ANA ROMERO ALONSO, CIGALES, spain
Translated by Soledad Etchemendy, Barcelona, Spain
Originally published November 2015, republished here with the express permission of the author.
I am a mother of two children born in 2007 and 2011. I want to tell you about my very atypical breastfeeding journey, a journey along a path parallel to that of most breastfeeding mothers.
I could not feed my own milk to my children. For me, this felt like the greatest defeat of my life. A vast and deep pain. Human milk cannot be compared to any other, and it can’t be replaced. At least that’s how I feel.
My grandmother breastfed children from the post-war orphanages. My mother has milk-siblings who see her as a real sister. My mother has herself breastfed her own six children, and my sisters have all breastfed my nieces and nephews even up to the age of three.
But life denied me that privilege. So with a heavy heart I decided to offer them the other kind of nourishment my breasts can offer: love.
I fed my children with a bottle from the very first day, but I did it against my bare breasts. They could touch, feel, and smell my body. And they could suckle, too, of course. They have known my bosom as a refuge as much as any breastfed baby. My son, who is now four, still looks for my breast, suckles, and plays. Both of my children still love mommy’s boobies. Each has their own. Because, contrary to what most children do, when mine outgrew the bottle, they grew more attached to my breast!
Bonding and love
It is clear as day that breastfeeding is not just about the milk …
For me, it’s been a great comfort to experience all this. And I think it’s provided a lot to my children as well, mostly during their first months of life, when they still behaved much as they did inside my womb. To offer a bottle far from the warmth of a mother’s body and the beat of her heart, which was with them throughout all those months, is only to feed half way.
I encourage every mother in my situation to try and see the amazing response of your children, most of all as they grow up. It is your body, but it is also a little bit theirs. Your baby will thank you for it.
One of the most beautiful moments of my life as a mother was when I asked my daughter, “What does mommy’s boobie taste like?” And she answered, “Like mommy, it tastes like mommy!” Wonderful, isn’t it?