Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival: How Breastfeeding Changed My Life

breastfeedingcafecarnivalWelcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of the Breastfeeding Cafe’s Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today’s post is about the long-term benefits of breastfeeding. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th-31st!

It’s so hard for me to separate breastfeeding from parenting in general. I can tell you that both practices totally kicked my ass in 2009 when my screaming, red-headed Miles made his dramatic appearance into our lives.

If you’ve got a child, you might remember how little you knew about having a child when you first became a parent. I mean, my life wasn’t really going to change! I was going to just carry on whatever I was doing before, just with a tiny sidekick. I can tell you that I was flattened by the impact of how much my newborn needed me. The intensity of his need for us was shocking. I mean, we had to keep him alive! Newborns have a ton of needs. For our family, breastfeeding was and is very much a team effort. It has to be–how could I possibly do all the nursing our baby wanted and still do all the other things necessary to take care of our family? breastfeedingpublic_cover.jpg

Eventually, we sort of surrendered our idea of what we thought should be happening and followed Miles’ cues. Generally, this meant breastfeeding him, although sometimes I got a break and he just needed a diaper change or a bath. But whew! Did he ever need me and my milk.

I suppose if we’d chosen to use formula we could have been less integral to the process of nurturing our baby as a wee squish. If someone else could’ve fed Miles, I could have slept more than 90 minutes at a time, or gone to get my hair cut, or gone to the movies with my husband for his birthday. Any of these things!

But as we carried on in parenting him, we saw how much we liked and valued being the ones to deliver this attention to our son. My husband is basically (still) the only person that can soothe him when he’s distraught. Sure, he’s tired and 5 years into this sleep-deprived rodeo, but I can see how much it matters to my husband to nurture our kids, which also means determining when they need to nurse and then he switches to making sure I have what I need so that I can deliver this nurturing to our kids.

I think breastfeeding has made us pay more attention to our boys, to respect (even if it’s frustrating) their needs for closeness and to suckle and for more, more, more milk. It’s shifted how we parent, how we talk to our kids. Once my oldest was weaned, we still carried on the same parenting practices we used while breastfeeding. We still wear our five-year-old on our backs. We draw him close to our chests when he’s upset. We rub his cheek and just sit with him in his spirited floods of emotion.

I’ve always felt a very strong bond with my husband, but I suppose another thing breastfeeding and parenting have done for us is to demand cooperation and communication beyond anything we were doing before. Sure, it gets ugly sometimes. But we are both doing it and we have some pretty awesome kids to show for it! This time is so fleeting. I’m glad we stuck it out to watch how it changed our family.

Here are more post by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.

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