It's coming to an end and it's so bittersweet. For the last year, I have been the main source of Henley's nutrition. I have provided her with everything she needed for the first six months exclusively. It is now coming to an end. While I am super excited to have my body back, I am extremely mourning the end of this relationship. The end of lying in bed nursing her while snuggling so sweetly. The end of nursing her while rocking with lullabies playing in the background. The end of her rubbing me as she nurses so sweetly.
I wasn't one of those people who always knew they would breastfeed. My mom never did it and it wasn't something I gave much thought to. Over the last 10 years or so, I have really become more conscious of what I am consuming and putting into my body and with this conscientiousness, I have learned that nature really knows what it's doing. When I got pregnant, I knew I wanted to breastfeed and started educating myself right away. I read articles and blogs, discussed with friends, and took a class at the hospital. All of these were instrumental in preparing me for the journey I was about to begin with Henley.
When Henley was born, I was lucky enough to be able to have immediately skin to skin contact. I held her in my arms for a full hour (God bless my husband for giving me that time!). She latched immediately and nursed for a good thirty minutes or so. From then on this bond was created.
When we were in the hospital she nursed every one to two hours and continued this at home. Sometimes in those first few weeks she would nurse for 30 minutes straight every 45 minutes. It was exhausting, tiring, and at times painful. I worried she wasn't getting enough, wasn't gaining weigh fast enough, was overeating...actually I just worried. Being a first time mom brings so many unknowns but I have learned that mama's usually know what is best.
Henley nursed steadily every two hours until she was about nine months old. She almost always wakes one to two times a night still to nurse and nurses (almost) to sleep every night. She loves it!
As I rocked her tonight as she nursed, I kept thinking how crazy this life is and how fast it goes. She will be one in two weeks and I know I will look back on this last year with love, pride, and awe thinking how blessed I am to have been able to do this with my daughter as long as I did. Not everyone has this chance and I am so appreciative that I did. I truly love being a mom---it is definitely what I was meant to do!