I know that breastfeeding is the best start I could give you. I have read all the studies and I know all the benefits. But the most important thing is that I feed you — *what* I feed you is secondary. You need more than I can provide with breastfeeding, and I don’t mean the milk. You need for me to not cry in pain over you while you nurse. You need me to be focusing on your first smile, your first time playing with a toy, not focusing on what time you latched on, and how many times you suck to each swallow. It’s time for us to start our relationship over, one that doesn’t involve resentment and feeling like a failure, a relationship that lets me look down on you with love as you eat.
You see, of all the benefits of breastfeeding, my favorite has always been those wonderful bonding moments of looking into the eyes of my child at my breast, seeking nourishment from me. You will be next to my breast, and your nourishment will come from a bottle, but I will gaze into your eyes just the same. I will hold you against my skin, and whisper love-words as you grow on what I am able to provide you. I will not prop your bottle and go about other business while you feed, but instead I will nourish your mind and heart as I nourish your body. I love you and want the best for you, and the best thing for you is a mommy who looks forward to and cherishes every moment with you.
Dear Noah and Catie,
I’m sorry that Mommy hasn’t been much fun lately. I’ve been spending all my time worrying about Drew getting all his food to be bigger and stronger, and I haven’t been playing enough with you guys! I’m so proud of how much you understand, and how you know that sometimes you need to play quietly together so Mommy can take care of Drew! But you know what? Mommy misses playing games with you and reading books to you all the time! I still need to take some quiet time with Drew, but I think we can start sneaking in a few more games and stories. Who’s up for Cootie?!?
I cannot begin to express what your support has meant to me over the last weeks. I know that it’s been hard for you to see me stressed, exhausted, in pain, and frustrated. I love that you’ve done everything possible to alleviate all my other duties so that I could explore every possibility of establishing nursing well for the baby. I truly appreciate all the listening, hugs, meals, cleaning, entertaining the kids, holding the baby so I could sleep, and everything else you’ve done to keep me from losing my sanity over the last weeks. I know I always would have wondered “what if”, if I hadn’t tried everything, and you made it possible for me to keep trying and to fight every set-back. Thank you for providing every kind of support that I’ve needed — I love you.
It’s okay. You can rest now. You’ve done enough. Now it is time to just enjoy your baby.
Mother, Mommy, Wife, Kelly