When I was pregnant I had this glowing idea that I would have baby November and that she would immediately attach to my boob and breastfeeding would naturally come to us. Well it didn’t.. it was 3 weeks of trying to get her to latch with her screaming for twenty minutes until she finally would latch then immediately fell asleep on the boob. Due to a few health problems at her birth like “sleepy baby”, jaundice, losing weight at a fast rate, and low blood sugar, she got the bottle and she liked the bottle. So now I’m an exclusive pumping mom (more on that later).
So why this blog?
– it is not to scare women who are not moms or going to become moms, it’s to break isolation. When that mom who has their baby screaming for 4 hours who won’t latch or take a bottle, I hope they think of this and feel like they are not the only ones who have experienced this and it will all be okay. Hollywood rarely portrays the struggle of breastfeeding so many go into it thinking it’s easy peasy lemon squeezie (which for a few blessed women it will be.. we envy you)
– Because moms rarely talk about it. We just don’t. There are so many other important things to discuss. Also when moms get together and have adult contact they want to talk about non-baby things since most of their lives revolve around their little one(s).
– To educate those who disagree on breastfeeding and breastfeeding in public, which is completely legal in any form she chooses. For them to understand the struggles that women go through just to be able to nourish their child.
Note: this is a collaborative list based on conversations and surveys of moms. If you are like me you can relate to a few.
Okay onto the list..
1. Start up is a bitch: can we say pain! And not just any type of pain but the pain you have to endure 10 times a day for 20 minute sessions for weeks and weeks on end. Often nipples crack, bruise, and bleed and then crack, bruise, and bleed again. Congratulations.. you are now a human pacifier. Then your milk comes in and it feels like you have ridiculous, uncomfortable, implants that are about to explode and an alien will pop out.
2. The guilt from being frustrated with your baby: the first few weeks (and months to follow) your baby wants to eat non stop. They also hit 6 growth spurts in the first year that are particularly difficult. If baby is not latching properly or just screaming or it’s the 42nd time you have been woken up that night you WILL feel frustrated. Then you WILL feel guilt because you love your baby so much and you think you are a bad mom for feeling any sort of negative feeling towards your child.
3. Your baby won’t take a bottle: welcome to being the only person your baby can depend on. You can’t leave the house sans baby for more than 3 hours at a time. This makes date night short and girls nights even shorter. Also the whole “pump and dump” if you want to indulge in a glass of wine (or 3) is out the window.
4. Public breastfeeding is stressful: Even though it is a women’s legal right to breastfeed in public without a cover, there are still many assholes who feel the need to make you feel ashamed for exercising your legal rights. Just think back to the Target incident that went viral where a man in the Starbucks area demanded a refund because a feeding mom is doing something “disgusting and inappropriate” and thankfully the wonderful Target staff come to her rescue. We have all seen the videos where men tell women to cover up, or they don’t want to see it, or do it in the bathroom. These men better be outside of Victoria Secret protesting loudly at the sight of skin in their windows if they are so disgusted by the tiny bit of skin they may see from an uncovered woman. Side Note: if I hear another person defend a breastfeeding mama by saying, “well at least she is wearing a cover” I will scream.
5. Biting: with or without teeth.. enough said.
6. The Alternatives: I have chosen to exclusively pump because my baby would not take to the boob (long story). Luckily I’m able to pump out ridiculously large quantiles of 90 oz a day. I have stock piled my milk like a hoarder and have been questioned why: well I spend three hours a day on the pump and to throw it down the drain is so disheartening. I can’t stop and use up my stock pile and then return as I would have no supply left to give. I need to pump 7 times a day regardless to keep my supply up and to prevent infection (more on that soon). Also like any breastfeeding mom, after a few hours I get uncomfortable and whip out my pump and cover. The comments of, “do you have to do that now?” or “can’t you wait till you go home?” The answer is no I can’t. I’m uncomfortable and waiting can lead to my next point..
7. MASTITIS: any woman who has had this knows it’s horrible. Basically it’s when your body gets clogged ducts and they get infected. You get a fever which makes you feel weak and like you have been hit by a train.
8. Thrush: or as I like to call it, glass boobies. It feels like your chest is full of glass and your nips can even get colonized yeast (Google only if you have a strong stomach). The problem with thrush is your baby can get it from feeding too, so your infection may clear up but your baby’s hasn’t so they give it back to you during a feed and you are back at square one.
9. The formula guilt: Best advice I’ve heard from my public health nurse, “Breast is best but that doesn’t mean formula isn’t fantastic.” If you have a low supply or just can’t do it anymore, buy the formula and no one will care that you have stopped nursing (actually many moms will be jealous).
10. It is so great and beautiful: okay this may sound like a positive but it’s a mix of both. Nursing is a beautiful bonding experience. It’s knowing that you are giving you baby the best you can while also all of those precious baby snuggles in. What makes it so special is what prevents women from throwing in the towel. Women are willing to endure all of the above because it is just that beautiful, perfect, and worth it.
11. I know I said 10 reasons but this is a bonus… Other mothers judgement: THIS ISN’T about breast feeding but needs to be said.. there are so many parenting styles out there and we all think we are using the best one when in reality we are using the best one FOR OUR OWN CHILD. So stop judging that mom who co-sleeps or the parents that chose to let their baby cry it out last night. Every baby is different and every parent is different and they need to do what they feel is best to keep their sanity.
Instead of judging women for how/when/where they choose to feed their baby, instead our society should look at them as super heroes that sacrifice their bodies and comfort to provide what they feel is best for their babies. Always choose love and compassion over the moment of discomfort you may experience seeing a mother feed and know that she has likely fought hard to be able to feed her child the best she can provide. Give her the respect she deserves.