Taking the Time
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 18 No. 4, July-August 2001, p. 133-4
To me, breastfeeding is all about slowing down and taking the time to connect with my baby. It is nature's way of telling me that I need to spend time nurturing my child both physically and emotionally. This may seem kind of obvious to some people, but in this fast-paced world, I have felt pressure to put my baby on a schedule and make him fit into my life, as if caring for him is just one more task on my "to do" list.
I come from a job where everything moves fast and multi-tasking abilities are held in high regard. Skipping breaks or eating on the run is commonplace. So, when I had a baby I really wasn't prepared to slow down to the pace of my child (not that my child isn't a handful and not that being a mother isn't the ultimate in multi-tasking). I found that breastfeeding throughout the day brought me precious moments when I sat down to really "be" with my baby. These became special moments of gazing on my baby, stroking his hair, or pondering the wonder of parenthood and the miracle of birth.
Eventually I did return to work and breastfeeding became even more special for me. I am very lucky to work at a company that has onsite daycare and to have a manager who allows me time to go downstairs to nurse my baby. The breastfeeding allows me to be in regular contact with my son to maintain our bond and connection. When I am having a bad day, I can't wait for that call to say that my baby is ready to nurse. When I nurse, everything else just melts away.
Breastfeeding on demand also taught me that not everything important in life can be planned out or put on a schedule, that there is natural rhythm and that instinctively I could follow that rhythm and allow it to guide me to be in sync with my baby. Of course, there was a learning curve, but I found that if I followed my instincts and listened to my baby, he would get me on track and make adjustments in our schedule as he progressed in his development, as both his biological and emotional needs changed. It has been a gradual learning experience for us both.
And now, 12 months later, I am still in wonder of nature, of my body, of my child, of the uncertainty of parenting, and the order that comes out of letting nature take its course.