Surviving the Self-Sacrifice of Breastfeeding

BlogHer Original Post

We all know that nursing a baby can be difficult. Perfecting the latch and figuring out how to hold the baby and making sure you're eating and drinking enough and on and on and on. I think once the technical "stuff" of breastfeeding gets figured out, there's a sort of zen period. And then... at least for me, I started to wonder, "So, when do I get some time to myself again?" That touched out feeling would wash over me, and I'd start to feel grumpy about nursing sessions. I thought it was just me. Maybe not!

Lauren at Great Is Your Faithfulness wrote a honest, heartfelt post about the struggles of nursing beyond that zen point. There's a lot of self-sacrifice that comes with breastfeeding -- time, body, space. She got real about the sacrifices:

Yup, I actually said that. Feeding my child is inconvenient. Not my greatest momma moment, huh? I think its just that it has to be me. Justin can help with the housework, my parents can watch the kids so I can go to the grocery, our small group can (and has) babysat for a date, but only I can feed him. Its kind of a lot of pressure and doesn't give me a ton of freedom.

I have been saying for the past few weeks that breastfeeding is probably one of the most selfless things I have ever done. I guess I thought it would be just like when I exclusively pumped with Inara for 9 months. But its really not. In a lot of ways its nicer. There are less bottles to wash, stuff to pack, and it is really nice to get guaranteed snuggle time. But, I can't just go out whenever I want, do whatever I want, or have Justin give him a bottle at night.

Breastfeeding can be overwhelming
Credit: viralbus.

For me, when I first hit that "well, this isn't as fun as I imagined it would be" phase, I tried to take a little extra care of myself. I took a hot bath. After a nursing session and before my then two-year-old would ask me to play trains, I'd take 5-10 minutes to read a book. I went to bed a little bit earlier, even if that meant taking one or two littles with me in hopes of catching a few extra zzz's. The KellyMom site also has some great tips for the frequent nursing phases (read: growth spurts and such). I find this particular piece of advice important:

Even if you can only expect 20-30 minutes between nursings, go for a walk by yourself while someone watches baby. Every little bit helps, when you’re feeling “touched out.”

Finish reading Lauren's post and tell us: What did you do during the not-so-fun phase(s) of breastfeeding?


Family/Moms & Events Section Editor Jenna Hatfield (@FireMom) blogs at Stop, Drop and Blog.


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