Recently, we were talking about breastfeeding with a friend as she was closing out her first pregnancy (hello, Clara Felicity!). And it’s hard to reduce it down. It is, in the beginning, all-consuming. Modesty evaporates. Your husband may position the baby; another woman may compress your breast.
I have now nursed babies for about four years, have become an expert practitioner in what Wendell Berry calls the “last form of home production.” It is a tether until then it isn’t. At first you can’t figure out how to get all the way to the grocery store, buy stuff, get home, unload. But then you get good at nursing in the parking lot or you master the super skill of nursing in a baby carrier (TEACH ME).
It will dictate what you wear to a wedding and how you dress for winter, where you go, how you sleep, whether you’re going to get airsick, how many snacks you must pack in your purse.
You will develop strong opinions on nursing pads, on nursing bras. Along the way, you’ll soak shirts, accidentally spray the furniture, let down at absolutely the worst moment. You’ll even spend lazy hours nursing the baby and hunting down nursing dresses like those pictured above.
But you will probably never make a sexy face to nurse your baby.