Monday, April 2, 2012

End of an Era


For the roughly 7200 hours I spent nursing, you'd think I'd have more nursing pictures.  At least I found one.
 It's been over a week and I'm calling it-  Isaac is officially weaned.  For the first time in 6 years and 11 months I do not have a child dependent on my body for nutrition.  I'm incredibly proud of myself for nursing all 3 kids well past a year old, Elijah past 2 years.  Making it through the first 2 months with the newborns was amazing enough, as I had crazy engorgement, overabundant milk, and horrible (horrible) pain. Beyond that, in the next year or so, I made it through nursing strikes, nighttime feedings, my cravings (thirst and binge eating), bleeding nipples, teeth marks, stretch marks, lanolin, breast pads, mastitis x3, face slappings, hair pulls, clenching hands, flailing fists, fluctuating between at least 4 cup sizes, nursing in uncomfortable situations, having to pump in a bathroom, and thousands of hours of forced sitting on a broken tailbone to nurse.

In many ways it was like a marathon. It was hard- but worth it.  If it wasn't, I wouldn't have done it.  I nursed both 'supplementing' with formula (don't do it -stupid new mom mistake!) and without (Elijah never drank it once).  I've nursed while being both a stay and home mom and a full time working mom.  I had an connection to my kids I could have in no other way.  I got to touch my kids, know my kids, and deepened my love and attachment to my kids.  The sight of a little toddler dragging a huge Boppy over to me always gave me a huge smile. Nutritionally, it was the perfect food, always changing to fit my child's needs, and my babies rarely got sick.  Elijah hadn't thrown up until he was 3 years old. Isaac still hasn't.  I was always a source of comfort both in healing cold symptoms and with bangs to head.  Until I started working I rarely had to pack, wash or prepare bottles.  Never had to find the right formula, temperature or amount.  Although there were challenges, I never doubted I was giving my children the best.

I nursed in public.  I've nursed while walking through a mall, in dressing rooms, movie theaters, museums, restaurants, churches, skateparks, in the middle isle of Wal-Mart, on an airplane, in a car, and in a college computer lab.  In front of friends, family and strangers.  I've crossed the lines in our society to help start the change.  I was never obnoxious about it, always keeping myself private, but never ashamed of the fact that my child was nursing. I've had people pat my baby while I was nursing and they never knew (and had people think I was nursing when I was really just holding my sleeping child).   Nursing in public was sometimes uncomfortable, but always worth it.  I think breastfeeding is one of the best things you can do for your children, and I think society (that means you) needs to support, embrace and encourage nursing mothers.  I'm proud of myself, and I'm proud of all the other mom's who met their nursing goals.