There’s an acronym for everything these days, breastfeeding included. BFing. It’s sort of a swear word, don’t you think?
That probably sums up my experience in a word. It’s just one big SWEAR word. It’s like you enjoy what you’re doing as a whole, but you swear a lot in the process. Kind of like parenting.
*I just can’t write BFing seriously and breastfeeding is just too long, so I’ll go with either nursing or one form or another of boob from here on out.
Nursing for me is a love hate relationship. I love the simplicity of it when it’s simple and I hate the complicated parts of it which consume a good 12-14 waking hours.
It’s really easy in the middle of the night when you can wander sleep deprived into your comfy chair, cuddle that tiny baby while he quietly eats and you both go back to sleep. That’s the precious part. The part that everyone should have a chance to love. But, that’s when you’re alone. That’s when you don’t have a 2 year old climbing on your lap or any of the other 1 million things going on during the day that need to be dealt with. More kids bring more entertainment, distractions, and “mommy mommy mommies”.
I’ve nursed two babies so far and will be nursing a third one sometime in September, but now that I know a lot about it, I’m kind of dreading it. I feel badly about that for obvious reasons, but I can’t help but feel that way. The clothes. The pump. The storage. See, there’s this dream with nursing. This perfect world in which your baby eats wonderfully, you have a great bonding experience, you’re skinny, and your boobs are awesome. But then there’s the reality of it. For most people that dream doesn’t work out. It doesn’t mean you hate nursing or you regret the decision to give your child all of the nutrition it needs without spending a dime, but more that it can make something so simple and natural be so complicated and calculated. Additionally, watch the look on your husband’s face the first time you tell him these things are not to be touched…EVER!
I dreamt that I would nurse my baby until he was at least a year old because that’s what the doctor says, but probably longer because, well, Why Not? It would be great because I’d have food with me all of the time which will make diaper bag packing a breeze. Feeding him will be basically free for his first year and I’ll pump so much extra milk when he’s not eating that I’ll have to buy an extra chest freezer to keep that golden milk which he’ll drink through his second year (I know people like that). That way he’ll never be sick plus we’ll have a bond like no other mother and son on the planet. Selfishly, I’ll enjoy all of the calories I’ll be burning while nursing him too and be back to that super cute 125 pound body in no time. My boobs will look awesome for the first time in my life and everyone will say “Wow, you have a baby?”
Okay, first lets just cry a tear for everyone up there that lives that dream. I think they’re probably more lucky than typical and I’m very jealous of them. It ain’t me. I didn’t make it to a year with either of my kids. I always took extra milk with me when I went places which actually made diaper bag packing more of a nightmare. I pumped a lot, but nothing ever came out. I fooled everyone because it was effortless for me as far as what people could see. I could hold that baby and wander around a foreign country feeding him at 5 weeks old and nobody knew a thing. I could shake hands with people at parties and nobody knew my boob was hanging out.
But, behind closed doors my problem was production. My first baby was a sleep eater. Nursing No-No apparently. My second one got an ear infection at 4 months and spent a full month pacifying himself and eating very little. Don’t you think it’s kind of funny that I solely nursed my child and he got an ear infection? Isn’t that glorious cantaloupe juice supposed to keep your child from getting sick? So, your production is dictated by how your child eats. News to me! I read so much with my first baby and somehow missed the part about supply and demand.
Oh! and I wasn’t skinny!
Every moment that you are nursing is calculated. What will I wear today, tomorrow, and every single day from here until a year from now? The first questions you ask yourself with every item of clothing is “Can I nurse with this?” I can tell you right now I will not put my body into a single shirt made for nursing. The flaps with the holes and the slits etc. They’re ugly and they’re actually a lot more difficult than a stretchy vneck.
I found myself watching the clock constantly. Living in 2 hour increments. What could I accomplish in 2 hours? Could I get there and back before the baby wanted to eat? There’s all kinds of bracelets, clips for your bra straps and even apps for nursing. What boob your baby drained, how long they ate, etc. What? Yes, there’s an app for that! Google it. My second hit was 9 Must-Have Breastfeeding Apps.
NINE?!? Nine apps for nursing your child. What in the world did anyone do before 2010?
Then we have the other children. You know them. The ones you already nursed. They’re 4 and 2 now. They need you. All.The.Time. You’re challenged to see how many times you can watch Elmo’s Potty Time hoping that at least they’re learning something while you nurse. Sometimes you lose track of them in the 20 minutes you’re stuck to the couch. They may do any and all of the following:
Go to the bathroom and fill the sink with water and play in it.
Turn on the bathtub and leave the room.
Eat toothpaste (poison control got a call that day and we had a paranoid visit to the ER).
Quietly put clear nail polish on their eye lashes (My husband still doesn’t know about that one!)
It’s worth it if you can make it work. Everything they tell us about it being great for your baby is true, our generation has made such a hissy about BFing (eeww) that it seems like the only option because everything else is like feeding your baby licorice for breakfast. That’s not true. The most important thing I found with nursing is that it isn’t always rainbows and unicorns and it’s not nearly as easy as you think it’s going to be. There are most likely going to be struggles. The most important thing is a happy mommy because without that everything else falls apart. If you’re not happy, stop what you’re doing. The world will continue to turn and everyone will survive. Especially you.