Saturday, March 15, 2014

Nursing Aversion

I didn't get it. When people said they hated breastfeeding, and chose formula, I just couldn't understand. Even with all the painful issues we had to work through, bfing was always worth it for me. The bond, the health benefits, the convenience. I would not have traded that for anything.

(I debating posting this image. It's one of my favorites- but it features my boob. 
Awkward. Or not awkward? Maybe it shouldn't be awkward? 
So, to help normalize bf'ing, (as these ladies are trying to do) I decided to post it. 
And you can even pin it if you want to.)

But then she was 16 months old, and I was pregnant. I was shooting for 18m+, possibly going to try and tandem.

And I developed an aversion.

This wasn't like anything I could have imagined. On a chemical level, I absolutely abhorred nursing her. Every second. Every time. And I could not talk my way out of it. It became one of the worst experiences I've ever had.

I started resenting her in those moments, and neither of us deserved that- but especially not her.

So, we weaned.

It took a few hard weeks, but by the time she was 17 months or so, she never even asked for it anymore. 

She saw me topless today, and didn't care. And I love that. The pressure is gone. The dread and the revulsion that I had never expected to feel has been replaced with relief and happiness.

Hopefully in May my body will be ready again. And if it is, I will nurse for as long as I can- whether that's 4 months or 24.

But I will never again judge a mom who gives up on breastfeeding. If their bodies are reacting like that, if they hate it with every cell in them...then formula could save that relationship.

Or maybe their reasons for not nursing? The ones I was so quick to condemn? Are just something else that I can't understand. Too complicated, too different than my own experiences. Too foreign to me.

But not wrong.

The more I learn about being a mom, the more I realize I just don't know. I used to have all the answers- or if I didn't, it wasn't hard to find them. The answers used to be so obvious, I didn't understand how anyone could choose differently.

Now I look at moms whose kids are happy and loved, and I think "That? That is not easy." That is hard work and sacrifice and trying a million things until you figure out what is right for your family. And then facing a hundred people who think you've made the wrong choice, even though they are not you, and they just don't know.

Even the "right" answers aren't right for every family.


Did you give up on nursing? Or maybe you still breastfeed- and you are feeling pressured to stop?

What are the things you've had to let go of, that you always thought you would do differently- but the real life version of them just didn't work for you?

How has being a parent (or an aunt/uncle, or a friend to someone with a little kid) changed your perspective on parenting?

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