Dear breastfeeding –
You are a real tricky bitch, and I love you.
When it came to how to feed my baby, you were the clear choice. Not just because of all the research on IQ, illnesses, allergies, blah blah blah, but because these days, breastfeeding is the thing. You can’t be a well-to-do white lady and not breastfeed your kid unless you have a very good reason. Breastfeeding, you are the default unless a woman wants to get scolded and tsk-ed by members of La Leche League.
But I was warned. I watched you kick my best friend’s ass for a few days after her baby was born. It worked out for her, and she ended up loving you too, but I was still suspicious.
Then, Teddy arrived. We nursed. You seemed okay, breastfeeding. I mean, we were doing it, right?
I took him home, and that’s when you started to test me. For some reason, a woman’s milk doesn’t actually come in until four or five days after she gives birth. Why are you so withholding, mammary glands? What are you trying to do to this poor woman who just pushed a whole person out of her ass? Four or five days of nursing non-stop, waiting and hoping for the milk to come in and the hungry baby to stop crying.
Thank boobs, you came through, breastfeeding. Of course, then there were latch issues and position issues and I’ve-been-up-all-night-and-I’m-going-to-die issues. You have a definite learning curve, and it’s steep for someone who’s getting so little sleep.
These days, you are the cat’s pajamas, breastfeeding. There are no more latch issues. Lots of milk for a growing baby. And the happy cascade of oxytocin that parades through my brain each time I feed and cuddle my sweet baby. The bonding hormones are intense. I think that’s how you tricked me into still being willing to wake up in the middle of the night after a year of sleep deprivation. You’re drugging me, but I’m okay with it.
I will recommend you to friends, but let’s be clear. I will be telling them who you really are. Breastfeeding, you are like a mullet. Business in the front, party in the back. If the business don’t kick your ass, the party is really great. And boosts your baby’s IQ or whatever. But the business is serious, and not to be underestimated.
Breastfeeding, you are awesome. Like your matriarch, motherhood, you have brought joy to my life. You have also pushed me to the limits of my sanity more than once.
From what I understand, those two things are deeply connected.
Yours, until weaning,