Breastfeeding Awareness and Education–our experience(s)

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I’m celebrating World Breastfeeding Week with Natural Parents Network!
You can, too — link up your breastfeeding posts from August 1-7 in the linky below, and enjoy reading, commenting on, and sharing the posts collected here and on Natural Parents Network.

I am currently nursing my third baby, Miss Patrice.  I have been nursing or pregnant since December 2005.  I have nursed for the first 20 weeks of Sue and Patrice’s pregnancies.  It is my joy and honor to have this bond with my babies.  And to be honest I am darn proud of how long I have nursed each one.  I am thrilled with the myriad of benefits for them now and in the long run. 

But you know what dawned on me recently?  I need it as much as they do, if not more.

Truly.

Yes, there are health benefits to me.  Lower risk of breast cancer and diabetes in the future…lose pregnancy weight faster (haven’t noticed that one), etc.  But for me, the benefit is much more emotional. 

I need to nurse my children in much the same way I need to breathe.  Right or wrong, it is part of my identity.  I am a nursing mama.  I am enpowered by the fact that I am providing them health benefits in the future, by the fact that I can comfort them in a way during infancy that no one else can.  I am empowered to know that this body of mine, that has failed me often in the past, now nourishes my babies.

I belong to a sisterhood of women, yes, the one of motherhood, which is powerful and embracing, but also the one of nursing mothers.  We share the joys of persevering through the challenges of nursing.  We share the struggles of people not understanding why we choose to feed our babies this way.  We share a bond that I hope some day to pass on to my three girls.  My older two already nurse their “babies” (and no, I did not need to buy them a $119 doll from Europe for them to do that); I hope breastfeeding will always seem normal and natural to them.  That they will be blessed as I am and will be able to nurse their children when they have them.

As of late, I have received another gift while nursing Patrice.

It has worked out that often while I am nursing Patrice, the other two are outside with daddy, so I am sitting in a quiet house just snuggling my little girl.  How often does that happen in a house with three kids?  How often will that happen as she gets busier and needs that time with mama less?  Probably never.  And for that my heart mourns, but for now, I have this time with my daughter that no one else in the universe can ever have.

For this I am so thankful.  I pray I never forget the joy of comforting one of my children by nursing them, never forget the drunk baby look when they have nursed to ultimate satisfaction, never forget the honor it is to hold them in my arms and nurse them.

These are just some of the joys I reflect on during this week long celebration of breastfeeding.<
(Visit NPN for the code to place on your blog.)

Survive til you Thrive!

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