I Am Not a Human Pacifier

Dear Daughter,

You are three weeks old. You nursed pretty much straight through the night last night, as I sort of drifted in and out of being fully awake.

You’re going through a growth spurt.

When you switch sides I feel the sting of letdown. Sometimes you nurse eagerly and gulp down the milk. Sometimes you become upset because you don’t want milk. Or you don’t want the fast flow of my over-active letdown. Sometimes you just want to lay in the semi-dark and nurse peacefully while your little dark blue eyes stare at my face and your little feet kick the still-soft skin of my belly which was your former home. Sometimes you want to comfort nurse. When this happens I kiss your forehead and switch you back to the “empty” side and let you lay close. You are a wise little creature that understands what it is that you need.

I am not a human pacifier.

Usually when a mom says that, it’s an expression of frustration that their infant insists on suckling for comfort. This is not what I mean when I say this.

I am not a warm human substitute for a cold silicone and plastic doohickey.

Your father may sometimes be a human pacifier. You suckle on his pinky finger during diaper changes or when I desperately need to wash my milk-stained body in the shower and remember for a few moments that I have two arms with two hands and that the dimensions of my body do not include an oddly independent nine pound female child that is frequently suspended from my body in a wrap of lightweight gauze.  Your grandfather may be a human pacifier, as he holds you lovingly while I get your big brothers ready for bed or eat a hot meal without waiting for it to cool first- a luxury of not being afraid of hot bits of soup falling on you while I eat. Your  brothers may briefly be human pacifiers when they offer up their pinky fingers for you to suck on, always imitating their daddy.Your grandma may be a human pacifier when she offers you her pinky finger to suck on and sings you Russian songs from her childhood.

But my breasts are not pacifiers. Comfort sucking is not time wasted. It’s part of the job that my body and you have. It is how we evolved. We are the product of a long process of evolution that causes you to seek out my arms and my breasts, to suckle for comfort, to communicate with my immune system, to stay close and warm and protected, to stimulate the supply of your food, your antibodies, the components of breastmilk that scientists can see but cannot identify the function of.

Maybe you want the comfort of non-nutritive suckling because there is something that has you stressed out. Maybe you want a slow flow of high fat hindmilk that comes from comfort nursing. Maybe your body has some bacteria in it and you need the closeness so that your immune system can communicate with my immune system and it all can be taken care of without either of us ever knowing and without you ever becoming sick from the foreign invaders that your body cannot cope with but that my adult immune system attacks with the ferocity of a mama bear defending her cub.

Independence will come at your pace. “I DO IT MYSELF!” will become the phrase of the moment soon enough. The need to peel off and be independent is as natural a need as the need to breathe, to sleep and to eat. It comes from within the child when the child has the ability. It has come from within your brothers as they get older. It will come from within you as well. I can see it already as you bob your head against my chest in the wrap and peek over the side eager to strengthen your muscles and look at the world.

I choose to neither hold you past when you wish to be held, nor deny you comfort while it is something that you seek. I push you gently to be independent, recognizing that your world naturally expands within your comfort zone without me needing to push you past it into tears.

I am not a “human pacifier”. I am what you have a biological and evolutionary need for. I will not devalue your needs by implying that you lack the wisdom and understanding of what those needs are. I will not devalue your needs by becoming frustrated by your refusal to accept something that does not meet those needs. I want you to listen to your body from the beginning, to understand the difference between a healthy need of yours and a pacifying object. To have an understanding that dates back to the beginnings of your time on this planet.. That comfort comes from having your needs met, not from distracting yourself with something pink, pretty and plastic.

No manufacturer makes what you need for happiness, little one. I want you to understand this from the beginning of your life. Happiness comes from love, from closeness, and from deep inside of you. Seek this happiness, and never be distracted by things that simply pacify you rather than satisfying your needs.

 

<3 Mama.

