I have an ongoing love/hate relationship with breastfeeding. I’m looking forward to it being over but I also know I will miss it.
They say that endorphins are released while breastfeeding making it a pleasant experience. I do enjoy it for the most part. It feels good when the pressure is being released. I feel a strong connection with my baby while she is feeding. I love watching her nurse. Nursing is relaxing. It makes me happy when everything is going smoothly.
However, nursing can also be stressful and frustrating. When she was younger, one of her top priorities was nursing. She was stuck to me 3.5-5 hours each day. It was physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting. It took its toll on me.
Now she’s on me for approximately 1 hour each day. She has a much shorter attention span and is interested in everything else. We have very distracted feedings now. My husband can no longer be in the same room while we are nursing. I’m lucky if she’ll nurse for a couple of minutes if we have company over or are at someone else’s house, even if we go to a separate room. She can hear their voices and wants to know what’s going on. She is curious.
She gets distracted even if it’s just the two of us in the house. And not by anything interesting. She’ll find the strings on my hoodie fascinating (the same hoodie I wear all of the time!). Suddenly the zipper on my sweater looks tastier. Oooh, this couch cushion looks like something I must explore immediately!
I can no longer watch TV or play on my ipad while nursing. I often can’t play on my phone either because the phone is the most fascinating object in the world.
She seems to believe I will always be there to nurse when she wants it so she doesn’t have to do it right now. I’ve tried just packing up shop. This generally leads to short nursings every hour or so. This is equally frustrating.
I’ve also tried the opposite. No matter how distracted she is I just keep bringing her back to my boob and say “time for milk”. She’ll suck for 10-20 seconds then be distracted again. Repeat. I give up after about 2-3 minutes per side and congratulate us on a successful feeding!
At least now when she’s hungry she doesn’t go into full screams because there’s always an interesting object to distract her from her hunger.
If she is asking for milk and it’s only been an hour since our last feeding (no matter how long that feeding was) I will give her some water in a sippy cup first in case she’s just thirsty.
Aside from the actual nursing itself, there are other reasons for the love/hate relationship with breastfeeding. I love that she needs me and relies on me for milk. This is entirely selfish. It feels good to be needed. It feels good to be the one and only person that can provide her with this.
On the other hand, I’m looking forward to when I can leave her for a full day or overnight without the need to pump. I won’t have to pump enough milk to get her through the day nor will I have to bring a pump with me wherever I go just to relieve the pressure in my breasts and to keep up my supply. I’m looking forward to the freedom of leaving her.
I love breastfeeding. But I’m looking forward to it being over.