Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
Molly Weber, Dubuque, Iowa USA
I was eight when my little sister was born and I remember vividly being appalled by my mom breastfeeding her. It was gross, weird, and, from an eight-year-old’s perspective, something, frankly, that took too much of my mother’s time and attention—time and attention she was not giving to me.
Fast forward 18 years to when my son was born five weeks prematurely. As he was wheeled out to the NICU, a pump was wheeled in. The lactation consultant helped me attach all the foreign pieces and then took my precious ounce of colostrum to the NICU for my son to eat. As the hours passed, I realized that I was the only mom in the entire unit whose baby was not in her room. Pumping was the only thing I could do for my new baby whom I so desperately wanted to care for.
As his blood sugar and weight were closely monitored and ounces obsessively counted, I pumped and pumped. As the days grew longer, I pumped and pumped. When my precious baby finally got to come home (with the caveat that if he didn’t gain weight, he was going to be readmitted to the NICU), I pumped and pumped and obsessed over every tiny drop that went into his belly. For his entire first year of life, I obsessed in this way. I hated my pump, I hated the power that I allowed the scale to have over me, I hated that I couldn’t give myself the freedom to allow him to latch on because then I would have no way of knowing exactly how much he had consumed.
From bottle to breast
Eighteen months after that first day of motherhood, I delivered my second son. He arrived a week before his due date. This time, my baby roomed in. I panicked a bit when the lactation consultant suggested I try putting him to my breast. How in the world would I ever know he was actually eating? Thankfully, he latched on right away and, it seems, didn’t feel the need to unlatch for the next three months!
Those hours, days, weeks, and months were a blur. Liam is now eight months old. He much prefers breast milk to any other source of nutrition. He has a smile that takes over his entire face, loves to watch his big brother do anything, and really is one of the sweetest, happiest boys on earth.
Liam is now eight months old. He much prefers breast milk to any other source of nutrition.
People ask me daily if he would sleep better if he drank formula and ate more foods. Why would he? They ask me how long I intend to “keep this up?” As long as possible, I hope! The truth is, I love being a mother. I love being the one who has given my children the nutrition necessary for their survival.
The minutes, hours, days, ounces, and loss of sleep have all been worth those precious moments.