I hate breastfeeding.
There, I said it.
I am 9 months into breastfeeding my second child (I breastfed my first for roughly 11.5 months), and I can say with confidence that I hate it.
Neither of my daughters would take a bottle. Not too shocking, given that I can imagine plastic doesn’t compare to a boob. Of course I can’t really say that I tried too hard to get them to take the bottle since I am a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) and it just seemed easier not to force it. I think the problem is that I’m so tired all the time that I don’t have the energy to fight any battle that doesn’t absolutely need to be fought.
Breastfeeding is so hard, and so draining, that I think you should get an award if you manage to do it for 12 months. I’m not kidding. I would gladly take some cash, or a paid vacation. There are very few people who manage to achieve that goal, and I feel we should be greatly rewarded.
The exhaustion kind of snowballs when you’re a breastfeeding mom, I think. In the very beginning, you just run on pure adrenaline. From week two until about 3 months, you’re in a fog and don’t realize how tired you are. Then things kind of perk up a bit, and you feel like maybe it’s not so bad. After that is when it starts to go downhill and, in my case, you hit the wall at 9 months.
I have been through this twice now, and clearly my body can only handle no sleep for 9 months. When my first daughter was this exact same age, I had a complete breakdown and we sleep trained her. The same thing happened this time around, except that #2 got bronchitis on the day the sleep training was supposed to commence. So, now we’re a week past my breaking point, and I think I have entered into the realm of delirium.
We’re going to sleep train her ASAP, believe me. But, of course she still breastfeeds in the middle of the night – usually twice (hence why I’m so tired) – and this brings me back to my point: I hate breastfeeding. I don’t hate the actual act of it; that’s fine (outside of getting bitten). It’s everything that comes with it. It’s the exhaustion from getting up in the middle of the night for months on end. It’s the feeling that you can’t ever be away from your kiddo for more than a few hours. It’s the fear that when you are away that they are freaking out on whoever is watching them for you. It’s the leaking, and pads, and horrible clothes that you have to wear for a year out of your life. It’s the fact that your body is not your own; it’s constantly being shared with someone else. And, most of all, it’s the fact that you’re supposed to love it. You’re supposed to think that this is the best thing that’s ever happened to you, and that you want to continue doing it forever. That isn’t even remotely how I feel.
I do it because I know it’s the best thing for my children. I have read the studies. I get it. Breast milk is best. And we’re mammals. This is what we’re supposed to do when we have a child. Fine. Just don’t make it seem like we not only have to do it, but we also have to love doing it. There are about a thousand things I do because I should, not because I like to. Flossing comes to mind. It’s okay to say that you hate to floss. Why isn’t it okay to say that you hate to breastfeed?
It’s almost 9:00pm. I’m going to have to be awake in 3-4 hours for you-know-what and so I have to go floss now.