My breastfeeding journey was filled with problems and difficulties and mind-numbingly frustrating moments and, according to the majority of my friends, my experience was not unusual. Yet, with mantras like “breast is best” permeating mom culture, it’s easy for breastfeeding moms to think they have to feel a certain way about breastfeeding. The reality is, not unlike a Facebook relationship status, breastfeeding is very complicated and, in many cases, very challenging.
The good news, however, is that mothers are starting to talk about their complex and fluid feelings concerning breastfeeding, and feeling more and more comfortable about not (always) loving breastfeeding. These days, I’m seeing conversations about how much of a struggle breastfeeding can be, and while it's sad that women are struggling, it's also somewhat comforting to know that I was not alone in my struggles. As those conversations continue to spread and involve more and more women, breastfeeding mothers are finding themselves feeling more comfortable being open and honest about the insane journey that is feeding another human being from your body. Though, along with the struggle, come come waves of conflicting feelings.
Now, I’m not an expert on feelings or anything, but I’ve been known to have them, and they certainly affected my breastfeeding experience. Here’s a breakdown of some of the common assumptions new moms (myself included) can find themselves making and, in turn, shaping how they believe they need to feel about breastfeeding. Hint: You don't have to. Like, at all. However you feel about your breastfeeding experience is valid, so don't let anyone else (including yourself) tell you different.