To continue my celebration of World Breastfeeding Week 2014 I am publishing 7 days of breastfeeding posts.
On the last day of World Breastfeeding Week I wrap up my 7 part blogging series on breastfeeding with the What Breastfeeding Means to Me post.
Since the topic is still so close, I am sure over time I will want to add to this list, but for the moment I say this.
To me breastfeeding has meant that I know that I have given my daughter the best that my body can provide for her.
Every day for 27 months we shared an experience that a child only gets once in their lifetime.
She got food, yes, but it was food enriched with my cells, my immunities, and a little taste of everything I tasted.
It means that she is a child that is 99% of her height for her age.
She towers over some 3 and 4 year olds on the playground.
She is about 50% of her weight for her age.
Unlike her overweight parents, she is exactly the weight she needs to be. She is muscular and strong. She has beautiful skin and hair and bright eyes. She has an attitude and knows what she wants in life.
She is independent. She really does prefer to do things for herself, and does not cling to mommy when we go out and experience the world. She keeps an eye out for me, but she is not afraid to explore the things we see together.
We got 27 months of close time while nursing. Even though there were some bottles in there after the first year, most of her meals were close to me, on my lap, lying next to me. Skin to skin and touching. This means she has a strong bond to me and I to her. It is not the same as a bottle. It is not just food.
Being an extended breastfeeder means we got to do something a little bit special. 25% of babies are not breastfed past a year. We are a small population. We worked hard to get here, every one of us, and we like to toot our horns a bit. Sorry. Someday I hope that will not be special. But I am doubtful. Prove me wrong!
Breastfeeding was something I wanted to do but really for the most part I did not enjoy it, especially the first year. I did it anyway. I did end up enjoying it and now I am sad that it is over. I am still processing all that.
Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I check to see if I still make milk, and HEY- even after a few weeks, there is still a little something there.
Sometimes I offer it to her, although she just gives me these weird looks like I am asking her to eat a turd. That makes me cry a little too. I guess I will stop that now..
As for now, I feel the sadness that for the first time since she was conceived, my body is back to being my body. Not supporting another person. Not feeding her from mybeing. Not growing her from my body.
I feel happy that I was able to take this journey and share it with her.
I also feel sad.