As World Breastfeeding Week has come to an end, I must say that I have quite mixed emotions about the posts, remarks and declarations that flooded my newsfeed. On one hand, I love the intention of normalizing breastfeeding and celebrating the achievement of doing so. On the other, it was difficult for me to relate to the magical, emotional and picturesque experiences that were being shared.
There has never been any question that I would choose to breastfeed my prospective children. That was just my norm. It’s what I saw in my family and what my mother did with us, and what her mother did with her kids. It had always been described as a very healthy and normal part of having a baby. But truly, that was all that was mentioned. It was just something that was done.
So when I became pregnant with my daughter and began the process of preparation, I naturally read up on the “how” aspect. Seeing and hearing are always very different than doing! Of course I was inundated with information – articles, books, conversations, blogs, forums – everything under the sun! I was also very grateful to have a very supportive cousin who helped weed out the overflow!
But there was something that I read about constantly that once my munchkin arrived and I began breastfeeding, (cool side note – she actually crawled up chest and latched on herself just like we saw in our Lamaze class! Yes, it’s a thing and yes, you should Google it!) the whole magical -“let me take a brelfie – whip my boob out no matter where I am – I’m in heaven while you suck at my teat – glorious” experience that I read about over and over, never happened for me. (And I’m not knocking those whom have experienced this, I’m simply stating that I did not.)
I loved the quiet time with my girl, but I equally loved the time with her when we weren’t nursing. I loved the silly faces and acrobatics she would do during a feeding session, but those moments also occurred while we were playing. I loved knowing that I was providing her with nature’s healthy choice, but I also loved that it didn’t cost money. (Well, it may cost us a chest restoration aka “boob job” when I’m done with having kids, but that is yet another reason why I like that my milk is free! 😉 )
Yes, there are many things that I loved about being gifted the opportunity to breastfeed my daughter, but I can truly say that it isn’t something I miss nor do I feel saddened by the thought that we don’t nurse anymore. (There was that one night when I was sick and she woke up at 2a.m. and wanted to, in her words “bounce and play,” and I wished I could stick my boob in her mouth to make her fall back asleep.) But all in all, it was not an uber-emotional experience for me. It was just something that was normal. A phase. A part of being a mom. I was doing what came naturally and repeating what I was used to seeing in my growing up.
And when weaning time came, I felt no deep sadness or great loss like some mother’s have expressed feeling. I had given myself a goal of a year and my daughter wanted to stop around 9.5 months, but we were moving in a few weeks and I felt like that would be too much change. So we struggled, but successfully continued until we started a weaning process at 11 months. And I don’t even know the date of our last nursing session, but I can probably look it up because I do remember that the next morning was a friend’s ornament exchange brunch and I had a grand celebration with my fair share of guilt-free mimosas! If it wasn’t for that, I probably wouldn’t know when it was.
I am grateful for the chance to do what I felt was best for my child, and I am thankful that our bodies allowed us to do so, but I am also grateful that for me, there was no pressure, no expectations, and that breastfeeding was simply an act of love, giving and nutrition.
So don’t worry if you don’t feel comfortable with taking a “brelfie” or have a wonderful array of nursing covers or choose to pump exclusively or choose to use formula. You’re not missing out on anything. Yes, feeding time may look different, but love, bonding and affection can be shared at anytime. You’re simply doing your job as a mom – doing what’s best for your baby, while taking care of you. If you don’t feel comfortable, baby won’t feel comfortable, and no one wants an unhappy baby!
Breathe, relax and feed in whatever way you see fit. Magical moments or simple necessity, you’ve got this mama!
Tell us – was your milk magic or not? We’d love to hear your story!