Being able to breastfeed my child brings me a lot of joy. Once I’m past those first six weeks where it all seems to feel impossibly hard, there are many things I enjoy about this stage of motherhood.
There are some parts of life that are slightly more challenging while breastfeeding (like getting out of the house for a few hours and not having to plan ahead to pump), and some things that are well, less glamorous (like breast milk-stained shirts). For the most part, there are only positives I can think of when I do the pro/con list on breastfeeding. We all know the medical benefits for mom and baby when it comes to breastfeeding, but there are times where we really just want to know the immediate ways breastfeeding can make your life easier.
There really is nothing easy when it comes to raising a newborn, and with all the chaos in the house with a new baby, sometimes you really just want to do something for you.
While I know breast milk is the most ideal food for my baby, there are big reasons why my decision to breastfeed are for me just as much as they are for my baby.
1. I get more sleep
I don’t get a lot of sleep — averaging maybe three to four hours a night of broken sleep — but I wouldn’t even be getting that if it weren’t for breastfeeding. Silver and I are co-sleepers and primarily bed-share at night using the side-lying position, so we both get to rest while he eats. I don’t have to get up out of bed and disrupt my sleep too much and he has quick access to food so he doesn’t get really upset and then potentially stay awake even longer.
2. No extra dishes
I hate (like hate hate) doing dishes and will put it off until my sink is full and we’re on our last fork if I have to. Not a good habit. Thankfully, my husband doesn’t let it get to that, but the last thing I need is more dishes and a stronger need to do dishes on time. If I weren’t nursing that would be the case. The only time I encounter extra dishes is the rare time where I’m pumping to try to get out of the house sans baby for a few hours (which hasn’t happened yet).
3. Built-in downtime
I have a lot going on during my days and adding a newborn, there is a lot more chaos in my household. Between homeschooling the three older kids, working freelance from home and all the home things, “down time” is not easily found. Thanks to breastfeeding a very hungry, active baby, for the past two months I’ve had more built-in downtime than I ever recall in the previous past years. When Baby starts cooing for food, I get to sit down for at least 20 minutes — sometimes with a warm cup of coffee — and enjoy the small moments of slowing down.
4. I can eat as much as I want
During pregnancy I had hyperemesis gravidarum and couldn’t eat much of anything at all. My diet was very limited and I was still sick multiple times a day. One “benefit” of that now is I don’t have any baby weight to lose since I am actually currently about 45 pounds lighter than when I got pregnant. I still don’t have my appetite back and have a lot of food aversions left over from the pregnancy struggles, but when breastfeeding I don’t have to worry about over eating. When I was breastfeeding my third child, the weight started falling off me when she was about 3 months old and it didn’t seem to matter what or how much I ate, the pounds kept falling off. While I understand that’s not the case for each person, I anticipate the same to happen as I nurse Silver. (And I ate cookies for breakfast and don’t feel the least big guilty.)
5. Changing diapers is so much easier
Want to know a secret about me? I don’t handle bad smells very well at all. Put me anywhere in the sight of blood and I can take anything on, but put me near any hint of bad smell from vomit or poop and I will run screaming the other way. It makes changing diapers a little challenging, but that’s not an issue when I change my breastfeeding baby’s diaper. Until I introduce solids and real people food into his diet, changing his diaper won’t cause me to run for the open window because a baby who is exclusively fed breast milk seems to have less smelly diapers — and that’s a HUGE plus in my books!