I’ve been meaning to get rid of it for a while now. It’s been sitting in the top corner of the boys’ room, largely unused. The foot stool that came with it is water-stained, and marked by kids experimenting with textas. It’s not an expensive or fancy looking chair, it squeaks when it rocks. It’s always squeaked though, I think some screws need loosening, but it never bothered any of the kids, so I never bothered doing anything about it.
We bought it when I was pregnant with our daughter. Dylan was still a babe himself. My husband was posted to sea, and while we knew he would be on leave when my due date rocked around, he and his crew were doing weekly runnings around Sydney. We lived in a tiny duplex, with all the bedrooms upstairs. While I wanted a feeding chair for our soon to be new arrival, we bought the chair months before she made her entrance. As my belly got bigger, it was harder and harder to give Dylan his night-time milk while sitting on the floor. His dislike of being touched, of being cuddled, of being held, was becoming more and more obvious, and nursing him while he drank his milk was when he didn’t try and push me away.
Mahalia came along, the baby who didn’t sleep. None of my babies have been great sleepers, but my girl was definitely the worst. Thoughts of nightly feeding in the nursing chair went out the window. Co-sleeping was the way to go if I wanted any sleep myself, so the nursing chair was relegated to the task of rocking us both when she wouldn’t sleep during the day. While she wouldn’t always fall asleep while we we rocking, the chair would calm both of us, slow the tears that rolled down both our cheeks, and bring a truce to our battle of me trying to get her to sleep, and her fighting to stay awake.
When our breastfeeding journey was over, and we moved house, the nursing chair lived in the lounge room, but didn’t get much use. It sat there looking forlorn and out of place. I had plans to sell it, or donate it to another family. Plans that went nowhere. I wasn’t ready to let it go.
We found out we were pregnant again. I was excited by the thought of feeding this new and final baby in the nursing chair. And then we found out that baby number three was in fact babies three and four. Sadly, the chair didn’t see much use with Harry and Zach, at least not in the early days. Tandem feeding was the way to go to get any sleep. The nursing chair wasn’t made for two babies and a huge breastfeeding pillow.
When the boys were around 12 months old, their feeds were much shorter, and there was no need to wake the other if one woke during the night. The nursing chair was finally being used for feeding babies. We would rock and feed and sometimes it felt like out bond grew strongest in those dark hours, rocking and nursing until sleep came again. 6 months later, we were weaning off night feeds as sleep was desperately needed by this mamma. Shortly after, the boys weaned completely. And the nursing chair became an object in the room, gathering dust. On the odd occasion one of them would have a night terror, we would head out of the room so as not to wake his brother. The nursing chair had become something to climb on, rather than to nurse in.
The other day, it was nap time, and Harry was distraught from being over-tired after an early waking, and an exciting morning digging in their grandparent’s backyard. While Zach happily went into his cot, but Harry and I sat in the nursing chair and rocked. We rocked and we rocked, until he was calm enough to sleep. Those minutes spent snuggled with my babe, smelling his toddler scent and whispering sweet nothings in his ear, brought memories flooding back. Memories of rocking to soothe crying babes. Of quietly singing. Of breathing in the scents of my children. The chair didn’t see much action when it came to feeding my babes, but it spent many hours nursing us together. In that moment, I also realised that my journey with the chair has come to an end, and as much as it is tied up with memories of bonding with my children, it is time to move it on.
Yesterday I offered the chair to someone in need, so that another family and their children can be nursed by the rocking chair. After eight years, I am ready to say goodbye.