  105 comments for “I Am Not a Human Pacifier

  1. Sheila
    May 4, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    Wow, beautifully written.

  2. wendy
    May 4, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    I love love love this. I remember when my babies (now 5 and 11) would do this dance with me. Most days I’m grateful to have my body back as my own but I still miss the close, milky connection of night nursing.

  3. May 4, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    My daughter is 4 weeks old today so this was a timely read. It was very sweet. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Jessica
    May 4, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    beautiful.

  5. May 4, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    Wow. This post gave me chills. So beautiful and eloquant. O often become frustrated with the demanding way my 17 month old grabs my breast whenever he desires. Or when I’ve bern attached to him an hour while he sleeps and the moment I remove my nipple he is upset. Thank you for helping me remembering my purpose, and his.

  6. Cathy Marek
    May 4, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    Thank you for expressing what is something I want to pass on to my daughter as she awaits her baby. I lived this word for word (minus older brothers) with all my girls (4) during each’s nursing years. Yes, years. I would like to print and add this to words of wisdom I am passing on to my daughter for her to refer back to as she travels down her nursing relationship. Having it as a back up for the unwarranted “advice” she’ll get from the father’s side of the baby’s family will give her strength.

    • sarah
      May 5, 2012 at 12:04 am

      Remind her to seek out those that are supportive, just as she would if she was running a marathon. Kudos on the years of nursing!

      • Ella
        May 30, 2014 at 2:54 am

        I highly recommend joining the facebook groups for middle of the night support in her feeding journey, with my eldest I struggled and though we got to 4m it want enough and with my youngest im so pleased to say were still going strong at 10m all down to education, support and blind faith in my body and baby :)

        Also beautifully written and so so true xx

  7. Kay
    May 4, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    My longest nursing child (of 5) would only nurse 5 min on one side every 2-3 hrs until he was over 2 yrs old. Then he would nurse on both sides only at night. Guess that was his comfort nursing. He refused to use any artificial nipple at all….the other babies were not so particular!!! Oh and he was #3 of 5!

    • sarah
      May 5, 2012 at 12:05 am

      Every child is different! My middle child was like this. He seldom comfort nursed. My first and this one are major comfort nursers.

  8. Claire
    May 4, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    Beautifully written – thank you for sharing this.

  9. Caprice
    May 4, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    incredibly gorgeous. thank you for sharing this.

  10. May 4, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    What a beautiful, positive portrait of the nursing relationship. Thanks for sharing!

  11. May 4, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    So so beautiful. Thankyou. x

  12. Stacey
    May 4, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    After my newborn son was given formula in the hospital at only 50 hours old I was distraught. They did it because my milk hadn’t come in yet, he had trouble latching on and he was jaundiced and sleepy. As my milk did start to come in we figured things out and he had a long cluster feed where I fed him through the night for over 5 hours. My milk came in that day and I didn’t let them give him any more formula. When I proudly mentioned our long,first really successful feed to an obstetrician, she said ‘don’t let him use you as a dummy’. I thought dummies were a poor substitute for the breast, not the other way round. I’m glad I didn’t listen to her :)

  13. Marisa
    May 5, 2012 at 12:04 am

    So right in time! Read while nursing my 5 months old preemie who lives on the breast most of the day. And yes I get weary but this reminded me of why I smile,kiss the top of her head and keep going.

  14. May 5, 2012 at 12:06 am

    So beautiful. And so true! (typed one handed while nursing my baby).

  15. Julia Becker
    May 5, 2012 at 12:17 am

    Beautiful. Thank you. So many with good intentions have told us it’s ok to use a pacifier but I’m so glad our circumstances have allowed me to use my breasts instead.

  16. Lucy
    May 5, 2012 at 1:01 am

    That was tremendous. My baby is 6 months-old now (my 3rd) and I still wondered why she wanted to comfort nurse all night while my other 2 didn’t , and I was planning on weaning soon because of it, it completely changed my mind and the way to see nursing. Thanks for the posting.

  17. May 5, 2012 at 1:37 am

    This is so beautiful. You took the words right out of my heart.

