Breastfeeding World’s Winter Breastfeeding Shoot captured the natural bond between mother and child beautifully.
Each mother and each child at our shoot had a unique and special story to tell. Tahwii shared with us the birth of her son and how she learned to trust her body, and to trust her baby through their journey together.
One of my first memories of breastfeeding occurred shortly after my brother was born.
I witnessed my mother breastfeeding and as many young children do, I mimicked her by breastfeeding my stuffed animals. I recall borrowing her nursing bras and using stacking toys with nipple shaped heads as my “breast”. When my own son was born I soon found out that breastfeeding was not quite as easy with a real baby.
Early on in our pregnancy we decided upon a planned homebirth under the care of a midwife. I wanted to experience the magical symphony of hormones that rush through your body during and after childbirth. As a former doula, I learned that labor & delivery drugs can often have a negative impact on breastfeeding and this played an integral part in our decision to go the natural childbirth route.
Our son arrived five days after his “due date” peacefully at home.
We couldn’t have asked for a more amazing experience. He was so tiny at just 5lbs 7oz with big hands, feet, and the hugest dimple. Once settled, I placed him on my belly to do the breast crawl. My husband didn’t believe that newborns were capable of such a thing, but sure enough this tiny guy made his way to my left breast. He crawled and threw his head over in the direction he wanted, pausing every so often to put his hands in his mouth. I was such a proud new momma in this moment, as I couldn’t believe my own eyes either. Our birth photographer was able to capture every moment as we all cheered him on. Finally, he latched right on and just stared into my eyes.
We gazed like this literally for days afterwards.
My brother later told me that my son stared at me as if I was his everything. We spent three days in our bedroom and despite some breastfeeding struggles it was completely magical. We napped under the sunlight coming from the window, spent hours doing skin to skin, and enjoyed meals together in bed. During this time we limited visitors to the house which made the time together even more special, but also allowed us to get the hang of breastfeeding without interruption.
It seemed as the hours, nights, and days went by things got pretty confusing.
I kept reminding myself to put him belly to belly, make sure he had a wide mouth, and to tuck my breast back a bit so I wouldn’t suffocate him. Breastfeeding by day seemed to be a breeze, however the nights were the toughest. I was never confident that I was doing anything properly, but found some comfort in tracking his wet and dirty diapers.
My milk came in on day four, one moment I’m watching TV and the next my breasts are as hard as rocks! Soon thereafter I noticed that my breast tissue seemed to turn into mashed potatoes, I no longer had anything to grasp when I tried to tickle his lips with my breast to get him to open. It was literally nipple and stretchy skin. I also struggled with the fact that I could never feel my milk let down. Thankfully, a visit with a lactation consultant eased my worries. My son had a great latch, we could hear him swallowing, and he was gaining weight. The nurse comforted me and let me know that all of my breastfeeding experiences were indeed normal.
In the months that followed I was a bit shocked at the dedication required to breastfeed.
I stayed home with him- and when I did return to work a few hours a week, he came along with me. I couldn’t bare the thought of parting with him. We probably haven’t spent more than a total of 15 hours away from each other since his birth. Since we have always been together I’ve only pumped a handful of times. So I feel as though my body has been able to more naturally regulate supply for him. I have experienced the occasional clogged duct, but I’m thankful that I have never experienced sore or cracked nipples. Moreover, breastfeeding has never been a painful experience for me.
I love the closeness that we have and that he is so easily comforted when I offer him the breast.
At times life can get so hectic, but breastfeeding has allowed me to take time to sit and just be. I love holding him in my arms and watching him look back up at me with a huge grin while still holding on. I don’t think I will ever forget those big beautiful eyes looking back at me the way he does. At times it’s frustrating especially when I want him to get some rest, but as soon as he falls asleep I find myself still holding him, kissing him, and playing with his hair.
I plan to let him naturally wean himself off with hopes to make it to two years at least. With each month that passes by, I know that we are getting closer to the day he will no longer want to nurse. I had no idea thoughts of no longer breastfeeding could be so emotional, the irrational side of me fears we will lose a bit of our closeness and time for just the two of us. Despite what may happen when that time comes I feel so fortunate to have provided him with the benefits of breastfeeding that will last beyond the time he decides to stop.
Looking back on the past 16 months, I realize that during the tough times in the beginning I was analyzing every single detail to make sure I was doing it “right”, when in fact he was doing it right and I was interfering.
My son was a natural and we never had any red flags that we were in fact having trouble. My breastfeeding journey has certainly taught me to trust myself, trust my body, and trust my baby.
Tahwii Spicer is the owner of Simply Natural Baby Store- the eco-friendly, plastic-free baby store which aims is to provide safe, natural, solutions for conscious parents in the form of toys, baby products, baby gear, and much more!
She has a background in sleep medicine with credentials from the Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. However, after almost a decade in the sleep field, she chose to follow her passions and let her instincts guide the way to take part in what she often refers to as, “The Best Thing Ever,” working with new and expectant parents. Tahwii’s holistic credentials include being a Hypnobabies® Childbirth Hypnosis Doula, Level II Reiki Practitioner, and Certified Educator of Infant Massage.
She has been featured in Pregnancy & Newborn magazine, Holistic Patenting magazine, and Indianapolis’s Fox59 News. Tahwii is the mother of two
and has had her own wonderful experiences with home birth and
About the Breastfeeding World Photographer:
Jennifer Effinger is the proud mother of Kellan (2 years old). She Currently lives in Greenfield, Indiana. Her Photography Company, Quite Dandy, focuses on Lifestyle, Natural Light photography. She loves capturing genuine interactions, and specializes in children, families, breastfeeding, and births. She is excited to Join the Breastfeeding World Team as a Photographer because she loves capturing the interactions of childhood, and what is more precious than the bond between mother and child?
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