I knew long before I got pregnant with Lu that if I ever had one, I wanted to nurse my child, even as a teenager when I still had breasts (the primary source of my dysphoria at the time) it was something I thought about, but of course it was never of major importance. And now I have a precious little girl…seven years after top surgery, and I’m nursing/chestfeeding her. Let me tell you, it is hell some days as I don’t want to be bothered with the task, particularly when we are in public…but overall, I wouldn’t give up this experience for the world.
–Some background here, yes, I lactate, that is possible since it seems to confuse many people. Chestfeeding is a gender neutral term, same thing as breastfeeding & nursing.–
I’ve taken to logging and tracking Lu’s feedings since I started chestfeeding her. Things such as, is she having trouble latching, how long did she feed for, is my supply low, and if it’s hurting me on a scale of one to ten (the days directly after birth were off of that scale, I’m happy to report nothing past a 5 has been logged this month). It’s been such a helpful tool for me to normalize chestfeeding being a part of everyday life, despite the sometimes exceedingly uncomfortable circumstances like the flight to Disney where I had no bottles on me… but it’s otherwise been an amazing experience of bonding with Lu and embracing my postpartum body more and more each day. I’ve mentioned it once or twice that Lu is a rainbow baby, after my miscarriage I became a bit of a gym rat and worked out probably to the point where it was unhealthy, but at the time after losing Sprout I just felt like my body was useless, especially with the added weight. Working out was my way of adding value to myself and probably compensating for the baby that I never got to meet in some sense. However, now I’m able to see my body as valuable and of importance, extra weight and all (no matter how much I miss my six pack). And I truly have Lu and chestfeeding to thank for that, everyday I am able to provide for Lu in a way that no one else can. And while I don’t have a full supply for her it is still something I’d choose to do again in a heartbeat. The frustration of this factor still doesn’t detract from the intimate moments of nursing with Lu as I’m lucky to even have the opportunity.
I’m still on this journey, not sure how long I want to chestfeed for, unsure of how long I can even keep it up before Lu doesn’t need me anymore…but I am reveling in the priceless moments I get to spend with my daughter while chestfeeding where only she and I matter in that time & space.