  18. Amy
    May 5, 2012 at 1:47 am

    Lovely. Just lovely. So very true.

  19. Analisa
    May 5, 2012 at 3:22 am

    I needed this so much right now. Renews my purpose and spirit!

  20. May 5, 2012 at 3:33 am

    ::sniff:: This is beautiful!

  21. Kamila
    May 5, 2012 at 3:33 am

    For me, breastfeeding did not come easily. During my pregnancy, I knew I wanted to nurse. The reality of it was that it was a lot harder than I thought it’d be and very stressful for me for a variety of reasons. Formula was forced on me and my daughter in her 2nd day of life because of jaundice and nurses telling me I didn’t have enough milk. It took me weeks but I pumped and pumped and pumped to stimulate enough for her needs as well as let her cluster feed whenever she wanted. I was desperately exhausted since my daughter has some health concerns that had us in the children’s hospital and my body was on the verge of giving up from stress and exhaustion. Literally. At times I felt I was near collapse. Yet I KEPT GOING. There were many times I wanted to give up and formula feed. I didn’t. After a couple weeks, she was off all formula and has been exclusively breastfed since then (she’s now 9 weeks). I am proud of myself for not quitting like so many out there may have done. I’m proud that I’m giving her what she needs and that it is OUR bond. I feel primal and connected to her. Whenever I feel exhaustion or stress about breast feeding, I will read this blog post. It’s beautiful. Every breast feeding woman should read it.

  22. Kylie
    May 5, 2012 at 3:50 am

    So beautiful. I have a three week old daughter and an older son … This read couldn’t have come at a better time. Thank you :)

  23. Julia
    May 5, 2012 at 3:51 am

    Love, love, love this! I’ve spent countless hours in my glider nursing my first baby and now I’m on my second. I always get comments from my husband’s side of the family like, “she just ate, she can’t be hungry again!” Yet, I know that she doesn’t always need milk, she needs me. Thankfully my mom and sister both understand this and encourage my nursing relationships with my babies. Wonderful article.

  24. May 5, 2012 at 4:04 am

    My milk let down reading this thinking of my 2 month old sleeping in the other room. (: Very well written. While I do use a paci (my little one doesnt like that my milk flows too fast lol) I love and enjoy the time when she is little and needs only mamas milk.

  25. Shannon
    May 5, 2012 at 4:40 am

    Amazing to read! This would have given me the perk I needed in those first few weeks. I’m an RN and a IBCLC and I often wondered how new moms coped in those early weeks. I’d often wonder…”If they don’t know what I know, how do they do this?” These days I take those nursing sessions more leisurely and love every minute!!

  26. Nicole
    May 5, 2012 at 5:22 am

    This was simply wonderful. Thank you so much for this post it spoke to my heart.

  27. Anna
    May 5, 2012 at 6:25 am

    Lovely. This definitely hits home for me, as this is how I’ve been spending much of the past couple months.
    I was a little disappointed that one of Baby Leah’s soothers got lost at the library today….but reading this makes me want to banish the soothers completely and hold her close as much as she needs it.

  28. Camilla
    May 5, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Thank you so much for this! It reminds us why we sit/lie for hours and hours :-)

  29. Kristine
    May 5, 2012 at 11:02 am

    thank you thank you thank you – I loved every word

    My third is arriving in about a month, and this was a wonderful and timely reminder

  30. Lavinia Belli
    May 5, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    I am a La Leche League Leader and I would like to translate your blog post into Spanish. May I?

    Thank you,

    Lavinia Belli

  31. mary
    May 5, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    incredible. can’t thank you enough for sharing.

  32. May 5, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    What a beautifully written post! I love nursing my babies and even when it’s hard, it’s nice to have encouragement like this. Such a blessing!

  33. kimberly
    May 5, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    I love being a pacifier for my son. He is now 16 months and still gets MOST of his nutrition from me.

