Today, though, I'm here to talk about an honest truth: I don't (always) love breastfeeding. Why? Because I think it's important to acknowledge that it's not something you have to love if you're going to be a good mom.
I don't love breastfeeding. I don't love:
Having to plan my clothing around a hungry baby
The constant touch required by a newborn's hunger
Struggling to latch my tongue-tied son
Being unable to attend to an older child's needs until the baby is done nursing
Sometimes being the only one who can soothe a fussy baby
The biting stage
Squirmy toddler nursing
There are days when my eighteen month old seems to be weaning, and I want to sing and dance for joy.
Then I remember how I felt when my daughter weaned: a mixture of relief and sadness. Completely bittersweet.
And there are moments that I love:
That first latch. Even when it's not easy. Looking down for the first time at the baby I made and continuing to nourish him/her with my body
When they drift off to sleep and fall off
Milk drunk baby faces
Grinning smiles with milk running out of the corners of the mouth
My son signing milk and getting excited
Being able to nurse a sick, scared, or hurt child for comfort and immune system
The ease of feeding baby in the middle of the night
My babies have been fed at the breast and been fed bottles of both pumped milk and formula. I understand why some mothers who could breastfeed choose not to, and I understand why women choose to wean before a child self-weans. I know when my breastfeeding days are over, those bittersweet feelings will return. And I know that I don't always have to love breastfeeding to be a good mom.