You read that correctly. I don’t like breastfeeding. I know that it is supposed to be this beautiful, natural thing that creates an amazing bond between mommy and baby but, for me, it’s not. I also know that there are plenty of other moms out there that feel the same way but, with all of the stigma around moms that do versus moms that don’t, they don’t really voice their opinion. I think that no matter what you feel, as long as your ultimate goal is keeping your baby happy, healthy, and growing, you’re doing it right. It shouldn’t matter whether your child is exclusively breastfed or if they’ve never had a single drop of the stuff in their life.
So if you’re one of those moms that love breast feeding, and more power to you, you’re probably reading this and wondering why. Well…
Breast feeding, no matter how well you’re child eventually latches on and all that good stuff, is hard at first. Even at a month old, RC is still having trouble staying latched. I could be totally wrong and it’s just because he doesn’t want to but regardless, it’s beyond frustrating. Then the more frustrated I get while trying to get him to latch, the less likely he is to do it. So in all of this, I’ve been doing a lot of research on breastfeeding to try to help him and myself get the hang of it. That’s when I learned that, while the physical process of breastfeeding is natrual, the actual act of baby latching and feeding is not human instinct. Basically, babies are born knowing how to suck as a reflex, unless there are other complications, but they have to be taught how to attatch to the breast and then use that reflex. So this can take anywhere from a few days to many weeks! WEEKS?! I have a friend of a friend that was still having to see a lactation specialist with her daughter at 12 weeks. It’s no wonder so many women give up just from sheer frustration.
It’s weird…to me.
It’s my breast, it’s my child, and he’s putting his mouth on it. That is weird to me. I can’t help that feeling of awkwardness I feel. This can probably be chalked up to being born into a culture that views this area of the body as sexual rather than natural. All my life, that’s what I’ve seen from the media and society. Look at lingerie ads and commercials, censorship on television, and, now as a mother, all of the people who freak out about breast feeding in public. None of it is very condusive to a positive view of a tiny person eating from my breast. This is also strictly just my feelings about myself. My best friend breast feeds in public and it doesn’t bother me one bit.
It can hurt.
I think this one is pretty self explanatory. From the possiblity of cracked, bleeding nipples and mastitis to the inevitablity of being bit, pain is something invovled in this process. As I type this, I’m remembering just about 4 hours ago when RC was biting me each time he latched.
It makes me uncomforable.
If I happen to be doing it in public, which is very rare, I’m highly uncomfortable. And by public I mean at a coffee shop, in my car, or even at someone else’s house. I always use a cover and I still feel this way. The only place where I’m remotely comfortable breast feeding is my own home. And sometimes not even then. Most of my discomfort has to due with me being highly aware that my breast is out. I’m aware of it, you’re aware of it, and I’m aware that you’re aware of it. We’re all aware that my breast is out! I’ve never been one to show off my body anyway, bikinis even make me uncomfortable, so this natural act is no exception.
There’s also the times when I’m pretty weirded out by my toddler seeing me feed his brother, espcially since he has no reference of what I’m doing. He has no memory of breast feeding since I had to stop when he was 10 days old. (HERE’S WHY.) However, I made sure to prepare him for the fact that RC would be getting his food from me so that it wouldn’t be a totally foreign concept to him once it started.
But I’m doing it anyway.
Yes, with all that being said above, I’m still trying to nurse my baby. I can’t really tell you why, but something in me is keeping me from quitting. My mom asked me the other day if it was a monetary issue, meaning that I’m doing it just so I don’t have to spend the money on formula. While that definitely has a small play in my decision, it’s not my main reason. Then she asked me if it was because I’m afraid of being judged for not breast feeding. Again, another reason that can definitely make quitting difficult. But I’ve been through it before. Mr. G was formula fed from, basically, the start and, in my opinion, he turned out fine. To go even further, my mom couldn’t breastfeed me at all. Never, not once. And you know what, I think I turned out just fine too!
So why continue doing something I don’t enjoy, and is not becoming a bonding experience, when I know there are other options out there for my child? I think it has a lot to do with my deep need to never quit things. It’s really hard for me to admit that I can’t do something and then have to, essentially, give up. And I know, in my heart, that it wouldn’t be giving up. I tried and I’ve even been trying for longer than I was able to go with Mr. G. When I hit day 11 with RC, I was so happy and proud of just making it longer. That also means that, and I hate to admit this, it may be a pride thing that I will eventually just need to pray about and let go.
Just like all things in parenting life, there are so many choices we have to make and we, ultimately, just have to do what is best for our own children and us as parents. If breastfeeding is stressing you out, it’s gonna stress your baby out. Neither is a healthy option. Any choice you make, in any area of your parenting life, is the right choice. Unless it causes harm, in which case, no, that’s not the right choice. But I figure, if you’re reading mommy posts on blogs, you’re not really the harming type. So you do YOU. Don’t try to be like the all natural mom if that doesn’t fit YOUR lifestyle. Don’t try to be the hip, always put together mom if that doesn’t fit YOUR lifestyle. Not to say those aren’t great too. What it boils down to is your child, your life, your choice.
Now excuse me while I go try to nurse my child, in private, and then eventually give him a bottle too!
How about you? What has your experience been with breast fedding? And if you’re not there yet, how do you feel about the whole thing? I’d love to hear from both sides of the coin!