I hated breastfeeding

I know that the opinion I’m about to share in this post tends to be a rather unpopular one these days, but it’s one I need to get off my chest. In light of World Breastfeeding Week just ending, and the slew of beautiful breastfeeding images and articles that have shown up in my social feeds, I’d like to take an opportunity to share my experiences with breastfeeding – from a somewhat different perspective.

When I was pregnant with my first, the Mouse, I did everything a first-time pregnant mom is supposed to do. I went through birthing and baby classes, I paid extra to take a breast-feeding class, I spent an embarrassing amount of time on new-mom internet forums asking questions, reading the experiences of others, and generally planning how to be the best mother I could possibly be. When I was admitted to the hospital at 38 weeks pregnant I told the nurses and on-call doctor that the only ‘birth plan’ I had was that I wanted to make every effort to breastfeed.

To make a long story short – even after seeing multiple lactation consultants and trying to use a nipple shield, the Mouse never latched well. Also, while some mothers seem to be able to produce clotted cream out of their boobs, I was making a substance that was closer to skim milk. Even when my baby was able to latch, he would eat and eat and eat and that magical ‘hind milk’ never seemed to show up. At four weeks, I was dealing with a still-scrawny infant who wanted to nurse pretty much constantly, nipples that he refused to latch on to, and a state of exhaustion I had never even fathomed existed.

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The husband and I cracked open a can of formula one night and never looked back. From that day on we were actually able to enjoy our child, and we became a happy family unit.

When I became pregnant with my second child (the Froggy) I had a much more realistic view of breastfeeding and all the work it entailed. I was convinced that if I could just get him to latch, that everything would be better. That I could be one of those moms in pictures looking down at their baby serenely, like they were actually enjoying every moment of it. I longed for that type of situation – where I could feed my baby and know he was actually growing and healthy, where it didn’t hurt like a bitch when he latched on, and where the members of my family didn’t resemble sleep-deprived zombies. I didn’t want to have to buy expensive formula, I wanted that happy nursing experience — but I also now knew my limits, and I wasn’t going to put myself through weeks of hell if I couldn’t get him to latch.

The Froggy arrived, and surprise – he latched perfectly from our very first nursing session. I still seemed to be making skim milk and putting on weight was slow going, but he was latched, and he was eating. He was eating all. the. time. Momnesia is apparently a real thing, because even with a latched, happy baby, I was once again looking down at my child at 2:34am and thinking, ‘oh my God do you ever stop eating and just sleep?’ I would look over my sleeping husband (who by the way was amazing at getting up for diaper changes and taking care of the big kid) and have nothing but resentment as I stayed up with our newborn, who contentedly chowed down and became more and more of an attachment to my body.

I hated being awake all night. I hated having to leave the room at family gatherings to feed my baby. I hated having to wear special clothing that made nursing easy. I hated nursing pads. I hated engorgement. I hated having to neglect my older son because I was the only one who could feed the baby. And most of all, I hated that I hated it all. I hated that I was such an awful, selfish mother who seemed incapable of sacrificing a few precious hours of sleep and normal clothes for her son’s well being.

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In short, breastfeeding stressed me out. It dawned on me at five weeks post-partum that even though I could breastfeed this time around, I still hated it. I hated breastfeeding, and it had nothing to do with the logistics, and everything to do with how the process made me feel.

After a few days of making myself feel like the world’s most awful person, I cracked open the can of formula – and I truthfully didn’t let it bother me. Yes, I could have gone out and bought an expensive pump, but many of the same things that I hated about breastfeeding would have occurred as a pumper, and truthfully, I just didn’t want to. I just wanted to feed my baby, and get to enjoy him (and the rest of my family) without a million obstacles, so that’s what I did – and I never looked back.

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The purpose of this post is not to take away from the importance of educating people on the benefits of breastfeeding. ‘Normalizing’ breastfeeding is an important cause, and something that our society still needs to work towards. It’s great to see so many of my friends, family, and even celebrities stand up and say, ‘I’m nursing my child and this is NORMAL’. The underlying theme I’m trying to extract though is:

We should all be able to feed our children in the manner that we deem best for our families, and we should be able to do so guilt and judgment free.

I want other moms out there to know that if you spent last week staring longingly at beautiful photos of your friends nursing their babies, or feel some sort of guilt over not breastfeeding your child for whatever reason – don’t. It might not be the popular thing to talk about or admit these days, but there are others out there like you. Mom’s who just couldn’t, or moms who simply didn’t want to breastfeed – and that’s OKAY. Our babies are fed, happy, and healthy, and that’s the important part of the story.





No fucks given.

It’s amazing the differences between siblings. People comment often about how similar both my first and my second kiddo look – which is usually a nice way of them saying, ‘how the hell did you manage to have two blonde-haired, blue-eyed kids because I KNOW for a fact you color for you hair, Tottums’.

Dude, I have no effing idea. None.

