This week is World Breastfeeding Week, a celebration of the beauty and power that surrounds a mother nursing her child. It appears to be a pseudo-necessity for all currently breastfeeding moms to write some sort of post in homage to this celebration. This is my feeble attempt at joining the ‘it’ crowd.
It’s been 36 hours since I last nursed my child. I would call him my baby, because that’s how he feels when he’s cuddled up to my breast and looking lovingly into my eyes, but that would simply be inaccurate. At 25 months, Sammie is so much more ‘little boy’ now than he is ‘baby’, what with his running, jumping, climbing, throwing and laughing (but not talking though…Silent Sammie does not ‘do’ talking!)
As I prepare for the advent of a second child, I’m reminded of just how far I’ve come in the past two years, as a mother and as a woman. I’ve never been someone who adapts well to change, and I need a lot of mental preparation before I undertake difficult tasks. Because of this, I know that I have to psychologically prepare myself for the commitment of breastfeeding an infant, which is exponentially more challenging than breastfeeding a toddler. I know that, in many ways, having done it once already I am more prepared than I was the first time. But at the same time, going at it for the second time seems even more daunting because now I truly do understand what a huge undertaking it can be. Giving up your body for an indeterminate period of time is unquestionably intimidating.
Over the past two years, I’ve engaged myself in an ongoing inner dialogue, documenting within my mind the things that I would have told “Pregnant, Mom-To-Be Zita” to better prepare her for the upcoming challenges of parenthood. Now, it feels like I need to pull out this script and remember that, while I do have experience being a ‘mom’, the experience a second time round will be extremely different. So, tonight I’m going to remind myself of the top five things I need to know when it comes to being a breastfeeding mom. I hope that, seven or so months from now, I’ll be able to give myself some much guidance during my times of need.
1- Breastfeeding has never come naturally to me. And that’s ok.
I’m just not one of those moms who has the knack for this. Breastfeeding, while no longer ‘painful’ has never been enjoyable. At best, it is tolerable, but is generally relatively uncomfortable. This does not make me ‘less’ of a mom. It also doesn’t make me ‘less’ of a woman. It simply makes me a person who has always needed her own body space.
2- No matter how much I try to fight it, the baby will have a say over their feeding style. Frequency, amount, and even duration are only mildly within my control. This is also ok.
I can go into this with a firm goal in mind. I can tell myself that “this time” I will definitely not nurse past a year. Or, I can be overly zealous and commit myself to lactating well into child’s first year of University. Regardless, my “goals” will always be guidelines. The baby will have their own say on how long they want to breastfeed for. Ultimately, the best case scenario is for us to lay off the ‘goals’ until we’ve gotten to know each other a little bit and are able to come up with some plans together.
3- The politics of breastfeeding can be completely and utterly overwhelming. Proceed with caution.
This is pretty self-explanatory. Beware of those who are more interested in the “political statement” you are making than in giving you support in feeding your child. These are not your friends. Anyone who shames your decision on how to feed your child should be kept at arms length at all times.
4- When it comes to breastfeeding, the path of least resistance is almost always the best path.
Some battles aren’t worth fighting. If my baby doesn’t want to eat while covered, I’ll find another way to be discreet. If my baby insists on nursing every hour on the hour for three months, I’ll find a way to sleep at the same time. If my baby insists on nursing upside down, invest in a seriously comfortable Lazy-Boy. The point is: I’ll figure out what works, and I can’t beat myself up over it. Life’s too short to over complicate things.
5- This too shall pass.
Eventually, I will get my body back to myself. Breastfeeding will not last forever. And then I will miss the quiet bond that I shared with my child. And yes, the hard moments are unquestionably hard, and the challenge sometimes seems insurmountable, the good moments far outweigh the bad. So I should always remember my “happy thought” and cling to it- this will get me through some pretty dark and ugly times: “The baby in my arms is a miracle, and my body’s ability to grow and nurture it is a blessing.”
And, just in case I need the extra reminder:
6- Even when it doesn’t feel like it, I’m doing a great job with my kids. Loving them will always be the most important and impactful thing I can do. Everything else is semantics.
Keep it up, Momma. You’re going to be okay. I promise.
This blog is part of the 2012 Summer Blog Challenge (31 posts in 31 days). To follow along with my fellow writers, visit their blogs:
Meaghan at Magz D Life
April at This Mom's Got Something To Say