For me, breastfeeding is a gift … a very precious gift.
Why a gift?
Well, for starters, about half of the world’s population can not naturally stimulate milk production, though they could theoretically produce breast milk. 🙂
Of those of us who can naturally lactate by virtue of our gender, there are the few who struggle with producing enough milk for their babies for different medical reasons, and others who produce no milk at all due to e.g. a double mastectomy etc.
There are also the few who lactate but can’t breastfeed because the medication they have to use don’t have a breastfeeding friendly equivalent.
Then of the majority of women who fully lactate and can breastfeed, there are those who don’t want to breastfeed for a range of reasons.
Then there are those who want to breastfeed, but find it too difficult for many reasons – mostly due to lack of adequate information and getting the right support at the right time – to achieve their breastfeeding goals.
There are of course those want to breastfeed, and find it straightforward and easy from the start.
However, there are those who want to breastfeed, find breastfeeding challenging for a range of reasons, but immediately or eventually get the support they need, are willing and able to give it what it might take to work, and in time achieve their original or adjusted breastfeeding goals (if any).
So where is the gift in this?
For me, I belong in the last group I identified.
I didn’t even think about how I was going to feed my baby when I was pregnant. I went to a breastfeeding class but I barely remembered what was said; I suppose I took it for granted that it would come naturally to me, since it’s natural.
I really struggled with making it work for us from the end of our first latch; and I unfortunately didn’t get the right information early on. Nonetheless, I somehow found the strength to commit to doing whatever it took to make breastfeeding work for us – not always the healthiest decision for a new mum, in hindsight.
I was determined to produce enough milk for my baby, and I had lots of hope amidst the despair I used to feel in those early months. My prayers were answered, my efforts eventually paid off, and we’re still going – 2 years and counting.
So for me, it’s a gift because it’s a very precious part of my mothering; one that I had to fight for … even run against the tide of some well-meaning but unhelpful support.
It’s a gift I never knew I wanted, but one I’m so glad I have … a gift that not only gives me a way to nourish my child, but also ways to calm and comfort him, help him to sleep, and even ease his pain on occasions.
It is a gift that has definitely enriched my mothering, and my bonding with my little man.
It’s a gift I couldn’t have gotten the most of it without the compassionate support of so many … a gift that has helped build my character in ways I couldn’t have known was possible.
I’m filled with gratitude for the gift of breastfeeding; and I plan to continue breastfeeding until my little one doesn’t want it anymore.
~ What do you think about the idea of breastfeeding as a gift? ~
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