Overland Park KS USA
From NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 24 No. 2, March-April 2007, p. 58
It was always tempting for me to lay my first son, Joel, down for naps so I could get "important things" done around the house. I felt as though I had to do everything right away: mail every birth announcement, write a thank-you note as each baby gift arrived, cook, clean, and do laundry -- all while learning to breastfeed, healing from giving birth, and not to mention dealing with my hormones! In addition to insisting that my life would not change after giving birth, I was also getting advice from family and friends that holding Joel all the time would be "bad for us both."
There were many times during the day when Joel would fall asleep on me after a full meal of my milk, and I would sit and think of all the things I should be getting done. But instead of trying to lay him down (he would just wake up and cry soon after anyway), I would sit and hold him until he woke up. I enjoyed staring at his tiny features as he slept. It was also nice to be able to cover him up when he seemed chilly, and to uncover him when he was sweaty.
Soon I could anticipate when he was getting sleepy and would head to my "nursing station." It was stocked with water, the TV remote control, healthy snacks, chocolate, New Beginnings magazine, books, and a journal. I began to look forward to the parts of the day when Joel and I could spend that time together relaxing. Sometimes instead of going to my nursing area, I would take Joel straight to bed so I could get some sleep alongside him.
A year after Joel was born, I became pregnant with my second son, Michael. Joel continued to nurse and take his naps on me during my pregnancy, and all was well. Thanks to the pattern we had established, Joel nursed and fell asleep on four airplane rides during eight weeks away from home while we accompanied my husband on some job travel. It was never a problem getting him to fall asleep or stay asleep.
After Michael was born, he also took his naps on me while I either read to Joel or while Joel napped with us. One woman in a playgroup asked me if it was horrible that I was "stuck" sitting around with the boys on me during their naps. I explained that this is the best time of my life, and their naptime is the best time of my day. Sometimes you just have to give in to motherhood! I can't control everything, and I certainly don't want to.
These days, my boys don't nap anymore. They play or read while my youngest child, Callie, who is almost two, naps on me. A sling came in handy when she was younger since it wasn't always realistic to be sitting down nursing when I had two boys to chase around.
I feel connected to my children, and I am a more patient mom for taking time out of my day to relax. The things that don't get done during those few hours are somehow always waiting for me later, and then I have three little helpers who assist me with my chores. People who don't know me well wonder why I rarely leave my children to go out alone or with friends. I explain to them that I get all the "me time" I need (mostly!) during naptime when one of my children is sleeping on me and the other two are close by. Sometimes I write, read, watch cartoons with the boys, or just enjoy time with my current nursling.
Instead of having an immaculate home and a perfectly organized life, I have a happy soul and even happier (and healthier!) children. Thank you, La Leche League, for empowering me to do what I feel is right for my family.