I am extremely pro-breastfeeding (all my previous posts on breastfeeding can be found here). I believe every child deserves to be breastfed if possible. So this may come as a surprise but I don’t LOVE breastfeeding my children. In fact, I dislike it in many ways. I dislike that I am the one who always has to get up at 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 o’clock in the morning and put the baby back to sleep. I dislike that if I am going to be gone for more than 2 hours that my baby has to come with me. I dislike that if my baby doesn’t come with me I have to worry about pumping and whether or not baby is going to take a bottle. I dislike my happy baby screaming when s/he sees me because mommy=milk. I dislike that cuddling is nearly non-existent because being close to me for baby means feeding. I dislike how by the time baby gets hungry again it feels like we JUST finished. I dislike the sore nipples, engorged breasts when baby does sleep all night and leaking boobs.
But I do like the convenience of breastfeeding. I like how I don’t have to mix anything. I like how I don’t have to wash anything. I like how I don’t have to worry about how much baby is going to eat. I like not having to worry about packing feeding supplies. I like not having to worry about forgetting feeding supplies. I like that baby’s feed is always ready in the perfect amount and temperature. I like being able to feed baby pretty much as soon as s/he lets me know s/he’s hungry. I like not having to do any prep in the middle of the night when baby does wake up.
And I do like the cost. I like that it is free. I like that I don’t have to clip coupons or watch for sales. I like that nothing is wasted. I like that there is no trash waste.
I also do like the breastfeeding relationship. I like that I can easily soothe my baby when s/he’s upset. I like that I can easily keep my baby quiet when s/he gets too loud at the most inopportune times. I like that I am irreplaceable in my baby’s life.
I do really like the health benefits to me, too. I like that breastfeeding has helped me easily lose the weight I gained during my pregnancies. I like that breastfeeding may lower my chances of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer in the future. I like that breastfeeding keeps me from getting my period (and who wouldn’t love that?!?!)
But with all the pros and cons, for me it comes down to one simple thing: my child. While there are numerous benefits and conveniences for me, breastfeeding is the BEST thing for my child and that is all that matters. The benefits to my child far outweigh the benefits to me and that is the most important thing. By selflessly breastfeeding my children (and anyone who has does it, know there is NOTHING selfish about breastfeeding your child), I have provided important immune building antibodies, lowered their chances of SIDS, allergies, ear infections, respiratory illness and gastro-intestinal illness. Long term, I have lowered their chances of obesity and cavities later in life, may have lowered their future blood pressure and cholesterol levels and may have even increased their cognitive development and future academic achievement.
Even if there were no benefits to me, even if breastfeeding was harder or less convenient, I would still do it because despite what formula companies, other people and even doctors say, formula is not as good as breastfeeding. Formula is, of course, a suitable alternative to breastfeeding but it is not equal to breastfeeding. And while sometimes I want to throw in the towel, say screw it, buy a can of formula and run off for the day without my pump, I never would because I want to do what is BEST for my child, not what is just Ok.
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