Before I even got pregnant, I was determined that when the time came, I would breastfeed. My mom had breastfed my brother and I and my aunt breastfed all her kids. It just seemed like the logical thing to do. Beyond that, I hadn’t put much thought into it at all.
When Isaiah was born, I was bound and determined that he was going to nurse, no matter how hard it was. More than once I wanted to quit. Thankfully, I have a wonderful mother who would look me in the eye and remind me how badly I wanted this. As someone who’d been there before, she was able to encourage me that it would get better. She helped me experiment with different positions to try to improve his latch. When he started biting, I called my aunt for pointers to stop it. After a while, Isaiah learned to latch correctly, he learned that biting wasn’t necessary to get milk and I was able to find ways to keep myself covered in spite of his silly antics.
Now, Isaiah and I have had one year of breastfeeding together. It’s been quite the journey filled with adventures and wonderful memories. It helped us to develop a stronger bond with each other. I’ve spent so many hours just holding my baby while he nursed, something I would have missed if I’d been able to just hand him a bottle around six months old. I’ve proven to myself that I can do it, even when it gets hard, but more importantly, I’ve discovered what a wonderful thing it can be.
I’ll never forget the adorable expressions on Isaiah’s face that I only saw when he was nursing. It’s kind of hard to describe… It is peace, contentment, love… I just can’t resist trying to take a picture of it because there’s nothing quite like it in the world.
Sometimes, nursing was quite the adventure. Whether it was biting me because he was teething, trying to nurse from funky positions because of an ear infection or even just because he was bored or the silly games he learned over time. My mom likes to joke about Isaiah’s nursing acrobatics. He doesn’t just nurse in the traditional positions taught in breastfeeding books. That was ok until he got the hang of it, but then it was boring. Every once in a while, he has to mix it up and add a new position to our already extensive list. He loves to nurse lying down, which is great at night. He also thinks that he should be able to nurse sitting up in my lap. That always makes for quite the adventure!
When Isaiah first started really babbling, suddenly, nursing became a time to talk to me. He’d latch on and start to tell me stories about his day without letting go! Then, if he had something really important to say, he’d let go, grin at me and yell it at the top of his lungs. When he discovered his hands, he wanted to hold my hand or play with my fingers while he nursed. I love all the hours we spent just holding hands while he had his snack. Recently, he’s discovered his ability to blow raspberries and was doing it on my tummy. Suddenly it occurred to him that he could do it while he was nursing, too! It makes me laugh so hard I start to cry, which makes him do it more, in between his own laughter.
I’m so glad that Isaiah and I have had this year of breastfeeding! I’m also thrilled that it doesn’t stop here. It’s been a wonderful time in my life and will hopefully continue at least another year. This has been one long adventure and I can’t wait to see what’s next in our breastfeeding experience. One thing is certain: it will never be boring!