I have been breastfeeding Lyddie now for over thirteen months.
She took to it right away.
As soon as I lifted her out of the birthing pool and placed her on my chest, she latched on and began feeding.
She hasn’t really eased up since!
I loved the early days of breastfeeding. Those long feeds provided a perfect excuse to recover and to rest. We would curl up in bed together, my computer, filled with seasons of The Newsroom, Downton Abby, and Orange Is The New Black, within reach. Content to retreat into our own world, we were only peripherally involved in the lives happening around us.
Now, although I may feed her while her brother jumps and plays around us, breastfeeding is still something that is uniquely ours. She is such an active, independent toddler. When she climbs into my arms, becoming quiet and calm, I always welcome her.
I fed Charlie for about ten months. At that point, my maternity leave was up. As it was time to return to work, I weaned him. I didn’t think I had any other choice.
I had planned to continue to breastfeed him in the mornings and at night but after a few long shifts without a break (so no food or water for eight hours…this was my naive choice, work would have supported me taking a break), my milk dried up and that was that.
I remember feeling disappointed that I hadn’t realised our last feed was in fact the last feed, although I don’t know what I would have done if I had known. But I also remember feeling that I was ready to reclaim a part of myself and reclaiming my body was a significant part of that process.
When Lyddie was ten months old, I was again preparing to head back to work. This time, I knew that I didn’t want to wean her. I knew she wasn’t ready. And I certainly wasn’t ready.
I wasn’t entirely sure how to manage breastfeeding on demand and working two days a week, but after a few phone calls to the Australian Breastfeeding Association, I decided to just keep feeding her exactly as I had been…that is, whenever I am around, she feeds whenever she needs to. As one of the helpful ABA volunteers pointed out, going a shift without feeding her is equivalent to her going without a feed because she has slept through the night (wouldn’t that be nice).
It seems to be working for us. The days I am at work, she simply eats solids. The days I am at home, she feeds regularly. I appreciate the periods of autonomy. But I also appreciate reuniting with her.
I am grateful that we still have a breastfeeding relationship.
I love that I am still able to nourish her and to soothe her.
I cherish those moments when I am comforting her most of all…she remains latched on well after she is finished feeding, her sticky hand pats my cheek, her chubby fingers play with my hair, somehow her toes wiggle near my ear.
I know these moments are numbered.
I am not in any hurry to reach the end.
This stunning necklace* was handcrafted by Tess of Monkey & Mum. Created with mothers in mind, Tess’s pieces of wearable art are vibrant and unique. As they are made with organic cotton, low impact water based dyes, and have no small parts, they are also perfect for babies to play with while feeding. And they are hand wash-able…so no need to worry if your baby decides to make your necklace their own (ahem, Lyddie).
I admire mothers who have an idea and continue to act until they have achieved. And Tess has done just that…she found inspiration and now she has found success. She was awarded silver at the 2015 National Ausmumpreneur People’s Choice Award. She has launched a second label, Sahasa, which allows her to partner with women in India and use fair trade to empower them to overcome gender inequality and poverty.
Of course you don’t have to be breastfeeding or even a mother to appreciate Tess’s work.
They simply are beautiful necklaces.
The fact that they are baby friendly is really just a bonus!
*It turns out that Tess is a friend of a friend.
Our mutual friend has a Monkey & Mum necklace that I had admired of a few occasions.
So when I got an email from Tess asking if I would feature her necklaces on the blog I said yes!
She generously sent me the Dotti necklace.
As an aside, Brisbane is such a small world!