Before I continue with my series of posts on the CNML Principles, I would like to take a short foray to discuss a topic near and dear to my heart - ecological breastfeeding.
Lately, I have been thinking about how all my children are getting so big! My youngest is 3 and a half. She sleeps in her own bed in her brothers' room, has been potty trained for over a year now, and seems so independent. However, she still nurses to sleep on most nights and occasionally during the day if she is upset. Her nursing is my last tie to her babyhood in a way. It is bittersweet for me. I love the little girl she is becoming, but I am sad for the near ending of her nursing years. I also think about how my mothering years (with children at home) are already half over.
When I spend too much time feeling sad about my children not being little any more, I almost cannot handle this transition I am meant to go through. However, everyone eventually goes through it, right? A wise friend once told me that there will eventually be a last child. This is so true! Therefore, I have decided that I will try to dwell more on my blessings!
Ecologically breastfeeding has definitely been a blessing in my life! If I hadn't gone along with my children's need to nurse as long as they wanted and hadn't gone along with my the natural infertility that resulted from it, I would not have had 16+ years of wonderful breastfeeding memories! Also, the spacing from ecological breastfeeding has afforded me more precious years of having children in my house. When I am all done with raising each of my children from birth to age 18, I will have been a parent for 31 years. Although some days are very challenging and frustrating, overall I enjoy having my children at home with me. Another blessing is the close relationship I now have with my children partially due to the mother I have become following the ecological breastfeeding philosophy. That is something that will last for many years, long after my youngest has weaned. It has helped me learn to be more responsive to each child's individual needs as he or she grows older. Last but not least, I haven't needed to bother with NFP charting for many years and had only a tenth of the cycles a typical woman has during a 16 year span.
Np matter where I presently am on my mothering journey, I will always be a mother, thanks be to God. Everyday I strive to be the best mother I can be. All those years of nursing my children will always remain part of my life and theirs. I still prefer some nursing clothing items over typical women's attire - not surprising after wearing it for 16 years! I continue to enjoy my ministering to nursing moms through the national CNML organization and my local group. On most days, I wear a small cross and a medal of Our Lady of La Leche from the Shrine in St. Augustine, FL. Happily, ecological breastfeeding will continue to be part of my life for many years to come!