When I Think About Breastfeeding

Today is the last day of World Breastfeeding Week. As you may be aware, I talk about breastfeeding rather a lot. I couldn’t very well let this week pass unnoticed. And with Jacob’s 2nd birthday and Hannah’s first day of kindergarten looming I’m in a nostalgic sort of mood. So allow me to wax poetic about breastfeeding.

When I think about breastfeeding my babies, I don’t think about health benefits or studies or what impact it may or may not have on their IQ. I also don’t think about Hannah’s rough beginning or Jacob’s current tendency to engage in breastfeeding acrobatics. These things do not represent breastfeeding for me.

When I think about breastfeeding I think about the first time that Hannah actually nursed. She was eight days old and I felt such a rush of love for her. I’m sure it was the nursing hormones, but I felt in that moment that my baby was really and truly mine, and that she was the best baby in the whole world.

When I think about breastfeeding, I think about the early mornings when Jacob sneaks into our bed and cuddles up next to me and nurses. He is still so much a baby in those moments. His little hand grasps my finger and he drinks and then falls back to sleep, his hand still wrapped around mine.

When I think about breastfeeding, I think about all the places I’ve done it. Walking across the Burrard Street Bridge in downtown Vancouver. All over the local IKEA. Kneeling on the floor in front of the potty, trying to encourage my toddler to stay put long enough for something to happen. Standing and swaying in the crying days, trying to calm my unhappy baby. In airplanes and in my computer chair.

Happy siblings
I think about these kids when I think about breastfeeding

When I think about breastfeeding, I think about whether or not I want to right now, or whether I would rather offer my child a sippy cup, a cracker, a cookie. Anything to get three whole minutes without a little person touching me.

When I think about breastfeeding, I think about how I’ve used it to keep my child quiet. While I talked on the phone, while I worked at the computer, while I watched a TV show with a baby on my lap. Or when the hurts got to be too much for a little person, and I wanted the screaming to end.

When I think about breastfeeding, I think about Hannah sharing her memories of nursing. She says, “That picture stays in the front of my mind.” And I am glad that I am not the only one who remembers the countless hours we spent that way.

When I think about breastfeeding, I think about how Jacob’s first true word, the one he used most consistently, was “nurse”. And how it’s still his favourite word. He drops the ‘n’: urse, urse, urse. Mama, urse!

I am familiar with the science of breastfeeding, and that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. But that’s not what breastfeeding is about for me. It’s just a part of my daily parenting life. There is good and bad, tedium and transcendence. And like the rest of parenting, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

What do you think about, when you think about breastfeeding?

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  1. This is so beautiful. I think about how excited my baby gets when he nurses, and how he looks up at me and smiles. These moments are priceless.
    Amy’s last post … Big Latch On!My Profile

  2. How delicious. My thoughts are very similar. I am gonna miss the close snuggles and soft gulping noises the most when its all over.
    kristin’s last post … If You Give A Kid A CameraMy Profile

  3. Unfortunately, I really have no good memories associated with breastfeeding. But I have many (other) warm and fuzzy memories. And it was very nice reading your words about it. Adorable photo of your kids.
    Francesca’s last post … Fridays Flowers stylized triangle bouquetMy Profile

  4. I remember answering the door and going to the washroom with baby affixed. 🙂

  5. i remember our last time, cuddled together at the top of the stairs with me knowing that it was our last.

    (yes, i’m blubbing)
    pomomama aka ebbandflo’s last post … crafty take awaysMy Profile

  6. it was the fastest and easiest way to sooth my babies!
    Wendy Irene’s last post … What is the Meaning of BalanceMy Profile

  7. Love! I nursed Joshua today at a tractor pull. Most people didn’t notice, but some smiled, some chose to hang back and give us alone time, then came to visit when Josh was done. A family friend gave me her chair to use. It was really quite lovely. I love nursing in the middle of the night, without getting up or even moving much.
    abbie’s last post … SunflowersMy Profile

  8. That funny head-shaking thing they’d do before latching on when they were baby babies. How Eve would nurse on my bed before her nap, only ever off the right breast, and she would grab my shirt and yank me back down if I tried to get up before she was done. How if I waited too long Angus would suck with this incredibly pissed off expression.
    allison’s last post … In Praise of Zarah- Or- How I Am an AssholeMy Profile

  9. beautiful post…

    When I think about breastfeeding I think about the one tenuous thread that connected me to my girls in the early days. The one thing that made me their mother…. their un-bonded, sad and tired mother… yet still their mother.

    And since then? When I think about breastfeeding I think about being grateful… grateful that the thread that hekd the girls and I together is the same one that ties me to my boys….
    katepickle’s last post … A ListMy Profile

  10. So very sweet 🙂 I think about what a wonderful part of our relationship breastfeeding has been – one of Kieran’s first sentences was “love mama milk!”
    Dionna @ Code Name: Mama’s last post … The Joys of Breastfeeding a Toddler 17My Profile

  11. I didn’t really miss nursing when it ended for Moira and I but I think that is because I was so worn out (got sick, supply went away) but I was disappointed that I didn’t make it to the 1-year mark that I had hoped for (we got to about 10 months). But what I did love about it was the freedom it gave me! Yes I couldn’t actually go anywhere without her because she nursed every 2 hours for 10 months but I could wear her everywhere and take her anywhere and always had food for her – especially in the early months. I’m really looking forward to doing the same with the next one and am hoping to make it past the 1-year mark but I will admit this is for purely selfish reasons – weaning Moira off a bottle was a HUGE pain in the ass and if we could do without bottles for the next one (and formula) I will be very happy indeed.

  12. When I think of breastfeeding I think of nighttime nursing, on the couch nursing, children pulling at my shirt and the look of wonder and contentment in their eyes.
    Melodie’s last post … Vegetarian Foodie Fridays- Summer Fruit TartsMy Profile

  13. I remember this one time while nursing my youngest that I felt a tingle down to my toes as my baby took a big drink. I remember the convienience compared to bottles. Tegan still pats my “bubba’s” and says she wants to nurse at the age of 3.5 – we weaned at 1.5 years!
    Tanya’s last post … ChoicesMy Profile

  14. My memories are from when he was 3 months old or younger. I had to start pumping so I could go back to work so my supply changed. I don’t think he ever got the same supply that he did as a baby baby. I loved our nursing moments before bed time. He used it to put himself to sleep. I don’t think he was actually drinking because my let down wasn’t very strong.
    I hope to solely breastfeed when I have baby #2… and if I can afford to stay home.
    Sara’s last post … Windows- open or closedMy Profile

  15. What a beautiful post!
    It was a rough start for me with mastitis and over-engorgement, but I still have only sweet memories for the intimate, bonding moments my babies had with my mammories. (sorry couldn’t resist). The soft cooing love that I felt for my baby, and the awe over the miracle that was happening with every open mouthed suck. Every once they gained for those first few months was because of my milk! Amazing — wonderful!
    *pol’s last post … Im back! and so is my computerMy Profile

  16. What a lovely post, so evocative.
    blue milk’s last post … Unbelievable- I can bakeMy Profile

  17. Lovely post 🙂
    harriet’s last post … Happy Birthday Baby!My Profile

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