selfishly feeding my child(ren)

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.

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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. 🙂

As a recap:

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.

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This is part of PAIL‘s Monthly Theme Post topic for August, “feeding your child.” To read more about other people’s thoughts about feeding their children, click here!

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21 comments

  1. Great post! No judgement here! Breast feeding is hard hard work, even if it comes easily to you and you enjoy it! Especially as the babies get older! I loved being able to nurse Ellie Faith, but it definitely had some getting used to – I am not a super duper touchy feely person. My touch quotient was DONE by about 2pm most days, even though we had many more hours left in the day. You will do whatever is best for your boy – you are that kind of mom, even if it means some (gasp!) formula!;) Ellie was formula feed with a supmental feeder for days 1-5 until my colostrum/milk finally came in… Alllll at once…. In five minutes late one night…. OUCH!!!;)

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  2. I love the honesty in this post! Even if you have gotten over the hump in terms of the difficult first few weeks, it is still not perfect. I was able to pump and bottle feed for 6 weeks, but with my PPD my doctor suggested I stop for my mental health (she was right by the way, it lifted a HUGE weight for me).

    However, just because the latch, the supply, and everything is right doesn’t mean it isn’t still something you have to think about everyday and plan for. It takes away much of your independence and I think if I had better prepared myself for that going in, I would have been much better for it.

    Thanks for sharing and being so honest about it!

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  3. Ha! I’m reading this as I’m rushing Bryson through nursing so we can get to baby gym on time for Matthew. An inconvenience right now? Would a quick bottle be easier for us both? YES! Is that worth it to me? NO! Not at this time anyway. Maybe some day he’ll have some formula, but we haven’t gone there yet and I don’t want to.

    I nodded my head and laughed a bit through this whole post. I’m with you!

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  4. I’m thankful for this post, because, truthfully, all I know about breastfeeding at this point is (1) that it can be really hard for some women and (2) you should absolutely do it if you can because it’s good for your baby. (I think I probably need to go back and read about breastfeeding while working outside of the home.) But this seems like a very realistic account. It is probably not something I should be romanticizing like I do. Yes, it’s absolutely special and wonderful but it’s also a time commitment and at times inconvenient and maybe (perhaps?) even sometimes a pain in the ass.

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  5. Congrats and good luck on the next one. I EBF 3 kids for a year each, but had to add formula for 4th around 6 mo. Although convenient he developed all kids of allergies to it and it was expensive! Good luck to all the moms out there, it’s not easy.

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  6. mcmissis · · Reply

    Good post. Breastfeeding was never too much of an emotional, feel-good type of thing for me. I mean, who doesn’t love cuddling their baby? But I could’ve easily done that with a bottle. I bf-ed because it was functional, cheap, and obv great for the kids. But the second they turn 1, I’m done. I wasn’t too worried about how nursing Lyla would be different from nursing Gracie bc I didn’t have high emotional expectations to meet. So nursing Lyla was a relative breeze, but again, I was glad to be done. I feel the exact same way now about baby #3. When he/she arrives, maybe I’ll surprise myself and totally love it. But I don’t think I’ll hate it bc it’s all about function for me. It’s feeding my baby. What’s to hate about that? So yeah, I agree with everything you wrote here. Don’t think any of it is negative, just true for you. And isn’t that what blogging is all about?

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  7. I am just getting to the point where bfing is becoming a nuisance. I love it and definitely want to keep it up as long as possible, but pumping is a pain in my ass. 5x per day I pump. That is 2.5 hours spent pumping and cleaning parts and labeling milk and portioning it out. I do it out of love and so that I can contine that special bond with Everleigh, but I’m tired of the pump. I could probably cut back at this point but in worried what it will do to my supply.

    I actually like bfing pumping that I can use those extra calories burned to lose weight and it keeps me in line with my drinking. I’m prone to overdrink so knowing that I’m providing food helps monitor me to moderately enjoy. 🙂

    Likewise, pregnancy and bfing was a nice break from drinking. I’ve had one serious hangover since giving birth and I never want another one again!!

    Since I am in the best shape of my life, I’m nervous to be pregnant again worried that after two kids I will not find time for me and my outlet of exercise. I like you, do not want to lose my own identity in motherhood. I want to take care of myself and continue to be strong. I never thought being a mom would make me more fit and get my ass in gear to take care if myself. It’s not really the norm, but I wanted more than anything to be healthy and happy for her, and hope that one day she’ll be proud of me and follow suit.

