Breastfeeding.

{heart eyes}

The composition of breastmilk is absolutely fascinating. It's nutrient profile is nothing short of dreamy for a baby/mama health junkie like myself.

Then there's the bonding. There's nothing sweeter than those quiet moments spent feeding your little one.

But let's be real here...it's not always easy, & it's not always fun.

Sometimes I downright hate it. I know, I know, that's harsh. But really.

Here's why:

 

1. It can hurt.

It doesn't always hurt. Some people have an easy pain-free breastfeeding experience. Other people {like myself} undergo excruciating pain, get mastitis, & are too stubborn to ever ask for help {thus resulting in 17+ months of painful breastfeeding}

There are three main contributors to painful nursing:

lip tie results when the frenulum connecting the gum to the upper lip is too short, thick, or tightly bound to the gum. An upper lip tie may cause a seal or latch problem.

tongue tie occurs when the frenulum connecting the tongue to the bottom of the mouth is too short to allow the tongue proper movement. Tongue tie can result in nipple pain, low milk consumption, & duct blockages.1

poor latch is the star student here. If something isn't right latch is automatically blamed, even if it isn't the issue. Poor latch can be a factor in everything from low milk consumption to pain to mastitis.

Dr. Ghaheri has some of the best resources I've seen for lip & tongue tie info.

Kellymom is my go-to for most breastfeeding support. She's got some great stuff on latch.

2. People are all judge-ey

There is so much judgement around breastfeeding.

Mamas that don't breastfeed = judged

I'll be the first to admit that my heart breaks a tiny bit if I learn that a mother didn't have interest in trying. But I don't feel judgement towards her. Everyone's story is different.

I think people forget that sometimes breastfeeding isn't an option, or the best choice for that mother. & there are lot's of good alternatives.

Mamas that breastfeed "too long" = judged

Says who? Why is there an age at which feeding a child the {literal} perfect food is no longer acceptable? There are so many wonderful nutrients in breastmilk that shouldn't be ignored.

Between months 12-23, about 15 fluid ounces of breastmilk provides:

29% of energy requirements
43% of protein requirements
36% of calcium requirements
75% of vitamin A requirements
76% of folate requirements
94% of vitamin B12 requirements
60% of vitamin C requirements2

It's a pretty impressive lineup.

There's also some big organizations behind extended breastfeeding. This is what The World Health Organization has this to say about it {exact quote}:

Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond.3

My hope is that society can get on board with supporting a mothers personal choice to benefit her child---for longer than they "think" she should!

Mamas that breastfeed in public = judged

When I was in college I conducted a small study to record peoples reactions to breastfeeding in public. I placed a nursing mother in a public area & sat a few tables away to observe. I should probably clarify that she was covered...& not actually nursing {baby was asleep on her chest}.

I was horrified at peoples reactions.

One woman even told her to get a room. REALLY?! I'd like to point out that all of the negative comments were from women. Apparently we're really good at supporting one another.

It's also so blatantly clear that there's a crazy double standard that people love to ignore. You can see more "boob" on any beach, swimming pool, music video, or certain burger chain commercial than you see when a mother nurses her child.

I just don't get it.

3. Your body isn't your own

Disclaimer: this category is based completely off personal experience.

When my son was first born I loved that my body could feed him. Say what?! MY BODY COULD FEED A SMALL HUMAN. It felt like a super power & I was proud as heck of it!

Fast forward 17 months.

Dare I say I'm over it? The fact that my child has no regard for my body kind of drives me nuts. Whether we're in a store, our living room, or in bed asleep he has no problem demanding milk--even if he has to pull down my top to do so.

I feel like I say "respect my body" every 10 minutes around here.

He's literally climbing on me as I type, whining for "moooowwtk" {milk}.

& he just won. Mount Mama was conquered once again.

It's also been a real struggle to eat enough to keep up with his demand. Some days I feel like all of my nutrients, energy, & whatever else I have left is sucked right out of me.

This has probably been the hardest part. I don't feel healthy right now. & I don't like it!

To sum things up...

Breastfeeding is awesome. But not always. There are struggles, & judgements, & obstacles to overcome.

I love many aspects of it. I know that I'm going to look back lovingly at this time. But that doesn't erase the fact that it can be hard sometimes.

The most important thing to remember is that it's your choice, for your child, & whatever choice you make---whether it be to breastfeed or not, for under a year or over five---is the RIGHT decision. Always.

+++

to admitting that breastfeeding can literally & figuratively suck,

sign

  1. Tongue-tie and Upper Lip-tie." Australian Breastfeeding Association. Australian Breastfeeding Association, Mar. 2015. Web. 22 Sept. 2015.
  2. Dewey KG. Nutrition, Growth, and Complementary Feeding of the Breastfed Infant. Pediatric Clinics of North American. February 2001;48
  3. "Health Topics: Breastfeeding." World Health Organization. WHO, n.d. Web.

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