|"Gimme some of that milk, mama"|
It actually blows my mind how many times I have been asked by complete strangers or acquaintances whether or not I'm breastfeeding. Once I say that I am, they say things like "good, that's the best thing for the baby." Luckily, by breastfeeding I'm usually answering in the way that they are hoping I will answer, but I always wonder what they would say if I said no, I'm formula feeding.
I feel incredibly privileged to be able to nurse Parker. It definitely wasn't an easy road for us as Parker had to learn how to nurse and in the beginning would fall asleep within 5 minutes of starting. I never knew whether he was just sleepy or had actually eaten enough. I had to use a nipple shield and then wean from the shield. I had to pump and pump and pump to build my supply. However, I do have a good supply and I never went through any excruciating pain while nursing that I have heard so much about. I feel lucky to of had the experience that I have had, and now Parker and I are in a good rhythm.
Breastfeeding is difficult for so many women. And although we all may know deep down that "breast is best", sometimes for your own sanity, it may not be. It's not just breast milk that mothers have to take into consideration, it's their own well being, their babies well being and what makes their life livable. Breastfeeding isn't always easy and as mothers if it is making our lives more exhausting, taking away from simply enjoying our children, maybe it's not the best thing.
So when people that I hardly know (or don't know at all, because that's happened!) ask me this question, I'm glad I can say that I breastfeed, because I am proud of it. But I feel for those mothers who don't or can't because sometimes their decision isn't respected. From the outside we don't know what someone else has gone through and how much they may have struggled with the decision to stop.
There is so much judgement when it comes to the decisions that we make as mothers. I was judgy before I had a baby and now realize that I really had no right to be. But even now, I know that I sometimes judge and see other mothers judging and I want to stop. Parenting is hard. Every day there are decisions that have to be made. How to feed, when to feed, whether to sleep train etc. At the end of the day, every single one of us is doing what we think is best for our child and our family. I will make different decisions than each of my friends will, and that's ok. Guess what, all of our kids will probably grow up to be just fine despite these differences.