To be clear, I have definitely struggled with breastfeeding. But, honestly, I have had it pretty easy. My baby has had a great latch since the beginning. I had some issues with sore nipples early on, but that passed pretty quickly. I have also struggled with engorgement that ultimately resulted in an infection. (Boob infections are no joke!) The most significant challenge I’ve had was with a possible oversupply issue and/or a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance. There was a period of time where our little guy would get really upset while nursing and was having a lot of tummy trouble. I ended up doing block feeding (only offering one side at a time unless he had completely drained that side and was still hungry) and it has helped substantially.
I was inspired to write about my experience breastfeeding because I have read/seen so many articles about how hard it is. Granted, it is hard. And some women have a VERY tough time. If you are struggling with breastfeeding in any way, my heart goes out to you. I have certainly experienced some of the “less fun” aspects of deciding to nurse. But, when I really look at my experience, I am so grateful for this time and truly treasure it. It sounds corny, but when I see my baby boy nursing I get kind of emotional. It is so wonderful to be able to provide something so critical to his health and ability to thrive. (Please know that if you are giving your baby formula for any reason, that is perfect too! You need to do what is right for you and for your baby. Nursing may not be that and it is completely okay to come to that decision.)
Despite the challenges that can come from choosing to breastfeed, I have genuinely loved it so far. It can be easy to focus on the negatives (like feeling as if you are chained to a tiny human and like you will never be sexy again), or you can focus on the positives. I am committed to focusing on the positive things like…
…the fact that I have an amazing opportunity to bond with my baby approximately every thirty minutes to four hours depending on his naps.
…the benefit breastfeeding is having on my ability to lose the baby weight and establish my post-pregnancy body. (Soap Box: You won’t get your “pre-pregnancy” body back because you just produced a tiny human. You WILL have an amazing, fantastic post-pregnancy body that might be even more rockin’ than your pre-pregnancy body.)
…the reality that I will never have the opportunity to have this level of closeness with our little guy again. As he gets older, he will get more independent, which we want! But that will also mean he needs me less, which will be totally okay while also being really sad I’m sure.
…the way that nursing causes me to just stop and take a moment to refocus. When you are nursing, you have the option of flipping through emails on your phone or taking the moment to look at that beautiful human you created. (Yes, I know. Corny. But he is just so cute, I can’t stop staring at him!!)
I hope that, despite whatever challenges you may be experiencing if you are nursing, you are able to see some positives in the process too! To me, the infections, discomfort, engorgement, and occasional frustrations have been worth it.