“It hurts like hell!” was all I could think the first week. And then two. And then month. Then two months. By month three, the pain was completely gone.
What transpired in those three extremely painful and challenging months, was more than I ever thought possible. As, “surely nothing good for me could come from this” was my very real-life thoughts.
Two years later, still breast-feeding (with a smile), I write this.
My life was changed when I stuck through those difficult, sleepless nights of getting my newborn to latch. I remember using an ice cube and a washcloth to keep her awake for her full feeding. I’m so glad those early days are over, but I won’t ever forget the hours I stared deep into her face, stroking her little head, as I fed my baby. Those days brought me through all of the pain and the tears and the sacrifice. Even more than that, they brought unexpected other blessings to me. Here are 5 of them…
#1 – The pocketbook wasn’t emptied
Formula is EXPENSIVE. Even non-parents know that. Although we would do anything to feed our children, who wants to spend such a ridiculous amount on formula?! It’s close to $37 a can for Organic Formula!!! Depending on how much your little eats, this could be 2-3 cans a week! Yikes!
I hate to admit it, but this was the ONLY thing at the beginning that kept me going.
And to think how much money I was able to deposit into my Starbucks fund was well worth this one!! Save your money and instead start a fund for YOU (not baby clothes!) and whatever it is you can splurge a little on if your money isn’t going to formula!
#2 – No cleaning/preparing bottles
Amazing. No CLEANING required to feed my baby! SIGN ME UP!!! I didn’t have to wash/dry countless bottles a day and deal with old milky messes, heck yea!
There was a time when I started to supplement a bottle here and there when she was around 10 months, but I did NOT enjoy preparing or cleaning them. So, enjoy that you do not have any extra cleaning to do with a baby! No packing and/or forgetting bottles or trying to figure out how to heat/keep bottles cold.
#3 – More sleep!
Whether you want to co-sleep like I did, or have the babe near by, breastfeeding cuts down on time required to make a bottle in the wee hours of the night.
I truly enjoyed nursing on my side in the middle of the night and going back to bed. What could have taken 30-45 minutes, took about 5!!
#4 – The Amazing Bond
I don’t even know where to start. I’m not sure it’s really possible to describe to amazing bond I’ve developed with my daughter over the last two years thanks to breastfeeding.
And yes, I did have that “love at first sight” and “instant bond” with her when I first laid eyes on her. It was all that and more! I truly felt so unbelievably close to her from day 1, yet what has come since then, is truly such a close, beautiful bond. We feel it and it has been the icing on the cake for this motherhood journey.
When nothing else works, breastfeeding is SURE to comfort her. It can make anything and everything better.
#5 – The Beauty in Slowing Down and Being Present
We hustle and bustle in this day. But when you are breastfeeding, you can’t. You just can’t. Or it won’t work. You have to be able to sit down and feed your baby, multiple times throughout the day.
To some, it may feel a little unproductive because once you are done feeding and burping, you have to use the bathroom, drink more water and eat a snack, and it’s almost time to nurse that babe again.
Yet, when we “surrender” (a.k.a. –kicking and screaming at first!) to breastfeeding, it teaches us the beauty of stillness and slowing down. We listen more carefully to what is important in life. We see it with our own eyes, right in front of us. We feel it running through our veins.
During trials in my own life, it has made me remember why I’m here, and what I live for.
Breastfeeding slows us down, and that’s a very good thing. We are more present and more aware. We have time to think. To ponder. To feel. To heal.
Breastfeeding (and Jesus!) will take you on a journey that can heal your soul from the inside out if you let it.
The verse that came to me several times through the last couple years of my breastfeeding and mothering journey was –“Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you!, declares the Lord.” (Isaiah 49:15)
Funny how God chooses to use the comparison of a nursing mother. I can so relate to this and the deep love and joy I have for my child. There is no way I could ever forget her and my love for her. Yet, how much more God for us?
God so intricately cares for us. He longs for a way to speak to us and our hearts ever so tenderly. He looks into our souls and concentrates on our faces. He is satisfied when we are fed spiritually and physically. He wants to spend time with us and fulfill us. He loves to bond with us.
He will never forget us. Even when we feel He has, He has NOT. He never could and never will. That’s the truth.
I hope if you are breastfeeding, that you continue to your journey’s end with joy. If you were not able to or chose not to, I hope that you will not judge yourself or be disappointed with yourself and rather, give yourself grace. There is a lifetime of bonding that can take place ahead for all of us whether we breastfeed or not!
I’d love to hear what your journey looks like now or in the past with breastfeeding. What did you struggle with? What came easy? Comment below!