I have a breastfeeding confession: I think breastfeeding is weird. Yes, I said it. I also think it’s really amazing, cool, and something that every mom who wants to breastfeed has a right to do whenever and wherever she wants or needs to.
I am days away from welcoming my second child into the world. As I daydream about the future with a new baby, the image of breastfeeding pops into my brain frequently. Likely because that’s what a lot of my time was spent doing when my daughter was a newborn. Immediately after this initial thought, I can’t help but also think having a baby attached to my breast for huge portions of the day is an odd concept.
That is something that breastfeeding mothers and advocates (like me!) aren’t supposed to talk about.
When you think about it, breastfeeding a baby is quite magical but also just. so. crazy. that we make perfect food for our babies and it comes out of our bodies. Um, what? It totally freaks me out in a science-is-so-wacky-and-amazing kind of way.
I’m writing this in the hopes that I reach someone who has also had this (scandalous!) thought. It’s okay, friend. I’ve thought it, too.
Talk to me in a few days or weeks when my second baby is out and I’ll likely have a different perspective. When I’m not actually in the thick of breastfeeding and loving and appreciating it, I have a hard time shaking the feeling that it’s just wacky to have a baby suck milk out of your body. I can’t really explain that sneaky feeling… and I don’t think I should have to.
When I was pregnant with my first baby, I had these thoughts too, but I shoved them out of my mind and felt intensely guilty for even allowing them to float by in the first place.
I loved breastfeeding my daughter, I really did. In fact, when my daughter started to wean herself at 9 months, I strongly encouraged her to continue. After freaking out to my pediatrician about my daughter’s disinterest in nursing, I settled on a plan to offer her breastmilk frequently but let it go if she only nursed for five minutes. Or one minute. Something more than a nudge and less than a shove. I didn’t want her to stop before we reached the 1-year milestone I had in my head as the goal. So we plodded on even though my kid was really more into solid foods. Eventually, we got back into a new breastfeeding routine and, with the exception of a few days near the very end (I was sick, so was she,) I truly enjoyed it.
I last breastfed my daughter about 10- 11 months ago (yup, her decision.) Even in that short time being separated from the everyday normalcy of breastfeeding has made it hard for me to remember the actual act. If I really focus and meditate on the memory, though, I am not actually struck with the oddness of it all. Instead, I immediately remember the incredible beauty, sweetness and bonding between me and my girl. Oh and how awesomely convenient it was. Baby’s fussy or hungry? No problem – I always have my boobs with me!
When I think about breastfeeding, I hold all of these possibly contradictory things in my head and heart. I am both thrilled and excited to be starting this journey again and am having to “psych myself up” for nursing my next baby.
Phew, thanks for listening. I’m glad to be getting this breastfeeding confession off my chest. Er, breast.