Breastfeeding, vaccinations and homeschooling. I believe these are the three topics that ignite a fire in the heart of most moms, these days at least, but arguably since always. And trust me, I am not here to tell everyone reading that "breast is best" or that the world would be a better place if everyone would just breastfeed their babies. You do you, ladies. I don't judge. There are ways that breastfeeding changes you, though, and that's what I'm here to talk about.
For me, breastfeeding went from something I was pretty ambivalent about (before being a mom myself) to something I felt very strongly about almost immediately after giving birth. And, trust me, that’s not because it came easily to me. Quite the opposite, in fact; I struggled to get my daughter to latch for the first four weeks of her life. I relied solely on finger feeding, a few bottles and a nipple shield before finally getting her to transition to just the breast. I don’t think I’ve ever worked so hard at something in my life.
Both my children were challenging to breastfeed, although those challenges presented themselves in different ways. For reasons I have yet to fully understand, however, I persevered. Don’t get me wrong; I don't consider myself some sort of hero or saint for persisting, but I learned a lot about myself in the process.
For me, breastfeeding changed my view of my breasts. As a teenager who pretty much developed from an A-cup to a C-cup overnight, I was used to a significant amount of attention (mostly sexual) directed toward my chest. The popular boys in school actually nicknamed me "Hooters" (how original, guys) and used to shout "nice cans!" to me in the hallways. It left me with a rather skewed perception of my worth, which (unfortunately) stuck with me well into adulthood.
All of that changed, however, when I began breastfeeding. Finally, my breasts went back to being just another part of my body and not a source of sexual pleasure for others. They became just another body part with a function (feeding my children) and I didn't lean on any other reason why they may get attention as an additional source of my self-worth. I can't tell you how liberating that's been.
Thankfully, I'm not the only one that has been changed by the act of breastfeeding. Here are 10 other women who share how breastfeeding changed them: