The Simple Beauty of Breastfeeding

by Susan

I was over at Metropolitan Mama reading a great post she just wrote about the basic supplies for breastfeeding and even though I’m not looking to stock up on nursing supplies, I read every word.

I’m so sad that my time of nursing is almost over.

Sophia is 18 months and I’m sadly starting to slowly, very slowly wean her because of upcoming trips (such as BlogHer). I nursed Julia until she was 25 months. I don’t plan to have any more babies and nursing is going to be one of the things I miss the most.

Ironically, I never thought I would have liked nursing and the reason I chose to nurse Julia is because it was healthy for her. But I soon realized how much we both loved the bonding time and I was so thankful we live in a time when society is supporting breastfeeding.

My mother nursed all of her four children, but in those days she was going against the crowd and had to learn from a book. She had no support from anyone in person. I can’t even imagine!

Nursing is priceless and I’m so thankful that I knew to endure the pain and troubles of the first few weeks to get to the wonderful, simple beauty of breastfeeding.

Let’s all continue to share with other moms the joys of nursing, while also telling of the reality of the early challenges with nursing a newborn. (Janice and I often tell first time mothers that we too were in agony in the early days of nursing. But HOLD ON! The joys of nursing an older infant more than make up for the brutal beginnings!)

A few months ago Janice wrote a beautiful post about weaning Olivia called A Time To Wean. If you missed it, read it now.

So tell us your nursing stories. We’d love to hear about your nursing challenges and blessings.



Email Author    |    Website About Susan

Susan Carraretto and her identical twin, Janice Croze, created 5 Minutes for Mom in 2006. Susan loves all social media, but her top addiction these days is Pinterest. She recently published a children's book titled "The Pest Detectives" which you can download now in digital format for free.

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amy April 15, 2009 at 3:02 pm

I don’t often click over from my feed reader to comment, but I have to on this one.

Nursing my babies is one of my very favorite things about mothering. And yes. Severe pain in those first few weeks.

When we brought our firstborn home from the hospital and I was struggling so badly on day 5ish with swollen, hard breasts and a baby who wouldn’t latch on, I cried to my husband that this pain is worse than the all-natural labor I had just been through!

That pain does pass. There is nothing (NOTHING) like staring down at your blissfully nursing infant while her little hand clutches your finger. The only thing better is when she unlatches for a moment, milk dribbling out the corner of her mouth, to give you a grin.

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2 Kyooty April 15, 2009 at 3:15 pm

I remember hanging on to my middle child’s nursing sessions, for about 3months it was every friday night, that’s when he’d remember to nurse at 17months old. He finally gave up at 19months when it was every second Friday, I remember thinking “what if this is the last” for those last few Fridays. With my youngest, he was done before I was at 23months. I had hoped to hang on until after his hernia surgery, but he was done, and that was the end of my nursing days. I still miss them 2+ yrs later but now they are all older then their nursing years. :) my favorite parts though were when they would grab my finger. See I think I just had a oxytosin sp? moment

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3 Abbie April 15, 2009 at 3:43 pm

Seeing my first baby, who is now 2 1/2 yrs, grow was the best reward and made the exhausting, seemingly infinite, painful, days and nights worth it. I also was able to nurse my daughter, who is now 1yr, through her stay in NICU as a premie, and knowing that my milk was going to carry her through was reward enough. As an adoptee, my mother didn’t have any nursing advice for me. I was so surprised that I actually grew to a size FF after my milk came in. (Usually, I am a B.) And I was equally surprised that nursing is so much work in the beginning. I turned to a professional lactation consultant who gave me strength and courage to work hard for my babies.
I totally recommend taking classes, reading books, and talking with other mothers before birth, and seeking individual professional advice after birth.
I don’t miss nursing now. When I weaned my daughter I was glad to get my body back. I had been pregnant or nursing for almost 2 1/2years straight. (My kids are 18 mos apart.) I will say though, breastfeeding is why I weigh less than my pre-pregnancy weight. (First child pre-pregnancy weight!) So, to all nursing moms out there, my support goes out to you!
Abbie

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4 Heather April 15, 2009 at 4:09 pm

Thank you for this beautiful post! I’m a first time mom and I couldn’t have imagined feeding my baby any other way! Not only is it the most beneficial, but the bonding is just priceless!

