As I sit on the eve of my sweet baby’s 2nd birthday, a thousand thoughts flash through my mind. How quickly the time has passed, how big he has gotten, and how our lives continue to grow and change shape, while being all the richer for having our baby boy in it. I often think about how breastfeeding has become so integral to our relationship, and the many ways it has evolved over the course of his life.

newborn nursing
We first met in September 2015

Newborn

I remember the heady, sleepless days of his babyhood. How he would nurse with vigour: constantly, incessantly, hungrily. It used to feel like I might never satisfy his need for milk, but still, we continued. Through tongue ties, vasospasm and mastitis (on Christmas Day!), breast milk seemed enough to get us through it all.

I remember the first time I nursed in public: the anxiety coursing through my veins, expectantly awaiting a rude comment. How funny, two years on, and we still have never received a wrong-word.

nursing under a blanket
Mama’s milk

I think about when, at 3 months old, breastfeeding had become ‘easy’ – the pain of the early days had ceased. And, I had begun to enjoy it more. It was then that I began to feel a strong passion for breastfeeding. How my initial goal of reaching a year had changed to getting to the WHO minimum recommendation of 2. Funny, now we’re there, and my goals have changed again. After all, children really do only get older a day at a time.

breastfeeding during a hospital stay
Through sickness and hospital stays

Changes

At 4 months, so began the sleep regression, which is ingrained in my mind, as a time straight from hell. I remember so vividly wondering whether I would ever sleep for more than 20 minutes again. But still, we continued to breastfeed.

At 6 months, with his first taste of food, I remember being worried that food might replace milk very quickly. I was wrong: my hungry boy seemed to have two separate stomachs – one for milk and one for food.

toddler nursing in crook of mother's arm
Comfort, nutrition

At 7 months, I recall how those first 4 front teeth burst through his gums, and how anticipant I was of being bitten. It rarely happened, and I laugh at my worries now as I nurse a toddler with all 20 of his baby teeth.

I remember, at 8 months old, I returned to work. I recall the devastating feeling of loss I carried with me as my engorged breasts swelled every time I thought of my son. The evenings brought with them reconnection; nursing sessions which lasted whole nights, that helped us to stay close despite our day time separation.

toddler nursing
The perfect connection

Into toddlerhood

I remember, we survived a nursing strike when he was one, following a nasty bout of hand, foot and mouth. How I cried at the thought of never nursing my little love again. The strike was brief, fleeting really, in the timeline of our journey, but oh so worrying. How would I ever have known that this would be the first of 3 nursing strikes (to date) and that we would overcome them all?

young toddler nursing
Little, yet determined

At 14 months, I recall how my gorgeous boy found his feet – and with the realization that he could run off, came a new-found air of independence. But still, we found ourselves nursing on, breast milk always the ever-still calm after the toddler-storm.

dangle feeding toddler
Sometimes breastfeeding looks like this

At 15 months came the language explosion, and I remember my initial embarrassment at my fierce, loud boy shouting ‘boobies mummy!’ at my chest at the top of his voice in the supermarket. Who would have thought that at two, I’d be engaging in public negotiations over when would be a good time to nurse, and how mid-hair cut might not be the best opportunity.

I remember how all the events, the big ones and the little ones, have been peppered by nursing sessions. Every day, every single day, for the past 2 years, I have breast fed my son.

‘And beyond’

As I sit here, on the eve of his second birthday, I cannot believe how far we’ve come, how important nursing is to our relationship. Yes, it’s changed: no longer is my boy a small, quiet, suckling babe in arms. More often, I am breastfeeding a child who sincerely wishes I could detach a boob so he could play and nurse. But, as the light draws in, sat in the comfort of our old, familiar nursing chair, I realize that although he’s grown, and will continue to grow and change and evolve, one thing remains the same for us: breastfeeding is important. Breastfeeding is pivotal to his childhood years. Mama milk keeps him growing: healthy and strong. It’s always been the same, and it always will.

toddler and mother breastfeeding under an umbrella
And then you were two
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Emily Lipscombe

Emily Lipscombe

Emily is a 20-something year old mama and teacher, living on the south coast of the UK with her husband and their toddler, balancing motherhood, family life and work (with varying degrees of success!) She writes about breastfeeding and parenting and everything else in between - check out her blog!
Emily Lipscombe

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