Several years ago when I first started nursing babies, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as World Breastfeeding Week, or The Great Latch On. I didn’t know there was an International Breastfeeding Symbol (pictured in the photo below).
I knew a few other people who nursed, on a schedule, pumping while they were at work, stopping at exactly six months. I watched my sister struggle tiredly to get her very sleepy 4 pound preemie to nurse. When I was pregnant, I asked her if I could see what it looked like when the baby latched on. My mom had nursed the three of us. This was about the extent of my knowledge.
I wasn’t prepared for her to drink her fill of the most perfect liquid in the world, formulated precisely for her growing body, and fall asleep contentedly at the breast. I wasn’t prepared for the ‘baby milk drunk’ as she would pass out, unlatch and milk would dribble out of her mouth as she would sigh happily. I wasn’t prepared for her to gaze up at me as she suckled, silently thanking me for the comfort, for the sustenance only I could provide. I wasn’t prepared for us to fall asleep together, her nestled safely in my side, smelling all those yummy-to-only-babies-armpit-pheromones. I wasn’t prepared for the depth and breadth of our breastfeeding relationship, the bonding it provided, the strength it gave to both of us.