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