To Nurse and Not to Nurse

This article was originally published on Instructions Sold Separately.

In today’s society breastfeeding is more encouraged for mothers and babies than other means of nourishment. However, with our fast-paced lives and being career women, sometimes breastfeeding is not the best option. There are moms that are working full-time who are incapable of taking time to pump during the work day. Some are able to manage the balance and some opt for other options. All in all, moms are trying to do their best for their child and themselves. I was lucky enough to be able to stay home with my son and daughter and I chose to breastfeed both. For me it was another part of motherhood that I wanted to experience. This experience was definitely one that felt innate. It’s amazing what the female body can undergo from bearing a child, to birth and then nourishment through infancy. Breastfeeding gets a little complicated in the modern world when you constantly have errands to run, appointments to visit and events to attend. With my son I would prepare a bottle before we left anywhere but sometimes that wouldn’t suffice and feeding in public was not something I felt comfortable doing. It was not because society was uncomfortable with the act of feeding a child in public, but simply because it was a private time with me and him. He felt more secure and comfortable. I began to get clever in where I would feed him and how to plan my outings more efficiently around his feeding schedule.  When it came to my daughter, I didn’t bother to prepare a bottle or plan a schedule. Whenever she needed to feed I would just whip around my nursing cloth and just go about my day. That’s where you feel like a superhero because the cloth looks like a cape. She was happy because she was feeding and only seeing my face which would help ease her to sleep. My breastfeeding experience was frustrating at times but I felt it was well worth the reward. But how do you stop?

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It took about 3 days to wean off my 14-month-old daughter. This was how old my son was when I weaned him off. Around this age they usually don’t need to breastfeed except for comfort during naps and bedtime, and they do pretty well in getting enough nourishment throughout the day. I was planning on starting the process on the weekend so my husband can help me diffuse any tantrums she may have. However, she had been battling a cold and her stuffy nose has made her lose her appetite so we started the process earlier. It was an uphill battle for the both of us. There is a physical and emotional struggle that I endure when I wean off my kids. The physical part is just painful, but the emotional part is more conflicting. I feel guilty for breaking that bond between us and taking away something that makes them feel safe, secure and comfortable. I also feel that they are growing up too fast and it’s the start of them needing me less which really tugs at my heart strings.

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My son at three days old.

While the first few years of our kids’ lives are all about reaching milestones, learning new skills and just trying to get through one full night of sleep, you do end up missing them depending on you for all of their needs. Once my kids enter school, I know I will be missing out on their new experiences, new friends, thoughts and emotions and that I won’t be there to take care of them or make things easier for them while they are away. I know this is part of life, but for moms the attachment is different than for dads. From the moment you find out your pregnant to the moment you see your baby for the first time it’s a journey that’s private and secluded between you both, and so when they start growing apart from you it’s as if you are losing a part of yourself. Not to say dads don’t go through this, but they experience it differently.

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My daughter at one day old.

So, on days when I have gotten only two hours of sleep, when the simplest tasks seem like giant obstacles, or when my patience is running on empty, I’ll remember this. That one day they will not hold my hand, they will not snuggle next to me when they sleep and that I will not always be the one to make things better. Therefore, I’ll take whatever I can get until that time comes.

 

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