Photo Credit: Peter Dazeley/Photographer's Choice/Getty
Breastfeeding is cool! No really, it's kind of popular right now, in the sense that moms want to "empower" one another and themselves so they don't feel so uncomfortable breastfeeding in public or showing pics of themselves feeding their kids on Facebook and stuff. That's cool -- whatever blows up your skirt, lady!
But you know the real truth? The truth no one ever talks about? Breastfeeding also sucks.
Yeah, the fact that you can feed your baby what he naturally needs at any given time is kind of cool. The idea of breastfeeding isn't gross or anything. I think every mom should breastfeed if she can. That doesn't mean it's my favorite pastime or that I wish I could do it forever, though.
It's inconvenient. Quite frankly, having to feed my kid at all is inconvenient. I wish he'd hurry up and learn to feed himself. In fact, I wouldn't mind if he and his brother could make their own food and wash their own dishes, too. Feeding is usually the thing I have to do to hurry up and get back to the thing I wish I was still doing. Or the laundry.
I feel like a human pacifier. I love my babies. I love pacifiers. I don't love being my baby's pacifier. When he's cranky and won't take a paci and won't sleep and won't eat and just wants to sit there and suck suck suck, and then I take him off and he wakes up and cries, and he won't sleep and…ugh! It's a never-ending cycle of "Mommy! Boobs!"
My husband can't breastfeed. Nothing is more relaxing than getting out of the house for the day when hubby's home with the kids. Or at least, I don't think anything could be more relaxing. I wouldn't know for sure because I can't leave my kid for more than a couple of hours or all hell breaks loose! Dear husband, hurry up and lactate already! Mama needs to get her nails done!
"Baby Eats What You Eat!" Thanks for the reminder, Random Stranger! I know that the baby is getting a diluted fraction of this Diet Pepsi I'm inhaling (and I already feel guilty about it), but since my husband can't breastfeed for me and I just spent the last nine months avoiding processed meats and cheeses (man, I missed hot dogs!) I don't think the baby will mind if I eat these french fries. Why don't you go bother the busy mom in the food court feeding her kids KFC and leave me alone?!
Seedy-Mustard Poop-Splosions. I don't know what formula-fed baby poop looks like, but I've never heard of a mom who bottle-feeds complaining about exploding baby butts! And the stains! Oh God, the stains! I'm pretty sure a sandblaster filled with bleach couldn't get them out. So much for selling all of the old Baby Gap clothes to Weecycle.
Sometimes it's too easy. For instance, at this exact moment my baby is nursing. (Yep, I can nurse and type. I'm amazing.) Want to know why? Mommy was trying to get her blog post done and he was getting fussy. Pop! "Onto the boob you go, little man. I'll figure out what's actually wrong after I hit 'Publish!' I promise!" Give me an amen, sisters! I know you've been there!
Mommy-baby time. Those of you with older kids will know that breastfeeding means extra time spent with baby every day. That's great because you know baby is getting the attention he needs and deserves -- no wait, he's not really. He's getting a boob jammed in his mouth for twenty minutes until the toddler runs into the room with scissors and you have to rip the baby off to chase after him. "Aw, crap! Cash, get back here with Mommy's BlackBerry! I'm trying to feed your Brothhherrrrr!"
Equipment failure. Whether it's growth-spurt-induced empty boobs or you're struggling in the very beginning of your breastfeeding career, it sucks when your "equipment" fails. The entire time I was nursing my first son, Cash, only my left boob worked. I was so lopsided I looked like I'd just had a mastectomy.
Nursing in public. I know, I know, every woman has the right to feed her child without people condemning her to hell for whipping her boobs out. But, honestly? That never happens to me. What I usually get is the old, hairy, overweight man in the corner of Starbucks leering at me over his ThinkPad while I feed my kid. Nothing says "freedom to feed my baby" like getting the heebie-jeebies while your kid's suckling at your teet. And rifling around with nursing covers? Oh, what joy! I can barely contain myself!
and... the #1 reason breastfeeding can suck is...
Leakage. Nothing says "Nice to meet you!" like a big fat round wet spot on your new work shirt because you forgot to put in your nursing pads this morning. Because I'm not busy enough, I have to worry about busting a leak at the grocery store when it's feeding time and I'm running late. Oh, I can't wait until we start weaning and I head back to work. I hope I remember to keep extra nursing pads in my desk.
All of that considered, here's the thing: Even though I don't plan on posting any photos on Facebook of me breastfeeding my baby, and I don't plan on putting him in a bib that says "100% Boob Fed" anytime soon, that doesn't mean that I don't think breastfeeding is awesome. Because it is. (And it's free. Nothing is more awesome than something that doesn’t cost a dime!)
Every mother should try to breastfeed her baby, and every new parent should be educated on the value of breast milk. If you have excess breast milk, donate it. It's the only type of milk you can cry over if you spill it because it's basically worth its weight in gold. Okay, maybe not gold, but it should be.
If you see someone breastfeeding in public throw them an approving smile. If you see someone bottle feeding in public don't be judge-y. Everyone has their own set of circumstances and are generally just doing the best they can. Let's all try to remember that any Mom who is breastfeeding her kid is also dealing with these 10 (and probably even more) situations on a regular basis. Believe me, it's not fun! So, share this post with all of your booby-feeding-bottle-feeding-crazy-tired-mama friends and give them a laugh!