Yeaaaaaah. I'm not so sold on that. I mean, don't get me wrong- I AM one of those "PLEASE! NURSE YOUR BABY!!" people... or I should say I am a "PLEASE! TRY TO NURSE YOUR BABY!! GIVE IT A SHOT!" kinda people. I truly believe nursing is important, though I also truly believe breastfeeding is not the ONLY thing that is important!! Sometimes other things, like pain level of the mother, just to name one, is just as important. Sometimes, the baby simply will not latch or has a medical issue preventing him/her from breastfeeding successfully. Like I said, I think nursing is important. But, I do NOT think it is ALL that is important and do NOT think a mother is any less because she did not breastfeed. Simple as that.
Anyway-- I wanted to nurse Bailey with every ounce of my being--- and, I am. It was extremely important to and for me and it worked! After a bit of rocky start of exclusively pumping for the first 7ish days of her life while she was in the NICU and having to use a breastshield for the next 5ish months, it worked. We're still going strong with nursing. And, I plan to continue going strong until at least the 1 year mark and then re-evaluate and likely drop down to 2ish sessions for a few months and then wean completely. While I am 100% OK with and respect those mothers who choose to nurse to toddler-dom, I am not one of them.
Anyway- I love it. I love nursing. It IS wonderful. Rainbows and sprinkles and all. I love those moments where it feels like she and I are the only people in the world. We feel so incredibly connected. I love that I feel like I'm protecting and providing for her with every drop of milk. I love it, I love it, I love it.
It can SUCK. It most certainly is not ALL rainbows and sprinkles. There are many things that just plain blow about it. And, that's what we're talking about today. The not-so-sprinkley part of breastfeeding. I'm sure every breastfeeding mother has their own complaints (whether they ever share them or not), so here's mine...
-PUMPING. Top of the list. I loathe the pump like something fierce. When I was working fulltime out of the house and had to pump numerous times a day at work and was barely getting enough to cover her needs-- wowza, I hated that pump. By Friday, my nipples felt like they were being pulled off with each pump. Today, because I'm staying home with Bailey, I don't need to pump as much so it's not AS bad. I pump once a day now and my nipples no longer want to make me cry. But, I still flinch every time I turn it on and hear the whooshing of the pump motor. Stupid pump.
-Wardrobe challenges. Oh how I long for the day I don't have to think about what I'm wearing and if it's breastfeeding friendly.
-Being the ONLY person who can nurse Bailey.
Maybe that sounds silly, but sometimes it can be daunting to know that my boobs are it and no one else can give her what she needs when she needs it. I mean, yes-- the Hubs can give her a bottle. But, if you've nursed a baby you know what I'm about to say-- sometimes, a bottle won't do it. It's not always about FOOD/MILK when a baby wants to nurse. Sometimes, it's just about nursing. While it's AMAZING that I can give her that, it can be overwhelming sometimes, too.
-Nursing bras. Guys. Let me tell you. Nursing bras are SO SEXY. Ok, yes- they are comfortable, but I am looking forward to wearing a regular bra again whenever I want.
-Scheduling. I have to think about when and where and how I am going to nurse all the time. Bailey and I are busy, on-the-go people. I belong to 2 Mom's groups and we do outtings and things all the time. Each morning I have to sit and really think about "Ok, what time are we leaving? Should I nurse before or after? Do I need to wake B from her nap early so we have time to nurse?" and so on. Is it a huge pain in the ass? No, but I do look forward to not having to think so damn much.
I nurse in public. I nurse in private. I nurse in front of family and friends. My poor father and brother in law have seen my boobs too many times to count. My friends husbands have seen my boobs. Strangers have seen my boobs. See- Bailey doesn't nurse well under a blanket. I tried. Girl won't have it. I've tried excusing myself, but then I'm exiled and alone for the majority of events or I'm forced to nurse while sitting on a nasty bathroom floor (been there!). So, I nurse in public. I have no shame and feel no guilt. BABY HAS TO EAT. End of story. But, I look forward to not getting the look as frequently as I do. You know what look I'm talking about. The look strangers give you like "OMG! IS THAT HER BOOB? IS SHE ACTUALLY FEEDING HER BABY IN PUBLIC? OMG! I CAN'T LOOK AWAY! STARE! STARE! STARE!!!!!!". Yeah, I'm pretty over that look.
-Being touched-out. Sometimes, as much as I really and genuinely do love nursing, I get touched out. Especially during a growth spurt, Bailey would nurse frequently and have looooong sessions. These don't happen much anymore, so it's not a big issue anymore, but in some of the earlier days, she was attached to my boob what felt like 24/7. There were some moments when I just did not want to be touched. By anyone. For like 2 seconds. Like I said, this is a non-issue now, but I remember those days well and am glad that part is over.
-STILL having to think about when I last nursed and when I will again before working out.
It's a lot better than it was when I started nursing, but I still have to intentionally workout RIGHT after I nurse or I feel too full and just get uncomfortable.
So, there you have it. Turns out, breastfeeding isn't as sunshine and rainbows as people make it out to be sometimes. I love nursing Bailey. I wouldn't trade it for the world and I am so incredibly grateful our nursing relationship has been as good and as relatively easy and problem-free as it has been. Nursing is important to me. It's high on my value list. Buuuuut, I am most definitely counting down the days til my boobs can just be mine again.