The lasting benefits of breastfeeding

I miss breastfeeding my daughter. Maybe that’s why I’ve chose to start a career in lactation; not only do I simply want to be around nursing mothers, I want to help other women have the same sort of positive breastfeeding experience that I had. Nursing my girl was something I wasn’t ready to let go of for two and a half years.

I’m fortunate to spend a lot of time around my sister and her 9 month old son. They are rockstars and are still nursing on demand. Seeing them connect through nursing makes me wistful for the breastfeeding years with my daughter. My sister is meeting my nephew’s needs in this really awesome way. I found myself today, after spending the day with them, longing for that breastfeeding relationship again with my daughter.

But I realized that the breastfeeding relationship you establish continues past the days that you actually spend nursing together. Each time my daughter curls up in my lap for a snuggle, we connect, just as we did while nursing. Every time she brings a book over and melts into my side to listen to me read, I get to hold her, just as we did while breastfeeding. And when she continues to seek me out when she’s feeling tired, or overstimulated, or is in pain, I know that I continue to be a comforting presence for my daughter.

I don’t need the act of nursing anymore to give my daughter what she needs. The benefits we’ve reaped from our nursing relationship – connection, love, support – didn’t end when I stopped nourishing her with breast milk. What we gained from breastfeeding will continue to feed our relationship, always.

Photo credit C.Allard
Photo credit C.Allard

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