The Feeling is Love
Rolla MO USA
From New Beginnings, Vol. 25 No. 5, 2008, pp. 18-20
All my life I have been fascinated by the act of breastfeeding. As a young girl I watched my mom nurse my little sister and even "play nursed" my dolls. When I was 12 years old my mom had another baby girl and I remember wondering what it felt like to nurse. I wanted to know the way it made my mom feel.
Every time I saw a mother nursing her baby a feeling of awe and curiosity would emerge and I began to look forward to the day when I too could feed my own baby at my breast. When my husband and I conceived our daughter, we both knew from the outset that we wanted her to be breastfed. I began to read up on what to do, how to do it, and all the things I could or shouldn't do to prepare myself for nursing. Nothing I read could answer the question, "What does it feel like, not physically but emotionally?"
In the middle of my pregnancy I attended my first La Leche League meeting and was again overtaken by a sense of awe at seeing all the mothers breastfeeding their children. As I watched and felt my own child moving inside me, I understood the answer to my question was simple: love. The overwhelming sense of the love that flowed just as freely as the milk from those mothers to their children was awesome. As I watched, a new feeling emerged, a feeling that finally it was my turn to share in the joy and love of nursing my own child.
When Haylee was born she nursed right away, and I will never forget what it felt like to look into her eyes and feel the tingle of her mouth on my breast for the first time. It was everything I had built it up to be and so much more.
When her daddy has Haylee and she gets hungry, he brings her to me, holds her out to my breast, and gets her to latch on. The three of us stand there for a minute, Haylee in the middle with both her parents' arms around her, and I know she feels the love we are pouring down on her.
Now that Haylee is fast approaching her introduction to solid foods, I am looking forward to this with bittersweet anticipation. I know she has to grow up, but I will miss nursing her so often and being her sole source of food. I will continue to tell her I love her with my milk as long as she is interested, and I will learn to find new ways to show her my love.
Every time I nurse Haylee in public, I hope that I am inspiring others to make the decision to breastfeed their future babies. I also hope that they see that breastfeeding a child isn't just a nutritionally wise decision, but an amazing way to show your child, and the world, love.