AN URBAN MAMA'S TAKE ON NURTURING HER FAMILY

Sunday, February 3

Nursing



When our son was less than a day old, maybe hour 23 of his life, the midwife suggested we take him to the hospital because she suspected something was wrong. It ended up being water in his lungs, not serious at all, but we were first time parents. Terrified of our tiny baby's unknown. My milk had barely come in. I had to learn to nurse, and pump and give every ounce of myself to another. Village Papa gave every ounce of himself to us.

Our son was slow on the charts. Our first paediatrician got sick and tired of me saying 'absolutely NO' to formula, so on our last visit she said 'I'm not suggesting you put him on formula, I'm telling you you HAVE to'. We never saw her again.

Family members told me that I couldn't 'just' nurse my baby. He needed formula.

Village Papa and I read the ingredients on a can of formula. Nope, definitely not for our son.

If you persist enough, never stop asking, looking, exploring, fighting you meet people like the lactation consultant who helped us supplement the nursing with pumped milk. Exhausting yes. Fast forward to now, he was nursed just short of 18 months. He is tall and strong and heavy, almost impossible to carry him in one arm and his sister in the other arm down the stairs each morning.

Our daughter has thrived from the minute she pushed herself into the world. In fact, even inside the womb she kicked the sh*# out of me. With her my milk came in early in my pregnancy. She's always had abundance.

Now, just over 17 months old I'm starting to wean her. She seems accepting. Not me. I feel I needt to do this because I feel bone tired, on demand nursing through the night is wonderful, but now I'm starting to be desperate for long stretches of sleep. Yet, as soon as I've stopped it will be the end. No more babies. No more squeaky voices pleading for 'leche'. No more...

Last night while nursing her before bedtime I said to Village Papa, 'if she has children I hope she nurses them' and he replied 'if you share your stories with her the likelihood is high'.

I am typing this and I just want to bawl my eyes out. Nursing my children has been my world for more than 3 years. Nursing has given me worth; a feeling of providing our children with so much nurturing and love.

Perhaps it'll be a long drawn out weaning. Perhaps you'll share your stories and we can all rejoice in this life giving experience together.

6 comments:

Amy Turn Sharp said...

beautifully written...a sadness at all these stages can sometimes be so visceral

Natalie said...

(((Hugs)))
I never felt more purposeful or powerful than when I found a good use for my breasts. I understand you and I appreciate your loss, this time of transition. How much do I sympathize? Enough to tell You something that I don't share with anyone outside our home... Maria, my 3yo, still imbibes... she can't let go of that last comfort before sleep... and evidently, neither can I. Cheers to mothers and fathers who trust their bodies and souls, and who know how to use them.

The Scott Family said...

I intended on nursing for at least a year. Unfortunately, I started having seizures and had to be taken to the hospital via ambulance to be treated. My baby was only 5 months old at the time and had been nursed exclusively.
When I got the hospital, I received several injections to stop the seizures, and had to placed on a serious does of meds that could be very harmful to my little one. the doctor said, "I'm really sorry to have to tell you this, but you can't nurse anymore; these medications could really hurt your baby."
After we got home from the hospital, we double-checked with several practitioners, just to be sure, and it was confirmed that the meds. I'm was placed on are in fact very dangerous for the baby. As such, I haven't nursed her since.
I was devastated to not get a "one last time."
I never really thought much of nursing personally, I realized it was best for her and for that reason I did it. It was not until I could no longer do it did I realize how much more powerful it was than I thought. And the loss was far more difficult than I ever anticipated.
However, I have to say, there are a lot of benefits as well. Like, my husband can get in on the action a lot easier, and that my friends, is most enjoyable.

village mama said...

Amy - Thank you for your generous comment. Coming from a writer so passionate like you it means a LOT.

Natalie - Thanks so much for the first ever cyber hugs I've gotten. I appreciate that you know exactly what I'm feeling; thanks for sharing your secret.

Mama Scott - I appreciate your candidness. So sorry you never got one last time. Your daughter is so lucky, 5 months is a long time, such a great basis.

Jamie said...

It's so interesting to me to read this post and the comments. I feel strongly about breastfeeding and wouldn't have it any other way, but I honestly do not enjoy it. I truly wish that I did and I have tried to love it, hoping that with my second that I would love it, but I didn't. I'm surrounded by family and friends that tear up when they talk about nursing and the bond and closeness, but I have yet to feel that way. Sometimes I wonder if something is wrong with me, but I've accepted that I might not ever enjoy it, but I am pleased that I CAN nurse and that I can nourish them the way they were meant to be nourished. But, for me, it's more of a means to an end. I look forward to the end of it, and I am glad to have my breasts back as selfish as that sounds. I really struggle giving that way and I hate that I feel that way.

No one would know that I feel this way if they saw me with my children, or were even friends of mine, really. I'm so private about a lot of my issues, but I do respect and wish I felt the same way as you and other mothers. Maybe I will someday, maybe I won't, but it won't stop me from breastfeeding as much as I do not enjoy it. You're amazing!

village mama said...

Dearest Jamie, you are so amazing for being so honest.

I love every word you wrote.

There are many, many things I do not enjoy about parenting, the non-stop of it all, the whining - in general I'm just not good with noise, the brutal interruption to my relationship with my husband, even the language - I abhor the words 'sippy cup', 'nappy', 'toilet training', ug.

The fact that you have nursed two children despite your feelings is so, so, so generous, selfless of you. Selfless is hard, but it's the crux of being a parent. You too are amazing.xo.