Having now successfully nursed two children, the younger 15 months old and with no signs of weaning anytime soon, I can say that one of the best things about nursing is the simple brilliance of it - how convenient it is, and how it allows a tired young mother to rest.
Oh, I know by now nursing can have its stresses and challenges - we've had slow weight gain, tongue-tie, plugged ducts complete with high fever, and others can probably chip in with stories of their own. But basically it's supposed to be pretty much straightforward, or our species wouldn't have survived. Throw in the facts that nutritionally speaking, it's perfectly composed to meet the baby's needs, it's free, and you don't have to prepare and wash bottles, not to mention worry about hygiene when you're out and about - and there you have why I love it so much.
Most of the time, on many busy days, nursing is what allows us to put up our feet and rest, at least for a little while, without feeling guilty. We often try to do too much, and find it difficult to switch to a different mode once we have a baby - and nursing is just the thing to force us to slow down, for our own good. It's healthy, it's natural, it's simple, it involves sitting down for regular periods every day and cuddling a sweet baby. It's so wonderful.
For us, as managers of the home, as those who are used to have it all under control, it can be so tempting to say to our dear husband (or whoever there is to help us out), "here, just hold the baby - and I'll do those dishes"... but no. The baby needs us, and us alone. Someone else can do the dishes, but no one can nurse our baby. And while we are sitting down, we can have a cooling drink of water or a little snack to refresh us on a hot busy day.
I guess this is what some would call "being tied down by babies". And let's face it, the number one reason mothers switch to formula (at least here) is because of going back to work. I know only few people for whom pumping had worked out long-term, and even if it does, it just isn't the same as nursing (although definitely preferable to formula).
Actually, this "being tied down" by nursing is the best thing that can happen to a frazzled young Mom looking over a messy house. Because let's face it, we need to rest, we need to slow down, whether we acknowledge it or not. There will be challenging moments, of course. There will be days when you feel you have done nothing but nurse the baby - but these things slowly and imperceptibly change as the baby grows older. There will come a time when by-and-by, some of the baby's nutritional needs will be met by solid food, then a bit more... there will come a time when you are able to leave your baby for an evening and go out.
And there will come a time of a bittersweet goodbye, when, with a feeling of a job well done, you relinquish the bond of breastfeeding and continue to nurture your little one in countless other ways. With Shira it happened at 15 months; she self-weaned, so I honestly can give no insight on weaning a baby. I know for sure I'm in no rush to end this very special connection between my baby girl and myself. Every minute of nursing and snuggling is precious, time well spent.