For National Breastfeeding Month, Grok Nation is running a series about nursing by our founder, Mayim Bialik, who is a Certified Lactation Educator Counselor (CLEC). For her past posts full of tips, tricks and advice, click here.
What I miss about breastfeeding can’t really be put into words, I don’t think. But I will try.
I miss being powerful enough to fix a skinned knee, a hurt feeling, and hunger with nothing more than breastmilk.
I miss watching my children get everything they need from me and my resources.
I miss the way a child holds your hand, your earlobe, that strand of hair that falls in your face while they nurse.
I miss the true and profound connection you have with the person you are sustaining with your body: You can look him in the eye and he knows you are feeding him and loving him this way and you know he knows it and it’s an unbelievable feeling.
I miss the things my sons would say about breastfeeding. They were simple utterances: “Nummies now.” “This one empty. Other side.” “I love nummies.”
I miss it all because now it’s different.
Skinned knees get me pushed away; no 10 or 12 year old wants to be seen being cuddled by his mom in public.
Hurt feelings are now things we discuss quickly; they don’t want to hover over emotions like I do. Sometimes they even ask to be left alone when they are hurt. And I have to let them.
Hunger is satisfied with food that is hopefully nutritious but many times is not as nutritious as I wish it were. Breastmilk was always the perfect food.
My children seek their needs elsewhere now. They need me, but not the same way. They need video games and YouTube videos. They don’t hold me like they used to.
They know they were nursed a very long time. FirstBorn teases Little Man sometimes for going almost five years. I remind him that he nursed well past a lot of people’s comfort level as well. And he smiles.
My sons know there is nothing like that connection we had, even if we don’t have it any more. I wonder if they remember me being frustrated with an email or their father or even them while nursing sometimes. Was it in Like Water for Chocolate and would my frustration get passed on to them through my milk?
I don’t know. What I do know is I worked incredibly hard to be able to breastfeed. The women of La Leche League came to my house and helped me as I cried. I fought hard to have this relationship, and I am so grateful I did.
I would not have had it any other way.