When I say it was just the start of things to come, I don’t mean it was often as extreme as that, but rather, Luna was always very keen for her milk – breastmilk that is – she never took to a bottle, even of expressed. In those early days when she woke or fussed and fretted, it was all about working out what she wanted…and we worked out gradually that all she really wanted was ‘milky’. So, feeling lucky with our smooth start to breastfeeding and a baby who wanted little else, I settled down with a book while she fed for hours and hours and hours…
Luna is two now – almost 26 months. She’s fast asleep next to me as I type; half an hour ago, I fed her to sleep. In place of the breasts I once had, I have ‘milkies’: the left one is (apparently) green and the right one purple. And these are some of the most common phrases I hear: “Milkies, want milkies.” “Two out. Get two out.” “Change sides. Want other side. Best turn around.”
It seems unthinkable that she will ever want to stop breastfeeding, which is a perturbing thought – but also, of course, not true; friends with older children assure me that it will just gradually not be her favourite thing any more, and then just not be her thing at all, by which point of course she might be around three or four years old.
So what is the huge advantage lesbian parents have over heterosexual parents? An extra pair of breasts and thus, potentially, a second lactating parent. Of course lactation isn’t essential for parenthood at all…but it is a very handy tool if you happen to have it.
It didn’t go down well with the nurse at my local GP practice last week when, asked how old the baby I as breastfeeding was, I answered, “well there’s my two-year-old and also my twelve-month-old – the biological child of my partner.” I’m not sure whether she disapproved of the LGBT family, the extended breastfeeding, or the combination. I don’t really care. I’m just glad that when one of our babies is a bit sleepy, or sad…or thirsty…or just wants mummy cuddles, there’s always plenty of milky to go around.