Wednesday, May 5, 2010

beautiful bonding

****************Disclaimer: this post is not for the immature or the awkward; for those easily embarrassed or squirmy, or those not comfortable with the most basic and natural things on this world.******************

Nursing a baby is one of the most precious experiences a woman experiences in her life as a mother. For me, not every moment was perfect but was certainly been worth it.
For Acacia, every ounce had been bliss and joy.

While I was pregnant and when Acacia was first born I decided I would for sure nurse for one year and then have her weaned a few weeks later. When she was about six months old, I realized it would be nice to prolong our time together - maybe 'til she was 18-24 mo or sooner, if she so chose.

The first time Acacia nursed, I really don't quite remember what it was like. I was absolutely exhausted, still coming off my epidural (and I'm telling you -- they overdosed me), and just taking in the whole experience. What I do remember though.....
                 is the agony.
The ripping pain I felt every time she latched on until the moment she was finished. The lactation consultant came and tried to help - making sure she was latched correctly and such. Her latch was perfect. She was a content little 5 1/2 lbs baby girl suckling away while her mother cried, tensed, suffered, and yes - blistered.

This was when I learned the meaning of Agape. The love that keeps on giving even when nothing (apart from maybe curses) is given in return. While pregnant I had determined to nurse. Despite when the pain came I knew that I would never give up. Even if I had to suffer the whole year I would not let Acacia down.

                 I would joke with myself that the pain was revenge for getting an epidural.

I tried everything I could, from cool packs, to different positions, pumping, and Lansinoh (which may I just comment -- I hated. It was stinky. StickyAnd stained everything it touched.) Nothing helped so I just had to grit my teeth and bare it. Finally after almost two months of miserable nursing 8-12 times a day every 2-3 hours, the pain..... subsided.

It is hard adjusting to a new baby. And learning the techniques of modest nursing for the first time is a challenge. But my husband (not deterred as new mother's are) wanted to get out or have people over - and of course wear a cover. Thankfully, I can now laugh at the memories of struggling to reluctantly latch a tiny 5 lb baby whilst a blanket was over us. Oh the frustrations. 

               Things improved. No more pain.... covering up became a breeze... I felt at ease. I not only came to enjoy nursing, I fell in love with it. Now, a year later, I'm sad to say good-bye to my time with Acacia.

--And yes, it is obligatory that this season be put to an end (for other important matters in life will be hindered otherwise). 

I will terribly miss watching her nurse:
  sometimes her eyes staring at me in wonder,
    other times shut as she drifted of to sleep in peace;
      her little hands & feet reaching out to touch my face and hair,
        the sound of her suckling & swallowing,
          her face all rosy, her nose bright pink once she pulled away
            her most absolute and supremely perfect latch. I've never seen
              something so beautiful.
Above all these things I will miss her utter dependence upon only what I could provide her.

I woke up Friday, April 30th, with the intentions of enjoying every moment, every swallow, of our last BF together. To record in memory each last detail. Acacia's nose was stuffed, so I cleaned her up and tried nursing again. She refused it.
I knew - she knew - that she could breathe. So I tried yet again and she started screaming and whining at me and squirming in my arms. It started dawning on me that she was possibly rejecting me. Feeling a little hurt, but not wanting to be too hasty about my disappointment, I took her to the kitchen and made her up a bottle of milk. Hoping that she would refuse the bottle as well (perhaps due to lack of hunger???) I tentatively placed it within her reach.
Wishful thinking.
She took it gladly and sucked it to the last drop. As I watched her, I couldn't help but let the tears come as I knew she would never take me again.

And I never got to say good-bye.

As if she knew the rejection I felt, once she finished the bottle she gave me kisses and repeatedly said, "mamama mama mamama." And for those of you who know her, "dada" is her preferred word; only on special and rare occasions will she amuse you with a, "mama".

So here is my final farewell, Acacia...

  To nursing.
       To you only needing me.
              To the unique share of oxytocin :)

I am thankful for the support, circumstances, and determination that caused my nursing relationship with Acacia to blossom into such an irreplaceable and beautiful bond.

P.S. I guess its time for Baby #2. ;)

I read a statistic the other day that said only 20-some% of babies are breastfed past 6 months of age. When I read this, it broke my heart. I am not ignorant; I know people have different circumstances that truly demand them to put an end to nursing their baby. But many women today are merely inconvenienced by nursing. Or perhaps they don't have the support/understanding that they should have so they give up too quickly.


  1. Oh gosh. I totally cried. :( I remember giving up BFing with Riley. Because I had to. I was going to keep going even after the OD but when I had to be put on the BiPolar meds they told me I couldn't BF anymore. I never got to give Riley a goodbye. He didn't depend on the boob anyways because he was already used to the bottle but... I loved BFing him. I miss it still. Even when you BFed Acacia I would miss BFing Riley. I understand how you feel. ::hugs::

    love you all

  2. Aww I'm sorry that your BF was put to an abrupt termination. That would have been very hard. If the Lord heals you and frees you from bp-ism then you can nurse your next baby as long as you want!!!