Monday, August 1, 2011

A Bitter-Sweet Goodbye

Today I stored away my brest-friend. I had hoped that this day wouldn’t have come so soon, but that was not the case. My romance with breastfeeding actually has not always been a story of enchantment, tender love and bonding between my beloved baby and I. Actually, it started with much pain and tears as I previously shared with you. Thus, initially I really wanted the breastfeeding season with my son, if not BEING, to at least FEELING as short as possible. It was just so plain painful.  I am glad that I am telling you boldly and clear, because no one told me, therefore I wasn’t prepared. However, as many told me after the fact, and in the middle of my pain, it DID get better shortly after we got started. I must say though, that the breastfeeding experience varies from person to person. While for some women the cruising starts from the first day, for some others like me, you kind of go thru a shipwreck first, but then the cruising, and all the gratifying moments that go along with it.  So if you’re a future breastfeeding mommy, take hope, you can do it. You will never regret it regardless of whether you get an easy or harsh start. =)

Here, so you can see how big my little one is now..

This was at his big "1" birthday party

Some of you may be wondering what a brest-friend (BF) is right? My husband chuckles.  Well, it’s a sort of pillow that you strap around your wrist so that your baby can lay on it while he nurses and you love on each other. Other women use a “Boppy” which is very similar. I like the BF because of the back support feature. Whoever came up with the idea is a genius. And a good friend of mommies. Such a wonderful device! So many  tender memories laid on it! I remember Garrick’s face every time that he saw me taking hold of it. His face lit up, his eyes widened and his mouth would pour huge smiles. As he got bigger, he started lifting and shaking up his arms and legs, then sitting up and then rapidly standing up to the edge of the crib in anticipation. He knew it was that special time when he and mommy would nourish each other not only with milk, but with touch, song, hugs, books, beholding and many more wordless ways to let our loving bond strengthen and flourish.

Is that what you do with the piñata Papi?

I say, this is what you anything else, it's food!

One of my favorite memories, was when he would tell me “mommy, I’m satisfied” by his falling sleep on my bosom. How much I will cherish those moments! Of course you kind of have to fight to keep them awake at the beginning, so they take the calories they need. But once they learn to regulate their intake, you can relax and fully enjoy these moments. I remember that along with the struggle of getting my milk down, I had to decide the nursing style I would use. So many ideas out there, so many variables to take into account. Among the many feeding styles out there, the two most popular I learned about were the attachment parenting and the Parent directed feeding. I remember going nuts about all the technicalities of it. I was so afraid of doing it wrong! Until, I remembered that mothers thousands of years ago didn’t have any instruction manuals.  So I just gave in.  And, it wasn’t until then that I determined that a hybrid of the two, customized to our own needs, put together by my mothering instinct and wrapped up by my love was the best fit for us. How wonderful when I got to that point. I should confess though that I didn’t do it alone, the help of my husband and family was crucial. So was the support of my local breastfeeding club, including a lactation consultant and other mommies. I should also give credit to Jen from chronicling her nursing journey on her blog. As well as to Kelly mom, as reference site. So helpful! This was the process that took me to my cruising experience.

With Mami and Titi!
With my friends..easier to organize a herd of monkeys!

 That is why closing this chapter is such a bitter-sweet experience. As I said, I thought Garrick would breast feed for much longer. But he taught me- because sometimes our children are one of our best teachers in life- that it was not a decision that only mommy makes, but we make together. He just decided that one full year was enough, and it was time for him to stop. Just like that.  I don’t want to get into how much he enjoys eating “adult” food. Sometimes I wonder if he has a second stomach hidden somewhere. I even think that he would not shy away even from jalapenos!  =0O

Uhmm..more food..let's do it quick now that nobody is looking! =P

To be honest with you my heart was a little wrinkled by this sudden change. However, after a few days of meditating on it, I realize that this is the natural process of getting to know my beloved Garrick Jeremiah. One of my prime goals as mother is to help him discover his beautiful and unique design and how it works. He was preciously made, and maybe this change was part of his makeup.  Through this I have also been reminded that as many as the years ahead may still be, as countless memories our hearts expect to hold, and as much togetherness we expect our family to achieve; one day we will have to walk the hard road up to the top.  I will have to get my bow ready and shoot that arrow away into the horizon. I know it will be very difficult to see him fly away from the nest. But I am an archer apprentice after all.  What a privilege!

My Mami and I..
Look mami I can stand all on my own!
Mami, now I know my a,b,c' why don't you sing with me!

I know some of you may be saying “But it’s too early to think about that”. I say it is not. Because if I realize this early on, I would focus even more eagerly on enjoying my every moment with him and on equipping him as best as I can for that first flight.

So that’s why I want to bitter-sweetly celebrate this first step of my son towards independence with a very short poem I wrote for him. I hope you enjoy:

To my son Garrick Jeremiah,

 A Bitter Sweet Goodbye to Breastfeeding

The quiet embrace of your eyes drawing you in my heart,
You didn’t say a word, yet said it all.
You trusted me; you loved me by just laying your needs before me,
And nourished me, as the bee nourishes the flower.
Together we walked, and we danced thru a forest,
Echoing nocturne songs and the morning dew;
All while just sitting together,
Beholding each other.
How much I will treasure your gifts,
My dear, sweet babe,
Gratefulness is just not enough!
How much I like to call you mine,
Yet I know you are no so.
Indeed you are my sweet babe,
But above that, my Heavenly Father’s man,
And wholeheartedly we daily pray
One day soon, His son.

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