Last night I posted this picture on instagram of Grae and I nursing and it made me want to jot down a few thoughts about this sweet journey we’ve been on.
Nursing my babies has been one of the most tender blessings of my life. I had a really rough start with my first born, Harlo. We worked on getting and staying latched for a solid week before we had that first, real, uninterrupted feeding. I don’t think I had felt more accomplished over anything in my life as I did that first real feeding with Harlo. I had been so stressed out, and I’m sure she was too. I had insecurities about this deep down and it’s no surprise that at 4 months, after my doctor suggested supplementing that I quickly lost my milk supply and fed her the rest of the year with formula. It’s what we needed at that time, and it’s something I needed to learn. I hadn’t yet fully learned to trust my body or my motherly intuition, it was months later that I dared to wonder what may have been if I had tried a little harder, or had more support, or not been so anxious.
I had my next baby just 19 months later. From the minute she was born, things were different. She came out rooting from the womb and latched on quickly and so strong. We sat there on my bedroom floor, cord still attached, nursing for a good 30 minutes. It was so healing to my insecure mama heart. I could do this, and for the first time I knew I could do this. I went on to nurse Stella with confidence and a wonderful support system. I owe so much of that great year of nursing to my midwife Janae who helped me all along the way. Instead of giving up or supplementing with formula when my milk supply was thinning, I took herbs religiously to maintain a good supply. I nursed Stella just shy of her 11 month birthday, when she began to get 4 top teeth and 2 bottom teeth all at once and cut me off cold turkey. I had become so wrapped up in the beauty of nursing and was so blindsided by her quick separation that I felt truly heart broken when she self-weaned. It was a few months later when I began rocking her to sleep each night that I felt that closeness and connection again, and my heart was able to heal.
I came to Grae with a bit more confidence than my other two. We had our very own set of latch issues and nursing hiccups to overcome, but I knew we could see it through. We saw a lactation specialist, I took my placenta pills and other herbs I needed and we got on top of things. As the months rolled by, Grae turned out to be my strongest little nurser. Grae was my first baby to refuse a bottle, she will only take hers straight from the source. She was completely uninterested in food as she was still happily content with nursing all the time. This bond of ours, this exclusive bond has been a tender mercy to me. It has been an answer to my prayers and a sweet reminder of how my priorities should align. Because of Grae’s nursing, I haven’t been able to be away for work or any other reason. I have had to take breaks in my day which I have been able to sit and reflect my blessings. I have taken care of myself better to nourish my sweet little one. I practiced patience for my weight to come off as to serve her better. My life has revolved around our nursing, and her life has revolved around our nursing. It has been a lovely rhythm of life.
As I have just stepped over my longest jot with nursing, I know my days are probably numbered. It is a bittersweet realization. I have cherished this time nursing Grae just as I have cherished my time nursing her sisters. I am so grateful for this experience to nurse my babies. One that before I did it, I had no idea I had been longing for it. Nursing hasn’t always been easy for me, I have overcome a lot of nursing woes, but it has been so worth it to push through and persevere. I have been greatly blessed for my efforts in nursing these babies and I will forever hold these years close to my heart.
Whether I am nursing for another few weeks or another year, I am so very grateful I have been able to do it.
I really enjoyed reading this post. I had my first little one just under 8 weeks ago and had my own issues with nursing in the beginning. Luckily, we seemed to get straightened out fairly quickly but occasionally there is still a hiccup here and there. We are both still learning, although I feel like the majority of the learning curve has been on my end. Learning I cannot rush our time nursing just because I “need” to get something else (ie housework) done. Learning that some days there is no feeding schedule other than the one he establishes and needs for that day. Learning that there’s nothing better than nourishing my child and seeing him unlatch for a moment to grin that gummy smile that brightens my day like nothing else can. Unfortunately, I have to return to work soon and I am definitely concerned about what will happen to my milk supply. It’s pretty well established right now and I have pumped often so he can have my milk while at daycare. That being said I don’t think my supply will stay afloat once I go back to work and won’t be able to nurse/pump on a set schedule. I know I will be lucky to nurse as long as I will be able to; however long that is. There are a lot of moms out there who would love nothing more than to nurse and find that they cannot. I am fortunate to have experienced such a special thing with my little guy.
You mention herbs in your post. What were the ones that you found worked best to help your milk supply? I’d love to hear about anything that might help! Thanks Cassidy!