Wednesday, August 11, 2010

One Final Ode to Breast Feeding

Molly is weaned. I'm not sure she's fully aware of it yet. But she is. She's nearly seventeen months old now--more a toddler than a baby--so it was time.

I love breast feeding. For me, it has been a joy and one of the things I will miss most about having a baby. I nursed all of my children until they were 16-18 months old which means that during the last nine years I have been nursing for just shy of seven years. And since I was pregnant before weaning three of the other four babies I was pregnant the rest of the time. I weaned Amberly when she was 18 months old (it was the only way I could get her to hold still long enough to cuddle) and got pregnant with Thomas the next month.  With the exception of a few supplemental bottles when Molly was a newborn, I breast fed all five babies exclusively for at least their first six months and primarily for the first year. This mostly joyous and incredible period of my life is at an end.

I have nursed my babies nearly everywhere--on airplanes, in restaurants, in parks, museums, at parties, and meetings. I never nursed during Sacrament Meeting. I preferred to leave Utah Dad to wrestle with the other kids while the baby and I retreated to the lounge to listen to the talks through the piped in sound system. I did nurse during a stake conference and a regional conference in the Conference Center. I became quite proficient with covering myself with a blanket or just my shirt. I'm sure I've flashed people occasionally but fortunately most have been decent enough not to say anything. I only recently purchased one of the trendy covers with the dumb names.

While I know all the benefits of breast feeding for babies one of the main reasons I breast fed was because it was so convenient and perfect for me. I loved not dealing with the hassle of bottles and formula and pumping (lucky to be a stay-at-home mom). At night and in the early morning, I love cuddling in bed with my newborns while they nurse and I sleep. I love rocking and nursing the babies before bed while I serenade them with Primary songs and lullabies. I especially love snuggling and nursing my babies while I read a great book.

I must admit that I won't miss the toe-curling pain of latching on a ferocious newborn. Fortunately, I never had to deal with the horrible pain and sickness of mastitis. I always had plenty of milk for my hungry babies.

Now, I have to come up with a different use for all that Lansinoh. I get to shop for regular bras. I can wear dresses. I'll have to find a new excuse to drop everything and read a book during the day.


Christine said...

Your post hit home with me, as I am nursing again after almost 6 years since weaning Alex. (Unfortunately, we are still in that toe-curling stage as she is learning to latch correctly!) This is one of the things I missed most about having a baby in the house, and something I didn't think I'd do again. It's such a special time for mommy and baby. I nursed both my kids over a year - Alex a few months longer than Ella. I will probably nurse Annika a few months longer than Alex. :) I will savor every quiet moment of it, so thankful to be blessed with a baby one more time.

budandlissa said...

I also enjoy nursing, though maybe not to the extent that you enjoy it. Probably due to the fact that I am currently enduring some toe-curling pain due to my child deciding that she needs to eat more often and twice as long. Other than that, it is a joy to spend that time with my kids.

Kerri said...

I totally agree with you. I loved nursing my babies. Snuggling with them and I also never got mastitis so I didn't have to deal with that either.

hollybookscoops said...

If you need a reason to read a good book- come check out our new giveaway! I too love the additional excuse to sit and read that nursing brings. Not to mention the cuddling and loving. My little guy is starting to try to grab my books and crinkle the pages while he eats. Just one more reason why reading can get the creative juices flowing. Too much cheese? sorry!

Jennifer said...

I feel the same as you!! I am still nursing my last baby (I have 5), I am ready to be done, but also have a little sadness that I am done. Soooo, ready for real bras, new clothes, and to feel good about me! Congrats to you! :)