I have been contemplating posting this picture only for the reason of offending some but as I prepare to stop nursing my daughter due to upcoming life events I wanted to show how beautiful this experience has been.
I had my obstacles in the beginning with my baby struggling to latch on and me questioning my supply. Multiple times I threatened to give up, switch to exclusively pumping, or to introduce formula. (Side note: fed is best, however you need to feed your baby I wholeheartedly support. This is just me sharing my personal experience). With the support of my husband and his constant encouragement, I stuck with it and have made it seven months.
I returned to work when Jovie was six weeks, so she takes a few bottles a day. She nurses in the morning, two bottles during the day, then two nursing sessions in the evening. As she has gotten older and become more interested in her surroundings than working harder to eat, nursing has gone from peaceful to stressful now that I’m wrestling with a tiny human. She no longer enjoys nursing and would much prefer the easier flow from the bottle. I find myself getting frustrated at her resistance but I can’t blame her. I can’t force her into working harder although I wish she would relax. Now feeding comes with scratching, pinching, pulling hair, and even snapping bra straps… O U C H.
Being a working mom comes with the task of keeping up with pumping supplies, proper storage and cleaning. I have to step away from my desk twice a day to make sure I keep up my supply; therefore I abandon my work for 40 minutes making staying on top of work even more of a struggle. I know when I leave work I’m going to get that alone time with her at 5:00 pm to nurse, but soon she is going to be holding her own bottle not needing me. I now wish I could go back to those first six weeks and soak in every tired, yet peaceful minute with her instead I will be starting Physician Assistant school in June. Starting graduate school means less accessibility to pumping space, storage, and time.
Being more of an introvert, I shied away from nursing in public. You would find me behind closed doors or in the car with blankets blocking every view. I could not bring myself to nurse in public because I did not want to offend anyone. While on the beach taking in the beauty of God’s creation, I wanted to nurse my child – another beautiful creation of God – without thinking of anyone else other than Jovie, especially how the stranger on the beach felt. I was covered more while she was nursing than I was sunbathing in my bikini. So I went for it. I stayed in the covered tent just for Jovie’s safety, but I felt so connected to my daughter; sitting on the beach, listening to the waves, holding her, and partaking in one of the body’s most natural processes. I remain in awe of what a woman’s body can accomplish when becoming a mother. And to all the moms who do nurse in public, I admire your confidence and commitment..
I could have never expected I would feel like this when deciding to stop nursing. I get teary-eyed and feel heartbroken because I feel so selfish. Am I stopping this too soon? Could I make it longer? I can make pumping and PA school work, can’t I? I am sure the answer to all of those questions are yes, but I have to remember that I have sacrificed my body, time, hair, and nerves to providing for this baby. More than likely, she will not be able to tell the difference nor will she love me any more or less. I am her Mama no matter if she eats from me or from a bottle. I truly am thankful and blessed that God has allowed me to nurse this long and I will forever cherish this bond between me and my daughter.
*S/O to the app PicsArt for helping me create the wonderful image.