I currently breastfeed. Nearly exclusively. Women breastfeed for many reasons. My reason is not because I firmly believe breast milk is more beneficial for babies. It is not because we can't afford formula...even though I love being thrifty. It is not because I think there is a stronger bond between mother and baby when breastfeeding versus bottle-feeding. It is not because I think it is more convenient - in fact, my personal experience is that it is messier and less convenient than bottles and formula.
I breastfeed for completely selfish reasons. I do it because I love the connected feeling I get with my baby. We are literally physically connected, and I love the natural, organic feeling of that. I love the feeling of the letdown. I am in awe of the way our bodies have been created and the amazing things they do. I love looking down at her and seeing that my body is providing her directly with nutrition that is specifically for her. I love when she notices me watching her and makes eye contact and smiles.
My attitude even before I got pregnant the first time was that I would try my best to breastfeed as long I could.
With my first baby, my son, I had difficulty. Oh, he latched just fine from the start and I never experienced any pain while feeding...but I don't think I quite understood how often he needed to feed. What did I know? I was a first-time mama who perhaps did not research breastfeeding as well as I could have.
|cormac, a week old, after a feeding session|
Finally, at about three months, I gave up. I felt defeated. I felt depressed. I felt like a complete failure.
Until my milk dried up and the hormones associated with breastfeeding left my body.
Then I felt GREAT! I loved bottle-feeding. I had a happier baby who ate less often and was more satisfied. I could feed him on a schedule...and I LOVE schedules. We could go on weekend trips and easily leave him with the grandparents. I didn't have to mess with bulky nursing pads, ugly nursing bras, or nursing in public (which I have no problem doing, with a cover, but it was just kind of annoying.)
|finally at peace with bottle-feeding (and happier!)|
+ + + + + +
|after an on-the-go feeding session.|
Maybe too well.
I'll be completely honest: I dread weaning her off the breast, because I know how hard emotionally it is to let those hormones exit my system. I'll be a wreck. Also, Hubby and I want to take a long weekend trip to Chicago in a couple months, sans kiddos, and I am afraid to let her be bottle-fed for several days. I am afraid I will be forced into a premature end.
In some ways, as bad as this will sound, I wish she would "decide for herself," like her brother did, to go to the bottle, rather than making me, her total wimp of a mama, decide to end our breastfeeding relationship.
I don't know if and when I will have the guts to...
...but when it happens I will, of course, share the rest of this story. :)
+ + + + + +
So what is your story? It is National Breastfeeding Month and I post this only to share my own experience. Everyone has their own story and opinions. Mine is to do what makes you happiest as a mama. Happy mamas are the best mamas.