Monday, April 23, 2012

Breastfeeding, talk about your ups and downs (NSFW?)

I found the hilarious image below on this post at How to Be a Dad with the caption, "Breastfeeding: Got a problem? Suck it." I've seen my LO do exactly this and then pull away and look at me with brows furrowed because he cannot understand why Mama is laughing so hard.

I love breastfeeding. I will miss it so much when it's gone. It's been great to have the special bonding time between me and my son and to know I'm doing at least one thing that's unequivocally best for him. It's so sweet when he cuddles up and his eyes get heavy when I'm nursing him at bedtime. It's so cute when he stops in the middle of eating just to smile and talk to me before finishing his meal. I laugh hysterically when he dive bombs my boobs because he's hungry or when he plays with my bra strap while he nurses.

But, I'm also ready for it to be over. He just started crawling a couple of weeks ago, so it's a struggle to get him to settle down to nurse. He also grabbed a nipple the other day and got his sharp little baby fingernails nice and dug into it before I could get him to let go (oh, and then he bit the same one two days later). I also took pseudoephedrine, which decreased my supply, which never bounced back. I under-produced (by half) for the first two months of his life, which came along with a host of other problems, so the low supply has me seriously stressed out. Throughout breastfeeding, I've experienced most problems possible: low supply, latch problems, nursing strikes, sore nipples, clogged ducts, etc. There were a few times in those first couple of months when I almost quit.

So, do I love breastfeeding? Usually. Do I hate breastfeeding? Sometimes. Has it been difficult? You bet your ass. Am I glad I stuck it out? Yes.

I guess I wanted to share this because I don't think people hear the full story of what it's like to breastfeed. I thought it would be a lot easier than it was when my baby was born. People talk about how natural and wonderful it is, and it is. But, it's difficult. It can take a few weeks until things start to go smoothly, and it is a lot of work up until then. I wish they covered that aspect of breastfeeding in the birthing classes and baby books. I'd be willing to bet more women would stick it out if they knew that it would be tough at the start when they made the decision to breastfeed. I also think hospitals could be a lot more supportive to breastfeeding mothers - most women go into labor planning to breastfeed but leave the hospital feeding formula - but that is another post.

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