All month I have wanted to write a post about breastfeeding and my experience. It felt right to compose something considering it is Breastfeeding Awareness Month, and all. But I struggled to find something worth writing about. It’s crazy that something I spend a huge amount of time doing would fail to inspire a worthy thought. But it struck me today, on the last day of August. Breastfeeding sucks.
No one tells you about how painful engorgement feels or how scary it is when the hospital tells you it is necessary to supplement with formula – even though you know in your heart it isn’t needed. No one talks about cracked nipples, sore necks, and endless night feedings. And don’t even get me started on thrush and mastitis (the word alone sounds terrifying). No one talks about the people who won’t meet your eye contact because they are embarrassed (go on and stare at that three-quarter naked woman on tv though) or asshole hospital lactation consultants with horrible British accents.
I could go on and spout off all the statistics about the physical benefits of breastfeeding for baby- from preventing childhood obesity to increasing IQ- or physical benefits to mama – from preventing reproductive cancers to helping lose that baby weight. But I won’t do any of that because those articles are easy to find and those statistics are meaningless. And, in reality, I think those benefits only play a tiny role in why most mamas continue to breastfeed despite all the negatives.
It’s the indescribable feeling when your baby looks up from your breast and makes eye contact. It melts all the frustration, all the pain, and all (okay only most) of the exhaustion away. It’s the gooey feeling you get when she suddenly stops sucking and breaks into a huge gummy smile – milk rolling down her chin and all. It’s the soul rocking, heart healing, unbelievable feeling knowing that, not only did your body create and grow this little squish, but continues to grow her on a daily basis.
Yes, breastfeeding sucks. It will probably make my boobs sag lower than my belly button and nipples turn into permanent thimbles but I will never look back and regret how satisfied my heart feels. I will always cherish the time we were able to spend, just the two of us. (I will also never take for granted that it is quickest, most effective way to quiet a screaming monster.)
Some may say she is a momma’s baby – and she is – but every part of me knows that I am creating an independent, well-adjusted kid.
So, I repeat: Breastfeeding sucks. But to all the mommas – Rock on with your bad self.