I’ve been breastfeeding Kai since day one. It was a decision I made even before he was born and I told myself that time when I was pregnant, that “I’m going to do this. I want to breastfeed my child and I’ll do whatever it takes to succeed.” Two years later, I’m still at it (although at times I wish he’d stop) and I’m proud of the journey.
I’m no expert at breastfeeding but since I’ve been doing it for two years, I can say I have the experience. I’ve been working at home for the past 5 years and things have been great so there’s no excuse for me not to breastfeed my child. Pumping didn’t work for me so it was basically direct latch since day one. I would share my breastfeeding beginnings but it would need to be in a separate post. Instead, I came up with 10 things I learned after one year of breastfeeding Kai.
1. It’s a choice.
It’s either you choose to breastfeed straight from the boob or feed from a bottle; there’s even the choice of giving your kid formula. Whatever the choice, a mom deserves to be praised for making sure that their child is well-fed. Personally, I had to choose breastfeeding because I believe in its benefits.
2. It gets easier.
I know three of my friends came to me to ask about breastfeeding and the most common question is “will it get easier?” Moms who initially wanted to breastfeed but gave up feel like breastfeeding is real, tough work. It is –really is, but it gets easier. I almost gave up because of the excruciating pain but I kept telling myself, “I really want to do this” and thought that there is no other way but breastfeeding. For moms who think that it’s hard, hang in there.
3. It freakin’ hurts.
There’s the truth. It hurts. Like crap. Describe it in expletives if you may –because it really does. Lucky for those moms who started out without any pain, but moms I know say it hurts like *$^@. There’s no sugarcoating that. But then, you go back to point no. 2 and you’ll be fine. There are products that can soothe the pain though.
A friend gave me Medela Purelan, a lanolin cream specifically to soothe pain on the nipples and I have to say it’s a great product for breastfeeding moms. It got me through the painful journey.
4. Your OOTD should be Breastfeeding-friendly.
When you’re breastfeeding, you should say goodbye to your favorite tee’s because shirts with plunging neckline or buttoned shirts will become your new best friends –oh and the nursing cover, too. I don’t know about the others but for me, I no longer cared about putting on an outfit that makes me look good. What became extremely important was putting on an outfit that is convenient for breastfeeding.
5. Doesn’t guarantee zero trips to the clinic.
This is one important lesson learned from breastfeeding for a year. Because they say breastfed babies are healthy babies blah. Yes, Kai only had a single trip to the clinic where he was prescribed with antibiotics after the visit (the rest were routine check-ups), but after that, he got sickly that it made me upset. I also know one friend who was ranting about how she made a trip to the doctor and her infant had to be prescribed with antibiotics and that was a total bummer because she thought breastfed babies are always healthier. It doesn’t matter if babies are breastfed or not – at times they get sick frequently because their immune systems are not well-developed yet.
6. Pumping didn’t work for me.
I’m a SAHM/WAHM and I’ve tried pumping for a brief period of time– and it just didn’t work. I can’t even remember why I felt the need to pump. All I remember is that I don’t like the feeling of not having Kai’s warm little body pressed against mine when nursing. I stay at home 98% most of the time and that’s fine, so why should I pump? When we decide to go out, I can’t bear to leave Kai even with his grandmas, so he’s been tagging along with us since day one. I’m just lucky that I have a partner who doesn’t complain and even feels that Kai is better off with us than being left with relatives. And now I have to deal with the consequences — a clingy child and a tennis ball in a sock boob (lol).
7. Curious hands will be all over you.
Those tiny curious hands, they’ll be up your nose or in your mouth. You’ll get slapped. Your boobs get slapped. Your eyes get poked. It’s cute and it’s all worth it when you get to stare into those eyes.
8. Practice Zen.
There are times I’d like to pull my hair out in frustration, especially when the biting starts. You can imagine how those little teeth can sink into the very delicate skin on the areola or even the nipple. I remember I wanted to punch the wall from the pain, but then you have to breathe – breathe in deeeeeeep. Be zen. Hold it in. And exhale. See? That was practice, but truth is, I never really mastered it. So yeah. I’d scream at times, which is a no-no. But at least you got to practice Zen, right?
9. People will always have something to say.
Even I have a say in breastfeeding. I learned that breastfeeding is a big issue in other countries, like how a woman gets shamed for feeding her little one in public. The good thing is that there’s none of that here. Or at least I have never experienced it, so I wouldn’t know. But generally, people here are accepting of breastfeeding. But it’s also a different story if you decide to breastfeed past one year of age. You’ll have people saying “you’re still not done breastfeeding?” “It’s time for you to make him go for the bottle” or something like that. Most of the time, I’ve read about how mother-in-laws are usually the ones who oppose to breastfeeding. Yikes! All three of the friends who came to me for breastfeeding advice – they tell me that their MILs always have something to say. My advice? Don’t listen HAHAHA! Do what you have to do.
10. I’ll do it all over.
Breastfeeding won’t start out as fun. It’s painful. It’s hard work. And it leaves your boobs in bad shape. But if given a choice to breastfeed again, I’d do it without second thoughts.
Here’s to two years of breastfeeding. It wasn’t a perfectly smooth journey. Right now, I’m in the stage of hoping that Kai would stop. I’ve even offered him formula, which he drinks yes, but he always comes to mommy for some comfort boobies. Okay, okay. Have a go at it. You won’t be little forever. And I know so well, that when the time comes for him to say no more, I will surely miss those infant days when the boobies were his “comfort object.”
Note: I am not a breastfeeding purist. I am pro-choice!