I’m just going to come out and say it, finally… I hated breastfeeding.
No one ever told me how hard it would be to breastfeed. I anticipated the natural bond it would create between me and my child. I thought that in order to be a “good” mom and have a healthy baby, I had to exclusively breastfeed.
Before my son was born, I didn’t know the amount of time and energy feeding took. I thought I would just wing it. How hard would it possibly be? All you had to do was take your boob and put it into your baby’s mouth, right? I was so wrong.
After being in labor for almost 24 hours, I had to have an emergency c-section. I was not mentally prepared to have a major surgery right then and there. I remember feeling scared and nervous, since I had never had any operations before. I had no idea what to expect after the surgery. I didn’t realize the amount of pain I would be in and the toll it would take on me. My entire birth plan changed in the blink of an eye.
“The only thing I was able to think about was the pain and the guilt for not being able to bond with my son.”
After the surgery, I did not get to hold my son for hours. I was in too much pain and it took a while for the anesthesia and pain medication to wear off. The only thing I was able to think about was the pain and guilt of not being able to bond with my son. I remember giving my husband the stank eye for being able to kiss and rock him. I wasn’t able to breastfeed or lay him on my chest as most doctors recommend doing once babies are born.
During my recovery in the hospital, my son was breastfed and bottle-fed. It was too hard for me to exclusively feed him, since I was in so much pain. The mom-shame was creeping up on me and I felt awful. I already felt like I let myself down by having a c-section, even though it was something I couldn’t control. I felt pressured by the nurses to keep trying to breastfeed, and when I did, the pain was excruciating. It felt like knives were ripping me to shreds. The pain shot all through my body. The real killer was the postpartum contractions you get while breastfeeding. They are like period cramps on steroids. My uterus hated me and wanted to be it’s normal self again.
Once I was home, it was on. All I wanted to do was sleep, but all my baby wanted to do was eat. I literally sat on my couch and breastfed all day. Sometimes, I wouldn’t even put a shirt on, since my son was going to keep drinking. After my husband went back to work, I felt lonely and cried all day. When I would breastfeed in the middle of the night, I would look over to see my husband asleep and I despised him for it. He had it so easy!
“I was trying to force something that was supposed to be so natural.”
I began to truly loathe breastfeeding. It consumed me. Yeah, my baby was cute and cuddly, but I felt gross. My boobs were huge and leaked if I didn’t feed my son. I was still in a lot of pain from my surgery, and I missed taking showers. It wasn’t getting any easier for me. I was trying to force something that was supposed to be so natural. People would tell me to not give up, it was good for the baby and that he would never get sick as he got older. The pressure of seeing other mothers feed their children so effortlessly made me feel like there was something wrong with me. But three months later, I was over all of it. Once I stopped, I felt great. I was happier and not obsessing over what people thought. A weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. I didn’t have to sit on the couch all day.
I truly began enjoying motherhood once I stopped breastfeeding. The special moments and milestones with my son became the main focus in my life. After the fact, I came to find that many mothers felt the way I did. It was perfectly normal. As women, we need to uplift each other and understand that, what works for one mom, might not work for another.
I learned a lot about breastfeeding after I stopped. I knew that whenever I had my second child, I would be better prepared. More research was done and I didn’t feel guilty about using formula if I wanted to. I was able to breastfeed my daughter for six months. I felt so proud of myself for sticking to it and even felt somewhat better about the situation. Society shouldn’t dictate how we feed our children. As long as the baby is full and happy, that’s all that matters. Take that mom-shamers!