    He nurses on demand. Which at times is every 10 minutes even if just for a little suck and then down he goes again to play.

    At night he is mostly attached to one of my breasts. I roll and take him with me so he always has access.

    I am going to so miss this attachment that we have. I can see him gradually pulling away not needing it so much. Wanting to not be up against me all the time at night.

    Like to wiggle over and lay on his own. He will even get angry and kick and cry in his sleep if I am too close. Other times he lays right up against me with his little head nuzzled on top of my breast.

    Love my little man so much. So thankful that God has blessed me 3 times with 3 beautiful and healthy babies. :)

  34. Susan
    May 5, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    Beautiful. I read this while nursing. Of course. :)

  35. May 5, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Just lovely.

  36. Courtney
    May 5, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    So heartfelt and beautiful. Thank you for sharing, it is a reminder to cherish those moments because time flies by so quickly.

  37. May 5, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    Thank you for sharing! You put how I feel into words. So beautiful.

  38. Nicole McKinney
    May 5, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    y daughter is 2 wks & 2 days old. This mama wrote Exactly how I feel. Thanks :)

  39. May 5, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    Thank you for so beautifully putting into words what so many nursing moms feel. Please write more and more :)

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  41. Brandi Z
    May 6, 2012 at 1:45 am

    Love this! My first (a boy) is due in July and I look forward to the bonding time we’ll enjoy while I breastfeed. Thank you for posting!

  42. May 6, 2012 at 2:37 am

    Oh, my. I got a little teary reading this. my 2 year old twins still nurse, with no signs of stopping, but I know the day is coming. This is a beautiful reminder of the indescribable connection between a nursling and mama. I’ll be sending this link on to my pregnant sister :-)

  43. Jessica sk
    May 6, 2012 at 3:07 am

    This is beautiful and right on. As a first time mom of a 5 week old it’s so helpful to know that what I’m experiencing is normal. Breast feeding a newborn is non stop and takes almost every ounce of energy I’ve got, but it’s so worth it. I need her closeness every moment as much as she needs me. I miss her when she’s not in my arms, even if just to eat a quick meal or take a shower.

  44. Margaret
    May 6, 2012 at 4:12 am

    I am now a 55 year old grandmother. This brought back so many memories of my breastfeeding experiences with all of my 4 children. They were fed on demand and I so loved the bonding experience. I never listened to anyone who told me they should be put on a schedule, not even my doctor. They were the best days and nights of my life.

  45. Teli
    May 6, 2012 at 4:36 am

    Thank you for this well written, heartfelt piece. I am nursing my soon to be three year old daughter, and my just turned 1 year old son. At his birthday party, I snuck off twice to nurse him. I would have done it at the party, but I had to buy a cute dress that wasn’t nursing friendly. (I just wanted to look cute for a change.)it worked out well because I was able to lie down for twenty minutes and take a break. Another perk of nursing, built in breaks. I hesitate to call it a perk because it’s really a necessity, mother nature knows what she is doing! Any ways, many asked the question: when are you going to stop? Don’t let him use you as a pacifier! I keep my mouth shut about my daughter “still” nursing! It’s not easy, and there are days when I feel drained. And no matter how hard I try to explain that I’m offering what my body was designed to offer, people don’t quite understand. So thank you for putting it so succinctly. And I relish each moment. They are this little for such a short time. Especially with my daughter who nurses maybe once or twice a week, I wonder if this time it will be her last. And my heart flutters and I hold her tight.

  46. Esther Pereira
    May 6, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    I am an 84 year old great grandmother of 5. When my first child was born, I had to fight to be able to nurse her. On the third day of the normal 10 day stay, the nurses came into the room with long strips of fabric. They said it was to ‘bind me up’ so my milk would dry up. It was difficult fighting them, but I won. What a horrid practice that was!

