If you’ve been around my blog for awhile, you know that I have no problem talking about my boobs. I’ve written plenty of posts about my breastfeeding & pumping experiences, and it’s my hope one of those posts has helped someone else who was in the trenches and trying to figure out how to make it work for her, especially while working outside of the home. I participated in the first PAIL Monthly Theme post topic of breastfeeding back in March of 2012, and it’s interesting to me to see what has/hasn’t changed for me since then. I’m firmly in the camp of “breast is best” when possible, and whether you’re able to do it for 2 days or 2 months or 2 years, good on you. I know that it’s not always possible to breastfeed for various reasons, but I truly think it’s sad so many women don’t try to or continue to breastfeed because of a lack of knowledge or support.
At any rate, this post is going to be a little different. This post is going to be about the selfishness involved in my breastfeeding journey. Warning, you might not like what you’re about to read ahead.
I’ll be honest with you – I am a selfish, selfish person who loves to drink beers and go on vacations without children, and I never wanted to be one of “those women” who gave up control of her body by being pregnant and/or breastfeeding for years on end. I thought it was insane that my Mom did that for a decade! (Love you, Mom *grin*) God obviously knew the timeline he had in store for me though, and he is laughing at me right now. 🙂
August 2009-April 2011: Desperately want to start a family. Cut back on partying and traveling to try to help this happen.
April 2011-Dec 2011: Pregnant (9 months)
Dec 2011-May 2013: Nursing (15 months)
April 2013-current: Pregnant (with about a 1 month overlap of nursing Stella)
Hopefully Dec/Jan – whenever: Nursing again!
So yeah… I’m (maybe? hopefully?) looking at around 4 years straight of having my body truly not be my own, and a couple of years prior to that being immersed in TTC land.
Don’t get me wrong – I know that I am a blessed, blessed lady to be facing this future right now, and I am STOKED that breastfeeding went as well as it did for us (barring the initial latching/sleepiness issues, Stella & I had an amazing breastfeeding experience together), but DAMN… I’m gearing up to start this all over again, and I am tired!
To back up, choosing to continue breastfeeding with Stella was an easy (selfish) decision for me. Breast milk was always readily available, it was free, and it was the easy thing to do. You’re sad/hurt/hungry/tired/bored? Here’s my boob! BAM. SMILES! I loved it, Stella loved it, and breastfeeding was an awesome, integral part of our daily routine for 17 months because of it. It also meant I spent very little money to feed my child for a long time, and that was awesome.
[Honest side note – I was a little petrified to fly back to MN earlier this month because it was our first time flying without the magic boob. 20 flights with the boob to pacify, and it worked like a charm. Thankfully, sugary DumDum suckers stolen from my local post office filled the void for flights 21-24.]
Choosing to stop breastfeeding some day will also be a selfish decision for me. Pumping all day sucks. Pumping at work without a real private space? Even worse. Not being able to cut calories to help lose the baby weight because it will affect your supply? An inconvenience. Having to monitor how many beers you’re drinking and how long you have before the kid needs to nurse again? It kinda drives me nuts.
If you’ve struggled to nurse you’re probably annoyed with me right now, and if you’re still in the TTC trenches you’re probably ready to kick my ass because you’re thinking you’d give your left ovary for my “problems” (I get it, I truly do), but that doesn’t make it any less true that it can be exhausting to be the only source of food for a baby (the first 6 months) and the go to comforter/food source for the next however long. Obviously the positives outweighed the negatives for me, and that’s why we continued for as long as I did with Stella (honestly, I truly love love loved nursing and many of my favorite memories with Stella are from those middle of the night feedings), but I’m already wondering if I’ll be willing or able to do the same for this kiddo.
God, I’m slacking on the mothering to the 2nd child already. Sorry baby boy.
So ya, at this point, I am definitely planning on breastfeeding this kid and hoping it goes as smoothly as it did last time. For financial & logistical reasons, this will hopefully continue for a long time. However, my position at work is different now (which means it will be harder to get away from my desk to pump), and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to do EBF like I did with Stella. I really don’t want to have to spend money on formula though, so we will see if something can be worked out. With Stella, my goal for how long we would breastfeed kept changing – 6 months, then 1 year, then whenever. I’m guessing I’ll have the same approach with this kid.
I’m blessed to have girlfriends all around me who are super comfortable breastfeeding in public, which in turn means that our guy friends are super comfortable being around it as well. No nursing in bathrooms and back bedrooms for me! This definitely helps with things because I don’t feel ostracized every time I need to feed the baby/toddler/kid, but it’s still a commitment — a huge commitment — and one I am so thankful to have been able to make for so long last time. I’m just a little freaked out about having to do it all over again.