Breastfeeding: At One with Nature
by Melodie at Breastfeeding Moms Unite
I’ve been working in my garden. Turning the soil, planting some seeds, weeding out buttercups and wild sweetpeas, grasses and thistles, trying to make way for the tiny buds I expect to pop out of the earth within a week or two. The girls come out with me and dig in their designated areas, finding worms and beetles, slugs and spiders. We talk about the insects we find and which ones benefit the garden and which ones don’t. They pick the wild edibles that grow on the periphery of our property, excitedly identifying the plants to me before popping miner’s lettuce, mint and cleavers into each other’s mouths. We come away with dirty hands and grubby faces but a wonderful sense of that pure joy one gets just by being outside.
The other day, I had been bent over digging weeds out with my hand shovel for too long. I got up and could barely walk straight. My pre-schooler wanted me to help lift her into the plum tree which stands a few feet from our garden patch. I couldn’t pick her up because my back hurt too much. She was disappointed, but because she has been watching some of the kids who come to our house for daycare climb the tree by themselves, she thought she would give it a try.
I sat down to rest and immediately my toddler ran over and plopped herself into my lap. “Maowk, maowk,” she told me. “Milk, PLEASE!” I reminded her. “Maowk, peas,” she said, trying to find the fastest way to get her head under my shirt. I thought of the lambs up our street, who run over to their moms and leap their mouths upon their teets, no sooner than the moms jump away, as if in protest of their little ones’ bad manners.
“Mommy, look at me!” my oldest shouts. “I did it! I climbed the plum tree all by myself!” She is smiling so wide her face might break. “I’m so proud of myself!” she adds. “I’m so proud of you too!” I tell her. I watch her as she tells me the details of how she got up the tree, her legs are dangling and swinging freely, she is running her hands along the tree bark and picking at the moss and lichen, she reaches out to break a small twig from its branch.
My nursing toddler has her hand in my shirt, travelling toward my other breast, which she so loves to squeeze, pinch and pat. I instinctively press my hand over it to protect it from her fidgeting. I fall onto my back and she unlatches and laughs, gets up and runs over to the bottom of the tree to marvel at her big sister.
The sun is warm, the grass is damp and sweet-smelling with those earthy undertones I love. It’s one of those days I feel like I am a true child of Mother Earth. I feel that connectedness to everything around me and imagine my parenting in this moment is not much different than parenting moments of lifetimes past. Before computers, disposable diapers, dishwashers, televisions, and baby bottles. Back in a time when people grew their own vegetables, ate off their land, let their children take risks in a tree, and breastfed their babies.
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