I never thought I'd nurse. I thought it was weird and a burden (WHOA. I KNOW). Modern technology and all those formulas boasting about how amazing they are conned me… until I became pregnant. The first time I really started to consider it, I was just like 'whatever. I will do it for a few weeks.' After that, I thought I'd reward myself for every month I did it. If I made it a month, I'd buy myself that handbag I have been wanting. Three months and those Loubs Kim Kardashian was wearing in People Magazine would be on these feet. Six months, you better believe Eric is buying me Chanel. Well, I didn't get myself any of those gifts for making it to those goals. I got something so much greater.
I am not going to lie. I absolutely, positively hated breastfeeding in the beginning. Did you know your nipples can crack? Or that you can get so full and a milk duct can clog that you have actual pain and have to massage it out? I didn't. Parker so did not want to nurse. He had a small mouth and that made it hard. He lost too much weight too quickly (despite nursing him like 18 hours of the day) and I had to supplement with formula. At that point, a week in, I was ready to call it quits. I am already giving him formula, why do both? Why sit for over an hour, uncomfortable, when I will be giving him formula at the end any way? Man, I had my eye on the prize though! New things for me.
Nursing does not come as naturally as they say it should. Maybe some people pick it up easy, but I didn't (neither did 90% of the women I know). It hurt so bad. There was one day that I just cried in pain the entire time he nursed on one side. I didn't have that bonding in the beginning that they say you get. That came later. That first month of nursing was just rough.
As time progressed, it did get easier. He learned to feed better and I learned what to do to make it easier on both of us. We picked up the "Brest Friend" pillow (highly recommend!) and we nursed like old pros! About six weeks into it, we had nursing down, cut out the formula supplementing, and we were good to go.
Yet, I still didn't get the "bonding" they talk so much about. We bonded in every way. We bonded during cuddles, naps, bath time, but nursing was just feeding him. I felt like I was missing some link. I felt like I was a crazy person and part of me was broken. I waited and waited, yet that intense bonding only came from other sources. That is... until he started teething. My baby is a champ when it comes to teething. You'd barely know! He doesn't scream. He doesn't wake up in the middle of the night. We didn't even realize that he popped his first tooth! The signs were clear later. He only wanted me. At six months and crawling, he only wanted to cuddle with Mama and nurse. So, I did just that. I thought he might be a little sick, but he showed no symptoms. It was then that we started bonding. I was the only person in this world that could give him what he wanted and what he needed. Such a simple task made him feel better. I was his life line; I was his pain reliever. If I had bottle fed, anyone could comfort him. Thanks to nursing, I was his comfort, his safety, his everything. From then on, nursing was our greatest bonding activity.
Cut to 17 months later. As his nursing time comes to an end (I'll post about weaning later), I look back at our journey with nothing but a grateful attitude. Parker has only been sick twice. These illnesses happened to be when his weaning started. I credit breastfeeding 100%. He has never had an ear infection which is darn near unheard of at his age! He is ahead in all of this skills. He is still a skinny little man, but that is because he never stops moving! If you want to read up on the benefits of nursing for over a year (spoiler alert: they last a lifetime), click here
While I am not a basher of formula feeders (I SUPPORT YOUR RIGHTS), I do urge new mamas to give it a shot. Just try it out for six weeks. See how you and baby feel (and how happy your husband will be with all the money you save!). If it isn't for you, oh well! It was worth a shot. But there is a chance you will be pleasantly surprised, like I was. If you have questions, KellyMom.Com was one of my favorite resources. Nothing beats a person you know though! Don't hesitate to ask me. No shame in my game. I will answer it all (on pregnancy too!). I am not embarrassed even a little bit (did I ever mention I peed my pants daily toward the end of pregnancy?!)