On Breastfeeding

As most that know me are aware, I’m a staunch advocate of breastfeeding. What many many not know is that I don’t particularly enjoy breastfeeding. Now, before you say what a contradiction that is, allow me to explain.

I realize that there are many women who truly enjoy breastfeeding. I wish I were one of them. Admittedly, it is much less enjoyable with my youngest right now, so please understand that this experience may be coloring my views just a bit. Rationally, I know that my other children were not near as unpleasant nursers, although I still was never one of those who “loved” the experience.

What I do love is the bond that breastfeeding helps to form, the various health benefits to the baby/child from breastfeeding, the ease of “use” – for lack of a better word – and the lack of expense. Plus, according to Dr. James J. McKenna‘s Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory at Notre Dame, breastfeeding makes co-sleeping safe(r). Co-sleeping also means that everyone gets more sleep. Yay! In case you’re wondering, you get more sleep when you breastfeed because you don’t have to get up and make a bottle, instead you simply roll over and offer a boob. So easy! LOL. I should also add here that there is nothing quite as sweet or satisfying as your baby gazing into your eyes as he/she breastfeeds.

Due to all of these benefits and perks, I breastfeed my children, all to varying degrees of success. Unfortunately, I was not near as knowledgeable about nursing or pumping with my first three children. Luckily with my youngest two, Calvin and Henry, I had a great midwife who is also a Lactation Consultant who was able to assist me as I needed. To be 100% honest, had I not been able to consult her, I’m pretty sure I would have thrown in the towel with Calvin as our start was very rough. I would dread nursing; I actually cried from the pain each and every time until the consultation. The difference was almost magical!

Thanks to her, both Henry and Calvin were 100% breastfed until they started table food although, even then, they continued nursing.

Calvin has, for whatever reason, exhibited a great bit more neediness than did any of his siblings. Likewise, his exuberance for nursing is above and beyond any of his siblings.

It has been suggested – kindly, of course – by others who know of my frustration that I just wean him. I have certainly given it thought however, for whatever reason, that seems to be the one thing he needs the most that I’m able to give him and I hate the idea of taking that away from him. For reasons that only he knows, he needs this and I feel that I would be insanely cruel for taking it away from him.

In the meantime, I take solace in the knowledge that he won’t still be nursing when he starts school. I find great relief in the fact that, when some of us got a horrible strain of strep throat and were so very sick, he didn’t. And, I take comfort in the fact that, whatever his reasons, I’m able to meet his needs in a way that I could not if I forced him to wean. So, in the meantime, we wait.