Happy National Breastfeeding Month!

Apparently it's National Breastfeeding Month.

Gotta love a close up of a happy baby! 
I just read a blog post that actually made me want to cry a little... and yell a little.
A breastfeeding mama who listed the reasons she is jealous of mom's who couldn't make it work and are bottle feeding their little ones.

Part of me feels insulted and extremely offended by this mama's insensitive words to those of us who are struggling, trying with every bit of our emotion and energy to make this breastfeeding thing work. We see these mama's who do it with such ease and grace, and we grieve as we mix our baby's formula before judging eyes in restaurants and public places because we so badly want what they have, what we're told over and over again is best for our babies, what we're told will help us bond with them better and love them more... what we can't do. and they can.

And you're gonna make light of that and tell me you're jealous??

NO. Please don't, it's too painful. This is not a light subject piece for us. Don't make it one.

Maybe I'm being oversensitive and I know I don't speak for all of us... but I do know I would give up every benefit she listed to be able to do what she does...

So... to those of you who watch us pull out our bottles instead of nursing covers and shake your heads, please be kind. You don't know the intensely personal circumstances that led us to the decision to bottle feed our children, and you don't need to. You will never fully get the emotions that we've experienced, so please, cast your judgmental glances elsewhere and whatever you do, don't tell us your jealous of us.

I was reminded of this passage while reading the blog.

“Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her,
    all you who love her;
rejoice with her in joy,
    all you who mourn over her;
that you may nurse and be satisfied
    from her consoling breast;
that you may drink deeply with delight
    from her glorious abundance.”
--Isaiah 66:10-11

We read it in Bible Study several weeks ago and I was brought to tears and I have not been able to stop repeating it over and over.

My breastfeeding journey with Mercy has been hard and extremely emotional work. She was born ten weeks early and was fed pumped breast milk through a tube in her nose for the first several weeks of her life. As soon as we could we started trying to incorporate some breastfeeding, as my goal was to bring her home exclusively nursing. They would tube feed her while we worked with the lactation nurse in getting her to latch on and nurse.

We eventually had to start giving her bottles, I couldn't be at the NICU for every feeding and in order to come home she had to be eating with no feeding tube at all.

After seven weeks we brought her home at four pounds and one ounce. She was still too weak to get a full feeding from nursing, so we would work on nursing for twenty minutes, give her a full bottle, and then pump for twenty minutes. Every. Three. Hours.

With the exception of nighttime, this continued until she was five months old.

...and by that time, our sweet girl was consuming more than I was producing. I was finally able to stop pumping, but continued to have to give her bottles after each time we nursed. On top of that, we ran out of frozen milk, and we began incorporating formula. I grieved and grieved over this, it was not an easy transition for me to make.

These days, at seven months, I'm taking a prescription medication that has a side effect of increased milk production and we seem to be doing ok.... about half and half plus baby food and I think I'm ok with that. I'm proud of the five months of exclusive breastmilk that Mercy received, I know that many mom's don't get that.

I had decided early on that I would not try breastfeeding when we're out and about. The entire process is just too hard, and often involves a decent amount of screaming. I know I'll never get a sweet note on a receipt or have my pizza paid for by a kind waitress when she sees me giving Mercy a bottle, but I've gotten to a place where I'm ok with that. My child is well fed, she's healthy and growing and that makes me happy.

I've worked hard, it hasn't been easy, and I'm not ready to completely give up. I desire so deeply to be able to satisfy my daughter through nursing. I long so deeply for her to desire to be satisfied through me.

And I get it. Better than I've ever gotten it... how deeply our Heavenly Father longs for us to be satisfied in Him, how He longs for us to desire to be satisfied in Him.

...and we kick and we scream, and we try to take the easy way out and He says, "I'm here. Find yourselves in Me, be satisfied in My embrace. Drink deeply with delight from My glorious abundance!"

Read Hosea 11, it is filled with His grace, His desire for His children, Israel, to come back to Him, His promises to satisfy them in His love.

How can I give you up, O Ephraim?
    How can I hand you over, O Israel?
How can I make you like Admah?
    How can I treat you like Zeboiim?
My heart recoils within me;
    my compassion grows warm and tender.
I will not execute my burning anger;
    I will not again destroy Ephraim;
for I am God and not a man,
    the Holy One in your midst,
    and I will not come in wrath.
--Hosea 11:8&9

Where do you find your satisfaction? ...for me, I often seek satisfaction in my husband, Mercy, our youth ministry, photography, creativity, hmm... maybe even in having the ability to successfully breastfeed my daughter.

Friends, let's stop chasing the things of the world and let's seek satisfaction in Him. Let's desire Him and rest in His sweet embrace. He is ALL we need.