“Breast is best” was my mentality when my first baby was born. I figured there would be some awkwardness and discomfort but overall I dreamt it would be a wonderful bonding experience between baby and I. In this delightful dream my darling baby would seek me for comfort and I would nourish her from my own body. I would be a champion mom and look fabulous too because with all this nursing I was sure to lose the baby weight in weeks. Well, two weeks after bringing my bundle of Amelia Joy home I sat in my family room chair to nurse and realized my dream had turned into a nightmare. I had given birth to a toothless, nipple gumming, blood-sucking vampire. With a bloody ring around baby’s mouth and my whole body tensed in pain I wanted to chuck baby across the room. This is not bonding! This is cannibalism! I quit nursing. I’m a failure of a mother. Where are the motherly feelings? This vampire doesn’t even like to be held. It can’t be her fault she’s just a baby. To prove my mothering abilities for the next 5 weeks I solely fed her my own pumped milk. Do Not DO This! Pump. Milk. Bottle. Pump. Milk. Bottle. I was a dairy farm and I had a stockpile of milk in my freezer to prove it. My life revolved around milk and ironically I don’t even like milk!
A year and half later Baby #2 came and my husband was weary of me attempting to nurse. He wanted to spare us all from drowning in milk and tears. I didn’t get my hopes up but I figured it was worth a try. I brought baby Benjamin home from the hospital and by golly it worked! Straight from the source! Sure there was some discomfort at first but we adjusted and got a routine down. I honestly don’t remember what that routine was, because I was half a sleep at the time, but whatever it was baby was fed and I had renewed confidence in my mothering abilities. I tried nursing in public but even with a nursing cover I noticed it made people uncomfortable. By “uncomfortable” I mean either they left the room blushing or they looked ugly at me for doing something so dirty. I should go in the public bathroom and hide my dirtiness, which sadly I did a couple of times.
Another year and half later Baby #3 came. I figured I had a 50/50 shot with the whole breastfeeding thing. With confidence that my body knew what it was doing (even if I didn’t) we had baby Curtis at home (maybe I’ll write a blog on that controversial topic 😉 This baby was born with a doctorate in nursing. Even with his professionalism I tried to find a secluded place to nurse. With a newborn and two toddlers this was not a simple task. Since I was not fond of my children licking the toilet seats of public restrooms my options were limited. It was at my nephew’s birthday party that I received lactose liberation. The Hubs and I carried in our three babies and the present for the birthday boy. I had picked out Star Wars paraphernalia and I was excited to watch him open it. When it was gift time Dr. Nurse decided he was hungry. I went into the other room for privacy, not for my sake but for the sake of others’ comfort. It was lonely. I felt lonely enough at home with three babies, but now I was at a party and felt lonely. I left the secluded room and spotted Darth Vader on the floor. I missed it. My favorite part of birthday parties is watching birthday child open up the gift we picked out special for them and I missed it. It wasn’t anybody’s fault. I wouldn’t expect them to stop the show to wait for baby to eat, but I missed it. That’s when I decided that if someone felt embarrassed when I nursed then they could leave the room. I wasn’t missing out again.
There is another type of breastfeeding that makes people very uncomfortable. People get all out of sorts when they see a toddler nursing. “That kid is too old!” and “If you can ask for milk than you are too old to nurse,” is what you will hear people say, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about grown ADULTS nursing in public. The Apostle Paul was embarrassed because he still had to breastfeed the church. He explained in 1 Corinthians 3:1-2, “Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit, but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.” Wow Paul! Get your listeners a burp cloth because they’re about to spit curds of milk on you. Throw some nursing covers over them, how embarrassing! Scripture milks it again in Hebrews 5:12, “In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!” These people had been Christians long enough that they should be eating steak and spoon-feeding the new Christians, but Paul calls them all a bunch of babies still on the boob!
Christian adults are still nursing. There are people who have been in church all of their lives. They’ve heard the Bible stories over and over and they think they feel like they have nothing left to learn. Yet when another Christian tries to talk to them about the Holy Spirit working in the church today they start choking on a Puff. When they are given an opportunity to put the Bible into practice by loving a sinner they gag and turn their heads in refusal. They’re still drinking milk! People who own a Bible and have been going to a Truth teaching church have a whole buffet in front of them and yet they’re there sipping on a bottle. When they feel motivated they might gum a verse to death, but overall they’re just toddlers walking around that can’t even be trusted not to lick the toilet seat.
I’m not going to lie- I have eaten some pretty tasty baby food. Blueberry-Apple? Delicious! Berry-Banana tastes pretty amazing in a fruit smoothie. No shame in that! . . . unless we’re speaking spiritually. In that case I’m over curled milk and soggy Puffs. I’m tired of picking up Cheerios off the floor of my soul. Get me a steak knife. I’m hungry! I’ll keep the sweet potatoes though. Umm, yum! What kind of num nums are you guys consuming? Just a friendly reminder- If you’re eating steak, wonderful! But please don’t force feed the babies. My babies didn’t get teeth until 14-months-old. They wanted real food but they couldn’t chew it, so I pureed it for them. When speaking to infants puree the food and whatever you do don’t forget the ketchup! My toddlers will eat anything if it’s covered in ketchup. Coat everything you say in love. If they purse their lips and refuse warm up their taste buds by letting them smell the aroma from your own life. Chew on my friends!
“Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teachings of righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” Hebrews 5:13-14
“The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 2:14
Dear God, Help me not to be a lazy spiritual eater. Help me to continue to mature in my faith. Let me be open to the Holy Spirit teaching me new things.