If I got paid for each minute I spend breastfeeding, I’d be able to buy, like, three Anthropologie stores. I could hire a personal chef. I could definitely hire a full-time maid.
I thought this each and every time I sit down to nurse my babies. I daydream about all the cute outfits I’d put together and all the candles I’d go through each month when my milk lets down and the baby pulls away to cough while milk sprays all over him.
And my shirt.
The cold, wooden rocking chair presses into my bare back. My shirt is hiked up and permanently wrinkled from the accordion it has become–up and down and up and down it goes while I nurse every two hours.
Confession: I can’t stand breastfeeding.
I just really don’t like it.
With my first baby, everyone warned me it would be tough—figuring out a good position, dealing with the pain from a bad latch. I was told to stick it out until 8 weeks. That’s when it gets better.
And it did, from that standpoint, but—to me—it was still such a drag.
I got so sick of being soggy. I got so tired of changing nursing pads all day. I got so annoyed every time I had to take my shirt off or pull it up or pull it down or stretch it out.
Mostly, though, I felt trapped by being the only one who could feed my babies. Sure, I could pump a bottle and have someone else feed them, but I still had to pump. And perhaps the only thing more annoying than nursing is pumping.
I felt guilty about this for a while. Many mothers adore breastfeeding. They love the bond it creates between them and their baby. They love the snuggles and the closeness. Why couldn’t I feel that way?
I breastfed my first baby for 4 months until I had to stop in order to take a medication that I desperately needed.
I breastfed my second baby for 9 months until I traveled for work and she decided bottles were better and wasn’t interested anymore.
I breastfed and am currently semi-breastfeeding my third baby who is 6 months old. I supplement with formula because he is the hungriest child in the world.
And honestly, I’m pretty certain I will stop breastfeeding all together over the coming weeks. My reason? I’m just over it. And guess what?
That is OK.
I realized that sometimes it’s OK for me to make a choice that serves ME.
I love and care for my baby just like any other mom–nursing or formula-feeding.
I know that there are stigmas, expectations, and judgments surrounding this subject, and I want to share my story because I don’t think it’s a perspective that’s shared too often, especially where I live in an incredibly pro-breastfeeding town.
Mama, however your child is fed, be it breast feeding, formula feeding, or a mix of both, please know that you are doing the best you can. It doesn’t matter what your reasons are or aren’t. You don’t need to defend yourself to anyone. Bravo to you, for giving your baby the nutrients and calories he or she needs.
Let’s link arms, Mamas, and build each other up no matter our feeding choices. There are so many difficult parts of motherhood. Let’s let this one go.
Now, back to those Anthropologie candles…