Every part of breastfeeding has endeared me to my daughter. (Yes, even the torture of sore, cracked, bleeding nipples at the beginning brought me closer to her and enforced my desire to breastfeed.) My favorite nursing memory, however, comes at the end of a very trying 3.5 month-long nursing strike.
I was almost at the end of my rope. Every time I held my sweet six-month-old daughter at my breast, she screamed like I was trying to hold her up-side down by her toenails. It seemed the very thought of getting near the breast upset her. I didn't know what to do. I was exhausted from working a 40-hour week and keeping up a killer pumping schedule.
One night with a heavy heart and heavy eyelids I brought my beautiful daughter upstairs to call it a night. I put her on the bed and undressed (always sleeping topless so that she had an all-access pass to the breast). When I finished I picked her up and hugged her. I told her "I don't understand why you don't want Mama anymore, Puddin'" (it's near impossible to not take a nursing strike personally), "but I'm right here if you want to cuddle and nurse." As we laid down together on the bed, something great happened. Before I could even position myself on the mattress, my little girl reached out to my breast with both hands. I laid down beside her and she smiled, took it hungrily, and nursed herself softly to sleep. I thought my heart would burst!
At this point my little girl will only nurse through the night and I'm still pumping like crazy during the day to meet her needs, but that one evening was enough to lift my spirits and let me know that my little girl loves me - she just loves her independence as well.