Beyond Breastfeeding: The Bond

by Amanda Hearn · 7 comments

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I feel very blessed to have nursed all three of my children for varying lengths, but it is since my youngest has stopped nursing that I see something new and special… something unexpected in the bond beyond breastfeeding.

Gwyneth nursed for about 27 months and when she stopped nursing my breasts were not automatically “mine” again, much to my surprise. With my first two children they just sort of moved onto something else – case closed so to speak. Some 9 months now after breastfeeding, Gwenny still claims my breasts as her own and she will fight me if I say that they are mine.  She still prefers to fall asleep with her hand on my chest, and if she catches Daddy looking at them she will sometimes cover me up with my blanket and tell me that she is protecting me (or them?). I find it all comical and we play and laugh, but more than anything I am touched by the notion that my body is still her comfort. Though I am no longer providing her physical nourishment, I am still giving her emotional nourishment – much like a security blanket or favorite stuffed toy or doll. I was – and am – my daughters comfort and safety – that is amazing in every way I can possibly think of.

I talked to some friend months ago about this post and laughed about how I should title it something like “My Daughter Loves Boobs”, but then I thought that Gwenny might not like that one day. It’s true though. She does love boobs, or at least mine. She protects them and until recent months she would come up to hug me and go straight for the boobs – it was like I “Mommy” was just a third wheel at times. I was just lucky enough to be attached to said boobs. When she’s happy or sad she throws herself onto my lap and nuzzles her head into my chest as I wrap my arms around her and let her know that I am here for her.. supporting her.. comforting her.

Bonding is different for every parent and every child – but for Gwenny my breasts stand for love, comfort and security.  I cannot be more thankful for the experience of breastfeeding than I am when I think of my baby girl and the comfort, confidence and strong relationship that breastfeeding has helped foster for us.

I am also thankful for the support and guidance that I was given along my journey into motherhood. Breastfeeding is “natural” but without education, examples and guidance it can seem all but possible. Education matters and I am very blessed to have had women in my life to support me along the way.

Have you experienced something unexpected, or similar with your breastfeeding experience?

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Tara August 24, 2012 at 12:18 pm

I agree that breastfeeding can have challenges that really need good support and education to overcome. And I’m glad that we’ve stuck with it! Just a little shy of 1 year now and I’m so thankful we have this connection that helps us maintain our relationship, especially as my son is becoming such an independent toddler!

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Tiff November 26, 2012 at 10:32 am

I am not a mother yet, hoping for that in the next year or so, but I have a question out of curiosity. When did you start introducing “adult ” food to your little one? I grew up in a circle where they recommended not giving babies grains/wheat under a year. I totally agree as I have a lot of digestive issues due to gluten, and I understand that it is hard for their little systems to digest. And what did you start introducing?

I am of the opinion that breast milk is the best source until it no longer fully fills the belly or your milk dries out, but with no experience I had to ask. :) thanks

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Amanda January 3, 2013 at 9:17 pm

So sorry I didn’t see this sooner. I started allowing her to test foods when she began to show an actual interest in eating them. She was near a year. My middle daughter was about the same age when she started.

My personal thought is in line with yours, so long as baby is full and content with my milk I am happy to know that they have full nutrition in that. They may want to test foods earlier than they actually want to eat foods for nourishment, at least in my experience.

Danielle ( the comment below) is a wealth of knowledge and has offered some great insight.

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Danielle @ Esali Birth November 28, 2012 at 10:47 am

A baby’s digestive system matures somewhere around 6-9 months (every baby is different) to handle foods other than breastmilk. It is good to wait until baby can sit on their own, move their tounge to all folds of their mouth, as well as being at an age where their body is physically ready. Personally, I wait until my babies have teeth and then start giving them tastes of healthy foods – just what we eat (they’ve tasted your seasonings while gestating and through the breastmilk – so they’re interested in spices, herbs..etc. – most babies have no issues with those). My babies were almost exclusively breastfed until about a year and then they’re really interested in slowly replacing meals. For the first year, solids are about the taste/texture and learning the skill. Reaching for foods around 4-5 months is a developmental thing, and doesn’t mean they’re hungry – they’re just mimicking what you do. But, ultimately, I think its best to follow your instincts and ONLY offer healthy foods when you are offering solids. It is soooo easy to control what they eat when they’re little – make it healthy while you can!

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Danielle @ Esali Birth November 28, 2012 at 10:49 am

… your milk won’t dry out until you stop nursing (and then sometimes it still takes a few months).

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Chelsea May 11, 2013 at 6:44 pm

I love breastfeeding my son and want to do so as long as we can. I am a bit worried about our day care as after one year they no longer will give breast milk to the baby as it is “too fatty”.

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