This is not a post about why I breastfeed. You can read the infinitesimal literature that points the benefits of breastfeeding. I want to tell you about why I enjoy the experience. The experience of attaching a small suck monkey to my boob and expressing milk, sometimes on an hourly basis. I have been hearing lately from friends, even my hairdresser that they are fearful that they may not be able to breastfeed. I think this is a legitimate concern. However. I think that we do women a great disservice by planting a fear that this may not be possible, or that it is full of pain and hassle, when, it is my belief that with proper instruction - patient instruction that encourages rather than discourages - that most women will succeed if breastfeeding is their goal. I know that there are many reasons why this is not possible for women and I am sensitive to these. But for those who want to breastfeed, I think we should continue to encourage as much as it is possible, and leave Nancy Negative at the door.
I have to say, I really love the experience of it all and, admittedly, it came pretty easily. I was lactating like a leaky double-spouted showerhead months before giving birth, though, oh, was that TMI? Needless to say, my supply has been plentiful (see also: Human Fire Hydrant). What was not easy was contending with the revolving door of boob inspectors that the hospital sends your way in recovery. The lactation consultants are not scary, but I found them to be a little aggressive (read: They have no scruples about wrapping a bare fist around your boob and ramming it into the mouth of a newborn's pie hole to secure a firm latch). I was not prepared for this and I don't think there is any modest way to do so, so, moving on....
The bond that I formed with my daughter through breastfeeding is both great and problematic. Great in that it is undeniable - we have this trust, we have this special time reserved for us throughout the day. Problematic in that it's just us, unless I pump, and, presently, she does not trust nor prefer anyone as much as Mama.
While it is hard to wake up for 2am feedings after just falling asleep at midnight, I have to confess that I actually look forward to this latenight bonding time with Baby Girl. She's very warm and cute and marsupial-like at this hour, and it's just the sweetest -- oh, did I lose the male reader already?
It also saves a lot of scrilla on formula, a lot of having to warm up bottles on those nights when the kitchen floor feels like the frozen Tundra, and a lot of time to forget other things from the diaper bag other than the ba-ba. I just wanted to share my experience as an added testimony to the plethora of information that already exists on breastfeeding, and as a counterpoint to the popular message of "It's hard, it hurts."