This post is a part of the Adventures in Breastfeeding Project sharing mother’s unique experiences, successes and struggles with breastfeeding. This post is by Rachel of Swanky & Dapper. Here’s what she had to share:
it is so easy to be selfish isn’t it? eat what we want. wear what we want. go where we want. do what we want, when we want. but i believe that life is a process of learning to be less self-involved and more selfgiving. pouring into others. in life, you forge friendships, which help you to consider the needs of others. marriage is about two people becoming one—no room for selfishness there. and parenthood. caring for a life. nourishing a life. raising up a little person. that is a tremendous thing. And you can’t be self-involved if you want to do it well and raise a thoughtful individual. this is growth. this is life. a series of things that move you onward. refinement.
for me, pregnancy was integral in this. my body wasn’t just for recreational purposes. what i ate, how i moved, the position of my body. it all had additional purpose. it was sustaining another. for all those months, that itty-bitty life was reliant on me. what i did mattered more. it wasn’t about eating whatever tasted good or exercising to look good in my clothes. it was about building a healthy little being. and then, breastfeeding. my calories were not my own. my clothes needed to be functional. the gals weren’t just for show. my schedule was dedicated to sustaining a life. and i took this seriously. i didn’t necessarily approach breastfeeding with warm and fuzzies. it was what i needed to do—what i was created to do. and i was going to do what i could to support it.
those early days were just about digging in and getting through (much like everything is in those first weeks). you are trying to keep that baby alive and keep yourself functioning. you are adjusting. getting into a rhythm. a good latch. the correct position. let down. burping holds. nipple creams. all that lovely jargon. thankfully, my hubby was home for the first five weeks after elinor grace arrived. and let me tell you, he was a gem. he attended to my needs. taking care of me so that i could take care of this new little life. he gave me my prenatal vitamins. my fenugreek. and made sure i had a constant supply of coconut water. he prepared meals for me. brewed tea. he sat with me for the 15 minutes on both sides. he supported me while i became accustomed to things. he researched my questions. he cheered me on. he kept me going during the day. because, those days are peculiar days. i was in a blissful natural-birth, hormonecocktail stupor. but my brain was buzzing and i was ever so vigilant. my body was tender but i have never felt tougher. i was fatigued but surging with energy. i was a mess but felt whole. schedules and supplements and swaddles. fast and furious. decisions to make. actions to take.
but at night, that was my private time to figure things out with my little girl. i observed her. watching her face. feeling what her little mouth was doing. learning her. connecting to her cues. i would softly sing and hum as i rocked. i knew how many rounds of edelweiss and amazing grace that it took to give her a full feeding on each side. those moments are hazy, yet vivid.
and then, after i came out of the fog of the first few weeks, one thing became clear. this is an amazing thing. the way the body quickly shifts from nourishing a baby in-utero to nourishing a tiny person. how the body heals itself while working hard to produce liquid gold. the way the body matches demand with supply. balances nutrients perfectly. and instinctively prepares for timed meals. intuitive. amazing. breastfeeding is the coolest.
and as my relationship with my daughter changes, breastfeeding changes right along with it. she used to be solely dependent on me for her needs. a helpless little infant. breastfeeding was a time-consuming, mindconsuming, and energy-consuming activity. but now, my little girl is becoming more independent. her days are spent moving and shaking. and breastfeeding time is our respite. moments when i can talk sweetly to her. pray over her. stroke her face. cuddle. and watch her as she responds to me with her eyes and momentary flirty smirks. it is a sacred time. an easy time. the stuff that dreams are made of. and i cherish this. knowing that not everyone has this. knowing that the next time around, i may not have this. heck, i might not even have a next time around…
and so, i do whatever i can to protect our precious moments. it is intimate. there is nothing sweeter than sitting in her room, slowly rocking, softly singing, and enjoying that time together. quiet. still. it is so easy to do everything on the go. and while i am all for breastfeeding in public, and while there are always times when we have to take the show on the road…i prefer the “slow food” approach to breastfeeding. establishing routine. constancy. safety. i want that time to be a sweet time. slowing down. getting away. a haven.
i remember saying that i hoped to breastfeed for 6 months. 6 months came and went. we are still going strong. we are 10 months in and i don’t know when we will stop. i feel like we are coming into our own. this is our sweet spot. she is more efficient. i am more relaxed. it is enjoyable. it is tranquil. and i want to hold onto these playful and sweet moments with her for just a bit longer. the satisfaction that comes from giving myself to another. a daily reminder of unconditional love and a sacrificial life. “and she cherished all these things in her heart.” and so, our breastfeeding story goes on…
Thank you Rachel for being a part of the Adventures in Breastfeeding. Be sure to check out her gorgeous blog here: http://swankyanddapper.com/