Breastfeeding: Nursing Mothers’ Reflections on the Beatitudes

3. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Lord, I understand you want me to do your will in all things without protest. I’ve nursed two babies in spite of not enjoying the nursing as other mothers do. I do know that my babies enjoyed the nursing—they would kick their feet for joy as I began to get ready to nurse. They also loved lying next to me and just cuddling.

I struggled with nursing our first baby. Within the first couple weeks, I became engorged. Once I got the hang of it, the problems really began. I had mastitis several times within the first several months. During this time my breasts hurt so much and nursing was just about unbearable. In between the mastitis bouts, I frequently got clogged ducts. It was during this time that I wanted to stop nursing. It seemed so enjoyable to other mothers, but I was having a very painful and unpleasant experience. For six months my nursing was painful. I paid for a lactation consultant to come to my home. Her advice did not prove helpful. If it were not for the support of my mom and a couple of other nursing friends and sisters, I am certain I would have quit. My husband was also very supportive.

The knowledge I had about the benefits of nursing also proved helpful. I had really educated myself about its benefits to my baby, and I wanted to do what was best for him. Everytime I was at an all time low, I would pray to God that I could just do it a little longer. My mother came over frequently to help me. One night in desperation, we said some “Hail Marys” together. It was a long time before nursing became normal and easy.

When it did become easy, I still wasn’t blessed with all the wonderful feelings that some nursing mothers describe. I was one of those mothers who could not fall asleep while nursing her baby, and unfortunately, neither of my children were good sleepers. So I did a lot of night-time nursing sitting up in the rocking chair. Thus, I experienced lots of fatigue with both babies. I got used to the tiredness, and I was so happy to be doing something for my children that they both seemed to enjoy so much. I also was thrilled to be providing them with all the nutrients and benefits that are found in mother’s milk.

Whenever I have the opportunity, I do encourage mothers who are experiencing similar problems to hang in there and keep up the nursing. Usually most problems work themselves out soon with professional help and support.

Nursing my second baby was a breeze. I had no problems. I thank you, Lord, for that. I still did not enjoy nursing the way many of my friends did. Maybe this had to do with my disposition. I tend to worry and fret about things that other mothers do not even think about. Lord, help me to relax more as a mother. In spite of it all, I love my children and love being a mom.

So why did I nurse when I did not always enjoy nursing? First, I think that the good Lord gave me inner strength. He blessed me with wonderful people in my life who gave me constant encouragement. When I was having problems, I would say simple prayers, like, “Lord, I know that my milk is best for my babies. Your design for mother and baby is best for nutrition and nurturing. Please give me strength to continue.” Second, both of my babies enjoyed the nursing, and each nursed for 18 months. While I was not always happy about nursing, I did because it’s best for my babies. I hope to always follow the Lord’s will for my life, to seek his will in prayer, and I always want to stay close to him. (anonymous mother)
(Sheila Kippley, 2005)

(A 30% discount is now offered on all Kippley print books at lulu through August 7 in recognition of NFP week and World Breastfeeding Week.  In addition, Sophia is offering a 25% discount on Breastfeeding and Catholic Motherhood through August 7.  The code for this discount is “motherhood.” Ignatius Press is offering Sex and the Marriage Covenant for only $6.00 through August 31.))

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