Before I had my first child a little less than a year ago, I knew that I would breast-feed. There would be no “giving it a try;” my baby would be breast-fed and that was that. Now that JD is almost 10 months old, we are still a nursing duo. He continues to get nutrition proportioned and formulated exactly for him, and I continue to get the satisfaction of knowing that I am doing what’s best for my baby. However, the reasons that I continue to breast-feed go way beyond nutrition and personal satisfaction.
Because my baby was born the same week my husband received a bone marrow transplant for acute myelogenous leukemia, his birth was much different than I had ever imagined. Our first days together were spent trekking from the 3rd floor maternity ward of a hospital several hundred miles from home to the 7th floor transplant ward to visit Daddy. The stress of caring for an infant was enhanced many times by my husband’s condition and the complications that arise from organ transplantation.
To help combat the stress I was feeling, absolutely nothing worked as well as a nursing session with my newborn. The hormones released in my body while nursing worked way better than a sedative ever could have. I truly believe that nursing helped me to survive the most stressful period of my life with my nerves in tact and my will strong.
My husband has fared quite well since his transplant, and life has gotten a little easier for us. Nursing still provides stress relief, but it also gives my baby and me time together that is meant only for us. It provides us both with the comfort of knowing that the other is safe and happy, and an intimacy that is unmatched with a bottle.
Being a mother has changed the very essence of my being. Before having JD, I was a wife, a daughter, a sister, an employee, an athlete, a friend. Now, I am a Mom. The first thing after waking, and the last thing before going to sleep is always “baby,” and nothing has cemented our mother-son relationship as strongly as the milk that flows from my breast, and the closeness that we feel because of it.
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