This whole breastfeeding thing is a huge motherly sacrifice.
Did you know that you spend more time breastfeeding during one year than you would at a full-time job with 3 weeks of vacation? Crazy, right? No wonder we’re so tired, mama’s!
It’s National Breastfeeding Week (Aug 1st-7th) so I just wanted to take the time to acknowledge all the hard work and sacrifice it takes to keep that breast bond going. It’s not easy, it’s the actual definition of hard, but it’s so worth it.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t really understand what it meant when women would say breastfeeding is “hard”. Like, I knew it could be uncomfortable, maybe even painful, that your milk might not come in as quickly as you hoped for or that you may not produce much at all. But what I didn’t get was that choosing to breastfeed wasn’t just physiological, it was a multifaceted decision and a HUGE commitment.
I had no idea that breastfeeding would bring the kind of emotions that it did. Let me just say, mom guilt comes in HOT and it starts with breastfeeding!
There are a million studies out there showing how nutritional and superior breast milk is for baby and it has become common knowledge since undoing the misconceptions of the formula generation. But exclusively breastfeeding is not realistic for every mom and that’s OKAY. Trust me, I totally understand.
Just ask my husband what an emotional roller coaster I was with breastfeeding. The first latch was so cool. I have a picture of myself with a surprised look on my face and remember saying, look Ethan, we did it! Felt like such a boss. But then, after a couple nights of marathon feedings, a poor latch due to a tongue tie, and a baby losing weight, my affinity for breastfeeding was quickly dwindling. I left the breastfeeding clinic after my first consultation thinking that it just wasn’t going to happen for us and that made me really sad. But we kept at it.
After implementing the advice and techniques of my trusted lactation consultants, we were back at birth weight within only two days and were going strong, but the roller coaster of emotions over breastfeeding didn’t end.
Each stage in life challenged our breastfeeding journey, going back to work was by far the toughest. You’d think it was the physicality of “going back to work” and being away from baby that was the hardest part, but it was actually PUMPING. It was so hard to see it as a priority, especially when I wasn’t around my baby. It’s annoying, isolating and just does not give you the same satisfaction as nursing does. Pumping mama’s - YOU’RE MY HERO. I couldn’t exclusively pump, ya’ll are champions.
Breastfeeding is truly Cambridge Dictionary’s definition of hard: ‘needing or using a lot of physical or mental effort.” It’s all the feels and a full-time job. Thrush, fast let-downs, under/overproduction, tongue/lip ties and painful latches…
But this month, I hit my breastfeeding goal and it’s during National Breastfeeding Month to boot! It’s been 6 really entertaining months of my husband watching me meltdown over the demand of breastfeeding!!! I see no signs of stopping, unless those two bottom teeth get any sharper, only kidding.
This whole breastfeeding thing is a huge motherly sacrifice. It takes patience, love, compassion, courage and strength to keep up with nourishing your baby this way.
So mama’s, congrats on one day or 2 years. You’re giving your baby the best of yourself and that makes you an incredible mom!