I haven't even really planned out what I want to write just that I want to do it. Before I start, let me make it clear that this post is in no way a judgement on mama's who choose not to or who cannot breastfeed. Your choices and your reasons for your choices are yours, not mine or anyone else's. For those who chose not to, own your choice. Those who wanted to and weren't able to, for whatever reason, don't beat yourself up over something that is beyond your control. Own your choices and don't allow others to make you feel guilty about them
So here's my opinion on breastfeeding in a nutshell.
-Breastfeeding is cool. God designed our bodies to create the PERFECT food for our babies.
-Breastfeeding is normal. I think "Breast is best" is a crap line created by formula companies that only creates tension among mothers. Breastfeeding is the biological norm. Formula is awesome for what it is--a substitute for breastmilk. It is not the same, but when a mom chooses or is forced to use it, it provides baby with the nutrition needed and often provides moms with the freedom needed--freedom to work, freedom to sleep, freedom from constant worry over whether you are producing enough, freedom from having to cut everything out of your diet that baby is sensitive to. . . .
-Breastfeeding is free. A huge reason that I'm thankful that I was able to breastfeed is that I didn't have to pay for formula which is expensive. We did have to supplement for our first week, but we were able to use samples.
-Breastfeeding is a cure all. Seriously. Baby is crying? Boob. Baby is hurt? Boob. Baby can't sleep? Boob. Baby is sick? Boob. I don't know how I would have mothered in those early months without my boobs. I lived by the motto, "When in doubt, whip it out."
|This is a picture of a morning nursing session with Cai when he was about 10 months old. Gymnurstics.|
-Breastfeeding is not talked about enough. I know some of you just read that and snorted in disagreement, but hear me out. We talk about breastfeeding in public and whether or not you should breastfeed, but it ends there. I found I kept my mouth shut sometimes because I didn't want to offend anyone. But if we talked about it and educated each other through experience, I think it would be easier. Easier to get through it. Easier to choose it. Easier to see that you're not the only one who couldn't. Waiting five and a half year to get pregnant allowed me a ton of time to research it, but not everyone thinks to do that. Why should we have to research something that's normal? I was also in a breastfeeding support group on Facebook which helped me tremendously when things were hard. Talking about it more is huge!
-Breastfeeding is not easy. Overall, my experience was not super difficult, but that doesn't mean it's easy. We had to supplement with formula in the beginning because Cai had jaundice and my milk hadn't come in. We used an SNS which is basically a tube attached to a bottle of formula that you tape to your boob so baby can suckle and receive formula (How many of you knew something like that existed? See, we need to talk about it more!) That was super stressful. Due to my c section, my milk took almost a week to come in, also stressful. When it did come in I dealt with oversupply which was frustrating and often painful. For the first few months, whenever Cai slept really well (which was often back then) I would wake up soaked with milk despite thick breast pads (Bamboobies brand- you need them!) I dealt with a few clogged duct a and mastitis once or twice. I also struggled with anxiety sometimes during nighttime nursing; that really sucked. The worst was nursing aversion. Part of the reason I weaned Cai when I did was because whenever he nursed my skin would crawl and I wanted to throw him. And weaning itself was hard too. And those are just the issues I personally dealt with, not to mention under supply, thrush, tongue and lip ties, nipple pain, teething...)
-Breastfeeding is a relationship. Breastfeeding is more than just food for your child. It's a relationship with your child. This is why I chose to wean; my relationship with my son was more important than feeding him, and I was beginning to resent hI'm every time he wanted to nurse because I hated it (not always, just for that last month or so). Feeding your child the best way you can is important, but so are peace and joy and comfort and rest, and sometimes those things need to trump food to save your relationship with your child. I wanted to let Cai wean on his own, but between nursing aversion and wanting to start fertility treatments again, that didn't happen, and that's okay.
-Breastfeeding is easier with knowledge and support. Research. Join groups. Seek out resources. I recommend the app Timeline of a Breastfed Baby. It helped me tremendously. Www.kellymom.com is another great resource. And the Facebook group I'm in is called Breastfeeding Your Way. Feel free to look it up. If you're thinking about breastfeeding, but aren't sure, ask questions. Look things up. Also, getting in touch with a lactation consultant can majorly help with issues. Unfortunately, many OBGYNs and pediatricians aren't well educated on breastfeeding, but a lactation consultant can answer all sorts of questions and help with almost any issue.
-Breastfeeding is harder for working moms in the US. Because of our lack of maternity leave, most moms who work have to go back to work earlier tan they would like, and although pumps are awesome and a blessing, they don't drain the breast as well as a baby does, causing many women to struggle with supply. If you're struggling, find help!
So I guess that wasn't much of a nutshell, but like I said, I didn't have time to plan this post ahead of time, I just knew I wanted to write it. Feel free to contact me to ask me questions, or just to talk about breastfeeding or not breastfeeding. : )