I’ve accomplished a new record. I’ve accomplished eight complete months of breastfeeding with my second-born. Our breastfeeding relationship is now more than just a relationship of nourishment. The relationship stands on a foundation of comfort and nurturing. Breastfeeding is now a time of day when I am forced to live in the moment. To be fully present.
One of my favorite times to nurse my eight-month-young Z Nugg is at night. I love this moment because I become hypersensitive with the help of the darkness of the room and the oxytocin flowing through my body. I can clearly hear her breaths, her rhythm. Suck suck swallow. Suck suck swallow. It has become a sweet melody to my heart. And the feeling of my available breast lactating into my breast pad is so different than when Z was a newborn. I embrace the feeling of the leak. I envision my body producing more nectar to keep this relationship strong.
My let downs, I’m so grateful for their intensity—like crashing waves. My letdowns remind me that I’m still in this with my last baby.
This relationship is intuitive, symbiotic, and pure. Z Nugg knows how to nurse, I don’t have to ‘cheeseburger’ my breast into her mouth like I did when she was a newborn. Sometimes I can’t even find her mouth in the darkness, but she always finds my nipple. I love seeing my daughter’s instincts at play.
I am familiar with my Z Nugg’s cues. I don’t have to wake her up to finish nursing like I did when she was a newborn. She unlatches herself and pulls herself away communicating to me to lay her down. I take advantage of when she falls asleep in my arms. I hold her longer. It’s the only time she’ll fall asleep in my arms without a fight. (She prefers her crib over anything else.) I kiss the corner of her milky lips like I did when she was days old. I stare at her as I rock her side to side. I get glimpses of her newborn days—occasionally her eyes will roll around like they did when she was a tiny milk drunkard, or she’ll throw the quick side smirk. I am engraving these moments in my heart so I never forget them. I pray I never forget them.
I didn’t understand mothers who cultivate longer breastfeeding relationships with their children. I used to think, “Don’t they want they bodies back?” I didn’t judge them, I was just curious. I now feel why mothers extend their relationships past the “norm”, and I stand with them. (I also now better understand that experience is the best explanation to my questions.) Now, this isn’t to say I am an activist now, I just comprehend a different side of nursing and I refuse to accept judgement for nursing my child as long as we both want. I will keep with this relationship until one of us is no longer interested. At the moment, we are both emotionally invested and this is perfect for us.
I remember finding some relief in having my body to myself once Little Nugget stopped breastfeeding—well, after the sadness from the break-up—and I’m sure I’ll find some when Z and I break-up too, but for now, I am pretty darn proud of the way I find myself indulging in this relationship. I am grateful for the gazes, the clawing (yes, even the scabs she leaves me from her furious claws), and the one-on-one attention I get from my baby.
Z Nugg knows how to nurse now. She doesn’t need me to guide her anymore. The growth in her independence is apparent. Her want for comfort is what I’m grasping onto.
Cheers to the ability to feed our children! (This includes any and all other ways of feeding. I believe nurturing can happen through all feeding methods, it’s what you make of it.)