five things | breastfeeding


this week is world breastfeeding week and in honor of the occasion, here are five thoughts about my relationship with breastfeeding:

1. other than the nine months i spent pregnant, i have never felt more useful in my entire life than i did for the eleven months i spent with marlo latched onto me. i've never felt so accomplished or my body more powerful than when it was not only responsible for nourishing my baby, but was also really, really good at it. yes, breastfeeding is exhausting. yes, it's hard and frustrating and a lot of work but it is so, so worth it. for me, the benefits were far more emotional than physical: because of my postpartum depression, nursing was the only way i felt truly connected to her and it was the one thing i had to remind me that i was doing something very right and good for her and for myself.

2. motherhood shouldn't make you a martyr. with that said, i believe that breastfeeding is a relationship between two people. there were moments in the beginning when i attempted to supplement with formula. initially, when i first attempted to supplement, i felt incredibly guilty because i thought that i should've been able to grin and bear it for my daughter because it was my job and the right thing to do. i also believed that i was somehow failing her because i wanted to supplement. how incredibly unfair to me?! i desperately needed a physical break after a traumatic birth. i was in pain and did what was best for me in that moment because, again, breastfeeding should be beneficial for both mother and baby. i should never feel guilty about taking care of my own needs so that i can take care of hers. i did what was necessary and i know that attempting to give myself that tiny break to heal was what kept me going for a longterm nursing relationship with my girl.

3. i really don't understand why breastfeeding makes people uncomfortable. i mean... it's just a boob. you don't mind looking at boobs when they're anything but functional but watching them fulfill their purpose and duty makes you want to cover your eyes and run away or more commonly make the "offending" mother feel horrible? get over it and yourself already. and don't get me started on the cover situation. the next time you feel the need to tell a mother to cover up as she feeds her child i want you to think about cutting and eating your own dinner underneath a dark, hot blanket while sweating. then try to tell me about covering up my baby while she eats. moving on.

4. even though marlo weaned long ago, she's still pretty obsessed with boobs. she loves putting her hands down my shirt when she's upset or just holding onto them while she eats a snack. mickey mouse on the tube with a handful of raisins in one hand and a boob in the other. they're like a stuffed animal. she is also very aware of other women nursing their babies. if we're at the park and a mother is nursing her baby on a bench nearby, she'll stop whatever it is that she's doing- yes, she'll even get off of her beloved tire swing- and walk over and just stare at them. it's very uncomfortable for all persons involved, i'm sure.

5. and, finally, big boobs aren't all they're cracked up to be. i mean, it was nice to finally see what it'd be like to have big ol' melons sittin' up on my chest. but those suckers are heavy. and hard. and you can't play with them because they'll spring a leak if you're not careful. luckily, though, i no longer have that problem. they are long, long gone and they took whatever i had before they had a job with them. sayonara, suckers...



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