The other day, I was doing a home lactation visit with a family in Sandwich, and one of the things we talked about was how the nursing mom was not enjoying breastfeeding. And (after doing what I could to make it more pleasant for this mama) it made me really want to write about that experience, because so often we are given only two stories about breastfeeding:
1. The soft-focus version: That it's blissful and easy and free. It's natural, after all, so it should all just come easy. You'll be sitting on your white couch, with your happy baby, feeding with no trouble, and nobody will cry, ever.
2. The Horror Show version: That it's painful and terrible and doesn't work. That you won't make enough milk or it will not make your baby happy or they won't like it. You'll be stuck at home tied to your baby or your pump forever, and you'll never be happy again.
And the reality..... well, it's mostly somewhere in between those two versions. The truth is that there are some folks who experience one of these two stories, but for the vast, vast majority of nursing parents, the soft-focus version of breastfeeding is completely unrealistic (although you'll have glimpses of it here and there), And, blessedly, for the vast majority of nursing parents, the Horror Show version of breastfeeding is also unrealistic (although let's be honest: you may get glimpses of it here and there).
But the reality is that you won’t enjoy every minute of breastfeeding, because literally nobody does. It’s so, so normal if you:
Feel touched out sometimes.
Miss being able to do what you want, when you want sometimes.
Sometimes feel frustrated that your baby wants to nurse AGAIN.
Love breastfeeding your baby.
Don’t love breastfeeding your baby.
Love breastfeeding sometimes.
Some nursing parents even experience unpleasant emotions while breastfeeding, and it’s a physiological response, not a measure of your parenting abilities.
I guess what we’re trying to say here is: it’s not all rainbows and unicorns, and that doesn’t mean you are doing anything wrong. It just means you’re a normal human with limits, and you have a normal baby. And it’s okay to pass that baby off so you can catch a break, if that’s an option for you.
Basically, we want you to know: you are enough. You are a good parent. Your baby loves you. And you have permission to take care of yourself. (Please note: I’m not giving you permission because you sure as sugar don’t need it from me; I’m just telling you that you already have it)