10 Years of Breastfeeding

Yesterday my eldest turned ten. With 4 children who range from ten to 1 and having long term breastfed them all for at least 2 -3 years each, I realise I have been breastfeeding for the most part of ten years with only a few months off in between. It’s official, these boobs will never be the same, but I wouldn’t change it.

Back ten years ago when I was expecting our first I never imagined what would lie ahead. I knew I deeply wanted to breastfeed but I didn’t have any idea if this would be possible or how we would both take to it. I am thankful that all four babies found their way to the nipple pretty quickly, and I am deeply thankful for each and every feed I have given my babies during the last ten years. Sometimes it’s not been easy for sure and I realise that it doesn’t always work out for everyone. But with all of the parenting journeys, I believe in discovering what’s best for us as individuals as we are all unique in circumstances and every Mumma and baby is individual too. And I believe that if you really want to do something, that most of the time (and if you get the right support) you can.

There are of course times especially in the early days when the baby is small and you are both finding your flow when it’s not easy. Your boobs are huge and leaking everywhere and you just feel saggy and wet all the time. Engorgement, mastitis… all the glamours. And then you just sort of work it out together… Mumma and baby working together and learning together. In the early days I had all the bras and maternity clothes and aprons but these days if I’m honest I just hitch up whatever I’m wearing and I just feed my baby whenever she needs it. No matter where I am, and regardless of who I’m with. In my opinion, these boobs have one purpose, and what a gift to know that my body produces exactly what my baby needs. Without needing to sterilize and choose the right bottle or teet. It’s amazing that if my baby is unwell my body will pick up on what antibodies to produce in my milk. And regardless of the incredible nutrition (that can’t be matched with any formula) what about the comfort that it brings when she needs it…. you can’t beat it.

These boobs are the original and best ever dummy that you won’t lose or forget. Once again nature knows and has given us the best tools. What a privilege and an honour that we get this special time to connect and nurture our babies in this way. When those little hands stroke my chest and we gaze into each other’s eyes, I must admit that comfort is just as much for Mumma as it is for baby. That moment of stop, pause, slow, connect. My babies have most definitely been my greatest teachers.

As our youngest has just reached a year, and she may be our last, I intend to enjoy every boob time in the next year or so because I know all to soon this season will be over and this will be quite something to let go of for me personally. We will allow our bodies, intuition, and nature to guide us and we will both know when it is the right time. Even when we are no longer feeding I know I’ve given all four a really good start and I will hold these last ten years of boob and breast in my heart with such fondness and love.

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