What I’ve learned from nursing

Stela and meNobody ever told me that after I’d give birth all I would do is breastfeed. And that is exactly what I did. After twelve hours of labor, as soon as Stela finally popped out, she latched on to me and for the next six months didn’t let go. She’d eat, take a nap, preferably on me – close to the source of food and then continue eating. I never felt so objectified. Don’t even get me started on the advice I got after faced with nursing 24/7. Like the rule – 20 minutes on each breast should be enough. Or feeding every three hours. Well, rules schmules. They didn’t work. After a month of battles, while also discovering breastfeeding is not easy, I was losing my mind. And nobody really wanted to know about me. For the duration of the pregnancy I was treated like a queen – it was all about me. Suddenly I lost the throne to a tiny red faced tyrant. All everyone wanted to know was what this genius of a baby was doing. I mean come on, what could she be doing. But I couldn’t even resent it, because I fell in love with her the moment I laid eyes on her. I guess Nature does it for a reason. So, I kept on trying but was constantly baffled by it. For generations human kind depended on mothers nursing their kids, you’d think I’d be able to do it. I managed to graduate, work some serious project, how hard can it be to get a hungry baby attached to your breast.

Well, I am not ashamed to admit I was not being able to do it without help. I thought clearly something is wrong with me or my baby. Every single day I said I’d quit or decide to add some adopted milk. I tried the horrible breast pump – which I still don’t know how to use. But just trying it made me feel again like one giant boob. For the first month of Stela’s life I cried, I yelled, I was nervous and overwhelmed. In return Stela was all of the above with only one option of showing her bad mood – crying, which drove me even more insane.

Finally, I got some great advice from my midwife. I will be eternally grateful to her. She just told me not to listen to anyone – forget the books or what other people have to say, forget the rules and listen to yourself and your child. At that point I was willing to try just about anything, but that seemed easier said than done. It was good that Stela and I were alone for the most part. Hubbs working, relatives away and friends mostly busy with their own lives. So, when I stopped searching for answers they just came to me. For the first time in my life books were not right, there was nothing to be learned from the outside, it was time to listen to myself, to the Mother I am supposed to be. Do you know how hard it is to let go of the stuff you’ve steladepended on all of your life and just let go. It is almost impossible to stop questioning am I doing this right when suddenly there is no wrong if it makes you and your child happy. I stopped bothering with the watch, forgot the twenty minutes, I’d take a book and nurse Stela until she had enough, then I’d let her sleep on me, while I watched a movie. I’d go out and didn’t care we had to stop what seemed like every fifteen minutes to eat. Soon I was able to breastfeed walking or while eating, there was actually no stopping us. And eventually it got easier and easier and by the time she turned six months we discovered solids. Then you feel like all you do is cook and clean up and long for the days all it took was you to sustain this beautiful creature.

I am now breastfeeding my second daughter. Before she was born I prepared a pile of books and movies but she turned not to be such an eater as her sister was. It was time to readjust and listen to my new team mate. We are now slowly coming to an end. And I guess I really wanted to reminisce about the journey nursing proved to be. From going completely insane with the information and advice to letting it all go and marveling at the capabilities of my body. I will be both happy and sad when the end  finally comes. No matter how hard it is when you start it creates a special bond between you and your child. I won’t go into many details how good it is for the baby and you. Let me just say that losing weight while eating everything you want was one of the best ones for me. But seriously it made me realize who I am and why am I here in the first place.

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