So That’s What They’re For

So That’s What They’re For

When we were in the hospital after Ellen’s birth we received a customary visit from the hospital’s lactation consultants. Since I was a veteran they mostly just made chitchat, but when they asked how long I’d breastfed Cooper they got all sorts of excited. “You breastfed for a year? That is awesome! You’re super mom!” I was afraid they were going to pin a big ribbon to my chest and parade me around the maternity ward that’s how excited they were. Who knew my tendencies to be frugal and lazy could earn me such a title? I’d thought that I was just a typical mom, not one of those fringe moms that breastfeeds her toddler and newborn at the same time. But as other moms have confided in me and as I’ve looked at the statistics, I’ve realized that I’m actually more of a fringe mom than I’d thought.

Since becoming a mom, I’ve been really surprised at how crazy conversations on topics such as breastfeeding can get. Just check out the comments on pretty much any article or forum about breastfeeding and you’ll see what I mean. Yikes. I definitely don’t want to jump into that mudslinging battle. At the risk of offending someone I almost didn’t publish this post, but well, here we go.

I’ve always been a fairly prudish person and never would have thought that I would be passionate about my right to expose myself in public, but I’m coming to find that I actually am kind of passionate about it. When I first started nursing Cooper I was really bashful about breastfeeding. I pumped bottles to take to church the first couple of months of his life and spent way too much time hiding in gross bathrooms or hot cars. The first time I nursed in public I did it out of pure necessity because we had an out of control baby and at least an hour left on our bus ride. I was surprised at what a non-issue it was. In fact, people were probably happier since my baby was no longer crying. For months I had been imposing this completely unnecessary inconvenience on myself. Once I fully embraced my rights as a breastfeeding mother, breastfeeding suddenly became the best thing in the world.

I know that there are some legitimate reasons why some women cannot breastfeed (you adopted, medically you are unable, etc.) and I don’t hold that against you (and you shouldn’t either), but for those that are just hesitant, here are some of the lesser discussed reasons why breastfeeding is awesome and you should give it a serious go:

  1. Breastfeeding is Free. Free! Why anyone would voluntarily decide to buy formula makes absolutely no sense to me financially speaking.
  2. Breastfeeding is Simple. You don’t have to remember to buy anything from the store and you don’t have to remember to pack bottles or deal with warming up water. You can literally be one of the spaciest, most ill-prepared people alive and still provide a meal for your child without any thought or planning on your part.
  3. Breastfeeding is Convenient. You don’t have to plan your outings around places that have hot water available. Also, you don’t have to anticipate when your baby is going to be hungry or deal with a screaming baby while you prepare a bottle. Once the baby starts to fuss you can plop right down wherever you are whether it’s the side of a trail in the mountains or a bench in Ikea. (Both of which I have done.)
  4. Breastfeeding Burns Extra Calories. This can help you lose some of that baby weight, or at least help you not feel too guilty when you eat a second (or third) brownie.
  5. Breastfeeding Gains You Friends. Breastfeeding moms tend to congregate. I’ve had wonderful conversations with other nursing moms at the park and one of my favorite things about church (other than the spiritual enlightenment of course) is hanging out with other moms in the “Mother’s Room.” It kind of feels like we have our own special club and I’ve made so many friends this way.
  6. Breastfeeding Gets You Time to Yourself. I’m generally not shy about breastfeeding (with the aid of a cover or blanket of course), but sometimes if I just want to be alone, breastfeeding is always a good excuse to get away from everyone else. No one ever argues with you when you say you need to step out to feed your baby.
  7. Breastfeeding Gives You a Sense of Empowerment. There’s just something amazing about how a woman’s body is able to effortlessly create the perfect meal for her little one. And if you’re a prude like me, you may find you kind of get a rush from nursing in public. It just feels so edgy 🙂

I’ll also admit that being a nursing mom isn’t all sunshine and roses. My issues have been few and easily manageable, but I know moms that have persevered through much worse and still recommend it.

7 thoughts on “So That’s What They’re For

  1. I feel the same way! At every pediatrician appointment the doctor would praise me so highly for ‘still breastfeeding’… I BF for a year also. I hear you on all of your reasons, and with a cover, I have no problems with nursing in public. I can’t believe how much we save in not buying formula! I don’t know how some people can afford not to BF! (Of course this is a touchy touchy subject and it’s no place of mine to judge). Lots of money saved though! Plus all the other benefits.

  2. I was also shocked at how few people breastfeed and if they did it wasn’t for a year. I just thought it was what you did. I’m very grateful for the time that I spend with LE it was very hard to let it go. On the other hand I felt like I missed out on a lot of thing since I was shy about the whole thing. But one of my goals this time is to over come that fear of what people are think, or if it makes them uncomfortable. For heaven sakes I need a life too! And staying in the back bedroom or car is not the place.

  3. I saw a shirt online that read, “I make milk, what’s your superpower?” I thought that was clever.

    Unfortunately I was that mother who truly almost killed Noel trying to breastfeed unsuccessfully. Worst experience of my life with a newborn baby in neonatal intensive care for two weeks. I wish I would have not been so traumatized after that and given it another try. I would like a re-do on that whole experience for sure!

  4. I was reading Valerie’s blog & she had a link to yours & I was curious to see how you guys were doing. I loved this post! I was so uneducated with Parker that I didn’t even make it 1 week breastfeeding him. Whereas I am still going at 13 months with my daughter Brielle. I didn’t think I would be so vocal about breastfeeding until it was something that I just did. I got over the whole cover thing too. I am pretty good at being discreet without a cover & it is so freeing to be able to feed your child whenever, wherever. I am down to 1-2 nursings a day with Brielle, b/c I am trying to wean her & it hasn’t been super easy, but could have been much worse. I am grateful for the relationship it has created with Brielle. I will be the first to say I feel closer to her than I ever did formula feeding Parker, but I understand that is not the only reason you can be close to a baby. It really is amazing to save money, that your body makes the best, purest food you can provide your baby, & that it is just so convenient. My favorite nursings are the night time ones where we just lay in bed together & she eats so peacefully.

  5. I love reading your blog. You tend to voice everything that is going on in my head that I am not able to vocalize. I am amazed by your talent to tell us your thoughts and feelings through words. Both you and Noel. Thanks. Keep sharing.

  6. If it wasn’t for breastfeeding I would have never met you! It is crazy how many people opt out on breastfeeding or stop pretty early on. My sister was never interesting in breastfeeding her children. So weird to me! I am still pretty shy and nervous about feeding in public. I wish I wasn’t. I was at the zoo the other day and I was like “Do you think it would be okay if I sat in this corner table where not many people can see me and breastfeed with a cover on?” My husband told me not to be stupid and to do it, haha. I remember stressing sooooo much when I went on a plane with Russell for the first time. I just kept thinking someone was going to kick me off the plane for feeding my son during takeoff. Fortunately everyone was super cool with it and didn’t say a word. A few weeks I was at the mall and there was a girl breastfeeding on a couch out in the open, boob and everything and totally not caring. I felt like going and sitting next to her and joining her! I love that I am able to breastfeed. We starting feeding Russell about a month ago and I hate it. It’s so inconvenient! I am often tempted to just breastfeed him instead of getting everything out, and then there’s the mess! we’re 7 months and going strong. Good post!

  7. Now that I have outed myself as a stalker reader, I wanted to comment on a few posts. I love this post, makes me miss the Mother’s Lounge. 😉

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