What freaks me out the most is not how I managed to create two little Arian kids, but how the big one ended up looking so much like the blonde version of his dad, and how the little one looks so much like me … with the opposite personalities.

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The Mouse could not be more like me if he tried. He is overly emotional, dramatic, and an attention whore to “nth” degree. He needs to be the center of attention, is the epitome of an extrovert, and requires approval from everyone in his sight line. He’s a people pleaser – and can’t stand to be in trouble, or for me or the Husband to be upset with him. This makes him a pretty easy kid to discipline, because every scolding turns into the world’s biggest catastrophe (in his mind) and I very rarely have to get upset with him over the same thing twice (I was a goody-goody too Mouse, it’s okay).

With my little Froggy though … how do I put this?

He gives no fucks.

None. In fact, the Husband likes to explain our children’s personality traits as: The Froggy gives no fucks, because the Mouse got them all. The Mouse got all the fucks.

If the Froggy gets in trouble (which, happens to three-years-olds occasionally), he gets to sent to his room or time out and throws a gigantic fit. Unlike his brother, who will settle down after a few minutes and then beg for forgiveness, the Froggy will continue to throw said fit until he has lost his voice or kicked down his bedroom door, whichever comes first.

If the Husband raises his voice to the Mouse, the Mouse LOSES it. Like, inconsolable crying and hysterics for 15 minutes and a whiney kiddo for a good couple of hours after the fact. If the Husband raises his voice to the Froggy, the Froggy stops screaming and says, ‘okay’.

No fucks.

A toy being taken away from the Mouse? END. OF. THE. WORLD. A toy being taken away from the Froggy? A few tears and then, “meh”. One time, the Husband got onto both kids for roughhousing in our room and sent them both to time out. The Mouse ran screaming and crying from the room and (I shit you not) the Froggy skipped out of the room humming.

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No fucks.

It’s been interesting, learning how to speak to and discipline each of them differently. With the Mouse, I have learned that a calm, stern talk is really all he needs to drive the point home – I have to make him understand that I don’t hate him, he’s still a good kid, but that he needs to not do whatever it is he was doing. With the Froggy? I pretty much have to get in his face and act like he’s a serial killer before it even registers as a blip on his radar.

I am SO looking forward to 14.

Pick & Choose Parenting Doesn’t Exist

If I have to yell at a kid to get out of my room so I can change my bra one more time I might lose it.

This is a thought I have at least several times a week. I’ve been at work all day, I’ve picked up the kids, and all I want is a pair of yoga pants, a sports bra, and a loose-fitting tee shirt to go with my warmed-up leftovers and hopefully, a glass of red wine (if I’m lucky). But I can’t even get past the sports bra part because I have small boys running into my room asking for help with opening a squeezable applesauce container, or the separating of two Lego pieces, or (and this is my personal favorite) the wiping of a small bottom.

Hands over boobs, I try not to yell. I really do. We’ve had the conversation about knocking before we enter mommy and daddy’s room, but you know, kids. As soon as I get the look on my face, the six year-old backs out slowly, and the three year-old starts whining because he wants his applesauce.

All I want is a sports bra.

And as I see them back out of my room, all I can think of is, ‘I can’t wait for the day when we all get home from a long day, and they’re just ‘chill’. They do their own thing. They’ll eat dinner because they’re hungry (with no whining about how they don’t like pork chops any more), they’ll head outside with friends while I make dinner (and not stand underfoot while I mess with a hot oven), they’ll stay out of my hair for 10 minutes while I change clothes, while I go through the mail, while I let the dogs outside.

And then, almost immediately after that last thought is done I think: that will happen. It will happen really, really soon … especially for the oldest. In five years he’ll be eleven years old and he will come home, demand a Hot Pocket, and then settle himself on the couch or in his room … and he probably won’t want to say a word to me. I’ll be hard pressed to get him to tell me about his day. Once dinner is done, he’ll want to disappear to him room for the remainder of the evening, and I’ll have a blissfully perfect evening.

Except that it won’t be. There won’t be the sound of belly laughs coming from the room they probably won’t share anymore. They won’t decide half-way through cooking dinner that they ‘want to hold me’. There won’t be snuggles on the couch as we watch Bubbleguppies before bedtime. There won’t be Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late as we all squeeze onto the bottom of the bunk beds that are now probably single beds. And they definitely won’t wake me up in the morning by creeping into my bed at 615am while asking to listen to the ’50 Nifty United States’ song on YouTube.

If I wanted to give up bathrooms that had 1 inch deep puddles and toys strewn all over the tub, I’d also give up the smell of freshly washed toddler hair. If I wanted to give up a backyard that’s overrun with toys and playground equipment, I’d also give up the shouts and giggles of little boys spraying each other with water guns and chasing bubbles.

And so, since parents don’t get to pick and choose which parts of parenting they’d like to keep and which they’d like to throw out the window — I’m stuck here, really just wanting to change my bra in peace.

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