Why do I Breastfeed?

Before I start, I would like to say that this is not a discussion about breastfeeding v formula feeding or a sermon on breastfeeding because this issue has caused so much controversy in recent years and I do not want to be adding to it!

This post is simply a reply to a friend who asked me why I am still breastfeeding Baby Girl. She isn’t a parent and therefore doesn’t know what it is like and was curious. It made me think about why I do and why I intend to do so for at least two years as the World Health Organisation recommends (Baby Girl permitting!)

Before becoming a mother breastfeeding was just something I thought I would do, because its is good for your baby. I didn’t consider any other reasons and assumed I would try to feed the Boy for 6 months and that was it. What I didn’t anticipate was the rollercoaster of emotions that come with breastfeeding.

After a few days of feeding the Boy every two hours round the clock I was prepared to throw in the towel and give him a bottle so I could get some sleep but I persevered, until at two weeks I was so emotionally drained by what felt like a ball and chain around me that the Man and I made a decision to give the Boy a bottle of expressed milk each evening so I could get some sleep. In hindsight I think I made this decision a bit too quickly. If I had known that by 10-12 weeks his feeds would be much shorter and more spaced out I may have tried to continue with exclusive breastfeeding but at the time I couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. The upside of this bottle (which became a formula bottle at 12 weeks when I stopped expressing) was that it felt like all the pressure to breastfeed was lifted and I could give up at any time. I think this was a big reason why I relaxed and started to enjoy breastfeeding for the bond it gave us and why I continued feeding the Boy until he was 19 months.

When Baby Girl was born I wanted to try exclusively breastfeeding her but I was prepared to give her one bottle a day too as I thought I would need the sleep it allowed me but she has been such a good sleeper that I haven’t needed to do so.

So why do I breastfeed? (I will refer to Baby Girl here as I am feeding her now but I remember feeling the same wonderful feelings with the Boy)

It definitely started because it was “the best thing to do” but it has evolved into so much more than that. Laziness, convenience, financially driven, health benefits are all reasons why I haven’t stopped. But despite all those things, the main reason which keeps me feeding is the overwhelming sense of pride I feel when I see how content Baby Girl is when she is feeding and when I get to watch her I feel like nothing else in the world can touch us at that moment.  That is what makes it all worthwhile.

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