*One of my biggest pet peeves with breastfeeding is the social stigma attached to it. Do I think “breast is best?” Yes. But I also know that many families make a different choice because it is best for their family. If you are on a different path, blessings to you! I believe that choice was made with great care, and for that, I honor you.*
It’s official! My youngest has been weaned from breastfeeding. I am, therefore, dedicating this post to the joys and woes of my breastfeeding experience.
What I love about breastfeeding:
Nothing better. There really is nothing better than breastmilk. One of the many things that fascinates me about God, is how He created our bodies to naturally provide the perfect nutrition for our babies at various stages of their development. While I’m amazed at how advanced formula has become, breastmilk has unique qualities that just can’t be found anywhere else.
The solution to everything. Is the baby tired? Hungry? Sad? Irritable? Lonely? Teething? Sick? Persnickety? Breastfeeding is your answer. All of life’s trials are quickly forgotten and everything is happy once again when baby is able to breastfeed. I don’t really know why, it just works.
Convenience. The convenience of breastfeeding is such a gift. It’s always the right temperature, it’s the perfect amount, you don’t have to stuff as many bulky things in the diaper bag, and if you stay out longer than planned, you don’t have to be concerned about whether baby has enough to eat. And let’s face it, sleep-deprived moms need one less thing to worry about.
The bonding. There is a special connection between mom and baby that is found only in breastfeeding. One of my favorite memories with my youngest was when I returned home after being gone for 24 hours. She had plenty to eat during my absence, but when I sat down to let her breastfeed she immediately relaxed. She wasn’t old enough to realize she had questions, but in that moment, all of those questions were answered. Everything that was wrong with the world was suddenly right.
But let’s be real; sometimes I really hate breastfeeding:
The only solution. It is so frustrating to know that you are the only person who can make everything better. Hubby offers to help with bedtime? Too bad. Baby screams until she gets to nurse. Out and about running errands? You have to stop in the middle of what you are doing to breastfeed or baby will disrupt all of Target.
It’s messy. So Messy. With my first, I ended up with an overabundance of breastmilk. I count this as a blessing because I know many people struggle with the opposite issue, but it makes for some pretty messy experiences. For months and months I had to wear bulky breast pads and I always had numerous burp cloths to catch the inevitable spills.
Wardrobe issues. When breastfeeding, it is necessary to always consider if your outfit is breastfeeding appropriate. Will I be covered enough? Will I be too covered? I’ve made mistakes on both ends of the spectrum. Now that we are through, I so appreciate being able to wear whatever I want!
So inconvenient. Let’s say you want to go on a date. Or do something that doesn’t involve baby. Will she take a bottle? The process of convincing a baby that a bottle is just as good, but not too good, can be quite stressful. Sometimes it’s just easier to bring baby along! And for all my working mom friends, kudos to you! I will never cease to admire all the work you put into preparing breastmilk for your baby. Speaking of which…
Feeling like a cow. Pumping is awkward. That is all.
It can hurt. Maybe it’s just me, but that first month always seems to be the worst. Blisters? Yowsers! Sometimes I was so sore, I would start crying if the baby wanted to nurse. That would eventually go away, and then a few months later, the teething would begin. A hard chomp with nothing but gums is enough to make me squeal and scare the baby half-to-death. Thankfully, my reaction typically freaked baby out enough to prevent future occurrences.
The cover. Sometimes, moms are chastised for using a cover when breastfeeding. I use a cover because I am more comfortable using a cover. I am ultra conservative, so I would rather cover myself to prevent my own embarrassment should someone accidentally see something. On the other hand, I have quite a few friends who discreetly breastfeed in public without a cover. In your journey with your baby, you will learn what works best for you.
I can be emotional about a lot of things, but the end of my breastfeeding experience has not been one of them! If anything, I rejoiced!! I am thankful to have walked this road, and now I am thankful for it to be over. Now, I am one step closer to seeing my girls walk into the destiny God has created for them.
“LORD, my heart is not proud; my eyes are not haughty. I don’t concern myself with matters too great or too awesome for me to grasp. Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself, like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk. Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, put your hope in the LORD – now and always.” (Psalm 131; NLT)