I am beginning to realize that for me, breastfeeding is not about nourishing my baby’s belly with my body. It would be very easy to look back over the last five weeks and think about all the supposed time wasted on futile attempts to gain a full and abundant milk supply but it’s become apparent over these furiously fast yet long weeks that this difficulty is in fact a blessing.
Because of my difficulties with nursing, Vivi has rarely left my arms, let alone the house. This has forced me to literally sit down and focus on what is most important, her. I’m so thankful I’ve had the support to give her what milk I have been able to produce, not to mention the time and ability to give it to her. I have spent hours staring at her, memorizing every flutter of her eyelashes and every curve of her face. I have spent even more time with her curled up in my arms, breathing in every part of her deliciousness.
Many people seem to get so caught up in the breast vs. bottle debate they forget about the actual act of feeding.
It hurts my heart to see a baby being pushed around in a stroller with a bottle propped up in its mouth.
They are only this little for such a small time, and if someone can’t find the time to hold their baby close when they’re eating? When are they making time to memorize their baby’s face, hold their chubby little fingers and watch their eyelids grow heavy with sleep?
Feeding Vivi has become in intimate act no matter how the food is delivered, a time to focus wholly on each other. While the breastfeeding may not last forever, I’m not comfortable in saying that our nursing relationship will ever come to an absolute end. She has always loved nursing the most, as have I. I have been able to comfort her when nothing else has worked. Me. Only me. I could never deny her the comfort that only I am able to give her as long as she will accept me.
It would be (and has been at times) really easy to get angry that something we both enjoy so much has been tainted by forces out of our control. I can’t say that my body completely betrayed me because it is what allowed me to have Vivi in the first place.
Just as it was so easy to get enraged with women who got pregnant easily and those who complain about their condition, it would be easy to become jealous of the women who are able to (fairly) effortlessly breastfeed their babies.
I’m becoming aware that perhaps certain things are supposed to be more difficult for me so that I forced to appreciate them more when and if they do happen for me.
There will always be a little bit if hurt in my heart that I have been unable to nurse Vivi exclusively, but I have been lucky enough to know all of the very best parts, even if it hasn’t ever worked perfectly. There are women who will never know the feeling of having a baby fall asleep at their breast, or a baby fall asleep in their arms ever.
I am blessed and lucky to know this all encompassing love for a little girl who is completely and utterly dependent on the caring and love that I am responsible and honored to provide her.
She has my whole heart, something that could never be found in either a breast or a bottle.