Ashley Williams and Garth (19 months)
When I was first pregnant in 2007 I remember a family member suggesting that using bottles of formula once baby came would help my husband bond with the baby. I remember the samples being sent from companies and the two cans of formula being given to me at the hospital.
I had my baby, I became a mother. A home visit a few weeks later, my doula asked if she could donate all the free formula I had to her local WIC and I truly believe that moment was pivotal for our successfully nursing, I say "successful" reluctantly as I, in no way find supplemental forms of nourishment a failure. I remember holding my brand new baby, the one who made me a mom and then I remember him latching on successfully. I remember the bond my husband and I shared with him waking with me to hand me a hungry baby and get me drink of water , a snack or a pillow or whatever support I needed.
I nursed my first son Michael until he was 22 months and I was in my second trimester with my second pregnancy.
My second son, Spaulding, I nursed for 30 months. I had nursing aversions with him for months before we weaned. I was almost resenting of it at times and found the support of nursing a toddler almost more important and meaningful than the much needed support and encouragement of nursing a newborn. I also in this time of my life learned how important it is to be empathic and non judgmental of my fellow peers with babies to feed.
My nursling in the image Ashlee Wells Jackson captured is my third son, my sweet Garth. Now the third time having little issues other than the first few weeks of "learning the ropes". We have been nursing for 19 months and although we nurse less and less we will wean gradually at a mutual pace until we are done.
Breastfeeding can be challenging even without issues such as tongue ties , inverted nipples, social stigmas and lack of support. Of all the benefits of breastfeeding, the most meaningful to me is that I have three boys who wouldn't bat an eye at a child being fed, whether it be by breast, by bottle or out of a cup. Because a hungry child is the only thing that should make someone uncomfortable.