Breastfeeding always intimidated me. I decided well before Davey was ever born, even before he was ever thought about, that I would be a breastfeeding mom. It seemed to be the most natural thing to do as a mother (although my mother never did it), not to mention the fact that breastfeeding is cheap. It’s like that old saying: Why pay for the cow when you can get the milk for free? What I didn’t really know about breastfeeding was the emotional attachment that would come along with the ride.
Last week hours after my son was born, I gave breastfeeding its first shot. I recalled all the articles and pictures I’d seen over the months of the best holds for the baby and how to cradle him into my arms. I had my husband bring my boppy to the hospital so that I could use it to help support my son as he suckled. I remembered hearing that at times breastfeeding could be painful, although it shouldn’t be, and because I’m not a big fan of pain, I was actually a bit nervous when my son first latched on.
The initial latch was painful and I actually felt like my son was biting down on my nipple. The pain shot up through my right arm and I felt the nerves causing my arm to twitch. I screamed out and immediately pulled him off. I was quickly questioning the merits of breastfeeding. The lactation nurse guided me with my second attempt and how to get my son to latch on correctly. After a few practices with different poses for his body, I finally figured it out.
Over the past week, I’ve breastfed my son relentlessly, and what’s happened is a new level of love and devotion to my son. I actually look forward to our intimate time together, a time when it’s just me and my son. It’s a time my husband is jealous of, a time that makes me feel like a rock star mom.
What no one ever really told me about breastfeeding is the connection between a mother and her child, a bond that is much stronger than any other a mother will experience. Davey has been with me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for over 9 months. I feared no longer having him with me and having to share him with the world. Breastfeeding has managed to calm that fear.
He curls up in my arms, at times drawing in his long legs tight up to his body as he suckles on one breast. One arm is usually under his body as I have him cradled to me, while the other is either grasping my breast or at other times on my chest as if he loves to feel the beating of mommy’s heart (and it definitely beats stronger and harder when he’s in my arms). Occasionally, he’ll open his eyes and watch me. And while I know at this point it’s still early for him to focus on me (the nerves in his eyes are not fully developed yet, as is the case with most newborns), I melt as our eyes meet. Usually midway through a feeding, he’ll stretch out his legs and let them hang down the side of my torso giving me full access to his little toes which I love to count over and over.
I’m already sad thinking about the days when I’ll no longer have this time with him, when he’ll go into solid foods and not have that need for his mommy. Breastfeeding is one of the most magical and endearing moments a mother can have with her child, and it’s quickly become my most favorite time of mommyhood.