what I’ve learned from the (spiritual) discipline of breastfeeding

My qualification for writing this post is that I’ve been breastfeeding for twelve years now, and am still going. Other moms have breastfed longer, though, so they probably know more. I’ve also breastfed tor long periods of time. Over a year, four years, three years, and now three years plus. (We have four children.)

In the Old Testament, God showed Himself often through types and symbols. For me, breastfeeding has become a living type or symbolic act of one way God wants us to understand Him and His heart towards us.

The longer I live, the more I see how God communicates Himself to us in daily, routine things. Before, I used to look for certain, special, rare experiences. Now, I’m able to see Him opening Himself to us in the ordinary and all-around.

Here are a few ways I’ve come to “see” God in breastfeeding.

Think about God’s design: A mother opens her arms, opens one of her most private, sensitive places, lays a baby next to her heart, holds him there, and gives him life sustenance–physical and emotional sustenance.

Physical and emotional filling of that baby’s stomach and heart.

Warmth radiates from her. Pleasurable hormones in her, and in her baby fire away.

It brings tears to my eyes, realizing how God does this for us. He opens his arms, pulls us to his heart, warms us, and gives us life.

I just painted an overwhelmingly amazing picture of breastfeeding to ponder. But to tell you the truth, breastfeeding showed me my own selfishness and this is where it became a discipline.

God nurtures us generously. Generously! Freely. He pulls us into Himself. He gives of himself, his love, care, time, attention.

But me? I had to struggle and train myself to give myself to my babies that way. Breastfeeding is so personal, so invasive, so uncomfortable in certain ways (the positions, time it takes, the lack of sleep as my babies get older. When they’re younger, I can sleep while they breastfeed, but when they’re older, I can’t.)

It’s so demanding!

And isn’t it easier for God? He’s infinite– He can give attention to me while at the same time “carrying on” with the entire universe. Breastfeeidng is a fairly all-exclusive activity for me. (Well, I can read, drink, sleep, sometimes eat, have screen time, now that I think about it.)

But you know, God doesn’t have to take such detailed attention with me either. He didn’t have to make himself uncomfortable to live inside me by his Spirit. He didn’t have to put himself out to that extent now, did he?

But he did, and he does. It’s His nature to do so! So, can I practice His nature until it becomes my nature? Can I also choose, like God has chosen, to draw my baby near to me and give out to that personal extent?

…. Those are a few of the things I’ve pondered as I’ve submitted myself to the discipline of breastfeeding for over a decade now. <3

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