Sunday, August 7, 2016

It's Hard.

So, this week apparently is... or was (does it run Sunday-Saturday, or Monday-Sunday?) World Breastfeeding Week.  All week my Facebook news feed has been full of articles or personal posts about mothers who have chosen to, and are able to nurse their babies.

All week I have wondered what I have to say on the topic, and I do have a few thoughts, but they are not nearly as heart-warming and prideful as I thought they would be.

As a mother of three who has breastfed my daughter for fifteen months, and breastfed my twins for seven-plus months and counting, and who was able to exclusively breastfeed without needing other supplemental milk or formula, I have one thing to say about breastfeeding -- its hard.

A mother has to WANT to breastfeed.  In my opinion, a mother has to think in terms of there being no other option for nourishing her baby in order to be successful at breastfeeding.

Even if a mother is committed to nursing, and is able to successfully nurse the way she wants to... breastfeeding gets easier, but it is still challenging.

When a mother is actively nursing one or more babies, it affects every aspect of her life for as long as she is nursing.  It impacts her eating, her sleeping, her wardrobe, her exercise, her appearance, her coming and goings, her planning ahead, her mobility... it impacts everything.

If a father is in charge of feedings, he might understand the lack of sleep and some other inconveniences... but when he leaves the house and skips a feeding leaving someone else in charge, he can actually skip a feeding.    When a nursing mother leaves the house and skips a feeding, she has to devote time to still producing milk even though the baby is being fed by someone else.

There are so many benefits to nursing, and I can't imagine a scenario when I wouldn't want to nurse... but it is hard.

But also, a lot of aspects of motherhood are hard, and I don't see a World week for those parts.  There is not a World Discipline Week or World Sacrificing For Your Kids Week or World Teaching Your Children Manners Week.  All of those things (and more) are hard things that parents do (or should do) for the sake of their kids, and nursing is no different -- why all the accolades, when it is simply a mother doing something hard that is in her child's best interest?

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