Breastfeeding has major perks, you are probably aware. I promise I'm not going to reiterate for the 100th time how healthy it is or how it will morph you back to pre-pregnancy weight. I just have some strong feelings for breastfeeding and I need to shout it from the internet.
It wasn't straight to the good times for me. I went through an insecure phase. Ruthie, my two year old, was 5 lbs when we left the hospital and STILL wasn't latching. In the weeks after that, BFing pretty much consumed my mind...am I doing it right? Making enough? Is she latching right? Was that a tongue click? Why do I have a plugged duct for the 15th time? Why did I only pump an ounce? Has it been 2 hours since she last ate? It's not exactly an easy feat to nail down in a few hours. Turns out, it can take weeks (months?) to really get used to. Ruthie weaned at around 15 months and even with our somewhat rocky start, I instantly missed it and have rediscovered how awesome it is with Bobby (now 6 months). I'm a super fan for a million reasons but here are the ones I didn't expect.
1. The breastfeeders' high. Shortly after latching on, I sometimes experience a feeling sort of like right after you drink a good beer or a giant coffee...an elated, giddy, super ecstatically happy feeling. It seriously sometimes shows itself in an audible form where I giggle/sigh and make people around me very uncomfortable (very VERY uncomfortable if they were weirded out by my breastfeeding in the first place). BFing causes a release of oxytocin, so I'm guessing that has something to do with it but whatever the cause, it is AWESOME. It's a really strong feeling of HEY EVERYTHING IS GONNA BE OK, and who doesn't like to feel that every now and then.
2. A new relationship with food. I have never given less thought to the calorie content of the food than in the time since having Ruthie two years ago. I feel like BFing has given me a completely new relationship with food. I've never been big on calorie counting, but before BFing I was super conscious of over eating and probably a little too hard on my body. Not so anymore. I'm hungry all the time, and I eat all the time. I just don't feel nearly as preoccupied with calories & carbs. I view food much more simply. I eat things that make me feel good and I rarely think negative thoughts about my body. BONUS: I make an effort to never SAY negative things about my body, tiny ears are listening (tiny ears are still walking around saying "bloodthirsty" in a weird, low voice thanks to overhearing it on Unsolved Mysteries #austinwatchesweirdtv).
3. The TONS of time. It forces me to stop and stare and notice the red tint this baby's hair, the weird shape of his pinky toenail, the little nursing sounds he makes (#FAVE). It gives me a chance to watch his little hand creep all around my chin and notice how he looks up at me like I'm the coolest person he's ever met (spoiler: i am). It is a HUGE time commitment, but during this super short period when everything happens so fast, it is one of the only things that actually slows me down. And let's be real, it also gives me time to scroll through IG.
4. The reminder to drink water. I am the grossest person in the world when it comes to water consumption. It's so pathetic, someone help me. During the first 25 seconds or so of BFing, I become so thirsty that I can't ignore it so I pick up this giant baby and haul ass over to the faucet, or yell for Austin until he hears me outside and gets me some water. When I first started nursing Ruthie, I wouldn't even sit down without a boppy, a Brest Friend (I accidentally bought the twin version...HUGE), basically a gallon of water WITH ice, my phone, and a snack. 50% of the time now, I'm BFing Bobby in the Ergo while putting Ruthie's shoes on. Times they have changed. The point I'm failing at making here is BFing helps to remind me that humans need water to survive.
5. A simplified wardrobe. I was somewhat surprised to find out that you really can't BF in just any old thing. It took a while to figure this area out but even now, expert that I am 🙄, mistakes are made. The other day, I went to pick up Bobby after a presentation to which I wore a non nursing friendly dress. I had two options 1. Take it off and sit naked on my parents' couch next to Gus, the 100 year old, toothless cat or 2. Go through my old closet at my parents house and find something. I chose two and reemerged wearing my sister's old volleyball jersey and some pink satin PJ pants. I'm usually in fully BFing friendly attire because having kids has changed my style and simplified my wardrobe, pushing those BFing friendly pieces to the front of my closet. I have a solid collection of basic thingies like vneck tees (I like the flowy, linen feeling ones), tanks, shorts, open cardigans, and my fave jeans in dark and light washes, along with some other good stuff like a chambray button up, black skinnies, a few wrap dresses, linen shorts, some bright silky button front tanks and workout clothes. LOTS of workout clothes. BFing has basically narrowed down my wardrobe to a handful of similar items that make it convenient to nurse in public. Just call me a minimalist. I'm realizing as I type this that I go out 100x less than before kids, so that could be equally to blame for my simplified wardrobe 🤔.
There are a million reasons to breastfeed and I will forever be an advocate. Sometimes I do feel "touched out" as I've heard it called...like give me an actual second without being pawed. But those moments are easy to get over with a little break or a reminder to myself "THIS TIME WILL GO BY SO FAST". Overall It has been the one of the sweetest parts of my life so far, not to mention the most accomplished I've ever felt. I bet there are more not-very-talked-about benefits! What are yours?