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5 Tatiana April 15, 2009 at 4:42 pm

My daughter took to breastfeeding like a fish to water, but I frrely admit that in the first few days, my nipples were chapped and even blistered. Nothing that Lanolin didn’t help, but there were definitely a few times I bit back yelps.

I think it was so ‘easy’ for us because my midwives were amazing & spent an hour helping & observing us when my daughter was first born. They were phenomenal!

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6 Robyn April 15, 2009 at 4:54 pm

I loved breastfeeding my babies. But, it was always painful for the first few weeks, so I would grit my teeth and cry through until my nipples toughened up. And then I had my fifth baby and at the hospital the nurse gave me hydrogel wound dressings at the first sign of a sore. They were gone and I wore them for the first several weeks of nursing and it didn’t hurt at all to nurse. It is now my duty to pass on this amazing product to every nursing mother… You can buy them here: http://www.momsinmind.com.sg/mothermates.html

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7 Life is a Sandcastle April 15, 2009 at 6:36 pm

So sad I could not breastfeed my son and now with a new baby due I will not be able to provide the nurishment only a moms milk gives an infant. I had a breast reduction, long story short, no infant nursing. I did not relize at the time but, I lost a lot more than my breast size. So when people look at me when I say no I don’t breastfeed, I feel the need to explain why. I did make the most of the bottle feeding, talking and loving on my little one.

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8 Adventures In Babywearing April 15, 2009 at 6:53 pm

I love this photo! I just took a similar one today- am posting maybe tomorrow about it!

Steph

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9 Lindsey April 15, 2009 at 7:07 pm

What a great post. :-) My daughter is 11 1/2 months and we’re weaning now – it has not been fun for me but Emma seems okay with it. Which is good! :-) She’s weaning all by herself, she’s just too restless to nurse anymore.

I agree, it’s really hard nursing at first but totally worth it as you go! And it’s so much easier nursing than trying to deal with bottles and formula (and cheaper!).

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10 Alexandra Stephenson April 15, 2009 at 7:57 pm

I have to agree that nursing is a priceless bonding time. My mom didn’t nurse any of us five kids, but I chose to nurse mine & though I didn’t have any advice coming from her, I did look to the online community & found lots of support! Logan is 4 months old (exactly today!) and I dread the day we start weening. I love our special nursing time, and I really love knowing he’s getting the best food possible for his tiny body.

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11 AshAllman April 15, 2009 at 8:53 pm

Thanks for this post. Nursing has been such a blessing with my first baby (8 months now), and I just keep extending the amount of time we plan to keep going. First, it was 4 months (until I went back to work), then six, then 12, and now that he’s almost 9 months, I’m thinking I’ll keep breastfeeding until at least 14 months. Every time it seems just around the corner that we’ll wean, it feels too soon. He is starting to show signs of giving up (short nursing sessions, squirming, pushing me away after a few sucks), but I am enjoying every moment of this special time. I always thought I would dislike nursing, but it has become such a wonderful part of motherhood that I feel lucky to have experienced.

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12 Michele April 15, 2009 at 9:38 pm

Such a beautiful post!

I too had a hard time when I first starting breast feeding my daughter, but now that she is two years old I am so thankfull that I stuck with it and breast fed her for 13 months. My only regret is that I did not continue to breast feed her longer!

I am expecting our second child now and cannot wait to create that bond with he or she as well.

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13 Mozi Esmes Mommy April 16, 2009 at 12:50 am

Please do share. I’m wanting to wean (at 24 months) and am struggling with how to do it (in addition to being a little sad to give it up).

