Tuesday, May 18, 2010

On Why I Love It

Everyone has heard the benefits of breastfeeding for the baby.  That's not what this post is about.  While I'm still nursing my last biological child, I wanted to record some of my very favorite things about it while they are still fresh in my mind.  My nursing days are numbered.  I can't think too much about that because it makes me sad.  Instead, I'll focus on the positive.

Before I get started, I want to say two things.  First of all, I want to acknowledge that not every woman who wants to breastfeed her child is successful.  While this can sometimes be due to a mother giving up a little too soon because things not going well, situations also occur where it's just not working.  Neither mother or baby are at fault.  Something happens and the baby is unable to get the nourishment they need.  I personally know more than one woman who tried everything she could to make it work and ultimately had to chose formula over nursing because her child wasn't thriving.  I am all for advocating nursing, but we must be gentle with our words and opinions.

The second thing I want to say is that a lot of the experiences below can occur while bottle feeding your baby, as well.  Nursing is my experience, so that is what I am writing about.  With all that out of the way, here are my favorite things about nursing my babies...

1) I love that nursing is like siphoning calories out of my body at a time when my body can stand to lose a few.  Okay, more than a few.

2) I loved those moments when my babies were newborns and the house was full of company and I would get to steal away with them to find a quiet place to nurse.  At a time where everyone wants to hold the new baby, these were precious occasions where the two of us were alone.

3) I loved working out the early kinks of nursing with my babies.  Sam had trouble latching. Miriam had trouble being patient and waiting for my milk to letdown.  While this work was difficult, tiring and emotional, I felt (even at the time) that I was laying down some expectations for our relationship.  I was committed to helping them, working with them until we had things sorted out.  When we had success, there was joy (with tears, on my part) all the way around.

4) I loved those first moments when my babies realized that I was attached to the place their milk comes from.  When their eyes wander up to my face and make the connection.

5) I love (and I tear-up as I write this) the moments after nursing when my baby lies satisfied and calm in my lap, when she babbles to me and we carry on a conversation, eyes locked together only inches apart.  When she snuggles and giggles and I wonder how long it will take for me to lose these memories.

6) I love when those babies reach up and touch my face and hair or hold onto my fingers while they drink.

7)  I love that nursing my baby makes me stop.  Stop during my otherwise busy and bustling day.  Stop to sit and bond and cuddle.

8) I love the quietness of the nursery while nursing.  Quietness that doesn't come often during my day.  Quietness in which I can think things over and pray in peace.

9)  I love that I don't have to sterilize bottles and nipples, warm bottles, or wash bottles.

10) I love to see my older children pretend to nurse their baby dolls (yes, even Sam did this when Sadie was a baby).

11) I love it when Miriam falls asleep while nursing.  It's the only time I get to hold her when she's sleeping anymore.  She's like her mama in that she prefers her bed.  But sometimes, after a long bout of play, I get to watch her heavy eyes bob and finally close as she lies in my arms.

12) I love how I can measure her growth by comparing the length of her body to the width of mine, remembering when she was only slightly longer than the width of me and now watch as her legs extend past my arms and drape over the arm of the chair.

These are the memories I don't want to forget.

Don't get me wrong, adjusting to sore nipples and engorgement in the early days is tough.  But, by the time all that is getting better, you and your baby are likely in a wonderful routine and pattern.

This routine and pattern has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.  At 11 months, Miriam is still going strong but I have already begun to grieve for the end of this stage in mothering.  It's really been that rewarding.


If you are looking for a wonderful resource on breast feeding, my favorite is Dr. and Mrs. Sears' The Breastfeeding Book: Everything You Need to Know About Nursing Your Child From Birth to Weaning.  It was my breastfeeding bible of sorts.  Not just before the birth and at the beginning of our nursing journeys, but all the way through. Pin It


  1. Oh, I just love nursing babies, too. LOVE it. And I agree with everything you just said. Funny. My Mr. L was just "pretending to feed bear" (his words, not mine). :) Made me smile.

  2. Oh, I love this post! It means so much to me. I am currently nursing my second, she's six months old now. But I had to have my gall bladder removed when my oldest was three months old, and they did not let me eat for four days, so my milk dried up. I was VERY upset about this and it really took a long time for me to "get over" it. I am very glad I am able to breastfeed longer with my second baby girl, and I'm enjoying every minute of it! :)
    Thanks for the great post!
    -Randi (scraprandi@charter.net)

  3. Oh I can so relate to this post!! I LOVED nursing my babies! Thanks for the reminders of why...cherish every minute of it....so soon it is behind you!! Your post could make me cry if I let it...but like you, I choose to enjoy the memories and smile! :)

    Have a wonderful day!

  4. Those are cherished memories. I nursed my last baby to 16mons, it was wonderful. I say nurse as long as you can! It is a memory too soon!

  5. I think this is my second time commenting on your site, but I had to just say what a great, beautiful post this was. I miss nursing my two girls! I love #10 the best and when I see my girls "nurse" their babies it makes me smile!

  6. I have loved nursing my boys as well. My youngest is 5 months old and he's getting to that point where he gazes at me & holds on to my hand while he's nursing. Love it. I'm a little sad because he will probably be our last child and knowing this is the last time around I'm more sentimental with all my moments with him.

  7. That is wonderful to hear sweetie, I nursed mine also, the bond between child and mother is just unbreakable, it seems we get so close to them, my children are all grown, married and have children now, but they still call me mama. The bond never is broken. Lots of hugs, I have added you to my favorite blogs, and now following you too, hugs, Barbara from http://bakinnbitsbarbara.blogspot.com/

  8. What a lovely and well-written post! I particularly liked the tactful way that you approached breastfeeding. I, too, have friends who desperately wanted to breastfeed their babies but couldn't because their babies were not thriving on their milk. So, I like you even more for being so sensitive and tactful!


  9. oh this post spoke to me! I'm currently nursing my 4th child..he's 11 months and I too am grieving. He's most likely my last..although I'm trying to talk myself into another...I've nursed all my babies and am not looking forward to the day when I can't nurse any longer. #6 and 7 were my favorites! oh can I relate!! I so enjoy your blog!

  10. i LOVE this post. my last baby is now almost 6 years old, so i've been done with breastfeeding for over 4 years now. i miss it much more than i ever thought i would.

    (by way of introduction...i just found your blog last week, but i read through all of your archives, because i dream of having a garden and chickens like yours someday. :) we live in madagascar now, but we are moving back to canada in september, and hopefully someday will have those dreams come true. :)

  11. yes, yes, yes to everything...and #3, i feel the same way!! also, i love to see a milk dribble from the corner of the mouth when baby lets go - either sleeping or ready to go after a quick snack.


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