Monday, August 1, 2011

Hush, Little Baby

Warning: This is the post where I talk about my boobs.

But before you get all excited (or grossed out?), let me clarify by saying that this blog entry is going to be about my boobs and how they feed my baby and how it's awesome.

Still with me?

I've had breastfeeding on the brain a lot lately, mostly because Anna is doing less and less of it, and I can tell that it won't be long before we're totally done. And for some crazy reason, I find myself getting all sentimental and emotional about it - the fact that she is growing and changing at an alarming rate, that she is needing me less and less, and the realization that being a mama truly has changed me.

I would be lying if I said that nursing has always been enjoyable, or even tolerable, because it hasn't. Far from it. But from the moment I first read about how beneficial it would be for my baby and for me, I knew it was something I wouldn't let go of lightly and would try my hardest to endure. And at the beginning, that's all I was doing - getting through. Because I was exhausted and sore and totally unprepared for what I had gotten myself into. Babies eat twelve times a day? For forty minutes at a time? And I am the sole provider? Good grief.

Slowly, though, things began to change, and we got into a groove. It helps that my family was supportive and it also helped that I had a Kindle. It sounds crazy, but the hours spent in that rocking chair went by a lot faster with something to read, and the Kindle has the added bonus of needing only one hand to operate. I learned to nurse Anna while laying down, and even though some people thought we were out of our minds, bringing her into bed with us at night allowed us all to sleep.

Suddenly, both Anna and I knew what we were doing, and the quiet time we were spending together became a lot more enjoyable. I had a built-in excuse to kick back and relax every couple of hours with my favorite girl, with the added bonus of being able to eat as much as I wanted and still lose weight.

Somewhere in between the sleepness nights and diaper changes and hours spent marveling over the little person we brought into the world, I began to gain more confidence in myself as a mother and person. Maybe I can't always keep my counters free of clutter or the fridge stocked, but if there's one thing that nursing my baby has taught me, it's that I'm capable and strong. I might not always love the way I look in my jeans or the way my hair is frizzing out in the summer humidity, but it is this body that has helped to nourish and feed the tiny being toddling around and exploring her surroundings.

I distinctly remember the first moment that Anna latched on. It was early in the morning after she was born, probably around four, and I was wide awake with awe and excitement and fear. My daughter cried, and I used my own body to calm and soothe her and I will never forget that feeling.

I imagine that the last time I nurse her is quickly approaching, and I'm doing my best to cherish these moments, to hold her a little closer as she falls asleep in my arms, to breathe in her sweet smell, and to be grateful for the peaceful time we still have together.

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