I have a friend who recently had her first baby. I’m so honored to say that she’s been talking to me about her breastfeeding woes, and it made me reminisce…
I have no negativity towards mothers who don’t breastfeed, I don’t look down on anyone’s choice and think this decision is 100% up to each mom and their situation individually.
That being said, for those mothers who are on the fence, struggling or just don’t know how much longer they want to continue, this one’s for you.
I’ll start my reasoning on why breastfeeding is best by acknowledging its struggles. Breastfeeding (having a newborn in general) is one of the hardest and most exhausting things I’ve ever done. It’s time consuming. It’s constant. At first, possibly, difficult or painful. Whether you’re breastfeeding or not, you don’t sleep more than 2-3 hours at a time, and you can never take a day off or even a break from having a newborn. It’s hard, and it’s new and lovely and scary and exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time. So, I
sympathize with understand what all mothers go through. I know that every mother has times where they wonder if they’re doing the right thing and if they’re ever going to sleep again. You are and you will. And if billions of other mothers can do it, so can you. After the first couple weeks, you hit a groove, and it gets much easier. Not too long after that, your newborn just slept 4-5 hours at a time. Before you know it, it stops taking 30-40 minutes to breastfeed and begins taking half that time. You may even get comfortable enough to stop hiding out and start breastfeeding in front of people. Yes, to answer the question always running through your mind, it will eventually and continuously get better as you go.
Now that we’ve got the hard part out of the way, let me tell you why it’s going to be worth it. There were many times during the first couple months of breastfeeding where my husband and I would go to a family dinner or play a game with friends or have a conversation with someone, and my daughter would get hungry. So, I would take her somewhere more private and breastfeed her. 30-40 minutes later when I got done and came back, everyone would be finished with dinner or the game was over or the conversation had stopped. I’ll be honest, during those moments I sometimes felt frustrated and completely disconnected from the world. Almost a year later, this is where my friend asking me about breastfeeding comes in. I really thought about it for the first time since I was actually going through that stage. While you’re in it, you never think it’s going to end, and it’s hard to look at the positive things right in front of you when you only see the negative. The truth is that even if I’d stayed at dinner, I never would’ve remembered what I ate. If I’d continued playing a game with friends, I probably couldn’t tell you what game we played now. And if I’d finished half those conversations, a week later I wouldn’t have a clue what we’d talked about. Looking back now, I can recall almost every one of those times I pulled myself away from those situations to feed my daughter. And I wasn’t disconnected from the world, I was just completely and totally intertwined with her. I was bonding with her in a way I will never be able to again. My daughter was completely and totally dependent on me, and there has never been anyone else who has ever or will ever rely on me more than that. She was 9 and 10 and 15 and 18 pounds, and she’s never going to be that size again. And I remember the majority of those times, vividly. I remember taking my daughter to the back room at my husband’s grandma’s house during Thanksgiving dinner. I remember closing the door and sitting on the bed in my aunt’s bedroom at a get together in her new home while my family played a game. I remember going back to the bedroom in our apartment to feed our daughter while my husband continued talking to our friends in the living room. Funny thing is, I don’t remember what we had for Thanksgiving dinner, I couldn’t tell you what game my family was playing, and I haven’t the slightest clue what I was talking about with the friends in our living room, but I do remember breastfeeding my daughter. I remember looking down at her, rocking her, talking to her, smiling at her and truly being happy with just her in those moments. Every. Single. Time. I got to experience that, and it was so worth it. And that’s why, in my opinion, breastfeeding is best.
When you find yourself frustrated at the things you think you’re missing out on, wondering if you’ll ever sleep again or just unsure if breastfeeding is something you really want to do, remember it is truly such a strong bond that only you can have, and it lasts such a minuscule amount of time in comparison to an entire lifetime. It may seem challenging, but nothing good is ever easy. You’ll never get it back, and it’ll never happen again. So, every minute you feel like you’re losing, you’re really gaining, and it’s so worth it.