Breastfeeding and a mother's instinct

*I am 100% for breastfeeding.  I also believe you should be able to nourish your child in public.  I'm sharing a piece of my own experience.

Oh, breastfeeding.

It is the biggest deal these days in child rearing.  At least it seems like it is.

I am so not going to get into the whole boob vs. bottle thing.  There's more than enough out there already.  For this WILW post though, I'm going to share a bit of my experience and what I ultimately learned through the struggle of breastfeeding.

I had a horribly traumatic experience breastfeeding my baby.  I've often described it as worse than the actual birth.  It was painful and exhausting both emotionally and physically.  I'm not going to get into the details.  Because there's no ladylike way to talk about engorgement and cabbage leaves in your bra.  But what I will say is  I tried for a few weeks. And despite reading things like "push through the pain", and "it will get better" etc.  I knew in my gut what we were trying to accomplish was overall taking away from experiencing the joy of a new family. 

It wasn't working for me.

My husband was back at work a week after our baby was born.  In attempts to try everything I could to "best nourish" my baby, I resorted to pumping around the clock.  I spent most of my girl's first month in tears on the couch feeling like I had failed her and my body had failed me.  With the rise of things like The Business of Being Born and the whole natural movement, I thought formula was evil. That my daughter wouldn't thrive, and that stopping breastfeeding so soon would define me as a lazy, bad mom.

Someone who doesn't have kids or someone who has had a successful breastfeeding experience may read this and think this is nothing more than a dramatic tale.  But after reading multiple, multiple breastfeeding accounts from both new and seasoned moms, these emotions are common.

So why am I babbling?

To tell you that what works for one mom may not work for another.  And you need to be okay with that.  As the mom.  And as the person who might think things should be done a certain way.  I would have preferred not to be asked by total strangers if I nursed my child.  It's a private matter.  Not the competition that it seems like it's become.

Almost 9 months into parenthood, how to nourish your child seems like one of the easier decisions we'll have to make as parents.  If you've had a hard time breastfeeding or are harboring regret because your experience didn't go as you wished it did, it's okay.  You're doing the best you can.  Rest in that thought.

It took me months to come to terms with my experience.  And now, I'm only sad I lost that time with my new girl.

We're moms.  We're human.  We're doing what we can.  And sometimes, a lot of times, things aren't perfect.  As a new mom, I was doing the best I could.  I now rest assured in that thought.    


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