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14 se7en April 16, 2009 at 1:51 am

How my first child survived my first attempts at nursing I will never know and my goodness he has!!! Really there were things I absolutely only got through experience and I am so glad we didn’t stop at one!!! I wrote a post about this and you are welcome to go and have a look: http://www.se7en.org.za/2008/10/31/se7en-things-i-wish-i-had-known-about-nursing

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15 Kristin April 16, 2009 at 2:23 am

You know it’s a post like this that keeps me going. I WILL breastfeed it’s beautiful and wonderful and I’m so happy I have moms like you two to look up to.

And Steph too! She’s an inspiration as well.

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16 Felicia - I Complete Me April 16, 2009 at 1:16 pm

I had my first son in August and I did nurse him. I didn’t know whether or not I was going to like it and everyone asked me the big question of am I going to nurse. I wanted to simply make an attempt at it and if it wasn’t for me or the baby then at least I attempted. Well I attempted and loved it. I didn’t realize how much I loved it until my milk dried up about a month and a half after I went back to work. I wish I had all the proper tools in place to help me nurse while working, but you live and you learn. I cried so much because I couldn’t nurse. I even attempted to try again, still try at times shhh don’t tell anyone.

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17 Amy April 16, 2009 at 2:01 pm

I have loved nursing my babies. I just wonder where all of those babies are who “wean themselves”…’cause they certainly aren’t in this house! ;)

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18 Heather (Blessedw5mom) April 17, 2009 at 9:57 pm

Thank you so much for posting about the beauty of breastfeeding! I love to hear/read about other moms cherishing those moments.

I posted about mine on Thankful Thurs
http://growing-in-rejoicing.blogspot.com/2009/04/thankful-thursday.html

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19 Barb April 17, 2009 at 10:50 pm

When I found out I was expecting twins with my first pregnancy, I was hopeful to breastfeed but had not idea what was in store. We had such a rough start with them being premature…I remember New Years Day 2007 (they were about 6 weeks old), crying all day because I was so frustrated but did not want to give up. One friend gave me the best advice ever that truly helped me get through it. “Just One More Day. I can do this just one more day!” and then a day turns into two. and then three. and a week. a month and then suddenly – we were doing it!! My son breastfed until he weaned himself at 8 months and my daughter stayed with me until just past her 1st birthday. I am now nursing my 3rd child and its been a MUCH smoother journey. He was a champ from the start (what a difference full term makes!) and I’ve loved every minute of it. When I was pregnant with him, nursing was one thing I was so looking forward to again. I was worried that I’d have trouble bonding as much with my 3rd since I’d be busy with my twin toddlers, but nursing has given him and I time alone. I have actually gottne to spend more time with him than I did with the twins since I can enjoy moments with just him instead of always juggling two.

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20 Erin Kewer April 18, 2009 at 10:47 am

I loved breastfeeding my 3rd child (my daughter) She was the only one that I could breastfeed. She is special needs baby so I believed it helped her a lot in her needs. Thanks for posting this.

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21 Laura April 20, 2009 at 1:30 pm

Breastfeeding is such an amazing experience. I nurse both my boys for 1 year plus. I just had my 3rd child a little girl. Britain was born with a cleft lip and palate. The hole in the palate makes it impossible for her to create a suction. I wanted to express to moms that there are serveral pumping support groups out there “eping” (exclusively pumping). Its a loss to not be able to share that experience with your child and the women in our group have really helped me stick with pumping even though I hate my pump with a passion!

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22 Stephanie April 21, 2009 at 5:39 pm

First of all, that’s a beautiful picture! Nursing a toddler is so wonderful in its own way.

Second, best wishes with the weaning process. I know it’s bittersweet. But your relationship will blossom in other ways and you’ll always have a special connection, I’m sure.

Finally, kudos to you for talking about the benefits of breastfeeding and encouraging discussion on the topic. I think it’s important for moms to share their stories with each other – even the more painful and difficult moments. I agree with you. Nursing was SOOO painful those first few weeks, but then it was oh-so-worth-it.

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