Milking it for all it’s worth

I mentioned in my first post that my guiding theme for this blog is living life for that which will outlast me. It also means keeping my perspective on things that are larger than life – larger than me.

For me, the most obvious thing in my life right now that is more than just me is my daughter, E. I am finding it hard to write something about her and about parenthood that is not cliché. I love her so much that I can hardly breathe sometimes when I see her smile. I think she is so gorgeous that I cannot figure out how I had a part in creating her and I feel so blessed that she is in our lives.

E has surprised me most in how she has changed the way I am when she is not with me. I will do things (or not do things) that I never once considered. I think this nearly every time I use a breast pump, for instance. I bet this example is surprising a few of you.

Right now, I work three days per week and pump at least three times per day. I sit in an office behind a wall so thin my male colleagues can here the ridiculous churn of my electric pump. I listen to an audiobook, drink a cup of tea, and do a Sudoku puzzle all while trying to resist the urge to moo. Just kidding. I don’t moo, but I sure do feel like I belong on a dairy farm.

Except for three bottles of formula per week, E is exclusively fed breast milk, or mother’s milk, as it is called here in The Netherlands. Doesn’t that sound so much better? E just turned six months old. I don’t pump and I don’t still nurse her because of any deep-rooted belief in it. Yes, I have heard all of the added benefits of mother’s milk and nursing for both the child and the mother. I must say, that they all seem to be true in our case. We are both very healthy and happy and I can eat pretty much whatever I want and have still lost all my baby weight.

I do it for the connection. E and I both worked pretty darn hard especially in the beginning to get this nursing thing right. Now, nursing is the easy part. I cannot wait to put away my electric pump, but I would not be able to continue nursing E without it.

My favorite parts of the day now are nursing E in the evening and first thing in the morning. It is probably partly the feel good hormones that get kicked into my system while nursing, but I feel more close to her in those moments than I can explain. I see her every feature up close and I am in awe. Our eyes connect. There is this calm, peaceful recognition in her eyes and she gives me her small crooked half-smile.


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