Nursing can be such a controversial topic among moms but I really want to shed a bit of light on a different perspective. One that I don’t see majority of moms willingly talk about but one which was all so real for me during both of my pregnancies.
I remember being pregnant with my first child, and the moment I found out, I immediately looked forward to nursing him because of all the positive things I had heard about breastfeeding. From the bonding it promotes between mommy and baby, to the positive effects it has on baby’s development. I was definitely hooked on the idea of breastfeeding and just knew that I would do so with all of my children.
Fast forward to the time my firstborn was first laid on my chest at the hospital and the moment finally arrived for that breastfeeding “bonding” experience. The excitement and anticipation were quickly replaced with a feeling I couldn’t describe and certainly could not have imagined.
I hated the feeling my body felt that first time my child breastfed. Initially, I attributed it to maybe I was tired. After all, my body had just done a heck of a job, being in labor for 15 hours and pushing out a human. I told myself the next day would surely be better. But then the next day came, and the next and throughout the first 4 months of my child’s life, I tried and tried and tried to hang in there. The pressure from outsiders, my parents, countless lactation consultants gave me a bit of hope and motivation to keep going. However, no matter what I did, each feeding remained the same. The feeling was so intense that I could not ignore it if I tried. It was an unexplainable feeling of life being sucked out of me. I would feel so weak and depreciated with each suck my baby took and I just did not feel like myself.
I would always beat myself up and think, what is wrong with you, why don’t you love this experience with your baby, why are you not finding this as an enjoyable, bonding experience. But, no matter what I did, the feeling would not go away.
One day, at around the 4-month mark of my child’s life, I made the decision to stop breastfeeding and it was the best I’ve ever made. Initially, my body attempted to trick me into getting stuck in a feeling of shame and disappointment. However, I knew that happy mommy = happy baby and I knew that my son needed me to be a happy mom who fully showed up every day ready and willing to take proper care of him and ready to be a loving mom to him.
Also, with my second son, I thought to myself maybe it was just a first time around thing. Maybe this is a new feeling and my body just did not know what to make of it. Sadly, the same happened with my second baby and it was even more so intense that at just 2 months of life, I yet again had to make the decision to stop breastfeeding.
I have just come to the humble acceptance that breastfeeding is just not for me. Being that I want to have 5 children, I am slowly coming to terms with the idea that I just might not even attempt to breastfeed for the remaining pregnancies. I’m slowly but surely working to dismantle the ideas and misconceptions in my mind that unless I breastfeed my babies, I have not fully fulfilled my rights and earned the privilege of being considered a mother and a woman. I am not defined by breastfeeding and breastfeeding does not define me.
All this to say, momma, never let anyone pressure you into doing what your body is telling you does not feel comfortable. Your journey with your baby is yours alone and no one gets to dictate what that journey looks like for you. Whether breastfed or not, a well-fed baby TRULY is a healthy baby =)