This post has been a long time coming. When we had Captain, John said “You should write a post about breastfeeding”. And I said “You're right, I should.”
When I was having a hard time with it, I said “Maybe I could write a blog post about the difficulties I'm having. I’m sure others can relate,” and John said “You’re right. You should.”
When I gave up breastfeeding, I said “I’m not writing that post. It’s too hard.”
So this post has had many versions. I've basically gone through every level of acceptance. The first post was fun but unfinished. The second was whiny. The third was angsty. The fourth was depressing. The fifth version had the word "nipple" in it so often that even I began to feel awkward. So here it is, all laid out.
I said from the beginning that I would breastfeed Captain as long as I could. I breastfed Duchess for almost a year and loved it. It was hard in the beginning with Duchess. It was very, very hard. I had to adjust both physically and mentally. Not only is it incredibly painful in the beginning, it takes a toll on your body the entire time you are breastfeeding. Sure, you lose some baby weight faster. But your hormones are out.of.control. Your gums are sensitive. Your boobs are VERY sensitive. In fact, they are off limits to everything but your baby. And emotionally, you have to decide what you are comfortable with. Will you breastfeed in front of friends? Family? In public? What will you do if the baby gets hungry at the restaurant and you don’t have a cover? You basically have a full year of these physical and mental challenges.
|Iron = FE, Man = Male, therefore Iron Man = Female|
I didn't have that with Captain. I was a breast feeding champ. I knew when my milk was going to come in and how to prepare for it. I knew that I was going to soak through every bra/shirt combination I had. So I stocked up on bra pads. Costco-sized boxes of bra pads. I had no qualms about breastfeeding in front of anyone. We’re in the mall and Captain is hungry? Done. No cover? Who cares? I had it DOWN. It was an art, really.
But there was something different about my breastfeeding adventure with Captain – exhaustion. Home life was hectic with a newborn and a toddler. I had a new job this time around. A job I love but definitely a job with more stress and more responsibility. It was harder to get away to pump. I quickly fell behind in my “stash” and found myself resenting the daycare when they gave him four bottles of milk and I’d only pumped three that day. At seven months, I finally just made the decision to stop pumping at work and let him get formula at daycare. It was definitely an easier decision to make with Captain than with Duchess. Duchess was on formula exclusively at the very end, for about a month. It took 11 months to convince myself that I wasn't a terrible mother for letting her have formula. It took much less time with Captain.
So we worked with that plan and it was great. For about a month. And then….biting. Oh lord the biting. I don’t remember having that problem with Duchess. But with Captain, that kid is like an alligator. Seriously, have you ever seen an alligator lock their jaw on a prey and do the barrel roll of death? That’s my kid. He drew blood on many an occasion.
I finally had come to the end. I was having anxiety attacks the entire time I was nursing him. Just waiting for him to bite with those little sharp baby teeth. I had to quit nursing. That was really hard for me. You see, I had actually said months earlier that I would be willing to go as long as 18 months with Captain (whereas I put the cutoff at one year with Duchess). I knew what I was doing, and I was good at it. But then life happened. I cried my tears and held my boy close and apologized profusely (all while whispering “really this is your fault, kid”).
But then do you know what happened? With the help of my friends and that husband of mine, I realized that I’m awesome. I nursed my kid for 8 months. He got a damn good start to life. So to all those mamas out there are struggling with nursing: you’re a good mom. If you keep on with it, you’re a good mom. If you need to supplement here and there, you’re a good mom. If you've never nursed at all, you’re a good mom.
Just keep being awesome. High f*cking five. You ladies all rock.
Love, Mom (Stevie)
P.S. Also, here are some tears for you all. (This post is not sponsored by Johnson's, it's just a great commercial)
P.S.S. John wants me to remind you to follow Ask Your Dad on Facebook. He works really hard to make it a fun and engaging community that doesn't just spam your news feed with cat pictures.