Warning: Dad, if you are reading this, Stop Now. I know that you would like to believe that we ordered an infant from a cabbage patch, and a stork conveniently delivered a baby girl to our home nine months later, and with a sprinkling of water and a dose of sunshine, she thrived and grew and blossomed into a delightful garden flower. But let me remind you of the time we saw the equine students artificially inseminate a horse or the many times we witnessed the cows in the milking parlor on your aunt's farm. Because the conception, survival, and nurturing of your grandchildren involves most of the same principles also witnessed in the animal kingdom. And that includes the crusty, dried-up leftover umbilical cord that took weeks to part from Harper's darling navel. It's still oozing, by the way. You've been warned.
Breast-feeding. I know, I know, it's a beautiful thing. I, the proud milk-bearing mother of my sweet gift from God, have the honor and privilege of bonding with my daughter in a unique way. I, sore-chested and well-endowed, am the sole provider for my baby girl's health and crucial weight gain. I, crack-nippled and oh-so-saggy, am chained to my daughter's cry or an obnoxious breast-pumping device every 2-3 hours around the clock. And as if all that wasn't glamorous enough, the exhausting efforts of my upper-half ultimately led to a terror that left me bedridden and downright ugly for most of a week.
It sounds like the title of a cult horror flick, doesn't it?
But this is real life horror, y'all. Mastitis takes precious bonding between mother and child and turns it into a painful, aching, infected, and downright dreadful experience.
But thanks to the magic of forty green capsules and the grace of the good Lord, my mastitis was blasted from my body in a week's time. Thank you, Jesus!
But guess what? And you won't believe what I am about to say. The mastitis turned out to be a blessing.
Yes, I said a blessing. In all seriousness, I learned a lot about nursing because of the infection. You see, I was required to nurse through the mastitis, and in an effort to rid my body of the infection for good, I revisited my grad school days and hopped on the research train. I read and read and read about nursing, latching, milk supply, and anything else related to da boob. Forget La Leche League, I am a breast-feeding extraordinaire!
Now there is no guarantee that the mastitis will never return, but I now have a much better idea of how to prevent it. And if I suspect that I am getting a blocked duct, I have an arsenal of weapons for nipping it in the bud before it gets worse.
And because my dad is a dad and wants to remedy all my problems, even those that have nothing to do with carburetors or accelerator pumps, he did offer me some help through all this. (It's important to note that my Dad has an extensive background in agricultural sciences.) But because he would never speak to me directly about issues concerning my upper-half, he called my mom and had her deliver the following information. First he assured me that cows often get mastitis. Then he went on to say that farmers often treat the cows with a warm compress and medication (medication that he even offered to get for me, implying that I could take cow pills?)
Thanks, Dad. That really helped. As if I didn't already feel like a first-rate dairy cow. Now I might as well sprout udders and wait, what's that?