my love/hate relationship with breastfeeding

by Ally- Life as I know it, 9:03 AM
I've been breastfeeding for 2.5 months now and honestly it feels a lot longer. In the beginning I was nursing 12-14 times a day so I'm sure that has a lot to do with it. Don't miss those days one bit! I hate to even complain about breastfeeding because I know there are women out there who've had issues with supply or latching or for whatever reason it just didn't work out and would have loved to breastfed their child. But I'm going to be honest, because that's what I like to do, and admit I don't really love breastfeeding. There I said it. There's a lot of wonderful benefits to it but I just don't really enjoy it. I've never felt the special bond people talk about where your child gazes into your eyes while he's nursing and this euphoric feeling passes over you. My kid doesn't even look at me when he's eating. So maybe it's mutual. 

Let's start with why I do like breastfeeding:

1. Provides nutrients and protection
I love that it's custom made just for my baby and that it contains antibodies to prevent disease and allergies. It's pretty amazing stuff. Oliver had a clogged tear duct when he was just weeks old and I put some of my milk on his eye and it cleared it up. If he scratches his face with his razor sharp newborn nails, I dab some breast milk on the scratches and they're gone the next day.

2. It's free
To think about how much formula costs these days is crazy. We already spend a fortune on diapers and wipes so to have one less cost is great.

3. You can pack light
It's nice knowing that when we leave the house as long as we have a diaper, wipes, and me, the baby will be fed and clean. And it's always available. 

4. Poops don't smell
The baby's poops smell like.. nothing. You can't beat that.

5. Lowers my risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer
This is a big deal to me since 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.

6. Burns 500 calories a day
I was back to my pre pregnancy size weeks after having Oliver and I know it's because all of the breastfeeding I was doing. 

7. I can eat whatever I want and not feel guilty
Breastfeeding is just a continuation of pregnancy where you're supplying food to keep your baby alive. Except that you're feeding a much bigger baby and your appetite feels it. I think I'm more hungry now than when I was pregnant. And since you need around 2700 calories a day to keep your supply up, I don't feel guilty when I eat 2 (or 3) cookies. 

Ok, so now why I don't like it:

1. You have to leave the room to feed
Yes I have a cover up to allow me to nurse in public but anyone who has ever used one of those knows it can be a pain. Oliver gets hot easily and my cover up has zero air flow so he's sweating by the time we're done. A screaming and crying baby that you're trying to latch on under a nursing cover is no fun. So I end up nursing in another room if we have guests over. Which means I have to sit in a quiet room for 30 minutes and play on my phone. It's kind of depressing after awhile.

2. I can't drink alcohol
I'm not a big drinker at all but I would love one drink here and there. Now I know I could pump to allow myself a drink but that brings me to my next topic..

3. Bottle refusal
This has been hell. They tell you not to introduce a bottle TOO SOON or the baby will prefer it over your breast. Then they say don't introduce it TOO LATE or the baby will refuse the bottle all together. Well what if you introduce it at the RIGHT TIME and your baby still screams and cries at the sight of it? This has been really hard for me because I get scared to think if I'm not with him and he chooses not to drink from the bottle then he won't be getting food or drink. Luckily he has proven to me that after an hour of screaming and crying once he realizes the bottle is his only option, he'll take it. I go back to work soon so I feel good knowing he won't let himself starve while I'm gone. 

4. Either have to nurse or pump
So let's say Oliver is staying with my mom and I give her a bottle of pumped milk to feed him. Yes he's fed but while we're away from each other I still have to pump to keep my supply up. Every 3 hours I have to bring out the Medela and pump away. Breastfeeding really keeps you on lock down.

5. There are days when the baby wants to eat ALL.DAY.LONG
Ok maybe not ALL DAY but it sure feels like it. I've been told once you get past the first 3 months the insane growth spurts where the baby is ravenous for hours go away. It's really hard to make plans when your kid wants to eat all day. Breast milk digests in 90 minutes so it doesn't keep them full as long as formula. Which means they eat more often. 

