Breastfeeding my little one has been one of the most awesome experiences in my life. I’m not saying it was all plain sailing. Because it wasn’t. I’ve had my share of ouch moments and dead boring moments and moments when I was desperate to nip out for a bathroom break or grab a bite to eat and he just wouldn’t let go. At the beginning my nipples felt so raw and sensitive that even the touch of the softest fabric brushing over them felt like sandpaper. There were days and nights that he seemed to nurse non-stop and it felt like it would go on forever and I would always feel that exhausted.
But none of these are regrets. They are just bumps along the road to the many beautiful, precious moments we have shared as a nursing duo. It’s been special. Really special. It’s been a time to get to know my little boy’s heart. A time to gaze at his sweet face with that overwhelming sense of peace and love for all humankind. A time to hold him close while we snuggle up in mutual adoration.
We’ve been through the wondrous phase where he would pull away from a feed to look into my eyes to say, “I love you Mommy”. We’ve been through the phase where he would bring his cars or motorbikes with him to each feed, one for him and one for me so we could play. We’re still in the phase where we he reaches for my hair as soon as he starts to nurse and plays with it, twirling it around his cute little fingers… aah, bless. We’re still in the phase where I read him to sleep while he’s happily nursing. And we’ve been nursing for over 3 years.
Yup, I’m one of those Moms, nursing a toddler. I believe in the power of extended breastfeeding. I’ve had this idea in my head for a while now that I’d like to give my son the opportunity to wean naturally. I read somewhere that if you allow your child to wean in their own time it becomes another milestone for them that they are proud to achieve. And I like that idea, so I’m going with it.
Also because… I can.
I’ve been very fortunate. I have not had to go back to work after 2 or 3 or 4 months maternity leave. I haven’t had to go back to my real job at all (thanks to my awesome hubby) and so I never had to work out how to pump.
And that’s where my one regret comes in. I never learned how to express milk because I never had to. And because I never had to pump, I never donated any breast milk to anyone in need.
This is my one regret as a nursing Mom – not donating any breast milk. Not sharing the love, the goodness, the richness of this precious gift I was given. And I was given plenty. I had so much to give away. My son was a voracious feeder at the beginning. I fed him on demand, which meant I was always producing more and more milk.
Breast milk works on supply and demand, or would you call it demand and supply? Because the more of baby’s breast milk demands you fulfill, the more you are able to supply. My son nursed often (every 60-90 minutes) and long (45-60 minutes per feed) so I was producing oodles of milk in the first year. Or was it two? For the first 6 months at least it was almost gushing out. I can prove it. I went through a huge box of disposable breast pads and then went on to buy cotton re-washable pads because I knew I’d need them for a good while longer, and I did.
But that’s not the proof I would have liked to have offered. Now, looking back (hindsight is 20-20 vision), I wish I had made a concerted effort to learn how to pump so I could prove my breast milk worthiness by capturing pictures of packets of milk piled up ready to go to a Milk Bank. Or, wouldn’t it be lovely to sport one of those gorgeous certificates the Milk Banks send Moms once they tally up how much they’ve donated in total?
Mostly I regret not producing any real proof: a premature baby’s life may have been saved by my breast milk. I could have given a baby life. Sustenance. Protection. Nourishment.
Oh, I did. My baby. And I am deeply grateful I was in a position to do that. I am thankful to have given my baby the freshest, creamiest, most delicious life-giving milk he will ever receive.
I am thankful to have given my son:
- What WHO & UNICEF recommends – breastfeeding to 2 years and beyond
- Perfect nutrition in the most digestible form
- Breast milk that changes composition according to his needs
- Potentially higher IQ & academic performance ( Brazil Study , New Zealand Study , Australian Study)
- Antibodies to assist his immune system to prevent and fight off disease
- His best chance to avoid hospitalization in his first few years of life (fortunately we also had no accidents or injuries that required a hospital visit)
- A natural antibiotic
- Natural pain relief
- A natural tranquilizer
- Quick reaction time when he woke for feeds allowing for peaceful night’s sleep
- Strong healthy jaws and teeth (Malloclusion Study)
- The Love Hormone (oxytocin) on tap at each feed, serving to strengthen our bond
- Emotional security of our closeness (co sleeping and breastfeeding)
- I am happy to have been his human pacifier
Breastfeeding my little one has been one of the most awesome experiences in my life.
This post is dedicated to those inspiring, generous, loving Moms who express, donate, give, share or sell their precious breast milk.
I just started a series on breast milk donation on Happy Human Pacifier . I would love your story.
If you would like to share your experience of giving or receiving donor breast milk, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Lauren Kinghorn is a Wife, Mother & Writer who has been blogging for just over a year on Inspiring Mompreneurs and Happy Human Pacifier. She is passionate about Shining the Spotlight on Breastfeeding Moms and Mom Entrepreneurs. You can find her blogs on https://laurenkinghorn.com/
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