Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Of all of my accomplishments as a mother, breastfeeding is the one I am most proud of. I nursed Lily until she was nearly two, and imagine I will do the same with Sam. Everytime I sit down to nurse, I realize just how wonderful my body is. How wise my body is. And how much of a miracle this thing called motherhood is.

I was reading an article a few weeks ago in which women who had chosen not to breastfeed listed their reasons. Among the many, one stuck out- "breastfeeding is too primal". Primal. Can you believe that? The most beautiful function of our body- to give life, and then sustain it with only ourselves. Primal. Yes, it is primal. Not in the way this woman was speaking of, but in a way altogether different.

When I nurse, I realize that I am connected in a profound way with all women who have come before me. Every woman who has awakened just a bare 10 seconds before her baby, knowing with internal certainty that the cry for milk was coming. I am connected to all women who have suffered through infections, mastitis, low milk supply, and thrush. I am connected with all women who have looked lovingly down at their baby as they fell asleep with warm rich milk in their tummy. There is nothing more primal. There is nothing more beautiful.

I cannot keep from smiling when I bathe my children, and see their beautiful soft skin, count their little rolls of chub. I can't help but sigh with relief when Sam settles down for a good nursing after a stressful day. My body must rest and relax for the milk to come. And so I sit, several times a day, and enjoy my son. I put my feet up, I read, or sit in silence. I watch Lily play. I stop the world for my child.

Life moves very fast these days. Society is based on immediate gratification. I can see how formula would be appealing. After all, breastfeeding takes time. Nobody can do it for you. You have to be present, and willing to be with your baby at all times. It can sometimes be frustrating to be so depended upon.

But all I have to do is look at my daughter, to see her face light up when I walk into the room. To see my sons little feet kick when he realizes we are going to the nursing chair. To see Sam stop nursing to smile at me, and then go back with half closed eyes. The bonding is deep as the ocean, and as endless as the tide.