I have grown to love breastfeeding more than I ever imagined I would. I was the girl who thought I'd give it a try, at least through maternity leave, but determined not to stress out about continuing. A first generation breastfeeder who "turned out fine" without mothers milk. But I've fallen in love with nursing my daughter.
Let me tell you a few things I just love about breastfeeding. For one, as I write this post curled up in bed (I’m using my handy dandy iPhone) my daughter is snuggled beside me nursing. She’d normally be asleep in her own bed early in the morning, but I know she's uncomfortable because her second tooth is coming in, so I'm giving her the comfort she needs on top of filling her tummy and keeping her healthy.
It’s never boring when I'm pumping or nursing late at night. It could be, but I keep my iPhone on me so I can play a game or tweet or blog while she eats. We talked about this in our La Leche League meeting last month. It can feel like you’re just sitting on the couch all day when you first bring your baby home and they just eat all the time. But having a smart phone to play on helps. Lately I’ve even been sad she isn’t taking as long to nurse because I’m not able to beat the next level of Angry Birds before she’s done. I’m really thinking Apple should capitalize on this: instead of sending new moms home with the “gift bag” of formula, hospitals should send nursing moms home with iPhones. I’m sure many women would rather the phone than the formula and it might get more moms to continue breastfeeding.
Speaking about sitting down with the baby. It used to feel like a chore but now it gets me out of chores! Another perk of breastfeeding is getting out of housework. Whenever it's time to clean up I tell my husband it's time for Little J to eat and nurse her while my husband gets a head start on the cleaning.
Next perk: portability. We just got home from a mini-road trip and packing was a piece of cake. A few diapers and we were set. No need to pack my pump, bottles, or any milk or formula - I came fully stocked. We had dinner out with friends and my daughter was able to keep occupied with cucumber slices and pieces of potato, but when she was ready to nurse so I took her aside and nursed her. People were amazed how happy she was all night, but really, as long as she gets some time with mommy to nurse (and now it doesn’t take long at all because she’s a super fast eater) she’s a happy camper. It’s nice knowing I’ll never forget her food.
My absolute favorite thing about breastfeeding is being being able bond with my daughter. Having something no one else can give her. And a reason for her to love me a little more and a little differently than everyone else. Breastfeeding is like a bandage for her hurt. She's been teething, and nursing her has provided a way to soothe her when she's otherwise inconsolable. I don't think any other type of activity could have helped us bond as much as breastfeeding has.
I feel good because I've accomplished my goals. Great because she's so healthy and happy and now I just want everyone else to know how totally awesome it is.
I'm not sure if I'd go as far as to call myself a breastfeeding advocate. I know others who go to much greater lengths to spread awareness about the benefits of breastfeeding but I would say I'm a breastfeeding cheerleader. I wasn't as much of a "believer" at first but now it seems like the greatest thing since sliced bread and I really don't know why everyone doesn't do it. Or at least try. I used to wonder why people were all up in my business online asking if I was going to breastfeed, now I’m wondering why I wasn’t let in on the “secret” sooner.
It sounds strange coming out of my mouth when I hear myself say "I love breastfeeding" but I do. I really do.