Thursday, July 14, 2011

Our Moments

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It’s no secret that I love nursing my baby girl. When she was born, I had it in my mind that I would try to nurse her for the first year of her life. And I remember, many times, feeling as though that year was going to be f.o.r.e.v.e.r. When we started out, nursing sucked. It was painful, uncomfortable, unnatural, demanding and non-stop.

But then it got better. And it became easy and comfortable and special.

Nursing pics

For me, this isn’t about the breast versus bottle debate. I know some people choose not to nurse or are unable to nurse. And that is fine. As women, and mothers, it’s our right to do what’s best for us and our babies. For me, it’s something deeper than breast versus bottle. It’s about figuring out what works for Evalyn and I and sticking with it. And, for us, what works is nursing.

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For the first five or six months of her life, my breast milk was the sole source of nutrition for this tiny little person. And that fact, at times, made breastfeeding stressful. There were the constant questions of whether or not she was getting enough, if my body was continuing to meet her growing needs, if she was nursing often enough, or too often, and so on. Yet at the same time, providing her sole nutrition from my body gave me a sense of pride as well. When we went to the doctor and she got weighed, I swelled, knowing that I did that. I was taking care of her and providing for her in the best way I knew how.

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Then, around six months, she started exploring the world of solids and adding some other forms of nutrition into her diet. It was around this age that our nursing relationship and my attitude towards breast feeding started to shift.

Instead of thinking that I would never get my body back or that my breasts would never be the same, I started to think about how much longer I’d have the opportunity to provide for her this way. I stopped looking at it as a chore and began viewing it as a gift.

For me, nursing is a gift – it is the gift of time, and quiet, and connection, and relationship, and nurturing and bonding – all shared solely between Evalyn and I. No one else has that connection with her. 

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Over the past little while, I’ve started to realize how much I value my nursing experience – above and beyond it being a way of feeding my child. When she nurses, we’re close. We’re quiet. We’re still. We look at each other. We giggle. I sing. I pray. I hold her. We are connected. While I used to feel like I was nursing non-stop and my days were filled with nothing but breastfeeding, now I look forward to the four or five times a day where we get to snuggle up in a chair together and just be. It’s relaxing. And it’s calm. Just me and my child.

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Each day, we’re creeping closer and closer to that big one year mark. I am excited and sad about it all at the same time. Each time I nurse my babe, I find myself wondering how many more of these moments we’ll share. How long until she’ll decide it’s time to stop? How long until I’ll decide it’s time to stop? How will I know? While at one point I felt like I would be nursing forever, I now feel like that forever is getting too close. I know a lot can change in the next few months, and I’ll follow her cues, but at this point, I hope we keep going until at least a year. And beyond that? I don’t know. I don’t know how long I’ll nurse for. What I do know, is that for now, I will treasure our moments because I know, oh how I know, that they are fleeting.

(Thank you to my sweet sister-in-law, Logi, for these precious photos!)

13 comments:

Gina said...

GORGEOUS photos. I feel just like you do about nursing. In fact, just today, when my friends asked how often G nurses and I told them, they were surprised and I felt self-conscious...am I nursing too much? Then I decided (along with their encouragement) that if it's right for us, it's right, period.

Dreams2011 said...

Oh I can't wait to nurse when my little one arrives. I hope I love it too!!

Becca said...

First of all, the pictures are precious. Ah, I love them! I wish I had some pictures like that from when I nursed Caden but I don't :(

Second, it's funny to think about against breastfeeding I was while I was pregnant... I just had no interest in doing it. And guess who breastfed her child until he was 2? Lol That'd be me! The nurse at the hospital convinced me to try and I'll be forever grateful to her. It truly is so special and I loved every minute of it! When I finally realized that it was time to be done, I was terribly sad. Enjoy every second while you can :)

Becca said...

how against*

Katie @ Loves of Life said...

I LOVE THIS! the last one is my favorite. I miss nursing. I do. Its such a special time!

Jackie said...

I had the same exact experience as you....it was overwhelming at first and then very treasured moments in the end. So glad you love it now. :)

Elizabeth said...

I was so sad when B was done nursing, even though I was totally ready. To make you feel better about it, we still have those exact same type of moments and we still snuggle when he drinks his nap time and night time bottle and he stares at me and plays with my hair. At night he crawls up on my lap and I get to love on him while he sucks his bottle. Hopefully Eva will still do those same things when she switches to cows milk. I was thinking the other day how I hope he always wants to go to bed this way, even when he is like, 12. lol. :)

Emily said...

Very sweet post. I didn't appreciate nursing much with L, but made the point to savour it more with D knowing he would likely be my last. It certainly is a special time with your little one. You're wise to recognize that and cherish it.

Brittany Ann said...

I love the photos. THey make me teary-eyed. I am praying with every fiber of my being that we get to that point. I so desperately want to. And as I feel like Ella is constantly on the breast, I worry it's never going to not hurt, even just a little bit. And I worry it will always be a grit-my-teeth moment, where I have to tell myself, "Be strong, Britt. Just latch her on and breathe. God give me strength and courage."

I know so many women like me have promised it gets better. It's just hard to see that when I'm talking myself through it every two hours or more.

Katie said...

Such a beautiful post! The words, emotions, pictures....everything! I can see the love spilling out of you towards your girl in all the pictures :)

Land of Blissful Chaos said...

Beautiful pictures and thank you for putting into words the love that goes into nursing. It has been almost two and a half years since I've nursed Garrett (6 since I've nursed Hayden) and there are days when I miss that snuggling quiet now that they are booming, bustling boys.

Kim {Yep, they are all mine} said...

I so wish I had nursing pics with my babies. What a wonderful reminder you have now!!! So beautiful.

Kar said...

So Beautiful!
Love the photos :)

Guess who still loves nursing... and I'm totally fine with it. You said it so perfectly!