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Ashlee is Mama of one darling boy. A 28 week early bird, now 1 and some change, doing beautifully. She lives near Chicago with her sweetheart husband and French Bulldog. She's a thinker not afraid to get her silly on. Babywearer, veggie queen, photography nut. Before the domestic days Ashlee was pursuing a future in developmental psychology but has happily shifted gears in favor of staying at home and couldn't imagine doing anything else. In her free time (ha!) you can find her whipping up babyslings, holding down the fort at Mama Speaks and spotlighting as an Itsy Bitsy Yoga Instructor.

Reasons I love being a Mom #2 - Nursing

Sticking with the theme of the week on my blog and in the news it only seemed fitting to love nursing this week! I'll leave well enough alone with the "Great breast vs. bottle debate" (or at least save it for another post!) But I truly believe if every woman who chose to bottle feed experienced for a second the joy I feel every time I nurse my baby there would be no question what to do. Breastfeeding my son is one of the most amazing (and rewarding) things I have ever done. So let's start from the beginning...

Due to Xavier's prematurity he went without food for quite some time, an IV concoction was enough to keep him going until his digestive system was developed enough to get things through. Leaving me to pump (what fun hospital grade breast pumps are!) and store my milk until he was ready. Soon, little by little milk was gavage (tube) fed straight into his little tummy and as he was able to keep down more and more it became time for that glorious first nursing session right? Wrong! The neonatologist insisted he needed to learn how to eat from a bottle first! What?! Even though I planned to nurse exclusively?! No way!? We put up a huge fight, and after a few tears (ok LOTS of tears) and staunch resistance we won the fight. He said we could "try" nursing... once...

Xavier was able to nurse for the first time at 26 days old (It was 4:00pm on Monday, January 9, 2006 to be exact!) Despite the doctor's "medical opinion" and the hilarity of the size of his head compared to the size of my breast, my little man latched on perfectly and began chowing down ... he lasted a few minutes before falling fast asleep still attached to me. I was all tears as I sat there and savored our moment I had longed and waited for. (David was so proud he excused himself to go call our family and friends! )

Because he was so small we had to take it slow, the calories he burned working to nurse were just barely canceled out by what he took in. He was eating on a 3 hour schedule so we gradually worked from every few feedings to nursing every 3 hours, to feeding on demand. It was a long time coming and wasn't without hiccups but I loved every second of it. His belly on mine, his little eye's fluttering, working so hard to suck and swallow and breathe.

What once was hard work is now second nature and while commonplace still spectacular. The best excuse to stop everything and snuggle up together. As we begin he now looks into my eyes with thanks and love. Slowly they become foggy and heavy, until inevitably they flutter closed. About this time a little chubby hand bounces around finding first my fingers, then my chest, until usually it rests softly on my cheek or chin. If we're lying down he kicks his legs off my belly and then scoots himself in to just the right spot. I get lost in the rhythm of suck and swallow and begin to melt away.

I am still amazed that every ounce of chub on my darling boy has come from me. I am his sustenance. God gave me the ability to provide him with everything he needs! And while nursing provides nourishment for his belly it nourishes the spirit as well. If Xavier's hurting or sleepy or simply missing me he'll put his mouth to my chest or tug at my shirt and he's back to his happy place. And if I'm having one of those day's where my thoughts are scattered and I feel like I'm missing something it's a wonderful time to reconnect.

I know the day's of exclusive nursing will come to an end a few months from now and when he's ready Xavier will wean himself completely (hopefully not too soon!). I'll be sad to see these moments come to an end but am looking forward to the new ways we'll find to "nurse". And am hopeful for the opportunity to nurse our next borrowed angel from the start.

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  • Blogger Glass Half Full says so:
    6:17 AM  

    I remember feeling "tied down" with nursing, but now that my 5 year old is obviously weaned and my one year old is too......

    Do you have a kleenex??? What a precious time it is to nurse -- a beautiful bonding experience I wouldn't trade for anything! top

  • Blogger Adventures In Babywearing says so:
    7:02 AM  

    *I get lost in the rhythm of suck and swallow and begin to melt away.*

    I love how you've written this post! I think that phrase above should be on a tee shirt, or our anthem! top

  • Blogger Momma PiƱata says so:
    12:09 PM  

    I miss that...she self weaned (I talked to LC's, and I faught with her, but I just didn't think that she should be forced to continue nursing). I miss that rhythm, but we still build a rhythm this way too... top

  • Blogger Amber says so:
    5:10 PM  

    Hmmmmm, maybe someday when I get past the frozen cabbage leaves I have to wear to prevent painful engorgement, I'll feel this way! Even though nursiing is tough right now, I am so glad my little guy is a great eater! top

  • Blogger Amaranth says so:
    8:43 AM  

    I don't have kids yet, but am looking forward to the day when I can relate! top

  • Blogger Heidi says so:
    10:06 AM  

    Beautifully written. I remember thinking this too, so funny..."hilarity of the size of his head compared to the size of my breast"
    I really miss it too...but we have in the last months found other ways to keep our bond close. top

  • Blogger Tracey says so:
    11:47 PM  

    I agree... It's such a precious short time. And only Mommy can do it! top

  • Blogger heartsjoy says so:
    9:51 AM  

    Ohhhh man! That takes me back to those beautiful days! I loved being pregnant and then the baby and nursing!! Such amazing times! I still find enjoyment in each stage we go through! I have enjoyed reading some of your previous posts. You are a great writer and sound like such a loving wife and mother! :) top

  • Anonymous O Mama Mia says so:
    7:26 AM  

    *sniff sniff** That was so beautifully written. Sophia weaned herself the week of her second birthday & I miss the euphoria of the whole process. Especially when she was really young.
    But, um, tracy, who says its has to be "such a short time"? Nurse on! top

  • Blogger Susan (5 Minutes For Mom) says so:
    1:26 AM  

    How poetically described...

    What a wonderful story. I'm so happy for you and Xavier that you won the battle to nurse him. How brilliant of you!

    I also am celebrating breastfeeding with a post on my blog. top

  • Blogger Michelle says so:
    1:55 PM  

    What a beautiful post! It made me cry remembering what it was like with my son in the NICU, pumping and not being able to nurse him either. I feel so blessed to have persevered through it all to be able to nurse my son now. Your post described exactly how I feel. top

  • Blogger tanya@motherwearblog says so:
    1:52 PM  

    This is such a wonderful story!

    Can't find your email address, so I'll leave this question here...

    I'm wondering if you'd be interested in participating in the next BF Carnival (4/19) that I sponsor (Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog). Our theme this month is "what I didn't expect when I was expecting." If you are, would you email me at motherwearblog at gmail dot com? Thanks! - Tanya top

  • Blogger Autumn says so:
    4:40 PM  

    I came your blog and have to tell you I am crying my eyes out. I am just about 30 weeks pregnant with our first and although we are so excited, I am also very nervous about all the newness! I am glad I found this and could read how much you love being a mom! Thanks for writing your heart!
    Autumn top