Everyone Meet Jessica!
Breastfeeding, for me, typifies mothering. It nourishes, comforts, heals, and soothes. I love nursing my children, and I love to talk about it.
When I had my first son 5 years ago, I assumed that I would put him to the breast and he would eat. Not quite. After flat nipples, pumping and feeding with a little plastic tube, nipple shields, bleeding, cracking, being diagnosed with Reynaud’s phenomenon of the nipple (blood vessels spasm, crippling pain), and a poor little boy with horrible reflux, I declared myself the “Job” of breastfeeding. It took six months before I felt comfortable nursing. Once we settled into our around-the-clock nursing routine, I wasn’t about quit when my son turned one. So we kept going. It’s so perfect to be able to comfort a toddler who just fell, to quiet his tears, and hold him close when he’s tired and weary. It’s one of the most special times of my life. After his second birthday we were down to nursing just 2 times a day. Around 26 months I slept in the guestroom and my husband snuggled him back to sleep. After the 3rd night he was done. Weaned. And I fell apart. I remember driving in the car, alone, and just weeping uncontrollably. No one told me what happens to the mother when you wean! I was a mess. But we grew into the next phase of our relationship, and I have not once regretted nursing him as long as I did.
When I got pregnant with our second son, I started planning for the nursing drama. But it was so much easier the second time. Not worry free, but great. I had boldness, experience, and I wasn’t going to be deterred by anything or anyone. He didn’t start eating solids until 9 months, and to this day he nurses to sleep every night. When I get annoyed or tired or need a break, I just remind myself that this moment when they are small is so fleeting. They will be old and running and reading and I want to have these nights to remember. To look back on their childhood, knowing that we savored their faces, and snuggled them every chance we got.
When I am in public and my child wants to eat, I find a place that’s comfortable for us and we go for it. I have nursed in Costco, Whole Foods, you name it. And the looks that I get are met with my confident face, knowing that I am doing what’s right for me and my child.
The other day I was at a friend’s house for a meeting and my son wanted to nurse. I turned to my friend and said, “Sorry.” “Don’t be sorry, go ahead!” she said. “No, I mean sorry that I’m not sorry and I’m going to unabashedly flash all of you and I don’t even care”. That’s where I’m at.