So tonight seems a fairly momentous occasion. Not to the world but to us personally here at Earthside. Tomorrow is the anniversary of the moment I fell in love with birth. This time 3 years ago I was in the latent phase of labour.
I was beginning my journey.
And I’m feeling quite emotional.
Three years ago, I had no idea that I would be feeding a baby within 24 hours. And more than that, that I would be feeding a 3 year old, while 8 months pregnant, three years later.
Its been a crazy few years. There have been mega laughs, gym-nurse-tics, tears of both happiness and frustration and all sorts in between.
In that time, I have trained with the wonderful BfN as a breastfeeding support helper and I volunteer at a local group helping to support other parents on their feeding journeys, no matter what they look like. Tea and Empathy! (By the way, this wonderful charity is celebrating 20 years this year! And they are struggling with funding locally so if you want to help please think about donating here!)
Breastfeeding, for me, has been relatively easy, although certainly not without its struggles. In 3 years I have experienced sore nipples and thrush, teething and feeling touched out and I’ve experienced aversion, especially through pregnancy. But it has also been wonderful. There was the first ever definite smile, which was, of course, around my nipple. There were the moments when he was overstimulated, overwhelmed and upset and a boobie was the perfect remedy.
This comparison led me to thinking…
To commemorate my first ever International breastfeeding week, I posted a pretty, ahem, honest phone snap shot of my breastfeeding journey to date. I wanted people to know that while I love breastfeeding, I understand that sometimes it is a struggle.
Tonight, on the eve of my child’s 3rd birthday, we took another photo of us nursing in the bath.
It’s a very different picture. One that I will treasure for years to come as, although he still nurses regularly, it’s not nearly as often as previously (hey, he usually sleeps to through the night! It does happen eventually, guys!) and who knows when the last feed will be!
There are still a lot of struggles. I am 8 months pregnant with my rainbow baby after a difficult year of loses. I struggle with nursing aversion which sometimes when really bad, makes me want to tear my skin off to itch it from the inside. It OFTEN sets of my Braxton Hicks.
But, and its a big but, there are many benefits still. A lot of the time if I’m feeling touched out then I can explain that to him and he understands. Or at least he can be distracted with a fire engine.
It still comforts him when he is feeling extreme emotions, and let’s face it, he’s almost 3 so ALL his emotions are BIG.
This contrast of my breastfeeding journey, and that of many others, made me think of the fairly recent trend for beautiful milk bath nursing shoots.
This isn’t something we offer at Earthside, but our wonderful friends over at Dimples and Daisies do! And, YIKES, they are stunning!
And it’s a wonderful counterpoint to the sometimes more difficult aspects of breastfeeding. The beauty of the bond in contrast with the day to day realities of dealing with a nursling who wants to nurse all. The. Time.
Because both are true.
Both are honest.
And both make the journey worth taking.