When I was pregnant the idea of breastfeeding was SO strange to me. The world tells me that my breasts are sexual objects and they should stay that way. Intentional or not, that's the message that young girls receive. Still, I knew all the amazing benefits that accompany breastfeeding, how good it is for your baby, and the cost comparison pretty much had me sold. I knew that I was going to attempt to form a breastfeeding relationship with my daughter.
We were lucky. She had a great latch even in the beginning and although it took weeks for my nipples to become desensitized and callused enough to nurse without pain, Everly did amazing. As I watched my body nourish my baby I was in awe. What an amazing gift that women have to be able to feed their children with their bodies. Everly was even nursed once by a good friend when I couldn't be there to do it for her. Everly continued to grow and soon I had a fat little baby that loved her mama milk and nursing.
At about 6 months I started to get that question. You know the one, "When are you going to stop breastfeeding her?" It bothered me. Why were people expecting me to stop feeding my child? Why did they think this beautiful relationship needed to end? I was committed to making it past 12 months. One full year of mama milk. But I was also committed to breastfeeding my daughter as long as she thought we should. That became my answer. When she tells me she's ready to stop. I don't care if you breast or bottle feed your baby. I don't care if you use a cover when breastfeeding or if you do it out in the open. I do care that you feed your child and I trust each mother out there to make the best decision for herself and her baby. I do care that mom and baby are both comfortable when baby is eating. I do care that women's rights aren't violated (which happens far too often).
The reason I like to share pictures occasionally... well there are a few reasons. The first is, my breasts are not sexual objects. They were MADE to feed Everly. That is literally their purpose. They were made for her and I am proud that I'm able to use them that way. I also share pictures so other women know that it's okay to be a little more open about breastfeeding. It's a perfectly natural, normal thing. Every time I breastfeed in public I get a few strange looks. That doesn't stop me. I will always put my daughters needs first and if she needs to eat I feed her. I share pictures because I'm proud of us. Really, I'm proud of Everly. She does all the hard work and she grows beautifully because of it. But mostly I share pictures because breastfeeding is amazing.
I treasure my breastfeeding relationship with Everly. It has been nothing but magical. I've had some aches, some pains, some sleepless nights because my sick baby only wanted to breastfeed. There are times I realize life would be so much easier if she wasn't quite so dependent on me. And yet we've found a way to always make it work. We've found a way to keep going. I hope she wants to breastfeed for many months to come but I also know that when she decides she's done it will be okay. It will be gone before I'm ready and I know I'll miss it when she's finished. Until then I'm going to soak up every lovely moment of this part of our lives.
PS. Read more thoughts on breast & bottle feeding babies.