by guest blogger, Deanna Cogdon Miller
About a week ago I nursed for the last time. The last time ever. Even a week later, as I write those words on paper, I can feel the emotion rising inside of me, threatening to flow out of my eyes like a raging river.
It really is the end of an era. I've basically been pregnant or nursing since 2006 so for the first time in about six years my body is my own. The baby years are now behind us and as excited as I am for the future, saying goodbye to this stage of life does cause me to gasp for air a little.
It's no secret that I have loved nursing. I realize it doesn't always come easily and that it's not for everyone but for me, I wouldn't have had it any other way. In addition to knowing that my body was providing the kids with everything they needed to survive, I cherished all of the tender moments and memories that have gone along with it.
It's not all sunshine and roses though. As a nursing Mom it's all on you in the early days so there's a lot of work and pressure that comes along with that. Then there's thrush, mastitis, cracked nipples, leaking, pumping and the dreaded biting. I had many moments where I felt like I just needed some time off and until the kids were well established with bottles (which our third never was), a day or a night to myself wasn't even a choice.
Despite this, there was never any question in my mind that if I could do it, I was going to do it. From those first moments when I realized a baby will find their way to their source of nourishment if placed on your chest, I was fascinated by nursing. When our first daughter stared into my eyes and brought her little hand up to touch my face as she nursed, I was hooked. I've cherished the skin to skin contact, the coos of delight that come from them as they eat and all of the time that I've had to just sit, cuddle and soak in every tiny detail about the incredible little person feeding in my arms. Our first daughter always played with my hair, our second daughter always held my hand and our son would always look at me and nurse with a smile on his face.
Stroking their heads, rubbing their cheeks, their tiny fingers wrapping around mine, kissing their hands – the warmth and constant touching while breastfeeding filled my heart and thinking about it will continue to do so for the rest of my life.
Deanna lives in Dartmouth with her husband and three children. When she's not reading stories, dancing to ABBA or burping a baby, she works in communications for Bell Aliant.