If you’ve followed my breastfeeding journey, you know I’ve bitched and complained along the way. And if you’ve hung on every word I’ve written, you’re probably rolling your eyes because – in comparison- I’ve had an easy time. Neither of my babies had any trouble latching. I’ve heard horror stories from other moms who had to battle latching issues all while walking around in the zombie state that is the first few months of life with a newborn. I’ve heard about dry and cracked nipples, though I’ve never even had to use that nipple cream stuff. Oversupply was never an issue either, so engorgement never occurred and the leaking subsided after the first few weeks or so. I work part time, so pumping isn’t a huge ordeal. I know, I know, I have it good. I’m grateful, I am. What I’m trying to say is that breastfeeding is like having a newborn in that even under the best circumstances, it ain’t easy.
But, as I get closer to reaching my goal of one year (and then some, perhaps), I’m already starting to grieve the loss. That’s because, believe it or not, there is some good to go with the bad. Quite honestly, if it were all bad, I wouldn’t do it. This post is about the perks of breastfeeding. And I’m not talking about the lower rates of cancer in women who breastfeed or the better immune systems of the children who were breastfed, I’m talking about the real perks. And by the “real” perks, I’m talking about the less important, but lets-be-truthful, really important perks. Like having big juicy tits. Here we go:
-Yes, I will have a milkshake for dessert, thank you. It’s all for the sake of milk production. I know everyone is different, but I’ve lost all my pregnancy weight via breastfeeding. I have not done any extra exercising and have not been conscious about what I eat. There are plenty of other postpartum things I hate about my body, which I can bitch about in a separate post, but the fact that breastfeeding is like going to the gym without leaving the house and without breaking a sweat is a win in my book. I’ve thought about making a bumper sticker for my car that says, “I don’t workout, I breastfeed”.
-Sorry honey, looks like he wants Mama. The bond through breastfeeding is beyond a simple preference for the mother; it’s so innate and natural and tied to a babies quest to survive and that’s all pretty magnificent. I know Van prefers me over anyone else because I am his source of food and I don’t try to play it off any other way (though I do tease that I must smell better or hold him better, etc, and lets face it, I do smell fantastic). I’ve never felt so needed and loved and, well, important. There ought to be an infomercial that goes like this: Have any insecurities? Ever feel helpless or small? Feel like you aren’t contributing in life? Breastfeed. Sure, it’s easy to joke about but the reality is that there is nothing more beautiful – in my opinion- than feeding your child straight from the tap.
-Every time I shop at Whole Foods, I leave with two bags and over a hundred bucks missing from my wallet. You know why? Because buying organic shit is expensive. Want to get the most organic milk around for free? High jack a lactating mother’s bosom. Seriously though, there is nothing more pure and, perhaps best of all, it’s free. The price of formula alone is reason enough to breastfeed. And the fact that the alternative to formula is free and gazillion times better, the breastfeeding versus formula discussion seems like a silly debate (granted, I know plenty of moms that are not able to breastfeed for whatever reason and I feel the pain in their loss and am thankful that formula exists for these special situations).
-Do we have all that we need? We have a diaper bag we rarely use. More times than not, we bank on the fact that there are a few diapers somewhere in the car and some wipes buried under a seat. I usually have some snacks and small toys in my purse and a blanket, always, in the back of my car. But my ta-tas? I never forget them. They’re always there when I need them. In the event that I didn’t anticipate having to feed him and am not wearing something breastfeeding friendly, I can go to the car or an empty room (depending on where I am). Sure is nice never to have to bring a bottle or a bottle warmer. Being that milk is perishable and not something I can keep in my car or purse at all times, chances are I’d leave it behind anyway. But the ta-tas? They’re always there. I’ve even thought about weird scenarios, like us being trapped in the desert as a family and how we’d survive… and, well, you know where I’m going with that.
-Wanna get away? As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that everyone has some degree of social anxiety. I’m not tormented by it by any means, but it’s always nice to get a break and sneak away with my littlest love during social functions. I enjoy the peace and quiet when we’re in a room with the door closed; chatter and laughter spilling through the crack under the door from the party on the other side. To be honest, these are my favorite times to breastfeed and reconnect; a reminder than no matter where we are, I will always be there for him.
-Is Aunt Flo gonna be there? I haven’t had a real period for (::scratches head::) almost three years now. THREE YEARS. That’s one thousand, ninety five days. My period returned briefly when Hooper was 9 or 10 months old and then the next month, I was pregnant again. My period has yet to return and given the fact I’m not ready for a third, I don’t miss Aunt Flo one bit. She was always the kind of Aunt that smelled funny anyway.
What has your breastfeeding journey been like? What were the perks for you?
You can read my other posts on breastfeeding by clicking here.