Tomorrow marks the end of World Breastfeeding Week. And I've wanted to write this post to honor it all week but Henry has been crabby, clingy, and an all around hot mess so it been pushed off, but here goes...
I'm very proud to say that Henry has been exclusively breastfed for the
past 20 weeks (with the exception of medication, and a couple of
tablespoons of avocado). It's just amazing to me to think that I am
literally able to keep another human being alive. And not so he's just
living, but thriving and growing and learning. I'm in complete amazement
of my body.
Breastfeeding has been truly a wonderful experience. I am very lucky in
that we have had very few breastfeeding issues, and Henry has nursed
great from the day he was born. His nickname is actually Snarfels,
because the snarfs down his food so quickly and happily.
Its actually very hard for me to put into words how I feel about it,
since no other life experience is like it. I feel like breastfeeding
has bonded Henry and I in an unspeakable way. Nothing calms him like
nursing or makes him as happy as nursing, and that brings me a lot of
joy and comfort. There is just something about knowing I'm the only one
that can feed him; I know I will always get my time to cuddle no matter how busy life gets. This has
become more important as he has gotten older, now that he is more
independent he wants that cuddle less and less, but I know that every
few hours I'll get Snarfels back and nothing will make him happier than
being with me.
There are some serious positives to breastfeeding other than the mushy,
emotional, intangible ones. One, I eat and eat and eat yet I'm losing
weight like crazy. I've lost over 40 pounds since Henry's birth. And let
me tell you, I don't exercise and I constantly eat everything in sight.
I have nothing but breastfeeding to attribute that weight loss to.
Second, and my favorite, it's free! Formula is expensive! My gosh, it's
seriously highway robbery how much companies charge for it. But
breastfeeding costs nothing, and for that reason alone I will continue
to do it as long as possible (I'm hoping for at least one year).
But don't get me wrong, breastfeeding is not all rainbows and sunshine and happiness. Its darn hard work, and I've had to make some sacrifices to keep doing it. On an average day I spend about 2 hours feeding Henry, so its a significant time commitment (and for those of you that don't have direct breastfeeding experience, this is pretty fast - Henry is a very fast eater - a lot of women spend even more time per day feeding their babies). Breastfeeding also means I always have to be the person that gets up with Henry in the middle of the night. The other hard part is Henry's intolerance to certain foods. As I've mentioned before, Henry has some serious pooping issues, which have slowly gotten better, but are not resolved. And because of those issues I have had to give up eating all dairy, chocolate, caffeine, and more recently eggs. This makes my day to day eating pretty difficult at times, especially when the heat index is 118 degrees and all I want to do is drive the half mile to Izzy's Ice Cream and enjoy a cone.
Our issues aside, I've been incredibly lucky and breastfeeding has been an easy and enjoyable experience. I'm so thankful to God that he has allowed me to do this for as long as I have. I'm also very thankful to Morgan, because without his support, especially in the early weeks, it would have been very difficult for breastfeeding to continue and to thrive. I sincerely hope Henry and I can continue to nurse for a long time.
Happy World Breastfeeding Week to all you breastfeeding Mamas out there!