Sunday, August 3, 2008


I have been breastfeeding Lily for 18 months now. For the whole span of her life, she has received nourishment, comfort, sustenance, and cuddles from my body. We have nursed at home, in the mall, in restaurants, on airplanes, in museums, in our bed, in hotels...anywhere you can think of.

I say we, because it's an act that involves both of us- the give and take, the push and pull. It is not just me giving to her, it is her giving to me as well. Every moment she spends at my breast she is giving me her love. Everytime she falls asleep while taking in my milk she is giving me her trust. I never expected to love nursing so much. I need it as much as she does. I need to have her close, to breathe her scent, to feel her soft skin. I need her gazing up at me, touching my face, pulling me down for a hug.
My milk has taken her from a premature 5 lb newborn, to an 18mth old, 22 lb dynamo. It has sustained her through colds, RSV, teething, and reflux. It has supported her health and her weight from birth. I am constantly amazed at my body's ability to create nourishment for my child. It is a miracle I experience everyday.

It seems our breastfeeding time is coming to a close, however. She is more content with her sippy cups, and is too busy playing to want it much anymore. Even when she does nurse now, it's more for comfort than milk. I know that this is only one of the small seperations we will have over the course of her life, but it is, so far, the biggest. And frankly, it hurts a bit.

When she was a newborn, I was her entire world. My breast was her entire source of sustenance and life. Now, she can sustain herself, not only by eating table food, but also emotionally. I am not her sole source of happiness anymore. I find myself chasing her around the house now, desperately making the "milk" sign to her, trying to get her to just slow down and give me a cuddle. She simply laughs and runs away faster. The whole scenario is quite laughable, but sad as well. I miss her.

These days life around our house is full of so much more than it used to be- there is laughter and giggles, babbling and singing, running, jumping and joy. There is whining and crying and napping. There is an abundance of gratitude. For all of this I am grateful....but I wish, just for one day, to have my sweet helpless newborn back- the one who would smile her milky smile around my breast, the one who would drift off with a cascade of sweet milk flowing down her chin. The one who would nurse contentedly for an hour while I simply looked at her.

Now we will have a new relationship, one that is based on more than just a mutual need. We will play and laugh and love and grow together. But we will both always remember the hours spent in the rocking chair, hours spent looking at each other, hours memeorizing each other's face and hands...the hours we spent forming our lifetime bond.
Thank you, Lord, for the ability to trust my body, to give life to my child, and to nourish her in such a loving and beautiful way.