It’s difficult to put my thoughts about breastfeeding into a concise and helpful post. So difficult it’s taken me several days to work on this post. OK, more like weeks. I guess I’m a little schizophrenic when it comes to my opinion on the whole experience. It’s hard, wonderful, painful, tiring, bonding, convenient, and inconvenient–all at the same time.
You don’t need to tell me the benefits about breastfeeding, I’ve preached them to myself time and time again. In those early months when I couldn’t get more than 2 hours of consecutive sleep, I reminded myself of the physical benefits for baby and mom. In those early painful days (and again painful when teeth come in), I focused on the comfort and bonding I was providing for my little man. When my baby wanted to eat every hour on the hour for 3 months, I focused on all the great nutrition and weight my baby was putting on. As you can see, breastfeeding has been a matter of will for me.
I don’t really enjoy breastfeeding. It feels like I’m not a good mom to admit that fact. I love being close to my little guy. I love meeting his emotional, physical, and nutritional needs. But I just do not like breastfeeding. I’ve finally come to grips with how I feel about it and I’m ok with that. I think breastfeeding for us has been right, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been a very constant fight.
In many ways I love breastfeeding. I love the convenience of being able to immediately sooth my little guy. No fussing with bottles (he doesn’t even know how to use one any more because we so rarely gave one to him), no expensive formula, no pacifier–just me. He has always only wanted me for comfort. There is something very special about that. I never was worried by feedings or schedules–he would just tell me when he was hungry. Easy peasy.
Along with the physical difficulties of breastfeeding, there are other related issues one must deal with. I had heard ahead of time that breastfeeding on demand would have difficult parts to it, but somehow there were many things that I didn’t expect. It didn’t occur to me just how tired I would be in the beginning, being the only one who could feed that hungry boy. I never anticipated how hard it would be to plan being away from him for more than 45 or an hour. I never realized how long it would be before I could be away overnight or even think of going away for the weekend.
With just over a month left until the little man turns 1, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about how far we’ve come. Parker has always been a vigorous eater (clearly), but that doesn’t mean breastfeeding came easily or naturally for us. He has always been wiggly and very fussy around feeding time. I have scratches and bruises all over my chest from trying to keep him in place while nursing; and he’s nearly scratched off some of my moles in the process. And don’t even get me started on the teeth. Little man started getting teeth at 5 months and now has 8 sharp little chompers. Not fun.
And yet, I’m having a hard time imagining my life without breastfeeding. It has been such a huge part of our lives this past year. For various reasons we’ll most likely be weaning him after he turns 1 and I know I’m going to miss some of it. But I’m also looking forward to the next phase in our relationship. I often think of the verse in Scripture that describes the contentment of a weaned child leaning against their mother’s chest. No striving or tugging for what the mother can give them, just enjoying her company. I know I’d like to be that way with my Heavenly Father.
I guess this is another post without a real conclusion, but I think that is ok. There are somethings in life that you will just have mixed feelings about. Not everything can be wrapped up in a nice concluding sentence. Often there is no real “moral of the story” in real life. Instead, I’m going to be grateful for the time that I’ve had breastfeeding my child and not focus on the hard parts that we’ve overcome. Yep, that’s just how I’ll see it!