Breastfeeding: The Perks

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.

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14 Responses

  • all of this is spot on! my breastfeeding journey has been pretty similar to yours. no real issues getting going, and none to keep us from continuing. i wanted to nurse for the first year, and now here we are at just shy of 17 months and only now thinking about weaning. it’s been amazing, and though it’s hard to imagine it being over, i’m kinda ready to start the next (non-boob related) chapter in our lives with our girl.

    • Ya, I think stopping breastfeeding kinda means your baby isn’t, well, a baby anymore. And it’s always hard to finish that chapter. Congrats to you for going 17 months, that’s awesome!

    • Oh yes, real friends it is. And by real friends, I hope you mean we get to play dress up together cuz your style is on point :) Happy weekend to your sweet little family as well.

  • These are REALLY good points! I’ve always said that I’m not sure I could do the breastfeeding thing if I had a baby, but this makes me reconsider. Excellent summary. And you always, always, always make me laugh: “She was always the kind of Aunt that smelled funny anyway.”
    Ha.

  • Having struggled with low supply with my first kid, I have some things I am very grateful for.

    -No bottles or pump parts to wash and sanitize each day.
    -No worries about bringing water & formula, less to carry around
    -Getting up to feed baby in the middle of the night is SO MUCH EASIER. Seriously. Waking up with my first son was torture- I would nurse, then supplement with a tube feeder while nursing, then pump, then wash everything, and finally get the supplement ready for the next feeding. Omg. An ordeal. I would hardly finish when he was hungry again. Talk about a bleary eyed newborn phase… That was rough. Even when we switched to just formula over night I had to get out of bed, turn the light on, measure formula, go feed… Now I just grab baby and lay back down and go to sleep. I am getting way more sleep even though baby still nurses once or twice over night now!
    -When Callen reaches up and touches my face and gently pats it with his hand while nursing I melt. I think this has more to do with personality as my first son would try to rip my face off with his grabby hands. But either way that look, when he smiles and giggles and loses his latch because he is staring at me with google eyes is the best.

    I could also write a huge response about how at nearly 7 months of exclusive breastfeeding I still want to throw in the towel some days, but I will not. Not today anyways.

    • Oh yes, I think that has to do with personality too. Van is Mr. Grabby hands. Breastfeeding him is nearing on abuse. Seriously. I nearly chuckled when you described the gentle patting on your face and your heart melting… but felt some sympathy when you went on to say you got smacked around with your first son. Hooper was much softer. Van I want to throw off my chest several times a day. It’s getting harder to deal with.

      What an ordeal you went through with your first… It’s crazy what us moms do for your little guys… In any event, glad your having a relatively smoother go at it this time around.

  • I too had had it easy with both of my children. They and I just found it so, so, Umm well easy. I breastfeed on demand until twelve months, and now had feed before morning, afternoon naps and before bedtime. In a couple of days Jarvis will be 18months. Which was my goal as that is how long I feed my eldest. But the strange thing the closer it comes the less I feel like I want to stop. No not going to be feeding till his four, but I just realise this is my last baby and this will be the last time I get to share that amazing privileged bond and breastfeeding mumma has with their child.

  • I am too exclusively nursing for over a year now! Trying to wean, but this little boy isn’t making it easy. Not too mention I am sure I subconsciously don’t want to wean either 😉 It is such a great bonding experience and wouldn’t have traded it for the world!

  • Hi Ashley-I just came across your blog and this was the first post I read, love it. I’m not going to lie, I had a few hiccups in the beginning, mostly cracked nips and serious engorgement! But other than that its been smooth sailing, my little one is turning 10 months this week and I’m battling with the idea of weening at one year. Its a tough decision. I would love my freedom back-have a cup of coffee when I want it and maybe even a drink or two (imagine!), but the benefits to my little one outweigh the luxury of my freedom. Glad I stumbled upon your little world in the interweb…

  • I just went through and read all of your breastfeeding posts and I feel like you took the thoughts right out of my head 😉 My little girl is 3 months old and the whole first month of breastfeeding was a love/hate relationship. About every other day I wanted to quit and the other days I loved it. I haven’t had any issues with it, it’s just all mental and can be exhausting.

    The best part is when you are visiting friends and family you don’t have to worry about not getting time in with your own baby because who else is going to feed her?!

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