LORD, my heart is not proud; nor are my eyes haughty. I do not busy myself with great matters, with things too sublime for me.Maybe it's just that my orbit passes a little to close to some mommy-blog type elements of the Catholic blogsphere, but it seems sometimes that there's an awful lot of goo-iness spent over nursing. Nor is it strictly a Catholic thing. I once had a fellow new-father ask me at work, "Doesn't it kind of seem unfair that your wife gets to have all that closeness to the baby when she's nursing, and there's nothing you can do like that?" (Me: "Maybe, but I get over it fast by rolling over and going back to sleep.")
Rather, I have stilled my soul, hushed it like a weaned child. Like a weaned child on its mother's lap, so is my soul within me.
Israel, hope in the LORD, now and forever.
Now, don't get me wrong here. I'm not saying that women shouldn't nurse in public, that babies should be given bottles only or anything like this. Clearly, breastfeeding is the most efficient and healthy way to keep a baby fed for the first 9-12 months of its existence.
But then comes the stage where baby is eating solid food just fine (in some cases more than her older sisters) but has got hooked on the nursing fix.
This comes especially into play at mass. First of all, I hold baby -- because otherwise she gets ideas right off. She looks around and burbles quietly and scrambles on the floor a bit if given the chance and all goes well till about the Psalm. Then she looks over at mommy, decides she'd like a fix, and starts fussing.
Daddy makes all efforts to silence the baby and eventually beats a swift retreat to the vestibule. (Mind you, this child is not hungry. She just ate five pancakes and drank a full cup of milk for breakfast.)
Silence. Silence as when the whale swallowed Jonah. I'm such a happy baby, daddy. I'm sucking my fingers. I'd never fuss at all in church. I'll just sit hang quietly on your shoulder till you realize that I'm never bad in church and take me back to the pew.
When everyone stands for the gospel, Daddy does just this. Now baby sees Mommy. The arms go out, the face crumples, and we fuss louder than before. Daddy and baby head out before the gospel is over.
Silence. I'm such a good baby, daddy, that I hardly know the meaning of fuss. I don't know why you keep dragging me out of the church.
Daddy has wised up by this point. He stays in the back and the silence continues. But even a long distance view works. When Mommy stands up to go up to communion, baby's nursing radar start bleeping like crazy and The Fuss begins again.
Until Mommy sits down again, at which point there is contented silence.
So I'm all with the psalm writer about this. Once you get past 12mo. or so, an unweaned child is like an alcoholic and mommy is the bottle. Just about time for someone to get on the wagon.