    • sarah
      May 6, 2012 at 3:50 pm

      Esther,

      I wanted to let you know that I deeply admire you for fighting for your right to breastfeed and chasing off those who wanted to bind your breasts after your baby was born. :)

      When my oldest was a baby I was visiting someone at a nursing home and a woman came over to me and asked to see my son. I told her that I was nursing, and she wanted to look anyway. She told me about how they gave her a shot to dry up her milk and she never had a choice, and felt that she had missed out on something very special.

      I’m glad that you didn’t let anyone take that away from you. You’re a strong wise woman and your choice to continue breastfeeding likely made it easier for all of those that came

  47. May 7, 2012 at 12:02 am

    Absolutely beautiful. All newly nursing Moms should read this.

  48. Katie L.
    May 7, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    I loved this. My daughter is almost 3 weeks old and going through the growth spurt as well. Even though I would love my body back and not go through the painful letdown, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

  49. Marinda Shindler
    May 8, 2012 at 1:33 am

    Beautiful!

  50. Natalie
    May 8, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    This was the most beautiful explanation of nursing I have ever heard. I have 5 children my youngest being 12 weeks old, and I have nursed all of them for years, and I mean years until they become 2 or 3. It is so touching to hear someone talk about nursing like this. I feel the same way about the comfort nursing, and I don’t mind at all. My oldest is 13 years old, and believe me, before you know it they are breaking away from you little by little until they are independent. Which, is ultimately what you want as a parent, but is heart breaking never-the-less. So, for me I appreciate and hold dear the closeness of nursing, because I know it will not last forever. Besides, it gives me an excuse for sitting and holding her for hours. Not that I need an excuse, but you know. I am going to be posting this for my sister in law. She is having her first child, and she has gotten some bad reviews on nursing. Some reviews from girls who haven’t even had children yet. And, now she is not sure if she can, or how it will go, and it sort of breaks my heart. I am hoping this will encourage her to give it a shot, and not give up.

  51. Natalie
    May 8, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    This was the most beautiful explanation of nursing I have ever heard. I have 5 children my youngest being 12 weeks old, and I have nursed all of them for years, and I mean years until they become 2 or 3. It is so touching to hear someone talk about nursing like this. I feel the same way about the comfort nursing, and I don’t mind at all. My oldest is 13 years old, and believe me, before you know it they are breaking away from you little by little until they are independent. Which, is ultimately what you want as a parent, but is heart breaking never-the-less. So, for me I appreciate and hold dear the closeness of nursing, because I know it will not last forever. Besides, it gives me an excuse for sitting and holding her for hours. Not that I need an excuse, but you know. I am going to be posting this for my sister in law. She is having her first child, and she has gotten some bad reviews on nursing. Some reviews from girls who haven’t even had children yet. And, now she is not sure if she can, or how it will go, and it sort of breaks my heart. I am hoping this will encourage her to give it a shot, and not give up.

  52. Tina
    May 9, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    Beautifully written. Thanks for sharing.

  53. angela
    May 10, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    Love this. Had me in tears. My 6 month old still nurses alllll night long and I think I am comforted by it as much as he is. Beautifully written.

  54. Nicolle
    May 11, 2012 at 4:11 am

    So beautiful to read. My daughter is 20 months and still nursing. We had a rough go of it at the beginning with thrush and painful nursing for months, but I never considered giving up. I attended a breast feeding support group and worked through it with a LC and a wonderful group of mothers. I am so happy that there is support for breastfeeding and wonderful online resources like yours. Now she nurses less and sometimes I already miss it – but I am so proud of us for learning about this beautiful part of life together.

  55. Mimi
    May 11, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Made me tear up, beautiful!

  56. Barbara
    May 15, 2012 at 6:17 am

    Beautiful!

  57. Katie
    May 24, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    This is beautiful and especially timely for me as a first time mother. It brings much-needed perspective and wisdom that I needed to hear after spending a lot of time with my daughter on my breast, sucking for comfort.

    Thanks for sharing this lovely and wise insight.

