Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Nursing... Who Knew

My sister, Annie, loves to do this thing were she compares our family with characters from books or movies, or even real life celebrities. The latest is The Kardashians. I don't really know the one from the other, but according to her, I'm Kourtney. You know why? Because, according to Annie, "she just whips out her boobs and feeds her children anywhere - just like you".

Nursing. What a beautiful, amazing, awkward, mindset-changing thing. Even before my kids were conceived I knew I wanted to nurse my babies. More than anything it just seemed like the right thing. Like having natural birth (well, we all know how that turned out). And in my pursuit of excellence, I was going to nurse my babies.

Ashleigh beat me to getting married and having kids, so much of what I saw during my non-mothering years, and then replicated later in my mothering years, was based on what I learnt from her. She nursed Jorja until she was two years told. I remember feeling a little conflicted: without context two years seemed like quite old an age to still be nursing, but being there every step of the way, and experiencing Jorja's self-weaning, made it seem very natural. By the time I fell pregnant with Zac I was convinced that I would also try to nurse until he was two.

Fast forward four years since Zac was born. I am still nursing. Granted, I'm not still nursing Zac, but then truth be told, he only stopped on his fourth birthday. In between that I fell pregnant with Sam. I nursed Sam. I nursed Zac and Sam in an period of what can only be described as mad exhaustion. And then I nursed just Sam. I counted the other day. This month marks 51 months of continuous nursing!

So back to the beautiful, amazing, awkward, mindset-changing qualities of nursing. Putting aside the physiology of engorged breast and cracked nipples, being touched-out, and not being able to sleep on your stomach for months... This journey of nursing my boys has changed me. In some ways, it's really made me find my chill. I can hardly believe that I allowed Zac four years to determine his own weaning time. It has also made me brave. You can now find previously-rather-conservative-me happily nursing, in public if necessary (modestly, of course) - in the face of a fair share of criticism and ridicule.

Without sounding like nursing is the be all and end all of everything (it's not), and without any judgement for mamas who don't/didn't nurse: for me, nursing has been an experience second to none that has afforded me an incredible bond with my boys, and allowed me to really embrace my womanhood and motherhood. Quite honestly: I wonder what will become of me when Sam decides he no longer wants to nurse. Perhaps I'll be granted some grace, and someone new to take his place...

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