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.

vivi snuggle.

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?

29 days

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.

our time.

She has my whole heart, something that could never be found in either a breast or a bottle.

Comments

  1. I follow you on Twitter but haven’t stopped by your blog till this post. I’m breastfeeding too and this reminded me of why I enjoy it so much even though it can be stressful. Thank you for the reminder.

  2. I love you so very hard.

    Even when you make me ugly cry.

  3. So beautifully said.

    Breastfeeding we difficult for me. Difficult in a PAINFUL way… even though I seemed to make enough milk, and had happy little babies who could latch like pros. OUCH OUCH OUCH. Still… I stuck it out and enjoyed what I could. It did get easier for me as the weeks went on. But, man, ouch. I can still feel the pain when I think of it.

  4. “Feeding Vivi has become in intimate act no matter how the food is delivered, a time to focus wholly on each other.”

    Exactly. Feeding my Widget was a struggle and a half, and he got finger-fed and drip-fed as well as nursed and bottle-fed for weeks before it worked for him. Ugh. But we always did it together.

    Good for you, babe. Loving Vivi is the most important part, and it’s clear that you do.

  5. Mumagain says:

    This is beautiful
    It has not been easy for you.
    I am a firm believer that the intimacy involved in breastfeeding (aka the nursing piece) is more important than the actual nutritional impact of the milk. This can be done just as easily with a bottle of formula.
    What you are doing is perfect.
    You are a great mama

  6. this is just exquisite casey. a very beautiful tribute and poignant reminder to us all. thank you for this.

  7. I love this post. Breastfeeding has come beautifully and naturally for me and both my boys and I’ve always been so grateful for that. I had two hard pregnancies, and in the end two cesarians. It has always hurt my heart that I wasn’t able to deliver naturally. I’ve cried many tears over that. So for me, when everything else was such a struggle…a struggle to keep my babies in long enough and then a struggle to get them out safely, I always felt like God let me have nursing to heal my heart and heal my babies.
    Casey you’re a beautiful writer and an even more beautiful mother.

  8. That last photo is beautiful! This post is beautiful!

    And you are so so right.

  9. I couldn’t agree more! Beautiful post!

  10. I agree with you, babies should never have a bottle propped up in front of them. Not only is it depriving them of the bonding that babies so desparately need, but it is also dangerous.

    I tried so hard to breastfeed my two boys. With my first, I made it to 11 weeks. However, when I stopped it was done. No drying up period at all. This tells me that he probably wasn’t getting anything from me and it was the right decision.

    I made it to 5 weeks with my second. But when I stopped this time, it took me 3 weeks to dry-up. Realized too late that he wasn’t into nursing because of really, really bad reflux that went undiagnosed for another 4 weeks. That decision to stop is still eating me up inside and he just turned 3!

    You have two beautiful girls, who probably only care that their mama cares so much about them and not where their food is coming from. Keep up the good work!

  11. So many comments already. It wasn’t until my 4th child that I was ready to really devote myself to breastfeeding. I’m so glad I did though. With my sixth child we unintentionally weaned sooner than I was ready for. It worked out for us because of other factors, but my heart still hurts a little that I didn’t get to do it as long as I hoped to. I’m so glad you are able to treasure what you have.

  12. Just beautiful. Breastfeeding is such an amazing bonding experience even if it’s not perfect. There is absolutely nothing like it.

    I passed a woman holding her teeny, tiny, brand new baby, giving him a bottle while walking through the mall last week. I thought, really?, you can’t sit down for just a few minutes while he’s this little?

    I know it’s hard to slow down, but it’s so, so important.

    I hope things continue improving for you all.

  13. Thank you for resolving the nursing battle by focusing on the really important part. Gorgeous!

  14. I do not have children but am very interested in hearing about other mothers experiences with breast feeding and bottle feeding. You have put this gorgeously. Thank you.

  15. I had a rule when feeding Elise (I pumped then bottle fed, fyi, but I still did most of the feedings): no TV, computer or phone calls! It was so wonderful and peaceful to concentrate on her — just her. I’m looking forward to implementing the same rule with babe #2, no matter how he gets fed.

    Thanks for sharing your story. You’re right — what matters is the love.

  16. This post was amazing. I found your blog because I too am an infertility in Indy, and I will stay because of the first post I read. So poignant and beautiful, and oh so true. I have shared an amazing breastfeeding relationship with my bug and feel like a better person and mother due to it.

    As I have just found you and not yet looked through more posts, I just wanted to say if you are interested on supplementing with BM instead of formula (if you don’t already) check out eats on feets and human milk for human babies on Facebook. It provides a forum for mothers with extra milk to hook up with mothers in need.
    Beautiful.

  17. These pictures are absolutely beautiful. What does your tattoo mean?