(In a recent off-blog discussion, I mentioned how we’d never discussed childbearing or breastfeeding on our blog. Since I’m the only one of us who has actually born a child or breastfed (at least as far as I know), I figured I’d have to be the one to remedy that. So I pulled out a post I wrote last month but never actually posted anywhere. And at least one other blogger encouraged me in this, so it’s not totally my fault.)
Well, since it’s National Breastfeeding Awareness Month, I’ve seen a number of posts about breastfeeding and how great and wonderful it is. Azucar even talks about the glories of nursing toddlers. So I felt the need to come out of the closet myself, and tell everyone the truth. I hate breastfeeding. I absolutely hate and abhor it. Much like pregnancy. (Though I think I hate and abhor pregnancy more.)
I’m not trying to say that people shouldn’t breastfeed. I’m not trying to say that I think it’s gross or wrong if they do. I’m not even saying that I won’t breastfeed. I’m just saying that I hate it. It makes me miserable. I am not a fan.
Breastfeeding is really good for your baby; I know that. It’s the biggest reason that I have breastfed both my sons. Like bearing them, it’s something that I do for them as a mother, even though I really don’t like it.
I actually didn’t mind breastfeeding so much with my first. He only nursed about every 4 hours (I think – it’s been a little while) after the first couple of weeks. He also switched back and forth from breast to bottle with great ease from the time he was a month old (and he needed that bottle – he spit up about 3/4 of what he ate, and there was no way I could keep up with that). If I really didn’t want to breastfeed him at a particular time, I could give him a bottle, or better yet, get his dad to give him one. Or his aunt, or his grandparents. It was great. At about five and a half months a number of things happened (he got teeth, school ended and we started taking more car trips, he wanted to look around while he ate), and I weaned him. I didn’t even realize it was happening at first, but when I did, I shrugged and said, “I guess I’m weaning him.” I never looked back.
I thought I would do the same sort of thing with my second. I breastfed him from the first, though it was harder with him. He wanted to eat every hour and a half, for about thirty minutes. I knew I would go completely insane if we did that, so I put my foot down and said he could eat every two hours. And I timed it. He would cry, my husband would plead, I would look at the clock and say, “It hasn’t been two hours, don’t even think about giving him to me.” It kept me (at least sort of) sane. This needing to eat every two hours, both day and night, went on for the first six months. It was horrid.
I tried to get him to switch back and forth to a bottle, like his brother, but he refused. I felt like I never got away from him, and that started to drive me somewhat insane. Things were compounded by the fact that he tended to spit up formula pretty bad, so we tried a lot of different formulas. Finally at six months we tried a soy formula, and found out he was allergic to soy. He got upwards of 50 blisters on his bottom and his legs. It was not fun.
A couple of months later it was obvious that he wanted more to drink than I could give him (he cried when he got done breastfeeding), and since he still wouldn’t go back and forth from breast to bottle, I decided I’d have to just wean him cold turkey. I did, and it was miserable. And then he broke out in blisters again (it takes about 3 days after he gets soy for them to show up). It turns out all infant formulas have soy in them. We went back to breastfeeding, and gave him some juice when he was still thirsty.
I kept breastfeeding him for another few months, until just before his first birthday. He decided to wean himself then, and other than the fact that it was incredibly painful, I was happy. Being able to give him a sippy cup is so much better than breastfeeding him. I’m a much happier (and better, I think) mommy.
So, now you know my dirty little secret. I think breastfeeding is awful. I think those that love it are crazy. But to each their own. I will breastfeed my next kid, I’m sure. But unless there are allergy problems, the kid will get weaned well before a year. Because my health and sanity are important, too.