Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sniffing babies...

Once upon a time there was a lovely young bride who happily found herself with child. The young bride had always pictured herself serenely nursing her babies in the soft glow of morning, beside an open window, with a soft breeze blowing. Well meaning friends would suggest that the young bride attend a class on breastfeeding. "How ridiculous!" she thought to herself. "How hard can it be?" The young bride angered the lactation gods with her hubris and they struck her down, cursing her with a bad latch and nipples so sore that she wailed in agony.

After two weeks of misery the young bride called La Leche League who sent along a Fairy Godmother. The Fairy Godmother was both a La Leche League Leader and a Lactation Consultant. She soothed the young bride and showed her the proper way to bring her baby to her breast. It was a miracle! There was no pain and the young bride rejoiced! Her dream had come true and she nursed her baby for many many months.

Once the young bride's babies were weaned, she knew it was time for her to begin her training and become a La Leche Leader so that she might pass on the gift of happy nursing to other young mothers in need. After several years she became accredited and began her work drying the tears of exhausted mothers and showing them the way to nursing joy.

Which brings me to today. Today is the second Thursday of the month. On the second Thursday of every month, I lead La Leche League meetings. Today there were three pregnant mothers, two mothers with four month olds, one mother with an eight month old and a mother with an eighteen month old.

There was a lot of baby sweetness in that room. I may have swooned. I may have sniffed. Have you smelled a baby lately? The best smell ever.

One baby had just learned to clap. Fat baby hands clapping and a drooly smile bring me to my knees.

I love having big kids. They are so much fun. They are interesting and engaging.

But I have a secret wish. I wish that just once a week, for about half an hour, I could have them back as infants. I would nurse them, stroke their soft hair, smell them and just hold them in quiet stillness.

La Leche League gives me a bit of that. When I go see new mothers, so tired and so in love with their new babies, I get a little taste of my secret wish. And I always sneak a sniff.