I breastfed my daughter for a total of 15 months and exclusively for 6. I don’t think a week went by during that time where I didn’t think, “When will this be over?”
Quite honestly, I can’t relate to women who adore breastfeeding. I was told time and time again when I was pregnant that I would love it and that it would be a bonding experience for me and my daughter. The reality was that it nearly made me a crazy person for the first 6 months of her life, and we stopped because she was totally uninterested and I really didn’t care about keeping it up for the sake of the breastfeeding cause. I talked to lactation consultants, my doctor, and my friends. I read books that all told me we were doing it right, but still the pain and never-ending feeds were enough to put me in a frenzy.
Some of you might be thinking, “So, why do it again?”
Well: Guilt. Pressure. Cost. Convenience, in a lot of ways. I think that I’d also like to try and see if this time around might be easier. Perhaps since I’ve done it once, it’s like riding a bicycle? Also, I’ll admit there is a part of me that really wants to make it work the way that I was told it would. It does sadden me that feeding my child was mostly painful and uncomfortable.
Whatever the case, I will try it again. I’m hoping to cut myself some slack, knowing that giving her a bottle (even of breastmilk, that’s how insane it got) is OK. It’s not the end of the world because my child isn’t attached to my boob every 2 hours for 6 straight months. I wish I’d been able to convince myself of this with Bella… perhaps the first year of motherhood would have been a lot smoother for us both.
9 Reasons I am Dreading Breastfeeding Again 1 of 10
It's not always easy or wonderful. Click through to see my reasons I'm not looking forward to breastfeeding again, but hoping it goes a lot smoother this time.
Reflux and Resentment 2 of 10
My daughter had severe reflux from just a few days old until around a year. In between the constant projectile vomiting and invasive appointments at Children's Hospital, it was all my husband and I could do to keep our sanity. Throw in breastfeeding round the clock for her hunger, and I began to find myself resentful of him for the ability to sleep, and her for the lack of time I had to do anything but feed and clean.
Privacy 3 of 10
I'm not comfortable with nursing in public - sans cover up. Contrary to high school, I prefer to keep those suckers (pun intended) covered while nursing. But Bella was a animated eater, on and off, hands up, down, head all over. This made for yet another reason to keep covered - had she let me!
Breast Pads 4 of 10
Cloth. Wool. Disposable. I used them all. I think it was mostly the completely new feeling of nursing and leaking milk that had me creeped out, but having to shove a crinkly, bulky mess into shirts that really didn't fit that well anyway wasn't my idea of a good time.
To Buy: Amazon.com
Mastitis and Plugged Ducts 5 of 10
Oh, these. I can't tell you the number of plugged ducts I had, some of which turned into mastitis. Which I didn't know felt like a combo of flu and death.
Sleeplessness 6 of 10
Round the click, every 2 hour nursing for 7 months. Bella's reflux made her hungry all the time, poor little thing didn't keep anything down. This meant that my entire day was spent nursing. She never even slept longer than 3-4 hours at a time until she was 7 months either. I was exhausted.
Loneliness 7 of 10
Often at family and social functions, I'd find myself in a back room alone. Every 2 hours. Bella wasn't a discreet nurser, I wasn't comfortable with whipping it out in front of the grandparents, so we spent a lot of time missing out. No - I didn't think of it as bonding at the time. I thought of it as a pain in the butt.
Pumping 8 of 10
There are no words for pumping. I made a lot of milk, but pumping was so painful. I couldn't get past the fact that I felt like a cow being hooked up to the farmer's milk machine each time I did it. My nipples were so cracked it didn't do much to relieve the pain. I never got the hang of when to give her a bottle without messing up our feeding schedule either. Hoping it goes smoother this time.
Nipple Shield 9 of 10
Raise your hand if you just cringed. ::raises hand:: I used these nipple shields for several months after Bella was born when my nipples cracked and bled. Nothing helped - we tried everything anyone recommended, so these were both a curse and lifesaver. I remember searching the floor, blind as a bat with my contacts out, for the one that had dropped in the middle of the night. For months, I would cry each time she latched.
To buy: Amazon.com
Judgement 10 of 10
The number of times I got dirty looks or disapproving side eyes from people as I tried to feed Bella (even covered) was crazy. I had all kinds of comments from strangers and people we knew, "You're still breastfeeding?" (she was 4 months old) "You aren't going to do that in public are you?" (I don't really want to head to the bathroom or car).
While formula feeding moms get judged for not breastfeeding, breastfeeding moms get judged for using their boobs to feed. You can't seem to win no matter what you pick.
Photo Credit: istockphotos and Amazon
Diana blogs on raising a toddler daughter, the loss of her twin boys, and a baby boy on the way on the aptly named Hormonal Imbalances. Smaller glimpses into her day are on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
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