The Breastfeeding Nazis are alive and well in Halifax. At our local children's hospital, "breast is best" posters and literature plaster the halls and the rooms. Public health prenatal classes are heavy on the benefits of breastfeeding as well as the supposed disadvantages of feeding babies formula. During one class we actually had the nurse tell us the story of one poor mother who spent the first six weeks of her baby's life trying in vain to breastfeed unsuccessfully to the point that she was awake pretty much 24/7, in tears all the time, exhausted and wiped out. "But she didn't give up!" the nurse crowed, like it was a good thing. I decided right then that I would try breastfeeding, but if it didn't work out, I'd have no problem switching to formula. No way were my child and I going to suffer for weeks, too stubborn to switch to formula or even to supplement with it. I know breastfeeding is hard for a lot of women and impossible for many and I made a vow to not get upset if it wasn't the right choice for us.
To be honest (and this is going to make me sound like the shittiest parent alive), I was mostly interested in breastfeeding because it's free. That's right. It wasn't about the bonding experience, the antibodies and nutrition Eli would be getting from my milk, the baby weight I'd supposedly lose much more quickly if I nursed - I was excited about the prospect of not having an addition to our grocery bill. Feel free to call child services.
I anticipated nursing to be painful, torturous, and unsuccessful. I fully expected us to be feeding our baby formula just a few short days in. In a pleasant (albeit slightly painful) turn of events, Eli took to it right away and as soon as my milk "came in" he's been nursing exclusively.
Add breastfeeding to the list of Things I Never Thought I'd Do In A Million Years. I have never pictured myself with a baby hanging off my boob. I've never really even thought they were functional, and I always thought the act itself was kind of gross and too hippie for me.
Breastfeeding isn't a picnic. It hurts - especially in the beginning as you're getting the hang of it. Even once you've got the technique down it still isn't super fun to have a small human attempting to suck all of your innards out through your nips. Add a few leaks and occasionally feeling like a dairy cow into the mix and that more or less sums it up.
But it's not terrible either. I like having some quiet time with Eli (you can't scream if your mouth's full of boob, after all.) He makes the most adorable faces when he's eating and I want to take pictures of him but, yanno, TIT. So I don't. I suppose I could edit over them with, like, Wal-Mart smiley faces, but I have better things to do with my 10 minutes of free time per day than crop my boobs out of photos.
This is definitely not meant to be a "breast is best" post. Whatever works for you is best. If your baby is thriving on formula, give 'er! A good formula experience is definitely better than a bad breast experience. If breastfeeding is a success, that's great too. If breastfeeding is a success but you hate doing it, there's no shame in switching to bottles. The most important thing is that baby's getting enough to eat and you are maintaining some level of sanity getting him there. I've already told Eli that as soon as he gets teeth, he can kiss these mammaries goodbye. (Yeah, I know, if they have a proper latch they don't bite you - this is not a chance I'm willing to take).
Seven paragraphs talking about my boobs. Internet, you're welcome. Here are some non-tata related pictures of the boy from today to make up for all the boob talk. I'm sorry. Next Monday won't be so awkward.
*In an effort to not get too-too babylicious up in hurr, I'm going to be dedicating Monday's posts from now on to all things mamahood. Surely once a week isn't too much to brag about my handsome honey badger and wax poetic on being a new mama. And if it is, don't come around on Mondays! Piece of cake!