I’ve been writing a lot about the emotional state that breastfeeding and pumping can leave you in, but it’s an emotional pendulum – which of course, swings both ways. I love nursing my babies. I yearn for the smell of my baby’s head. She smells like lavender.
Both my babies smell like lavender… because I use a lavender lotion on them haha! The smell is supposed to make you tired and calm. It enlivens me. I try to soak in lavender salts and bath bombs. None of it is relaxing because I often share my bath with BOTH a 3-year-old and 5-month-old, who I am nursing simultaneously while making sure no soap gets into the toddler’s eyes. But to me, that scent brings me back home.
It is said that breastfeeding releases oxytocin (the love hormone) into your system during the let-down of the milk. So, you are quite literally being filled with love when you nurse. Yes, breastfeeding is draining; yes, pumping can be stressful, but it is also beautiful, wonderful and happy. Don’t just take my word for it…
Kim and Sarah are married, and both have given birth. Wait until you read this amazing story that Kim shared: “My milk actually started coming in when he was born. We have lots of babies in our life and that has never happened with another child. It was an interesting experience to have that happen from the very beginning. I did the first skin-to-skin with Theo while Sarah was getting stitched up and recovering. I think it created an instant connection between us, not just spiritually and emotionally, but physically, which is why I think my body responded (like that).”
Thara, a yoga studio owner and model fondly looks back on nursing and the way it calmed not only her, but her life and her family. “A few weeks after I stopped breastfeeding my husband and I were sitting on the couch and he looked across at me and said, ‘You know what? I miss you breastfeeding.’ I was shocked for my husband to say that me, but he enjoyed the stillness it gave me. It forced me to sit down; it forced me to stop. Whereas now I am always moving; I am always doing something. I have to go somewhere, I have to clean up, have dishes I have to wash, I have to organize a closet, whatever it is, every moment I get free I find something to do. So, he kind of missed the stillness that it brought into our house.”
Lifestyle Influencer and CEO of @bloggerhousecurvycloset, Darlene, speaks about the way in which nursing gave her back the control that you sometimes lose when a tiny human comes into the world and knocks you off your axis. “As a new mom, with a new baby, you constantly wonder if she’s OK…but breastfeeding was the one thing I could control. I could give her everything of me, and that meant that she was satisfied, and she was happy, and she was well in that moment and that’s why it meant so much.”
Audra, a Photo Editor said, “I wanted them to be breastfed. It gives them the best nutrients, it’s good for their immune system, and it’s a beautiful way to bond with my babies. I feel like it’s a gift that I was excited to experience”
Now, of course, breastfeeding is not the end all, be all. It’s not always a given either. I feel really blessed I never had any trouble doing it. But my beautiful co-worker, Alex, had a hard time with keeping her supply up. “I’ve experienced both breastfeeding and bottle-feeding. I mean, it’s different for everybody. There definitely is a special bond when you can breastfeed, and when it’s great, it’s great – but when you’re anxious and stressing out about it, that stress transfers. So, at that point you’re just happy to see the baby eating.”
I want to leave you with some words from my boss’ mom, Annie, because at the end of day, this is the real mom truth about not only breastfeeding but finding what is right for you: “Women should be able to make choices for themselves without any pressure whatsoever. In this day and age women work; women work simply to provide for the children they are giving birth to.”
Make sure you see new episodes of our video series Real Mothers. Real Stories. Real Life.
Here’s to all the moms making it work! -Daina