Guilt-ridden, I phoned a local lactation consultant, who told me to keep pumping and supplementing until I could see her. At the consultation I was lucky enough to discover there weren't any problems with my milk or my nipples or Jack's ability to nurse. Somehow I'd just lost the hang of positioning him correctly. Within five minutes our problems were practically solved.
In the weeks that followed, I transformed into a multitasking earth mother, working around the house and at the computer with Jack attached to my breast. At night he suckled sweetly while drifting off to sleep. And soon my boobs became like a toy he delighted in pinching and batting—which could, on one level, help explain pop culture phenomena like Pamela Anderson and Hooters and, on another, prove equally annoying (and painful).
For Jack, nursing was a source of nourishment and comfort. But for me, breastfeeding ultimately became much more: a veritable, er, fountain of parenting lessons. I learned that rules are made to be adapted, that black-and-white must give way to shades of gray if parents and children alike are to be healthy and happy. I fully realized the power not only of perseverance, but of flexibility and perspective as well.
That's not to say I don't still suffer from a baby-related neurosis or two. I'm OK with that. The way I see it, I'm a first-time mom—and worrying is part of the job description.