If there are any moms out there who did not have any breastfeeding challenges, please show yourselves. I know you’re all out there, I just haven’t actually met any of you. Perhaps it’s because you’re all busy living your best lives. Seriously though, I’m legit happy for moms who didn’t, or who currently don’t, have breastfeeding struggles. I, personally, had my fair share of difficulties breastfeeding, which cultivated into some, um, interesting breastfeeding habits. Along with the guilt associated with struggling with breastfeeding, I started to wonder if my breastfeeding habits were "normal." Truth be told, though, there are plenty of breastfeeding habits that don't make you a bad mom, and no one should be made to feel bad for doing whatever it takes to feed their kid.
I was, thankfully, able to work through the most taxing of breastfeeding complications and, honestly, those initial hardships eventually turned into something lovely and wonderful that I share with my son. That doesn't, however, mean every moment of breastfeeding, for me, was bliss. Nope. Definitely not. If my breastfeeding experience was a relationship status on Facebook, I’d say “It’s Complicated.”
In the zillions and zillions of hours of breastfeeding, I fell back on a number of good, neutral, and not-so-good habits that got me through. Let’s take a look at some of the more questionable ones, shall we? And, for the record, let’s acknowledge that none of these will make any mother a "bad mother." We're all human; we're all trying; and I'd argue that if you're doing everything you can to do what you think is best for your kid, you're a great mother.
Scrolling Endlessly On Your Phone To Stay Awake
I'd like to say that 3am feedings are the culprits here, but the truth is that those early weeks required constant help with staying awake.
Never Remembering Which Side You Last Nursed On...
Speaking of phones, there is an app for this.
...And Being Really Excited When You Actually Can Remember
I feel like this is a parental milestone on par with getting the bottle to the right temperature on the first try, and swaddling effectively enough that your baby doesn't burst out of the blanket like a tiny Hulk. It really is the little things, you guys.
Watching Television Over Your Kiddo's Head
You guys, I consumed some weird and random programming while on maternity leave. It gave me a keen awareness and sympathy for all moms of other generations, and current moms in other places, who don't have access to 2am Netflix. I know I'm suppose to bask in the beauty that is breastfeeding, but after a while it just gets boring, OK?
Wishing You Could Be Doing Something Else
It's not just because your legs are cramping and your back hurts and your nipples are sore, but that definitely doesn't help either.
Crying Tears Of Sorrow When You Drop Your Phone Out Of Reach
It's your only connection to the outside world. Do we judge people for crying when they run out of oxygen? No. No, we don't.
Consistently Losing Your Nursing Pillow
Also, those terrible moments when it was in the wash (because spit-up) and you just had to make due without it.
Not Mastering Breast Pads
I tried, I really did. They didn't help.
Loathing Your Breast Pump
To be fair, I don't think I could bring myself to like anything that required me to insert my nipples into flanges. Appreciate? Sure. Rely on? Yes. But "like?" NO.
Spilling Liquid Gold
It happened. I'm not proud.
Throwing Out Frozen Milk Because, Although You Pumped It And Stored It With The Best Of Intentions, You Didn't Go Through All Of It And Tossing It Makes You Die A Little Inside
I may have, uh, been a little overzealous in my early months of pumping. I was warned that those early months with a newborn would go quickly, but that still didn't mean it didn't surprise me to find old milk in the freezer months and months later.
Getting Frustrated When Your Tiny Person Won't Latch Properly, Or Keeps Getting Distracted, Or Bites You, Or Claws You
Good thing they're cute, right?