There was never any doubt in my mind that I wanted to breastfeed my little one. Before I knew that I was having a little girl, I knew that I wanted to nurse her. Back then, there were so many reasons that I thought I knew – it was healthier, “breast is best” and it’s free. What more could I want? Besides, I figured that my mom was a La Leche League leader back in the day, so she could help me if I ran into any problems. So, with everything sorted, I figured that was that. But it’s been so different than I imagined.
First of all, I never would have thought that my first couple months on this journey would mean pumping instead of nursing. Thanks to Harley being so premature and in the NICU for 5 weeks, I had to pump for her and deliver the milk every day. Then she came home and simply wouldn’t latch. I was devastated about it, but at least she was still getting the good stuff with the pumping. Thankfully, once she was a bit bigger, she latched like a champ, and has been a boobie monster ever since. That has come with its own unique ups and downs.
I absolutely adore nursing. It’s amazingly gratifying to feed my child. In almost half a year, she has never eaten anything that hasn’t come out of my body, and she is a gloriously healthy and chubby baby. I just can’t get over the idea that I was able to grow and now sustain this little life. And she’s thriving. It makes me feel so proud, so impressed with my body and with nature. Of course, it also means I’m way more hungry and thirsty. All. The. Time.
Added to that is the bonding. Holding my tiny person, cuddling close to her so that she can nurse, watching her eyes look around or stare into mine, seeing her little hand resting happily on my boob, laughing when she pauses just to smile at me. These are all moments that I absolutely cherish. I even like the night time feeds – I love the quiet moments of just holding her, feeding her, and helping her fall back to sleep with the best form of nurture that she can get. I love being the one who can offer her nurture and nutrition all in one.
But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. I’m basically tied to my baby at all times. Since starting on the boob, she hates the bottle. She totally refuses it. So, my fantasy of pumping for her when I need to go somewhere is exactly that, a fantasy. When she gets hungry, I’m the only one who can help her. Sure it’s lovely and gratifying, but also makes going out for an evening almost impossible. Sometimes, though, it’s fine – I’ll feed her, go off for a bit and be back with her before she needs to nurse again. But more often than not, she ends up hungry and upset, and I need to rush home to pop a boob in her mouth. Not ideal.
It is looking like Harley is almost ready to start solids soon. I know that will be a whole new adventure, and one we won’t rush. I love my little nursing munchkin, and the experience has been so good for both of us that I’ll probably be sad when she doesn’t need to nurse all the time. But I will continue to breastfeed her for a while still – neither of us are even close to being done with this part of our journey.