Let Your Body Be The Place of Comfort

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Most moms and babies, if given time, good info, and tons of support, can overcome breastfeeding obstacles they might encounter in the first few weeks.  In very rare cases, breastfeeding doesn’t work out despite a mom’s best efforts (reasons may include a medical condition for either mom or baby, or a baby who refuses the breast and can’t be wooed back).   Still other mothers choose not to breastfeed for various reasons — and these reasons are often complicated, multi-layered, and truly not anyone’s business to judge.

When I encounter a mother who can’t breastfeed or has to wean in an untimely manner, I always tell her that breastfeeding, for me, is about love more than anything else, and that she will find her way to express and exchange this love with her baby.

I was thinking about this a little more. What do I mean by this — what does breastfeeding teach me about loving my children?

I realized — it’s all about touch.  Each time they come to me to nurse, they smell me, hear my heart beat, hear my voice vibrating, touch my hair.

Each time I feed them, I am simultaneously nurturing them.  Almost all nursing mothers have had that moment when a fussy baby latches on and lets out a big sigh of relief — not just to be eating, but also to be soothed.

Each time I nurse my babies, I am required to be in close physical contact with them, holding them, skin against skin. There is no option of feeding them in a baby seat, car seat, etc.

Anyone who nurses beyond the first few months learns that breastfeeding is much more than simply nourishment.  You, your body, your breasts — all become a place of comfort and solace for your child.  Instead of looking for a blanket, a pacifier, a toy, your child comes to YOU.  Your child learns that people are where to find comfort, not things.  Even if your child uses a comfort object eventually, this lesson of finding comfort in the arms of a caregiver runs deep.

So for the mother who can’t nurse, let your body be the place of comfort.

Bottle feed your baby in your arms, against your skin, even against your breasts.  If you choose to use a pacifier, hold your baby while she sucks on it.  Teach him to come to you when he needs to be soothed.  Get a sling, a wrap.  Walk with your baby.  Sleep with your baby, at least sometimes.  Go with your instincts.  Do your best.  Find a group of like-minded moms.  Shut out the naysayers.

Hold your baby.   Hold your baby.  You can’t hold her too much.  I promise.

5 thoughts on “Let Your Body Be The Place of Comfort

  1. Dear Wendy,

    Thank you for this beautiful post!

    I would like to ask your opinion on something breastfeeding related. My daughter is 14 months old now, I have breastfed her on demand since birth.

    At six month old, as recommended by the pediatritian we started to introduce other food. She was eating fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, etc. Fruits were always her favourites bur ate from the rest too. At about 12 months from one day to the other (literally, one day she ate quite a lot of pure and from the next she did not want to try any more) she started to refuse food (except breastmilk of course and fruits). We thought she just doesn’t want more pure (the fruits she was already eating chewing them not in pure) but it was noy that. Since then she does not want to try any vegetables or meat or fish or eggs. She takes fruits, she likes cheese (we eat goat and sheep only no cow) and yogur from goat milk. She would also take a small sandwich with some cooked jam and tries happily anything that I bake. As I still breastfeed her o demand I think she eats enough but everyone around me says I should force her to eat the “usual’ things. The pediatritian thinks breastfeeding at this age is not important any more so I can get no help from there. Personally I think she develops well and I do not think she lost any weight since she changed her diet, I think she even gained weight. Apart from the

    • Sorry it wasn’ yet finished…
      Apart from the breastmilk she takes some cheese in the morning, later a banana, at lunchtime I give her some fruits then later in the afternoon a little sandwich and fruits again for dinner. None of these in big quantity of course.

      I think this is enough but nobody around me thinks the same and also they think I should not breastfeed any more but I want to continue at least another year if my daughter wants too.

      What is your opinion?
      Thank you in advance
      Edit

      • Hi there! I was just thinking of writing about toddler breastmilk and nutrition! First, it is totally normal for toddler to be a little fussy about what they want to eat, and have days they eat a lot and days they eat less. As long as you are offering her healthy choices, let her pick and choose right now. If she is gaining and thriving, you are doing great! It is NOT TRUE that breastmilk has no nutritional value after 12 months. In fact, it has quite a bit, and does a good job filling in the gaps when a baby is fussy with solids. Here is a good fact sheet about that (scroll down to see a nutritional breakdown of breastmilk for 12-24 month olds): http://kellymom.com/ages/older-infant/ebf-benefits/. I hope that answers your question. Feel free to contact me off-line, if you wish (WendyWisner@aol.com).

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