When I was pregnant, I kept hearing about how hard it was to breastfeed. Some people claimed that even with the perfect latch, it would still hurt. Many said a nipple shield was the only way they were able to breastfeed, but because of the inconvenience, they switched to formula quickly. Still others said they could only pump and feed their baby from a bottle. I was expecting pain, heartache, suffering–hell, maybe even some torture. What I got was quite a surprise. I loved it! And now I want to share with you why I love breastfeeding.
Now, if you don’t understand how I could possibly love it, keep reading. If you’re feeling at your wit’s end with breastfeeding, keep reading. And even if you feel the same way, keep reading, see if you can add even more reasons you love breastfeeding in the comments section.
1) The Bonding
I know this is an obvious one. But I don’t even simply mean the emotional bond you get when you breastfeed (although that’s wonderful as well). I also mean the social bonding.
Right around 4 months, many babies (mine included) get very easily distracted while eating. This actually causes a large number of moms to think their baby is no longer interested in breastfeeding and to wean them early. This is so not the case, and I urge you to look at it differently before calling it quits.
I know many times we want to hurry up and feed the baby for ten minutes and move on. Half the time I’m feeding my son, I have to pee like a damn racehorse. However, remember the reason your baby is looking around. His eyesight is developed enough that he can see more than just your face. His brain is developed enough that he is interested in more than just your face.
This is beautiful. My son loves to suck for a second, then pull off and smile. This used to (okay, sometimes it still does) annoy me. But now, I try to soak up all of his beautiful, gummy smiles while I can! He won’t be this small forever. And he won’t be breastfeeding forever (I know sometimes that seems hard to believe), so enjoy it while it lasts and build up a beautiful relationship with your baby while they eat.
2) The Adorable Noises
Can we talk for a second about the noises babies make while breastfeeding? Oh. My. God. The cutest thing in the world, right? The contented sighs, the pulling off just to yawn and continue eating, the long slow sucks, even the overwhelmed sound when your letdown is in full force and they’re struggling to keep up. (or quit trying, pull off, and get a face full of milk!) That glorious gulping sound that reassures you you’re making enough milk. I love each and every little noise my boy makes while feeding.
3) Knowing I’m Needed
There’s nothing quite like knowing you are unequivocally needed, 100%. No one but you can provide mommy’s milk. Sure, you can get a wet nurse, but studies have shown time and again, babies prefer the smell of mommy’s milk. As much as my son tries to latch onto my husband, and as much as my husband and I laugh about it, he will never be able to feed our son. It’s such a beautiful thing, isn’t it? I acutely remember being a teenager and thinking I had no need for my parents. If only I had known then all the beauty and sacrifice that comes with motherhood, and how desperately I used to need my mommy.
4) The Comfort it Provides
I don’t know about you, but when my little man is fighting his sleep tooth (gum?) and nail, the boob is what puts him to sleep. When he’s crying and I can’t figure out why, the boob is what calms him down. I know there are mixed feelings on nursing to sleep, but I do it. And I love the fact that my milk makes him feel safe enough to fall asleep, that’s what I love so much. My milk lulls him into dreamland. My milk comforts him to sleep. That is all me. That right there (in my mind) is true female empowerment.
So now you know that I love breastfeeding, what about you? What do you love about breastfeeding? If you have any struggles or are thinking about quitting, let me know, too, maybe I can help you out.