  58. Sarah W
    May 28, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    This was amazing. As a FTM at 44 by surprise, breastfeeding has been an eye-opener. The changes that a baby brings were difficult in the beginning. Now I can appreciate in our 5th week together. Thankfully not “too late” to enjoy the moments we have and to cherish them. (I write this as LO snoozes on my breast)

  59. Linda
    June 6, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    What a moving description of the nursing experience. 67 yo La leche leader and Mom of 3 brestfed children, loving grandma to 6, all breastfedmost to natural weaning. Loving, secure, healthy people who value the important things in life–themselves and other people before things. Love this essay.

  60. Kristina
    July 17, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Thank you!!! This is perfectly written and I truly enjoyed every word.

  61. Zoe
    July 29, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    Thank you for posting this. My son is 5 1/2 weeks old and we have had a go of it. He has heart issues and my milk didn’t come in for a few days because he was in the NICU and I couldn’t immediately nurse. Now he seems to be allergic to someting in my diet so we are having to formula feed for a few days and this makes me realize that I have to push on and pump so that I can get back to breastfeeding. I miss the closeness and I know he does too. Thank you. This renewed my purpose.

    • sarah
      July 29, 2012 at 9:16 pm

      Hi Zoe,

      I’m glad to hear that this post renewed your purpose. :)

      Out of curiosity, what are the allergy symptoms? I only ask because usually lactation consultants don’t recommend using formula for a few days due to allergies. It can take up to 6 weeks for some allergens to clear from mom’s milk and baby’s diet, so the “couple of days” thing sounds like a potential piece of outdated information.

      -Sarah

  62. Nette
    August 16, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    This found me at just the right time. I am a sexual abuse survivor who struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder. I made it through a high-risk, difficult pregnancy and a grueling unmedicated vaginal birth. I am committed to breastfeeding my daughter particularly for the benefit of helping her learn to listen to and trust her body. However, it is a truly difficult process for me given my history. This post was a gentle reminder of all that nursing can do for us both. Thank you!

  63. Deepie
    October 2, 2012 at 10:03 am

    Here here! Coming from a mother of an 8 year old boy (who I’m still gently pushing towards independence), 7 year old twin boys (who I nursed briefly) and a sweet little 6 week old baby boy that quite enjoys his human pacifier like his brothers did! Thanks!

  64. mam
    October 9, 2012 at 10:05 am

    I love this!!! I am exclusively breastfeeding my 4 month old son and came across your writing while searching online to see if I was doing a detriment to my son my nursing him on demand and by continuing to hold off on solids until 6+ months.He loves it and I love it and the closeness it provides but the negative feedback from outsiders was and is really discouraging! The look on people’s faces when I tell them I plan to allow my baby to self wean! Thank you for making me more confident than ever in my decision to meet my baby’s needs as I instinctively see fit and as we were biologically designed. Kudos!!

  65. December 16, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    I really love this post. It is one of those things that I frequently hear that just gets so under my skin. In the UK they call pacifiers “dummies” which I think is such a better name. It more clearly captures the fact that pacifiers a meant to imitate breasts, not the other way around. Thank you, bookmarking this one!

  66. Laura
    February 10, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    Beautifully written but do you really believe this process came about by evolution do you really believe that you and your child are a product of evolution? Do you not think that the miracle of life and the way your body provides for your child is a gift from our creator. When I look down into my baby boys eyes as I nurse him I thank Jehovah god for this gift x

    • sarah
      February 10, 2013 at 7:12 pm

      Laura,

      Regardless of where it comes from, it’s a process that works perfectly and that keeps both mama and baby healthy. If it was designed by evolution, it was designed to keep our species healthy and thriving. And if it was designed by our creator it was designed to keep his children healthy and thriving.

      Either way, at the start of humankind we did not exist in a world that looks like the one that exists today, so our perfectly working bodies and babies are suddenly confronted with a world that misunderstands the most natural rhythms for new little humans.

