Breastfeeding… what a roller coaster.
I’m one of those (few??) women that never really enjoyed breastfeeding. I hated that I didn’t enjoy it because it was always a priority for me when I got pregnant.
We took a breastfeeding class and I loved learning about such a natural act and all its crazy amazing benefits. I imagined my little one and I bonding over such an intimate act. I had learned, but never really expected, just how much practice it would take.
I never expected after my body being taken over by this little human for 9 months, I would feel like my body was yet again, not my own.
I never realized the mental and emotional toll it would take on me. I always knew it wasn’t going to be all sunshine and rainbows, but I didn’t expect this.
I felt selfish for feeling like this. I constantly battled with myself over these feelings. I felt bad that so many women desperately wished they could have the issues that come with breastfeeding and here I was, blessed enough to never have any major problems with our experience, at least none that weren’t fixed with time and practice.
Shouldn’t I be grateful to provide for my baby? Shouldn’t I love this bonding experience with him?
The reality is there are so many aspects of motherhood that are just plain hard. No two mother-baby experiences are the same.
And honestly, I eventually did start getting used to it, and then even enjoying it. It took time.
I do love seeing his eyes stare up at me. I do love listening to him try to talk and nurse at the same time or stop for quick smile at his mama. I am proud of how great of a nurser he is.
And regardless of how I felt, I will always be grateful for how blessed we are for our experience with breastfeeding.
Maybe I could have just stopped and formula fed for my own mental health and I would most definitely not have been any less of a mother for doing so.
If it had gotten to a really serious point where I just couldn’t take it, I would have. A healthy and happy mother is much more important than forcing breastfeeding if it just wasn’t working.
But I was determined to push through because it was still a priority of mine. I personally would have felt even more defeated if I had stopped. I’m so proud of both of us for pushing through.
When we are ready to stop, I will be sad that this part of our journey has come to an end, but grateful for it just the same.
There are times where it’s still hard. As he changes, nursing changes.
For those who are struggling but want to keep going, make little goals and celebrate like crazy when you meet them. Take a breastfeeding class if you can, ask other moms about their experiences. Be as prepared as you can, but know that your experience is special and unique.
And if you need to stop, stop. Your baby won’t remember how you fed them, but they will always know whether or not you are happy.
To those who made it a week, a month, 6 months, 2 years… to those who just weren’t able to no matter how hard they tried, and to those who just didn’t want to, be proud in your journey.
To those who love nursing, who have loved it from the beginning and intend to nurse for as long as they can, I am so happy for you. Keep going and soak up every minute!
Every mom who makes a decision to be a happy mom, to have a fed baby, is a wonderful mother. No decision as a mother is easy. We’re all just trying to do our best to raise happy, healthy babies, making sacrifice after sacrifice. At some point, you have to take care of yourself too.
No matter how you decide to do that, I’m proud of you. And you should be proud of you too.