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  8. No judgment here. I had a roller coaster of a ride with Taylor that started EBF, supplement, turned to EP and then for the last three months of her first year, formula.

    This time around I can honestly say going formula would be way easier, but that’s not the route I’m going to take. Baby steps – I’m targeting six months and going from there.

    You do what you can and every decision should impact the ENTIRE family, and that means mama too. 🙂

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  9. Thanks for your honesty. And I love your part about the magic boob because that is so true!

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  10. Esperanza · · Reply

    I’m so glad you had such a great experience the first time. I hope you do again with baby boy.

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  11. I get this…we did treatments to have our first two (boy and a girl, 15 months apart), then had our third 22 months later and now our 4th 21 months later. I nursed the first for 6 months until I was pregnant again, and my next 2 for a year each. I have basically given up my body to pregnancy and nursing straight through the last 5 years!

    Totally worth it of course, and I love nursing (I was lucky after the first it seemed to get easier each time since I kinda had some idea what to do!) but I hated pumping and cleaning bottles which is probably also why my first is the only one who ever really had one lol! 🙂

    I will say it IS nice to have your body back for a short break to exercise or have a glass or wine 🙂

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  12. I don’t think your giving yourself enough credit. You may be selfish, but I’ve been told the same thing. Stopping pumping so we could move forward w/ treatment was probably considered selfish. Raegan still got breast milk until she was 11 months old. I hated spending the $ on formula, and hated myself even more when the treatment didn’t work and it was all for naught. But I did the best I could. You did an amazing job with Stella especially sticking with it after those initial struggles. I don’t think you were selfish at all….Love this post!

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  13. I feel you on this and I got a break from breastfeeding, though it was to inject myself with lovely hormones, but, still, my body was totally mine for a bit and it was awesome. But yea, I haven’t been off the TTC / Preg / BFing train in over 5 years. And here we go again. I feel ya…

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  14. kaceyqld · · Reply

    Thanks for your stories and honesty. Breastfeeding is not the easiest nor the most convenient at times but as the saying goes “short term pain for long term gain”. Good luck with your second breastfeeding journey, I’m sure you’ll do great!

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  15. Ha, I like your honesty. For me, too, breastfeeding is partly done for selfish reasons … it’s so much more convenient to have just the right quantity, at just the right temperature, of food available when baby needs it. Also, I’d rather have the pleasure of eating the food that allows my body to make her food. That’s like one extra pain au chocolat a day (right, Stella?)!. And even though I’m comfortable bfing in public, I enjoy having a nice excuse to slip away during social events, should I want to.

    Here’s to a successful second round for you and baby boy!

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    1. SO true – that extra 300 cals/day is nice to have, and I frequently used the “baby is hungry!” excuse when she was little when I wanted to steal her away from the action and hold her myself for awhile. 🙂

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  16. I totally understand this!! I have exclusively pumped for 10 months and although I love love love it, it is a huge commitment!!! Having to pack the pump, wash the parts, always looking for a place with an electric outlet when your in public! For me I think it’s an addiction!! (There could be worse right?!) I never really set a goal for how long I wanted to pump but now that we are approaching the one year mark I get very depressed when i think stopping! You’ll figure it out momma 🙂

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  17. Great post! To me, when I have the time and Charlotte is not distracted and is hungry, I LOVE nursing her. When I’m in a rush, or it’s a chore to get her to stay on the boob, it’s so tempting just to shove the bottle in her mouth. I think every baby is different, and the second one is a whole different season, so you’ll figure out what works best for your family.

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  18. Wow you are my breastfeeding idol! Love your take on things. I am trying to become more and more comfortable feeding my baby without a cover. I just need to get over the fact that people will stare and that is there issue, not mine. I think I am going to have to go back through your old posts to get some more advice/tips. 😉

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  19. If I had gotten pregnant, and was able to bf, I think I could write this same post! As it is, I selfishly did not even entertain the idea of inducing lactation to supplement formula for Baby X. It was too much of an inconvenience and I liked kicking S out of bed at 1 am for a feeding. 🙂

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  20. […] August – In August we found out that the kiddo in my belly is a boy, and I wrote about how crazy I thought it was that most people assumed we wanted One of Each in order to have some sort of “perfect family.” Later on in the month I joined in another PAIL Theme about feeding your child and how selfish my breastfeeding journey has been. […]

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