My Breastfeeding Journey: Part 2

I’m finally back with part two of my breastfeeding journey. Oddly enough, I’m writing this while my little one is nursing. She’s looking up at me with this evil eye that she reserves for when I’m doing something (anything) other than watching her eat, lol. She is very demanding of my attention, a fact which brings me right back into the rest of my story.

Present-Day Challenges
Even though we are finally, for the most part, problem-free with breastfeeding, I can’t sit here and say that it still doesn’t present some challenges. The first one is, of course, how demanding it can be. Anywhere from 6-9 times a day, baby is on the boob. It can make it difficult to get things done. I have to schedule my housework and/or activities around her naps which can often be unpredictable (although we do have a loose schedule in place). Not the worst thing in the world, but worth calling out.

With my free hand, I used to be able to eat, type, and do other things while I sat and nursed, but lately Sophie just seems to fuss if I’m not focused on her eating. Unfortunately, I still HAVE to do things like check my email, pay bills, BLOG, etc. so our happy medium is that everything is done over the phone. Compromise, right?

The next issue I have is feeding in public. I know some mamas are comfortable just whipping their boob out, but I’m just not there yet. I don’t think I ever will be. I truly wish I had that kind of courage though because nursing scarves/covers are the worst. Everything about them just feels unnatural and awkward to me. By the time I get myself situated making sure nothing is exposed, Sophie is usually screaming. What’s worse is that she ALWAYS falls asleep under there (probably because of all the added warmth). So when I take her off, 99% of the time she’s still hungry. I truly understand why the #normalizebreastfeeding movement is such a huge deal and wish I was confident enough to nurse freely in public. It’s just a nipple. You see more risqué material walking the streets of New York City.

The last and worst challenge for me is pumping. I would kill to be a stay-at-home mom—not that I believe it to be any easier than working (maybe a tiny bit) … but nonetheless, I absolutely hate pumping. For one, the idea of going back to work (aka: D-Day) gives me the worst anxiety in the world. I would give anything to stay at home and continue nursing whenever my little one needs me, but not everyone is so lucky.

Secondly, in my humble opinion, pumping just sucks! I can’t tell you how annoying it is to have all these bits and pieces taking up counter and cabinet space. I have everything I need to make pumping as painless as possible, but the work involved is just so exhausting. Still, it’s important to me for Sophie to continue drinking “mother’s milk” when I’m not around, so I’m willing to make the sacrifice. Your milk supply can have a mind of its own due to stress or changes in baby’s nurse/sleep schedule (something I cluelessly dealt with for over a week) and pumping is a guaranteed way to ensure that you continue to produce!

Fighting Off Nay-Sayers
I hate to say it, but people are just the absolute worst. Between friends, family, and even strangers, I can’t count how many times I’ve heard expressions like, “She’s hungry again? She must not be getting enough.” or “When do you plan on giving her formula?” or “You’re going to have to start weaning her soon.” or my favorite/the one I hear most “When is she going to start using the bottle instead?” I try not to get upset by these things because I know they come from people being uneducated about the countless benefits or breastfeeding, but they are still difficult to hear. It literally makes my skin crawl whenever I’m forced to respond to one of these statements for the umpteenth time. At the end of the day, I know I’m doing right by my daughter. I constantly have to remind myself of that. Yes, of course, I have to give her a bottle—I’m going back to work after all—but that doesn’t mean that I have to give her formula or that our breastfeeding journey has to end. I do voice my thoughts, albeit politely, whenever these situations arise. Still, people hear what they want to hear and nothing will stop them from voicing their opinions again the next time around. You just need to be firm and stand your ground. I should take my own advice, I know.

Looking Towards The Future
If I’m being completely honest, I would’ve been the person silently judging the mom breastfeeding her toddler. Now, I’m inspired by that mom. I called this “my breastfeeding journey” because it truly is a journey. It’s a series of small battles with some losses and some victories. It’s only been three and a half months, but I’m surprised that we even made it this far. Every single day is an accomplishment. I have so much respect for mommies that do it for the long haul and with multiple kids.

I don’t know when I’ll stop breastfeeding. I don’t have a date or age in mind. I’d rather let my daughter lead the way. I have faith that she’ll let me know when she’s done needing her mommy’s milk. For now, I’m going to savor every single moment—especially all the extra snuggles.

If you missed part one of my journey, you can find it here. As always, thanks for reading!

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