With all this said, I was the girl bawling in the hospital because I didn't think I would be able to breastfeed my child because it hurt too much. I can't imagine not giving him breast milk, it really is the best for him. But I also know if it gets to a point where it just isn't working out and it's hurting our relationship, I would stop. Breast is best but just being fed matters more. Like the nurse in the hospital told me as she popped open a bottle of formula for me to give Oliver because I was in so much pain, "I don't care how you feed him, just feed him!"

If you breastfeed, how do you feel about it? It's such a big commitment I see why people prefer not to do it.
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  1. I honestly can't say that I know what you're going through - but for all the reasons you like breastfeeding are the reasons Oliver will be so thankful you did! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

  2. Crazy... and so much to think about! Just know whatever you're doing is the right thing for you and Oliver. :)

  3. We had horrible issues with latching and the little but she did, I never got that magical feeling either. I exclusively pumped for 6 weeks and was miserable. Then I found out the reason her reflux was SO strong along with excessive fussiness was because of something I was eating. I could've spent weeks cutting out different things while continuing miserably pumping.. Or start formula. I have to say at the 6 week mark when we switched I became a whole new mom and she became a whole new baby. We were both so much happier and the bond I got then was more amazing than any of the breastfeeding. She's been sick 3 times her whole life (18 months old today) and each time was after flying! Ha I think every mom, baby, situation is different and 100% fed is best. As taboo as this sounds.. I'm not even sure if I want to try the next time around. My only formula complaint? Price!! Thankfully with coupons and sales, I could normally score a "good" deal. Just do your best and whenever it gets to the point of you being unhappy, don't feel guilty if you want to stop! Good luck! :)

  4. Thanks for sharing this! Love your honesty especially because I am already thinking about how I am going to feel about breastfeeding. I'm totally 100% all for it, but I'm nervous it's not going to be easy and so "dreamy" - so thanks for this! Makes me feel more human :)! xx

  5. So ironic to read this tonight because I posted (a long one!) about stopping nursing last week. It's such a personal decision and I think, as with so many womens' issues at the moment, there are too many "experts" and moms out there giving too much advice. You have to do what works for you. Everything will offer pros and cons but at the end you have to find what makes you happiest. With Ginny I was really happy that my supply dried up so quickly and I had to switch to formula because I just wasn't feeling it with her. This time I have such mixed emotions. But at the end of the day of the baby is fed any which way, he will be happy and so will you! By the way, my mom nursed me for 13 months and I was the sickest child and am allergic to everything. She couldn't nurse my sister at all and she's rarely sick and has no allergies so every baby's immune system is what it is!

  6. I love how you are so honest about topics that a lot of inquiring minds want to know about. I've heard a lot of these concerns before from my friends who are moms. My sister breastfed all her kids till a year. She seriously amazes me! I never thought about the isolation factor of it especially with bottle refusal! Thanks for always being so real with us!

  7. I managed to BF exclusively for about 11 months and the last two months while I was at work I supplemented with formula due to drop in supply. I agree with you that most of the time it was a huge pain in the arse but I actually kind of miss it. Mostly for the convenience of not having to wash out a bottle ever and it's always available. As soon as I stopped (at 13 months) P got really sick and stayed sick for about a month! You have to do what's right for you though so if you're not getting anything out of it looks for a different avenue!

  8. I'm 7 months in and still don't feel the magical fuzziness that everyone says you'll feel while nursing. The only thing more exhausting and draining than breastfeeding is PUMPING. I've built a little bit of a freezer stash so I hope to quit pumping in the next month or two and just taper off. I want to be able to quit before he has more of an emotional attachment to nursing than a need for food. Before I had my son, I didn't have any idea how large of a commitment it is. Its definitely convenient..but sometimes I wish dad could feed him so mom could have a glass of wine! I don't think I'll be sad when I'm done. Either way, YOURE NOT ALONE!


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