This month marks one year since Gwen self-weaned. It blows my mind that its been so long already, but on the flip side, Gwen seems so grown to me now, and its hard to believe that she was still a nursling only 12 months ago. Breastfeeding was such an integral part of our lives for such a large part of her life, that when I stop and think about those moments, its hard to believe that something like that could just end. One day, be done.
Breastfeeding was such a joy to both Gwen and I. There were times when it was hard, times when it was frustrating and I was touched out. But there were many more times when it just made me so eternally grateful for what my body was able to do. For almost 6 months I used my body alone to feed my child! And for almost 3 more years I was able to be a source of nutrients, and just as good, comfort. When nothing else would help her sleep or ease her heartache, nursing could sooth her. It was a labor of love for sure... and I loved it.
But just because we aren't nursing anymore doesn't mean that breastfeeding isn't still extremely important to me. Gwen and I talk about nursing (both humans and animals feeding their young), and about how she nursed. She speaks of it fondly, still. I talk about nursing in general with friends, especially the run of friends who have gotten pregnant and had babies in that time.
Many times when you love something, but then stop "practicing" for whatever reason, it can fade into the happy memory section of your brain... occasionally promoting a warm sense of nostalgia but not a part of your day to day anymore. When I realized that even a year out, breastfeeding was still an important part of my life, well it spurred some action on my part. Starting this summer, I'll be taking a college course to become a Certified Lactation Educator Counselor. I will be able to teach pre-birth breastfeeding courses, and advise Mamas on nursing. Hopefully it will be just the first step towards becoming either a IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant), or a Doula, or both!
I'm so excited to pursue this certification. It's amazing to me that something I did because it was 1) natural, 2) the best choice for my baby, 3) comforting for both of us ... has become such a passion. A year post-weaning and breastfeeding continues to change my life! I can't wait to see where this leads me!
If your babies have weaned, has breastfeeding remained a part of your life?
If not, do you have a favorite breastfeeding memory?