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Breastfeeding as a Spiritual Activity

I know what you’re thinking.  “C’mon, seriously?”  “Breastfeeding as a spiritual activity?”  “What, are you gonna tell me to meditate and pray while I have a baby attached to the front of me in the middle of the night?!”

Breastfeeding as a Spiritual ActivityJust hear me out.

What Makes It Spiritual?

Admittedly, breastfeeding is a physical act.  Hormones, chemicals and bodily processes inside you produce a substance to physically sustain another human being.  However, it’s also emotional, psychological/mental, and

spiritual.

If Christ lives in your heart, then everything you do is for His glory, to serve His kingdom.  If Christ lives in your heart, then everything, everything, you do is spiritual.  Why?  Because He promises that everything you do serves a purpose in your life–to make you more like Jesus.  This process sometimes hurts.  A lot.  God is killing our pride and exalting Himself.  Among other things, He is working in us love, patience, sacrifice, and joy.  And guess what requires scads of these four qualities?  Yep.  Breastfeeding.

It’s All about Love

We wouldn’t do it if we didn’t love our little ones.  It deprives us of sleep.  It stretches our skin.  It cramps our schedule.  It just never. goes. away.  There’s leaking and clogged ducts and stumbling around in the middle of the night.  But there’s a love for the children God gives to us, a deep love He places in our hearts.  And this love comes straight from the God who is love.  He loves our little ones, and He loves us.  He teaches us to love Him more through our love for our children.  This tri-bond of love between mother and child and the Heavenly Father just begins with the breastfeeding stage.  It continues to grow as our children grow.  But an important bond is established in the breastfeeding relationship–a bond of trust, provision, comfort, unity, and affection.  And this precious bond becomes ever more important in the times of discipline, training, and instructing our children in God’s Word.

It’s All about Patience

I don’t know about you, but I can always use a little more of this.  The times when my twins are fighting, and my daughter is standing at fridge asking for a snack, and then my 13-month-old tugs at my shirt and whines for a drink.  We can study it and read about it.  We can even observe others who possess it by the basket-full.  But the truth is there is no way to learn patience except by being forced to be patient.  It takes patience to struggle with a newborn learning to latch on.  It takes patience to sit down every three hours in a busy day and do nothing but allow your babe to fill his/her tummy.   It takes patience to get out of bed for the umpteenth time in the dark of night to console your baby at your breast.

It’s All about Sacrifice

This one stings a little.  Ok, a lot.  Who likes to lay aside personal desires in order to sacrifice for some one else?  By nature, no one does.  But in Christ, we do.  Sacrifice is what He did for us, and sacrifice is what He calls us to do for others.  Ever since my twins were born five years ago, this mantra has been repeating in my head, “Motherhood is synonymous with sacrifice.”  It starts the first time you stay home from work to lean over the toilet with morning sickness, and it keeps going as you lay aside personal plans to be available to train your child.  I am told it keeps going as you sit awake praying for your teenager, and I am sure it doesn’t end even when your children are having children.  Breastfeeding is a perfect picture of the sacrifice of motherhood.  You sacrifice of your body, your sleep, your time.  Even your marriage has to make sacrifices when baby climbs into your bed for yet another feeding.  All of these sacrifices are part of God’s loving plan for us.  He is making our hearts beautiful by our sacrifice.

It’s All about Joy

All this talk of patience and sacrifice and leaking boobs; we might be tempted to complain.  But, don’t forget where we started–love.  God loves us in Christ so much that despite what we give up, He is returning gifts to us in joy!  He could have made feeding a baby a drudgery.  But instead He made it beautiful with embracing and cooing, and cuddling, and sweet chubby rolls.  He made it beautiful with what He works inside of us, and He made it beautiful with the intimate relationship that just begins to form between a breastfeeding mother and her child.  So, breastfeeding mother, have joy!  And be blessed with the spiritual rewards that will fill your life.


Tucked away in the sprawling corn fields of Northwest Iowa, Lael Griess is a busy mother of four and wife to a pastor. Her twin four-year-old sons keep her picking up messes, her precocious 3-year-old daughter keeps her answering questions, her 10-month-old baby daughter keeps her smiling, and her faith in Jesus Christ keeps her eyes fixed on things eternal. In her spare time she enjoys cooking and baking, walking, crafting, gardening, entertaining, and reading. And when she finally has a chance to sit down, she is usually breastfeeding.
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Comments

  1. Oh, I love this. 🙂

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