happiness and not caring what else is going on. It was like talking to an addict, y'all (but not in a bad way).

And that got me thinking. Well, truth be told, first I got all jealous and IF-y and started being pissed off that my body can't do yet another thing the "right" way. And not only can I not get pregnant, or produce enough milk to really feed my baby, but apparently my body can't even make itself feel all high and blissful and crap. UGH!

But then, once I pulled myself together, I started thinking that maybe it actually is doing something pretty cool here. Because here's the thing...people ask me all the time how I function on so little sleep. Really, y'all it really is in about 2hr increments all. night. long. I often get somewhere along the lines of about 4-5 hours of sleep/night, total, and -again - in about 1.5-2hr increments. That's half the amount of sleep I used to get nightly, which was of course all in a row. I usually just shrug this off with a "well, you get used to it and just do what you have to do".  But, hubby hasn't gotten used to it (uh, at all, even though he tries, it's usually just easier and faster - and quieter - for me to deal with E). In truth, hubby's tolerance for being up at night is going downhill fast.

Oh yeah, here's the other thing that - for me at least - gives some credence to this hypothesis. In the last month-ish, baby E has been nursing less frequently. And my tolerance level for both boys' difficult behaviors (baby E being up so frequently at night, and the kid not listening/following directions) has gone down. And the amount of sleep I'm getting is the same (not less). So, I think this could mean there's some correlation there.

SO, what if actually the oxytocin is what's helped me not lose it and kill one of my children - or, to be a little less dramatic, just not lose it and yell at baby E at night, or the kid during the day? What if the oxytocin from nursing baby E is actually filling me with some of those calming hormones, to a lesser degree than that milk momma was talking about? What if my body is doing something right? Wouldn't that be awesome! I mean, it seems a long shot, my body doing something right, but I think I'm gonna go with it. Mostly because I need something to go right about now.

Count that as reason one hundred and thirty-five why nursing rocks. Or yet more proof that the benefits of nursing are about much more than just the (albeit numerous) benefits of breastmilk. Or that nursing is also really good for mommas. Yeah, maybe I'll continue nursing baby E forever, too. Or (have to convince hubby to) keep adding more babies to our family.

Today's lesson - babies and mommas are made to nurse. There are benefits of this relationship that science and even mommas have yet to uncover.  Also, sometimes our bodies actually come through and don't fail us even when that's what we expect them to do. Oh, yeah. And mommas rock!

1 comment:

callmemama said...

Wow, I never thought of it that way, but I can definitely say that before breastfeeding, if I'd have had as little sleep as I get now, I wouldn't be able to function. The oxytocin thing makes perfect sense!