Currently, I have a lot of friends with fairly new babies, most of them first time moms like me. One of the hot button topics I find we touch on—but then skirt around—is breastfeeding for new moms. It’s kind of “if you got it you got it, and if you don’t, you don’t” and that’s it. Period. Once you’re split into the two groups, you can’t really breach the topic between the groups. If you do, I feel like someone always feels guilty, insufficient, superior or down right angry.
For those of us lucky enough to have a body that says “yes” to breastfeeding, most people assume we love every second of it. I want there to be a third group considered when it comes to breastfeeding. Those who can and choose to do it, but don’t necessarily enjoy it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for being able to produce copious amounts of milk, I even donated some to a local mom who wasn’t able to produce. This from a woman feeding two babies at once! I’m also thankful for a time in my day that can be literally hands-free. However, ever since the boys were newborns, I found that I never really enjoyed the sensation of breastfeeding. I equate the feeling of my milk letting-down as a feeling of chills up the spine, kind of like when you have a flu-fever. Nonetheless I’ve stuck with it, now edging on to 9 months.
Ultimately what guided my choice to keep going for as long as I have is the research that supports the “as long as you can” theory as being the healthiest choice for your baby. I also have lots of support from my mom (who breastfed me long into toddlerhood) and my husband. However, I think it’s hugely important as a new or even pro mom to give yourself a little leeway and let yourself figure out when that end time is for you. And whenever you choose to end breast feeding, please believe that it’s not “giving up”. Rather see it as an opportunity to do what is best for both baby AND you. If the choice to stop breastfeeding will make you a happier mom, then do it! Because first and foremost, the best way to care for your infant is that you care for yourself.
Now that the boys have teeth I’m really considering ending breast feeding soon. But before I can I know I have to teach them how to use a bottle way more often then they are used to. Plus, I still really like this hands-free time, even though it’s just 10 minutes at a time.
Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (1/21/2016) Chris Alban Hansen (Flickr)