Since it's World Breastfeeding Week, I thought now would be a great time to talk about something I do many times a day, something that keeps my boy alive, healthy and thriving. I've mentioned here that I nurse Tate, but I've never taken the time to really talk about how much I love and appreciate being able to do so. Aside from being blessed with a healthy baby, the only thing I wished for when I was pregnant was that I would be able to breastfeed without too many complications. There were the obvious reasons of it being cheaper and more beneficial for baby's health, but for me it was mostly about being able to bond with my baby in such an amazing way*.
On the night Tate was born, my biggest desire was that I would be able to cuddle and put him to the breast as soon as possible. I was very lucky that he responded beautifully the second I pulled him to me; he latched on like a champ! It was such an incredible feeling to know we were off to a great start. The next day, my body responded quickly and began making the golden milk my boy needed. Given that our birth experience turned out to be quite different than I had hoped for, this felt like such a wonderful gift and triumph.
It was the third night in the hospital that I discovered the nurses in the nursery had given Tate a pacifier, even though I'd been pretty clear that it was against our wishes. I quickly wrote in bold letters on his bassinet tag: NO PACIFIERS, PLEASE! It was also that night that they brought him back 5 minutes after we sent him (the night before, he'd stayed in there for almost 5 hours while I got some much-needed rest) saying he seemed hungry and was fussing for the first time since he was born. It became quickly clear he wasn't hungry at all...he just wanted to be comforted & pacified, and it was my boob that was the magic ticket.
Ten and a half months later, not much has changed. My boy is a TOTAL Boob-Man. Some might find this tiresome at times, but I love being just what he needs. I love that my body knows what it needs to do to make sure my son has enough nutritious milk to eat. It honestly makes me feel like Superwoman, which is completely unfair since I find it so comforting and don't have much to do with it at all!
When I nurse Tate, he instantly melts into me and stares up at me with such love in his amazing blue eyes (unless he's tired; then they roll back into his head on the way to dreamland). He will gently play with my necklace or his feet, or snaps my bra-strap while chugging away (something he did - kid you not - starting the second day of his life; we will likely get lots of calls from the principal's office someday!). He's so busy and full of energy all day long, but when it's time to eat, it's suddenly our quiet time to bond and slow it down for a while. I stroke his hair and whisper how much we love him and what a good boy he is. Many times I'll make a sound or smile down at him, causing him to let out muffled giggles that touch my soul in a way I can't describe. This time spent together is my most favorite thing about being a mom besides actually BEING Tate's mom, and I'm grateful to my body for giving me the ability to experience such joy.
*Let me be clear: for those who can't breastfeed or didn't feel comfortable doing so, I'm not here to judge. My heart goes out to those who tried hard and weren't successful, and while I can't understand why someone would choose not to nurse, I'm also in the live-and-let-live camp when it comes to parenting. You do what you need to do - be it nursing, co-sleeping, etc. - and please let me do the same. :o)