At 2:00 AM, the baby’s cry shatters the darkness.
Before I’m fully awake, I’m reaching for her in her crib, padding down the hallway with her in my arms, changing her diaper, and settling down in our worn, hand-me-down rocking chair that has so many milk stains on it that it slightly horrifies me to think about.
As she nurses herself back to sleep, swaying peacefully and sighing the soft sigh of contented breastfeeding babies everywhere, I think to myself how glad I am that I’m a nursing mother.
Not because I love the benefits of breastfeeding and not because I’m happy to join an elite club of being “mom enough” to produce enough milk with my body to sustain a human life, but for one very different reason indeed:
Because I am way too lazy to do anything else.
The truth is, for me, breastfeeding is much, much easier than formula feeding or bottle feeding a baby. The thought of having to do more in the middle of the night than simply roll over and stick a boob in my baby’s mouth? *shudder*
Breastfeeding is the lazy mom’s route for some of us, and I’m 100 percent OK with that.
That sentiment is not to be confused with saying that breastfeeding is easy, mind you. I’m fully aware that breastfeeding is not easy or “natural” for a lot of women, and that’s kind of my whole point — for those of you who have genuinely had to work at making breastfeeding work, or who have had to schlep a pump with you everywhere, or have become well-acquainted with the ins and outs of a bottle sanitizer, mad props to you. That stuff is hard, hard work.
Which is why I’m a teensy bit annoyed by all of the articles extolling the virtues of breast-to-baby breastfeeding. Not because I don’t think it’s awesome and wonderful and all that glorious stuff, but because a little part of me can’t help but think, Holy crap, some of us just got lucky.
For those of us whose babies have had no problem nursing, and the milk has flown, and breastfeeding becomes as easy as pulling your shirt to the side in your non-nursing bra because even buying an actual nursing bra would be too much work, it almost feels like a dirty little secret. Like we get the glory for doing things “right” when really, any other route would be way more work.
I feel a little bit guilty when I think about it, actually.
There are so many moms out there who strap themselves to milking machines, who stumble downstairs multiple times a night to mix up a bottle, who use nipple shields and nipple cream and even little tubes to “trick” their babies into breastfeeding, that it almost seems completely and totally unfair.
They are the moms who are working themselves to the bone, the ones who deserve the props for putting their blood, sweat, and tears into nourishing their babies. They are the moms who wish desperately that breastfeeding was as easy for them as it is for other moms, and they are the moms who wish that their choice to formula feed wasn’t deemed the “easy” way out.
Because it’s not.
The truth is, there is no such thing as “easy” when it comes to keeping a small human healthy, happy, and thriving.
There is luck, there is personal choice, there is circumstance, there is genetics, there is sleepless nights, there is desperation, there is prayer, there is hope, there is plain ol’ hoping you got it right, and in some situations, there is even pure, innocent laziness.
And that, my friends, is the truth behind the breastfeeding cover (or no cover!) for some of us. There’s no shame in it, just like there is no shame in my scrolling-through-Instagram-while-nursing game or my “I need to go feed the baby, honey, can you put the toddler to bed?” game.
Because at least I’m consistent in my laziness.More On