Monday, August 22, 2016

Breastfeeding: A Love Hate Relationship

I'm breastfeeding my baby right now. I was breastfeeding him an hour ago. And I'll be breastfeeding him again in another hour, or maybe even 20 minutes. Feeding him seems absolutely endless, but I love breastfeeding.. and I hate it.

I knew babies needed to eat every two hours or so but I don't think I really realized how much time it actually takes. It's all I do. It's all I think about. It's what I plan my day around. And that every two hours thing - that clock starts from the beginning of a feeding! So I feed the baby for at least 20 minutes per side. That's 40 minutes, which means I have an hour and 20 minutes of "free time" until the next feeding. By the time I clean everything up, change a diaper and put him down for a nap it's time to start the process all over again. Oh, and I think my right breast might be clogged so I'm pumping in between feedings too. But I love breastfeeding...and I hate it.

Breastfeeding hurts. Another thing to add to my list of "what hurts today." My boobs hurt, my nipples hurt, my back hurts, my vagina hurts. Labor and delivery is only the very beginning of what seems like an endless pain of parenting. But I love breastfeeding...and I hate it.

It's only been two weeks since my son was born and already I can't help but think "Will this be my life for the next 6+ months?" "How many more reality TV shows can I watch while I feed before I go insane?" "Will I forget who I am by the time I'm done breastfeeding?" "Did I ever really know who I was anyway?" Well, at least I have a lot of time to think about all this while I breastfeed.

I know that breastfeeding is beneficial for the baby for a variety of reasons so of course I will continue on this breastfeeding journey for him but boy is it hard. P.S. I have absolutely no judgement towards those moms who choose not to or are unable to breastfeed. To each their own. A happy baby is a fed baby.

And as much as this post seems like a rant, I really do love breastfeeding. I love the time my son and I get to be belly to belly. I love the look on his face when he is milk drunk. I love to kiss his little swollen lips when he's done eating. I love to listen to his grunts and squeaks as he's eating. I love that I can make him happy and calm by putting him on my breast. To me, all this makes all the pain and frustration well worth it. I love breastfeeding...and I hate it.