I hated breastfeeding. HATED IT.
I hated it from the moment my son first painfully latched on until the moment, 57 long days later, when I’d decided I’d had enough and switched to the bottle. I hated every second of every feeding of every day. What a way to waste the first two months of my son’s life.
Breastfeeding has somehow become some sort of qualification for being a good – or even decent – mother. Forgiveness is given to those moms who attempt to breastfeed, but are unable…but the rest of us? Those who choose to feed our offspring factory produced milk rather than providing our own? We’re villainized for it. At least it feels that way.
For me, motherhood only started being enjoyable once I stopped forcing something that, ironically, felt like the least natural thing in the world. Only then, did I start savoring the time rocking him to sleep, or appreciate the sound of his breathing, or study his thick eyelashes while he looked up at me.
Why did I hate it so much?
1. Breastfeeding consumed me. 24/7, it was pretty much all I thought about, all I planned for and all I did. How could it not be? I had to feed my son every two hours, each feeding took an hour, and by the time I was done, it was already almost time to feed him again.
2. I felt disgusting. I’d somehow though that gaining these porn star boobs would make me feel sexy and powerful. Instead, I felt like a cow. A leaky, stinky, weepy cow.
3. Holy God, it hurt! The feeling of having a tender part of me yanked on until it bleeds is not my idea of a good time. Sorry, Christian Grey.
4. My body was still not my own. By the ninth month of pregnancy, I longed to have my body back, and counted down the seconds until it once again was mine. But while I was breastfeeding, it still wasn’t my own. I was simply a flesh covered food delivery truck.
5. Pumping. No explanation needed.
6. Not knowing how much he was actually eating. My son ate around the clock, but I never actually know just how much he was eating. Did he get enough? Was I starving him? Was he sucking out nothing or milk? I had no clue.
7. My hormones went FUCKING CRAZY. It was like PMS on steroids.
8. I was on my own. I’m lucky to have a husband who wants to be as involved as possible, but as the sole milk factory, he couldn’t do all that much. My baby’s ability to thrive was 100% dependent on me. The pressure was just too much.
9. I was self conscious. More power to the women who whip out a tit everywhere and anywhere, but I wasn’t one of them. Which meant that the minute anyone came to visit, I dashed off to find privacy. Not the best thing for a lonely new mom.
10. The guilt. Every feeding made me feel like something was wrong with me: Why wasn’t I connecting with him? Why wasn’t I loving providing for him? What was wrong with me? It’s taken me a while to realize that I wasn’t a bad mother, I just didn’t excel at that one part of motherhood. Fortunately for him, and me, I do at others. My role as a mother wasn’t and isn’t defined by how I chose to feed my baby. Hardly.
And neither is yours.