Nursing a baby is a hard thing to envision. When I was pregnant with my son, I told inquiring minds that I would “try” to breastfeed. I was met with many responses along the lines of, “oh, it’s easy and will come naturally.” Despite these remarks, it was difficult to imagine what it would be like to have a little human solely relying on a part of me for sustenance. I didn’t know if my body would cooperate, if it would hurt, or in general, how to do it. Really – quite intimidating for a first-time mom.
And in the beginning, it wasn’t easy. My son had a tongue tie that made feedings very challenging, and I ended up with oversupply issues and no clue about how to deal with them. I spent hours on the phone with lactation consultants and friends that offered advice and encouragement that got me through that initial period when I wanted to quit. I was prepared for the lack of sleep and dirty diapers, but no one had warned me about how complex nursing issues could be. I thought that would be the simple part.
Somehow I made it through that first month, and things improved greatly to the point that our nursing relationship was what I initially envisioned it to be – pleasant and uncomplicated. I made it well past my one-year nursing goal until my son was 20 months old. It was a wonderful bonding experience, and I feel fortunate that we were able to continue as long as we did.
Now that I’m pregnant with my second child and I’ve had a while off from nursing, I’ve (almost) forgotten what it’s like to have your breasts not be yours anymore. In a little over a month’s time, if my body cooperates, I’ll be surrendering it to another person once again. The “alarm” will go off when it’s time to feed, I’ll need to re-master nursing positions at different stages, I’ll leak, and I’ll have to pull out the dreaded pump.
But this time, I’m ready for the challenges – I know that these are small sacrifices in exchange for the love, nutrition, and security that I’ll be able to provide to my baby. If you decide to breastfeed, know that it may not come as easy or naturally as some may say – and it might not be right for you (which is perfectly OK, too) – but if you are able to stick with it, it will be worth it. Sharing your body is a scary concept – and also a beautiful one.