This post is an excerpt from a journal entry I wrote earlier this April.
I can hardly believe I am saying this, but I began breastfeeding my daughter over a year ago. Nearly immediately after she was born, we began this journey together. Only last month I breastfed her for the very last time.
Its not easy to talk about this. Its not natural for me to want to catalog my thoughts on something that became to me as natural and as easy as filling my lungs with oxygen.
Looking back on almost one year of breastfeeding, I think on the challenges.
Beginning was hard. I remember the first few weeks when I thought I’d not do much else besides feed her and change her diapers. I all but gave up on sleep. I was glued to Netflix.
One of the first major challenges was getting through the cluster feeding. For a straight month, it seemed I sat in the easy chair. Literally nursing her from 6pm-12pm. I was spent when I laid her down to sleep. But I didn’t give up. I stuck through it and things got wonderfully easy after that.
I never really wanted to brag much when it came to breastfeeding. When others mentioned how good it was that I was breastfeeding, I would shrug it off. Hadn’t so many other women done the same?
Breastfeeding was a natural part of being a mother to me. A simple extension of my role as nourisher, caretaker. It seemed nothing to brag about.
Over that year, I had worries and doubts aplenty. I wondered if she was getting enough…she didn’t gain like her formula-fed older brother did.
I had laughs as I recalled all the cramped and silly and different places I’d nursed. The sweatiness in the summer and the wonderful warmth in the winter when I didn’t want to put her down.
And then the time came for her to try cow’s milk. And once she got the hang of it, she no longer preferred the milk that I so dutifully pumped for her.
The day came when she had breastmilk no longer. And while I expected it, it still suprised me and left me with an indescribable emptiness.
Contentment. Pride for what we had accomplished. Happy for her progression. Yet strangely left behind, now that I had fulfilled her needs for this first year of her life.