Breastfeeding, the biggest love hate relationship I have ever had in my life, period. So I thought I would pull together a list of pros and cons; a little continuation of my breastfeeding experience. I have discussed my breastfeeding journey before, but only the beginning, there is so much more. It is so much easier to see, now that our breastfeeding situation is more established than it once was, the pros and cons of breastfeeding (from my perspective); this is an honest account of the things I have had to deal with/ enjoyed while breastfeeding.
My biggest love that has come from breastfeeding is the love I have for my daughter while feeding her, when it is all going well. It is the best bonding feeling ever, i’m not saying that if you bottle feed you don’t get that (I have no idea) but for me seeing her happily boobing is my favorite thing ever. I wanted to breastfeed for this, and when I am in the moment with her I am forever overwhelmed by it.
That being said there are plenty and I mean plenty of unfortunate issues that occur when breastfeeding, my most current being teeth but also my battle with other people, having to explain why I am breastfeeding and not giving up, or being told when my baby is hungry and when she isn’t by people that don’t know her the way that I do (I am her mum after all).
So here is my loves and hates of breastfeeding.
What I love about breastfeeding:
- The bond, it is very real and something that is very difficult to explain.
- My baby is getting all the goodness of breast milk, although formula is a literal life saver ( I am very much a fed is best person), breast milk has amazing properties! some of which still amaze me when I read about them. The anti-infection properties, for one!
- When your baby puts weight on it feels amazing that you alone are sustaining your baby, going to weigh in becomes a bit of an addiction.
- It is very practical, I traveled to Portugal and back in the car when my baby was three months old; doing this would have been very difficult (although doable) without my boobs. You can just whack a boob out whenever your baby is hungry and voila baby = fed. No farting around with bottles.
- Once established, it is relatively easy , there are some difficulties that arise still but, if you can get through those first few months then the sky is the limit.
- It gives you a huge sense of achievement, I have a huge sense of achievement for getting through what I did. Its hard work to achieve, so you feel fab when you get to the other side.
- There are health benefits for me! Breastfeeding does improve the mothers health too. It lowers the chance of getting breast and ovarian cancer, as well as osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. It is also supposed to help you loose weight, which it does to start with, i’m not convinced that it always does though after reading a few stories and through my own experience.
- If you can express and your baby will take a bottle, you can still go out! I have been out numerous times now my baby has been fed expressed milk and I pump and dump if I am drinking, although this isn’t necessary to remove the alcohol from the milk. I do this for comfort, I don’t binge drink, but it is nice to have the odd drink every now and again without the worry of it effecting my baby.
What I hate about breastfeeding:
- Other peoples reactions. Now I have very rarely experienced rude people telling me to put my boob away, however I have experienced a lot of people telling me what my baby wants. We went through a period especially on holiday and during hot spells where Joanie would take a long time to feed, pulling off me to scream and cry. Sometimes she would be sick. I knew that she wasn’t done because of how she continued to act, she would still show hunger ques and be generally ratty. It often took and hour plus to feed her when she was like this. I knew when she was done, I am her mum. Sometimes other people would think otherwise and tell me I was overfeeding her and to just stop feeding her. People got quite annoyed with me sometimes when this was occurring. I know I wasn’t over feeding her, but this experience dented my confidence and tainted something I had worked so hard for.
- Other peoples reactions again. people staring at me when publicly breastfeeding. I don’t mind the odd glance, smile, friendly conversation whilst breastfeeding (Often people have a chat to you about how nice it is that you breastfeed, which is nice) I don’t like it when people stare with a face like they are going to walk over and slap me, or just stare like creeps for a long long time.
- Establishing breastfeeding was difficult for me, I couldn’t do it, Joanie wouldn’t latch or if she did she wouldn’t feed. In the end I had to express and bottle feed for about 2 months, it was a pain a lot of preparation went into it, we did it by, getting a bottle out of the fridge, warming it, feeding her, getting her back to sleep/putting her down happy, then pumping for half an hour, sterilizing all the equipment and repeat. It was hard work.
- The pain is toe curling, breastfeeding hurts, I know people say it shouldn’t but it does and I know people that have fed through the pain, I couldn’t I had to wait till my nipples healed to try again. Breastfeeding is painful why wouldn’t it be? nipples are really sensitive and babies suck like a hoover, I don’t know why we hush hush about it like it will put people off, what puts people off is thinking it shouldn’t hurt, only to think they are doing it wrong. If this is the case get help, there are loads of resources out there to help you get through it!
- Teeth, when they bite you before teeth, if they do it on the odd occasion not all the time, it doesn’t really hurt too bad, its more of a dull pain; when they have teeth, well there aren’t many pains I can think of that out do that. There are ways around this, after following a lot of advice from this Kelly Mom page, we are getting there…
I haven’t finished my breastfeeding journey with Joanie yet, I would like to make it to one, but we shall see.
I have learnt to develop a thick skin when it comes to other peoples opinions, people mean well and there still are a lot of false information and old wives tales floating around about breastfeeding. I have found that if I stand my ground and explain why I am doing what I am doing eventually people stop questioning you, maybe you have taught them some valuable information and (possibly) changed their opinion.
So I hope that’s a little insight into my breastfeeding journey, are there any you would add, or things you would disagree with?