If you're currently in the trenches of breastfeeding, consider yours truly the best friend you didn’t know you needed. I have experienced virtually every single breastfeeding problem in existence, and come out the other side relatively unscathed. I have tried a million different remedies for what feels like a million little issues and I have experienced an insane amount of pain but, for some reason, I've kept at it. While my reasons to continue breastfeeding (even though it was difficult) vary and are personal, I'd be lying if I said the moments that made all the breastfeeding struggles worth it didn't have anything to do with my decision to keep strong and carry on. Those moments, for me, were just that powerful.
This does not make me a better mother than anyone else. In fact, I'm sure my decision to "power through" could be used to make a solid case for why I may or may not have slightly lost my mind. After all, the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result, right? Thankfully, I did end up with different results, in the end and after eight months of continuous problems. I’m happy to say that I now have a wonderful breastfeeding relationship with my son, as I did with my daughter before him, but it was definitely hard fought.
All of this is to say that, having been through some seriously tough times, I would never judge another mom for choosing an easier or less stressful or more successful way of feeding her child. We all do what is best for ourselves and our babies, and there isn't a person in the world more capable of making those decisions. If you are struggling with breastfeeding and decide to supplement with formula, or make the switch entirely, that's entirely your decision and you shouldn't be made to feel guilty about it. I am simply saying that I made the choice that was best for me; continuing breastfeeding while simultaneously celebrating those precious moments that made all of those tough times feel completely worth going through:
Your Baby's Drunken Milk Face
Come on. When my little dude was in his first few months, he would pull off the breast all satiated to the point of being unable to open his eyes. You know what I mean; that milk drunk look. It is so adorable it makes your heart melt.
Your Baby's Content, Satisfied Grin
I think it was around seven months when my son got the giggles. He would be breastfeeding, in the zone, and then suddenly he’d just giggle to himself. Of course that little smile would break the suction, so we’d have to latch all over again, but it always made me giggle too. Then we’d just be giggling back and forth and, well, it was like a breath of fresh air.
Those Moments When You And Your Baby Make Eye Contact
Sometimes my son is half asleep while he’s breastfeeding, so, you know, I get to do my own thing and pull out my phone or the iPad. Other times, he is all about the deep gaze and the connection we're undeniably making. I love that bonding time, because the only other time he looks at me that intently is when he’s pooping.
Your Baby Reaches Out To Hold You While Eating
My daughter didn’t really do this, so I’m not sure if what my son does is normal or not, but he loves stroking my chest while he’s breastfeeding. No slapping, no pinching, just gentle caressing. I am a puddle of goo when he does this. I seriously just want to hold him forever and never let him grow up.
When Your Baby Doesn't Fall Asleep Right Away
I’ll admit, I didn’t know a better way to really describe this situation, but it's awesome. Sometimes, when my son is finished eating and not planning on falling asleep (we mostly nurse before bed and naps now), he rolls away from me and face-plants into the bed covers. Then he sits up giggling. It is the most adorable thing in the history of adorable things.
How Calm Your Baby Is Directly After They Eat...
When we had to take my son into the hospital (we had a home birth) for tests to confirm a heart murmur and jaundice, I was able to use breastfeeding as a source of reassurance. When they weren’t able to get blood from his tiny little veins (but had to keep trying), and he was turning purple from screaming, all it took was me. I told everyone to stop for a moment, put him on the breast, and he didn’t struggle for a second after that.
...And How You Can Use Breastfeeding To Do More Than Just Feed Your Baby (Like Comfort Them)
It's pretty amazing that my body, even though my children are now on the outside of it, can still be a source of comfort and safety and security and everything they may need in a time when they're in pain or panicked. When I could breastfeed my son and calm him down, I felt completely capable of being an amazing. Because, well, I am, and so are you.