Mind & Spirit

Breastfeeding: One mother's story

Author: Canadian Living

Mind & Spirit

Breastfeeding: One mother's story

This story was originally titled "Motherlode: The Next Breast Thing" in the February 2009 issue. Subscribe to Canadian Living today and never miss an issue!

I don't know what my boobs ever did before I had babies. They were barely-a-B-cup, hardly-a-handful mounds of flesh that wondered why they, unlike toes or teeth or nostrils, had no obvious purpose.


Bored and bitter beneath the red polyester lace of the latest super-duper pushup bra, they searched for the meaning of their existence. Trips to Europe did little to help them find themselves. Underwires only underlined their pain.

Then came Juliet. My beautiful brunette valentine wailed her way into our world on Feb. 14, 2004. She was seven pounds of magic – and hunger. When Juliet was five minutes old, the nurse helped her latch that impossibly tiny pink mouth onto my left breast. And the revolution of wonder began.

It wasn't easy in the beginning. My boobs and I, shocked by the sudden reality of this tiny human, didn't know what to do. On that first, endless night, I struggled through my exhausted stupor to calm and feed Juliet. I didn't know my clumsy attempts at latching would lead to something the nurses so eloquently called "nipple trauma."

Ouch.

By the time we brought Juliet home, my boobs were blooming more spectacularly than orchids in the rainforest. After 35 years of flat-out frustration, they had morphed into massively magnificent milk factories, swollen with warm, sweet sustenance just for Juliet. My daughter melted my mammary malaise. All at once, my boobs had a job.

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And what a job they did. The first months of motherhood taught me that there is nothing on earth like the awesome, overwhelming and oh-so-tender power of the breast.

I loved how a few minutes of nursing could turn my bawling babe into a sleeping cupid, her lips shining in a happy-as-a-drunken-sailor pucker. I loved the otherworldly warmth of it all, the exquisite closeness, the feeling that I was the unquestioned centre of Juliet's universe.

And, as I trudged and sighed my way through a mild postpartum depression, nursing Juliet saved me. Breast milk is perfect. Juliet loved it, and me. I knew that. And it made me strong.

Rock on, Mother Nature.

I had planned to nurse Juliet for six months, maybe a year, but it turned into two and a half unforgettable years. And as my outspoken fireball plans her fifth birthday party and learns to tap dance, I am nursing her sister, Sydney Rose, through the teething, tumbles and tantrums of toddlerhood.

I know. Some people think it's weird to breast-feed a child who can say a hundred words, go potty and fire fistfuls of spaghetti at the kitchen floor, but that doesn’t bother me anymore. My daughters and I do what works best for us. And when Sydney Rose gives me a gap-toothed smile and says "Mama, Mama-milk is yummy," nothing else matters.

Now, after more than 4,000 hours of stellar service to my family, my boobs are getting ready to close up shop. As that time approaches, I treasure this magical milk as if it were the last, sweet drops of my youth. When Sydney Rose nurses, I savour the silence, and her slumber, and the warmth of her little hand against my arm.

Heaven.

So, my boobs can retire happy, and revel in the red lace. They are fulfilled, knowing they've done a good job helping two spectacular girls begin their lives.

No. A perfect job.

Jennifer Power Scott, of Saint John, N.B., is a writer, jazz singer and self-appointed poster girl for lactational bliss.

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Breastfeeding: One mother's story

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