Posted on | August 5, 2011 | 11 Comments
This week has been the International Breastfeeding Week. Since I am in the thick of breastfeeding a newborn, I thought it might be fitting to add my little two cents to the whole thing.
I’m embarrassed to admit this…I don’t love breastfeeding. I don’t feel warm and fuzzy every time I do it. Yes, sometimes when Arlo puts his little hand on me and makes sweet kitten noises, and when he has a little milk mustache, and when he gives a sleepy (albeit gassy) smile, I feel the flutters. But I don’t adore my time breastfeeding. I get bored. I leak everywhere. More often than not, I have to change Arlo and myself after a nursing session. I get tired of feeding, burping, rocking for an hour and having to do it all over again in another hour or two. Sometimes I wish I could hand off a boob to the hubs and let him nurse for awhile. When I weaned Sully? I never felt any sadness or regret. Guilt? Yes. But that was self-induced. Regret? Absolutely not. I was so done.
But. And a big BUT this is, I am so grateful for this time. I feel extremely fortunate to have an easy time breastfeeding. Arlo took to it like a champ. I can nurse and still pump an extra six ounces or so to stash in the freezer for a rainy day. When I pick up my little chunky baby, I feel proud to know that I have created all this fat and squishy-ness on his sweet self. I am so thankful I have dodged sore nipples and low supply problems. I thank God for being able to feed my baby in the best way (for us) and the most inexpensive way possible. When I walk through the baby aisle in the grocery store, I am so glad I don’t have to pick up a $20.00 can of formula. I know how lucky I am. I know so many mamas have a hard time with breastfeeding, and my heart goes out to them.
I hate “Breast is Best.” Because it’s not true for everyone, and it undermines people who are trying to help mommies feel good about breastfeeding. Sometimes it doesn’t work for mommy and baby. Sometimes? Breast isn’t best for sanity or nutrition. But, no one can argue that Breast is Normal. When I see another mommy breastfeeding in public, I want to walk up to her and fist bump her because there is nothing more NORMAL and NATURAL than a breastfeeding mommy and her nursling.
I’ve made a conscious effort to get a few pictures of me breastfeeding Arlo, this time. With Sully, I have none. None. And it makes me so sad that I have nothing that documents those six months I spent nurishing my first born. As tiresome as I feel breastfeeding can be, I still think it is a beautiful thing, and I wish I had saved some of those moments. I don’t understand people who are offended by a breastfeeding mama. It astounds me that it is mainly women who proclaim that a breastfeeding mother is being “inappropriate” and “gross.” Really? People say they don’t want their husbands seeing another woman’s breast (are you that insecure that you fear your husband is going to run off because he caught a peek at a nursing mother’s boobie?). Or they say their sons shouldn’t see it. Why? Their sons shouldn’t see the normal way of a baby is fed? I hope my sons grow up knowing what breastfeeding is. I hope they never view it as something inappropriate or gross. And I sure as hell hope that someday, if their wives want to breastfeed, they support them in every way possible.
So my ultimate message? Breast is normal. I hope we can all embrace it without making other mommies feel guilty if they can’t breastfeed. Normal isn’t always best. But normal is natural.