Felicity is almost eight months old, and as I was feeding her this afternoon, I couldn't help but think about all of the very pleasant memories. I say this now as a woman who was very seriously considering stopping nursing when Felicity was two months old in favor of pumping; the first few months were so very painful and hard. But, after the baby was diagnosed with acid reflux when she was three months old (and successfully treated), and we saw a lactation consultant to work on her latch, and I was able to heal a little... nursing became a much more pleasant experience. It took months and months, but I now enjoy it the process, when I used to dread it. Maybe it's because Felicity is becoming increasingly interested in food, I'm slowly realizing that these small moments throughout the day, where the baby is still and laying in my arms, are coming to a close. And really, it is nice to just sit with her and have her calm and relax; you never quite realize how much and how fast a baby will move about once they've figured out how to crawl. Or do the worm, in Felicity's case.
|Meeting Felicity, December 1st, 2012|
I also recall with fondness our weeks of poetry. There were several weeks through March and April, where we had figured out the latch a bit and I could have a hand free, and before Felicity realized she could stretch an arm back and smack anything I might be holding, where I would read poetry aloud as the she ate. The poetry seemed to relax her little body, and she'd often stay still and happy in my lap after she was done eating, cooing, often drifting into a nap.
|Snack at The High Line, May 2012|
Breastfeeding is one of those things that people often don't talk very honestly about.
I read and heard over and over again how easy and natural it was, what a smooth transition it would be for mother and child. It wasn't natural or easy. As I mentioned, we had a three-month adjustment period, and I thought about quitting many times. It can hurt like the dickens (the first two weeks the most), let-down can feel like fire burning down your breasts, engorgement feels terrible, and blocked ducts are more frequent and painful than you often hear about. I never developed mastitis, and for that, I'm really grateful.
Yet breastfeeding is a very special bond. I remember, as we were feeding Felicity her first solids on her half birthday, how my body had completely sustained her body for six whole months, in which time she'd learned to smile and laugh, had somehow doubled her birth weight and then some, and developed rolls tires deep on her bitty thighs. And how proud I felt.
Our bodies do some amazing things. Pregnancy and birth are remarkable, and how interesting that breast milk has so many benefits for baby and mother. And did you know that breast milk has cannabinoids in it? Neat.