Thursday, August 2, 2012

Ali: What Breastfeeding Means to Me

When I was pregnant with my daughter, the decision to breastfeed wasn’t an easy one for me. I have had Crohn’s Disease for 10 years and was on the fence about nursing due to the medication I was on at the time. I went back and forth and was very torn. I had always supported breastfeeding, but I didn’t know if it was going to be what was best for us. Needless to say, I ultimately decided to give it a try.

Today is my daughter’s 11 month birthday and we are still exclusively breastfeeding. Has it been easy? Not at all. Crohn’s Disease weakens my immune system and I have battled with thrush since she was 5 weeks old. I have also had mastitis a few times and currently she is going through a horrible biting phase. Despite all the tears and the hard times, I wouldn’t change it at all.

What does breastfeeding mean to me? It means that we have been able to overcome obstacles together. It means I have put so much of myself into nursing to do the best that I can for my daughter. It means that this little person, my baby, is so incredibly important to me that I would do anything possible to give her what I can.

It means that everyday I get to stop whatever I am doing to enjoy and snuggle with my baby. I get to rub her face, calm her, and feed her. I cherish this even more now that she is walking and active. No matter where we are, whether it be in a busy place or sitting on the couch, we get to stop what we are doing, I get to stare into my little one’s eyes and remember why I love her so much.

It means that I can soothe her every need. When she hits her head and signs “milk” I know she wants her mommy to take away her pain.

It means that we both are healthy. She is getting the best nutrition possible and I have been in remission for the first time in 10 years. We both have needed each other. She needs me, and I need her.

It means that someday I will look back at our nursing relationship and miss it. I will miss the snuggles, the certain milk cry, her being close to me, and us being one.
- Ali

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