>> Tuesday, August 2, 2016
"Whoa," said Stephen. "Aren't you showing a bit much?" He's referring to my photo on Instagram in celebration of World Breastfeeding Week. Honestly? My shirt is off more than it's on these days, so I didn't even think twice about it. It's my current look. It's my current reality. It's how Eloise eats 8-10+ times each and every day (and night!). So, I guess it is indeed a bit much . . . but it's my exact point in motherhood.
I myself was a formula fed baby. So my current stance on the whole mommy wars issue is that a fed baby is a happy baby. You're doing a great job if your baby is fed. I truly believe that. Why is breastfeeding so important to me? I don't really know. My body seems to do a good job at making milk. I work from home. It just makes sense to me that way. It's something I can provide to help our family and to help bond with baby. Sometimes, the reason isn't always so clear.
There are (many) days when I don't know why I continue breastfeeding. I've told you all how much I don't love it. Like on Sunday. Eloise woke at 5:30 AM, and I fed her every hour for 45 minutes, giving me only 15 minute snippets of me-time until 10:30 PM that evening. Otherwise known as the hellish 6-week growth spurt. She then slept 7 hours of pure heaven after that. Anyway, I know it gets easier, so I kept telling myself that. The early stages of breastfeeding can be downright maddening. The wisdom I have now is that I know it will get easier with time.
I don't have a blissful essay to write on the matter. Breastfeeding is undoubtedly one of the hardest things I've ever done. I had forgotten how draining it can be (see what I did there?). But in all seriousness, it just isn't something that comes naturally to me. I'm far too wound and sitting for hours on end during the six week growth spurt almost broke me. And then it got better again. When I see how much it means to Eloise in terms of comfort . . . it makes it somehow worth the struggle. (In fact, I hear her stirring now, so I'll keep this brief.)
I don't know how long I'll keep it up this time around. We're only 7 weeks in, and I don't want to make grand plans, especially with my current feelings of being somewhat cluster-fed out. With Ada, I never imagined I'd keep at it for nearly 18 months. I took things one week at a time. With my personality, 18 months is an eternity. Now? I have only fond memories of nursing her. All I can share is that -- even with the struggles -- breastfeeding is something I'm sure to always remember in my life for better or worse.
So, happy World Breastfeeding Week. Good job keeping your babies feed with the boob or otherwise. If you're struggling with breastfeeding, mentally or physically, know you're not alone. It's OK to not be in love with it. There are many of us who feel this way, but still come out the other side happy we forged on. And with that, I'm off to nurse by baby . . . again!