I'm concerned that my daughter is an emotional eater. Since she spends most of the day in the Baby Bjorn or in my arms, she is rarely a foot away from her food source. Yet when she becomes hungry she hollers as if it's been days since she last set eyes on a set of breasts. It's not often more than a minute between her yowling announcement and chow time, but she doesn't seem to remember this from meal to meal.
Today I miscalculated and kept her out doing errands for a few minutes longer than she usually goes between feedings. She began to gripe as we pulled out the grocery store parking lot; by the time we got home seven minutes later she was in full SOS mode. I have to chant at such times, "She is safe, she is not hurt, she only ate two hours ago, she is not starving" so I don't try to jump in the backseat with her whilst driving. I tell her she is alright, that I hear her. I thank her for communicating her needs so clearly. I remind myself to take care of my needs so I can tend to hers -- like using the bathroom or getting a snack before settling down to nurse.
If she is full-throttle hollering by the time I'm ready and able to feed her, she lets her disappointment be known for a while longer. Today she sobbed as she ate, unable to move beyond the consuming upset quite yet. As she calmed down, she keeps pausing to pull back and stare up at me, her huge blue, wet eyes unblinking, for seconds at a time, as if memorizing my face so as to later ID me in a police lineup. ("That's her, officer. She unloaded the groceries from the car and let the dog outside before feeding me. She's the one.") The leftover cry shuddered through her body, and she stayed fastened to my nipple long after she was finished, just because she could. It's easy to joke about my little gobbler, but I hope I can guide her wisely in her future relationship with food. Because I've had pretty large feelings at various points in my life over whether or not to eat something or other, and come from a family of women who've at times deprived or indulged themselves in extremes. Something I'm glad to be conscious of from when my bambina's this young.