Breastfeeding and Bonding

Emily Elling

Posted By: Emily Elling

Emily Elling lives downtown Indianapolis with her husband of 10 years and her four unintentionally hilarious children, Piper, 7, Nola, 5, Gage, 2, and baby Paul, born January 2012.

Before I had children, I don't think I really gave breastfeeding much thought. I always just assumed that I was going to do it. Growing up, I was the eldest of 4 daughters, and I was raised watching my mom breastfeed my baby sisters. Looking back, I honestly never remember seeing my siblings get a bottle (not that bottles are bad, I just don't remember). My mom was a dedicated breast feeder, and still to this day I can conjure up images of her sitting on the sofa feeding my sisters.

During my pregnancy, my husband and I took a prenatal breastfeeding class being offered by my doctor’s office. I must admit that I was floored at all the different positions, tips and techniques I was taught throughout the class. For the first time ever, I left worried that I might breastfeed my child "wrong", and that breastfeeding might not work out for me. I was left to wonder how my mom made it look so effortless.

Fortunately, breastfeeding worked out just fine for me. And truth be told, I've had my fair share of hiccups in the road (for instance, I'm currently dealing with what I think is a clogged milk duct), but have always been able to work through each experience and issue with a little determination and patience. I understand and am sensitive to the fact that so many women, so many of my close friends, have not been able to breastfeed for one reason or another.  Breastfeeding is awesome and a blessing, but by no way defines a mother.

Over the course of breastfeeding 4 babies, one of the things that I've really grown to love and appreciate about breastfeeding is that I'm the only one that can feed Paul. Sure, some women might see this as a negative, but I honestly adore it. I'm a work from home mom, and Paul is always with or near me, so the relationship has worked out really great for us.

For instance, the first few weeks of Paul's life, we had a lot of friends and family (both in town and out of town) come visit us. Naturally, everybody wanted to hold the new baby, and I don't blame them one single bit. But being the new mom, I too craved to hold the baby. I was always so glad that when he would start rooting and whimpering to be fed, because I knew he would be handed back to me. Breastfeeding means that I am the only one that could meet his needs.

It's cliche and true, but babies grow up way too fast. And while it sometimes feels like a burden to stop what I'm doing to feed him every 2-3 hours, it provides a moment to pause, sit in the quite moment of the now, and bond with him. I remind myself daily that right here, right now, he will never need me more than he does right now.

9:01am on Thursday April 12
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