A New Experience
From NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 19 No. 1, January-February 2002, p. 13
When my husband and I decided we were ready to have a baby of our own, I had been a public health nurse for seven years and was an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. I was very excited at the thought of breastfeeding my own baby, as I had witnessed, counseled, and supported many clients, friends, and families at breastfeeding over the years. All the knowledge in the world cannot prepare one for the overwhelming feelings that come with breastfeeding a baby. What an amazingly wonderful array of emotions it has brought to my life. No one could have told me that it would be this special.
After an uncomplicated labor, our baby was born with help from the caring and supportive hands of a midwife; my daughter was immediately put to the breast.
This closeness, this connection, this entirely unique experience is so hard to describe in words! It was as though absolutely nothing else mattered but this precious baby, this new family, and this nurturing feeding. My husband has been in awe and amazement of this wonderful relationship. He is so supportive and comforted in knowing our baby is happy and healthy by breastfeeding.
I had heard so much talk about the benefits of breastfeeding in terms of health but little about the emotional and spiritual benefits it brings to baby, mother, and father. There is much talk about the challenges breastfeeding families can face but little about the indescribable rewards of breastfeeding through difficult times. There's much talk about how a baby is doing physically, like weight gain and crying, but little about emotional well being.
I encourage all women who are breastfeeding or have breastfed their babies to talk openly about how breastfeeding has made them and their babies feel. I know my baby is happy and feels safe and secure. Watching my baby fall blissfully asleep at the breast while lying next to me in bed is a uniquely joyful experience. It is so satisfying and comforting to know she feels loved, safe, and cared for. She looks up and smiles and coos while breastfeeding and then goes back to the business of feeding, as if she is saying, "Thank you, Mommy. I'm so happy."
I hope all women who have breastfed, are breastfeeding, or are thinking about breastfeeding their babies will take a step back and realize the lifetime impact it will have on their families. I hope that like me, they will join the women who have experienced breastfeeding first hand and wouldn't trade this experience for the world!