Mothering Defined by Nursing

Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe’s Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today’s post is about mothering through breastfeeding. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!


Nothing has defined my mothering so much as nursing my baby. I had a difficult pregnancy, plagued by feelings of guilt as an unwed mother at 19, then developing complications that led to 8 weeks of bed rest and preterm labor. Throughout my pregnancy, I felt separated from my baby. I felt like there was a wall between us- a wall that no kick or flutter could get through. I couldn’t connect with her emotionally- I was too frightened that she would be taken from me to truly embrace her before I could hold her.

When she was born, I reached down to pull her into the world. As soon as I touched her warm, slick skin, something changed. The wall disappeared, and I suddenly knew what motherly love was. Knowing how much she needed me and how much only I could give to her. I cut her cord myself, and soon afterwards, she found her way to my breast, and she’s been there ever since. Before she was born, I was afraid she would need more than I could give her—but as soon as I saw her nurse, I knew that I could give her everything she needed, everything she wanted. I knew she needed me, her mother. I knew she wanted to be here with me. I knew that this tiny baby didn’t care about bank accounts or material things. All she needed in the world was me, and milk, and warmth, and love. If my pregnancy had been about fear, nursing was about love. Nursing was a delicate dance between us—she nursed and I gave her milk; she nursed and relieved my swollen breasts. Nursing was about giving of myself – giving her something that no one else could.

In the first two days, I realized as every new mother does, just how fast the time goes. How quickly you forget the pain of childbirth, and how bittersweet it is to not feel those baby kicks inside you anymore. How soon it is until they start to smile, to laugh, to crawl. How soon before they can tell you they love you back. Nursing gives us the strongest connection I can imagine having- one that we may have lacked while I carried her, but is just as strong at two years as it was the day she was born. It is a link back to those blessed early days. When I hold her as she nurses to sleep in my arms, her hands no longer pudgy and baby-like but slender and delicate, her eyes now a vibrant green instead of hazy blue, I know that she needs me as much as she ever did. She needs looking after. She needs help to get through the world. She needs mothering. She needs nursing. Nursing is so much more than breastfeeding- it’s more than how and what she eats. It calms her when she’s overwhelmed. It soothes her when she hurts. It comforts her when she’s lonely. It’s her constant, her cornerstone. No pacifier, no baby blanket, no stuffed animal can provide the kind of security that a mother can. There is no substitute for motherly love, and there is no substitute for nursing.

Every mother has the right to this kind of relationship that I’ve enjoyed so much, and that my daughter continues to benefit from. Every mother and every child deserves support from their families, their employers, the medical community, and the rest of the world in nurturing that relationship. Health of every kind begins in the womb, and the foundations for a healthy life are laid down in infancy. The caretaking of women and children is fundamental for changing our culture—if their needs are not met, no one’s else’s needs may be. Families are the basis of our society. It is through the children they raise that change begins to be seen in the world. Part of that change is valuing the breastfeeding relationship and all that it offers to children, their mothers, and the difference it makes in their lives.

Today’s guest post is from Katherine Anderson. She is the mother of a two and a half year old girl, Gwendolynn Rose. She moved to Utah from San Antonio, Texas in 2007. She has been active in breastfeeding advocacy and support since my pregnancy, and is working towards becoming an IBCLC.


Here are more posts by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.

1 Comment

Filed under Mothering through Breastfeeding

One response to “Mothering Defined by Nursing

  1. beautiful story. nothing like those wonderful nursing hormones! <3

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