I’m just going to say what is probably not popular by the nursing Nazis out there, but I have to get this off my chest: sometimes breastfeeding sucks.
And I don’t mean like how the baby sucks to eat (TMI?), but like how breastfeeding can impede on your LIFE – that sucks.
There’s a reason for my pissiness, m’kay. But first, let me back up and say for the record: I love breastfeeding. All of those long hours of cuddle time I’ve logged with my little ones have been some of the best, most precious times for me as a mama. And if anything, I love a good cat nap while nursing, because that oxytocin release makes me hella tired – ZONK. But it doesn’t come without its challenges.
I mean, there’s the stuff that no one told me about before my first breastfeeding experience – like how nursing can hurt like hell for weeks – even months before it subsides. (Hello sore, cracked, and sometimes bloody nips!). And then there’s the LOVELY and also annoying part where only I can feed my baby. When you’ve been holding your baby ALL day and you finally get a break and hand him off to someone else, there’s nothing worse than when he cries and everyone assumes he’s starving and fast passes him back to mama like he’s a hot potato. Can’t a girl go pee…have a sandwich? Shower?
Not to be confusing, but on the flip side, I also love that I’m the only one that can feed him. It feels empowering on a personal level that I’ve been exclusively breastfeeding and my body can sustain him and make him grow – especially to the nearly 20 pound chunkster that he is today! I mean, it’s just a personal high five for me, it’s not like he’s going to thank me in 20 years for doing boob only.
By now, nursing has become old hat. I know what I’m doing; I know the tricks of the trade. We’re smooth sailing in cruise control. This is when you start to get cocky as a mom. You start thinking you can have a little bit of your life back, like, I don’t know; maybe take a quick getaway weekend with your husband. Every couple desperately needs to reconnect after bringing home a new baby. So you plan this trip that seems like forever in the future and in your mind your kid is practically going off to college; he’s so independent, when in reality he’s five months old. That seemed SO OLD four months ago.
Here’s why I’m pissy…
Three days from now I had plans to leave the kids with my mom and dad and fly off to Southern California with my husband and accompany him to a black tie work event in Orange County. We planned to spend an extended weekend there (5 days) and just enjoy some time away. Hell, I was over the moon about flying on an airplane without a kid on my lap, I hadn’t even thought about how cool lying at the pool might be.
I’ve been diligently pumping to build up enough milk storage to feed him while I’m gone, but knew that I’d be about a day and a half short and would need to introduce formula. I have nothing against formula, I supplemented with formula for my daughter so I’m A-OK with whatever works. However, at this point it’s purely a novelty to me that I might be able to exclusively breastfeed Leo in his first year and I kind of wanna see if I can. So there’s that. But I could one hundred percent get over that if I wanted to.
The biggest pain for me is that I would have to pump and dump five times a day on my trip and that literally makes me want to jump out a window. I’m not being dramatic, I did this when Annabelle was six months old and I went to the Sundance Film Festival for a bachelorette party. Pumping around the clock is a major drag and not only for me, but for the people I’m with. As annoying as that pumpapalooza trip was for me, the silver lining was that I was able to freeze and transport the frozen breast milk home in a cooler and it stayed frozen on the short 2 ½ hour flight. I had like 25 bags of milk for Annabelle to take to school which lasted her several weeks – BOOYA!
Unfortunately, the flight from Cali to Chicago is just too long and it won’t stay frozen. I’d have to pump and throw it all away. That’s my time wasted and my body’s resources down the drain. And breastfeeding mamas know that we regard mother’s milk like liquid gold. You don’t mess with the B-milk. I suppose I could look into shipping it as I’m sure there are methods of doing so, but that sounds time consuming and costly. So I made the decision this morning to forgo our weekend getaway trip and avoid the hassle.
This is where breastfeeding sucks.
I actually felt a huge sense of relief when I said the words out loud, and bless his heart, Jeff completely understood. He doesn’t want me to be miserable the whole time. Outside of pumping, I know I’d miss my little man like crazy and worry how he was doing on the bottle, how he was sleeping, etc., so I’m just not ready to leave him. I feel like it’s the right decision for us, but it definitely bums me out – especially when I looked up the 7 day forecast for Orange County. That was totally masochistic of me. Yes, there were 8’s followed by 5’s and stuff. UNGH!
The biggest reason I decided not to go is that we have a couple’s trip to Key West in May and I know I’m going to have to endure pumpapalooza then, so I don’t want to blow my patience with it on this tag along work trip. I would end up dreading Key West and I don’t want that to happen. I just wish there was a hypnotist that could erase my memory of pumping around the clock at Sundance so I could go into Key West all blissfully unaware of the burden ahead. I mean, ignorance is bliss, right? If only…