      -Sarah

  67. February 14, 2013 at 8:16 am

    I am reading this with happy tears in my eyes while my little nursling lies sleeping on me in her wrap. Utterly beautiful and captures the sublime emotions that accompany nursing our young perfectly. Thank you for this and I will be sharing.

  68. Becky
    February 22, 2013 at 12:12 am

    This fantastic post makes me miss nursing. I had to stop nursing my daughter at 14 months due to an infection and surgery I had, where she wouldn’t have been able to be on my lap for a month. (At a younger age, I would’ve pumped, but we’d been considering weaning anyway.) The night before I went to the hospital she nursed a ton and I even got frustrated that I wasn’t getting to sleep. Seems like I got what I wanted in a crazy way. But a few months after her sudden weaning she decided it was comfort to hold my breast (Her term became “snoop.”) She will do this anytime she wants closeness or needs comfort. I’m glad I still have a tie with her like that. I’d much rather, just as breastfeeding, be able to comfort her with something natural than store bought. She will even snoop my husband and my mother. I know a few other post-breastfed babies that snoop. Who else has a “snooping” child? It seems right. I never knew about it before she started. But it definitely is even less accepted in society than breastfeeding.

    • sarah
      February 22, 2013 at 8:47 am

      I think it’s common in children that are weaned before they are fully ready– my middle child weaned himself due to my pregnancy with his little sister. He does that sometimes to me and his grandma.

      • Louise
        June 5, 2013 at 4:07 pm

        My brother self weaned early, probably because our mother had long days at school at the time, and he really loved other food. He did the same thing for a long time after he weaned.

  69. HRM
    June 4, 2013 at 3:08 am

    I stumbled upon your blog and reading it here in the dark as my 6 month old, first-born son nurses for the umpteenth time tonight has made me cry the tears of a lost child who finally finds a familiar and friendly face. EVERYONE (including my husband) chastises me for “indulging” and “spoiling” my baby by continuing to nurse/rock him to sleep and go to him at the first whimper. Even my pediatrician spouts the programmed and droning, “he needs to learn to self-sooth” (not helping my case with my husband). Why does he need to learn to self-sooth? Am I going somewhere? If I don’t teach him that, will he wake up in college and drive home to nurse so he can fall back asleep? My GUT tells me to do these things and when I have tried not to (under outside but very close pressure) it feels the very DEFINITION of wrong. I am the weird one amongst the mommies I know. My husband accuses me of “taking the easy way out” and warns that I am creating a “wuss”. I’m having a hard time bearing the opinions of others for what I KNOW I need to do and I come very close to second-guessing myself A LOT. Thank you for being here with me in the lonely night and shining the light of comraderie that strengthens my resolve and gives me the courage to fight another day for my son.

    • sarah
      June 4, 2013 at 1:29 pm

      *hug* You’re so very far from being alone.

    • Jen
      June 5, 2013 at 4:47 pm

      Dear HRM,

      You have found your tribe. My son is six months old too and I was very likely awake and nursing him at the same time as you were. Isn’t it a joy and a relief to find this place? <3

      What a lucky boy to have a mama like you. There are more of us out here who know how hard it is to follow this path even when we have support, never mind when those close to us may not be on the same page.

      Enjoy Sarah's gift to us here and hold on. It's all going to be okay. Hugs.

      • HRM
        June 7, 2013 at 4:48 pm

        Jen and Sarah,

        Your warm words first made me cry and then made me feel stronger. Thank you so very much for caring enough to reply. It’s amazing to me how humanity can work and the true emotional connection we can make without faces, voices or any other personal info other than being sisters in this tribe. Just that statement, “you have foud your tribe”, had an incredible bolstering effect on me. Thank you Jen. And thank you Sarah for letting us all in on your personal journey and creating this place to come for support. You nurture us all as you nurture your daughter.

