Nursing Sophie: My thoughts on breastfeeding (eek, so not a trendy topic)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

"There are three reasons for breast-feeding: the milk is always at the right temperature; it comes in attractive containers; and the cat can't get it." --Irena Chalmers

In my last trimester I had a paradigm shift with regards to my views on breastfeeding. That is to say, my views on me breastfeeding my baby and not breastfeeding in general (because I believe that the decision is yours to make as a mother). Early on in my pregnancy I was quite against the idea of breastfeeding. Like many new moms I was bombarded with information, a lot of it negative. There were tales of warm weather causing the breast milk to clot and boobs wrapped in cabbage leaves and boobs that were misshaped as a result of breast feeding. Do not even get me started on the dime-a-dozen tales about cracked nipples and oh the pain. I was terrified. In my last trimester I made the decision not to listen to anything negative, about breastfeeding or natural birth or mothering in general. I wanted to surround myself with positive accounts of the previously mentioned subjects. It may sound odd but the biggest influence on my feelings came from reading blogs written by beautiful, amazing moms in blog land that took the time to write about their love for breastfeeding.

Before mine and Sophie’s nursing chapter comes to an end, I wanted to share our story, partly for my personal record and partly to pay it forward with regards to helping other women embrace breastfeeding. It’s a bit of a lofty goal maybe.

As Sophie passes her 6-month mark it is so surreal and awesome to me that we are still exclusively breastfeeding. In the beginning I had hoped to make it 4 months and that’s come and gone and now I am hoping to make it to a year ☺ We’ve had our share of ups and downs and there were plenty of challenges that I needed to overcome, like feeding her when we were out. In the beginning I only left the house in between feeds. If things fell during feeding hours I would not attend them. This wasn’t because Sophie was difficult but rather because I felt so aware of what I was doing and so conscious of the fact that not everyone feels comfortable seeing a baby being breastfed, which in turn made me really uncomfortable.

Let’s also just pause a minute to acknowledge how completely spirit breaking breastfeeding can be to a new mom. No one told me how sore it was going to be. I read so much while I was pregnant and at best it was described as “mildly uncomfortable” what I felt in the beginning far surpassed discomfort, I had days when I would cry while Sophie was feeding. But the mind is a powerful thing, and pushing through the pain and “discomfort” got me to the point where breastfeeding wasn’t just comfortable, it was this beautiful bond I got to share with my daughter.

I’ve only expressed milk a handful of times which makes it hard to have date nights and time alone but Regan is very supportive and Sophie enjoys her milk straight from the source, so we make a few sacrifices here and there for now. The feeling of knowing I am her sole source of nourishment and knowing that I am able to provide her with a sense of safety and comfort no toy or blankey can provide is what spurs me on. I treasure the memories of Sophie’s new, tiny body in my arms during the quiet hours of the night, just us. And now her body is so long, her legs hang off my lap, and she'll sometimes take a brake to smile up at me with her big blue eyes. I get a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes when I think about the day when our breastfeeding journey will come to an end. It has been so special and as the time to introduce solid food approaches I am forced to acknowledge and accept that this incredible time of bonding and togetherness is nearly over :’(

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