        • sarah
          June 7, 2013 at 9:50 pm

          HRM-

          I’m glad that you feel nurtured and that you’ve found support in my journey and words. :)

          There’s a few groups on Facebook that you can join if you’re a Facebook user. Your “tribe” is a lot bigger than you might think. In the thousands, actually. :)

          https://www.facebook.com/groups/waititoutmethod/ (Wait It Out Method of Sleep Training – WIO)
          https://www.facebook.com/groups/joyingentleparenting/ (Joy in Gentle Parenting)
          https://www.facebook.com/groups/BreastfeedingAndGentleParenting/

          They’re part of a “Gentle Parenting Community” that has sprung up. Many of the women in the groups are Nurshable readers although they’ve exploded to have many other mums whose babies don’t sleep, nurse all the time, and mums who are learning more about gentle and instinctive parenting. :) We follow a “toolkit” approach that says we talk about tools, offer tools, but understand if someone’s tool doesn’t fit in our toolkit or ours doesn’t fit in their toolkit. It’s fun and supportive. :)

  70. shauna
    June 14, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    beautiful. i am still nursing my 2-year-old. he greets me when I get home from work with a “hello boobies”. I miss him all day long – but I know when I get home we will reconnect through nursing. I have no desire to give it up until he is ready.

  71. jenna
    June 25, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    Thank you for sharing this! I am not a mother yet, but I am the youngest of six children in my family, all of whom are now married and have children, and I am always learning from the examples of my siblings and in-laws and trying to decide how I will do things when I am a mother. Perhaps because of experiences my oldest sister has shared and/or possibly other factors, I have thought that there was a point in the child’s life that nursing should end, like when they started to grow teeth or when they were old enough to depend on other food for nutrients. I had never fully considered the child’s need for closeness and connection with the mother. Your shared thoughts help me realize the deeper meaning and need for breastfeeding. Thank you so much! I hope I can keep this in mind when I have children of my own. :)

  72. Desiree
    July 28, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    I just read this for the first time and I love it. :-) When someone once told me that my daughter was using me as a pacifier I told them that as least I didn’t have to worry about losing these two and laughed.

  73. Clarissa
    June 2, 2014 at 7:17 am

    A couple friends linked this article to me – our daughters look just alike! It’s scary haha. Mine had the same hair and the blue eyes. :) I think we have some long lost cousins here.

    • sarah
      June 2, 2014 at 8:25 am

      aww :) Love to see a picture of your daughter! I bet she is adorable. :)

  74. Christina
    June 2, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    Lovely. I read this while nursing DD2 to sleep. Your words describe how I feel about my nursing relationship.

  75. Ruth
    June 3, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    Thank you a million times from the bottom of my 21-years-a-LaLecheLeagueLeader heart!!! Absolutely spot-on and beautiful. Hugs!

  76. Grammy
    June 11, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    I am 65, and I still mourn over my inability to breastfeed. I had a lot of liquid, but it was not nourishing. My son nursed constantly but lost weight. He wouldn’t sleep, cried all the time. My pediatrician told me to get him some formula, so I reluctantly did that. He sucked down a bottle, then slept for 6 hours straight! Poor little guy was starving, and I didn’t even know it. When I told my mother about it, she said all the women in her family had that problem but she hoped I wouldn’t. Well, I did. I just wish I had known from the outset so we wouldn’t have had to go through all that. I definitely believe it has negatively impacted his health and his emotions. So sad.

    • sarah
      June 11, 2014 at 1:45 pm

      Grammy,

      My middle child experienced that, and for him it was related to an undiagnosed tongue tie. He was drinking a LOT of liquid but he wasn’t able to get what he needed. Once his tongue tie was resolved he was able to gain weight. I don’t know if your experience was anything similar, but I remember how upsetting it was for me at the time.

      I am sorry that you went through that. You DID breastfeed,though. Your son nursed constantly. You tried the best you could. <3

      -Sarah

  77. Rudy Bee
    July 8, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    Wow! Beautiful! My oldest is 29 and my youngest of 4 is 22. I absolutely loved nursing. This article expressed so many of my feelings. It was a beautiful time in my life. Thank you so very much for putting into words my feelings.

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