Breastfeeding was always something I had planned on doing, breast is best right? I kept an open mind to the fact that a fed baby is better than a hungry baby as well. Luckily breastfeeding came very easy to me and all my kids.
With my oldest son I breastfeed exclusively while I was out on maternity leave. It was easy enough being I didn’t have anybody else to chase around. I quickly realize I wasn’t comfortable breastfeeding in public, 11 years ago it wasn’t quite as mainstream but was getting there, and I was a terrible pumper. I wasn’t good about pumping when he was finished, and I definitely wasn’t good about pumping and feeding on a schedule. If I needed to go somewhere I stressed out about it: how long was I going to be out, was I going to be able to have somewhere to feed him, was I going to have to feed my kid in the car? I ditched lots of different outings simply because I couldn’t get over it. I locked myself a way for a while basically. For a lot of my maternity leave the only outings would be the grocery store because we were desperate and to Sonic for happy hour. I didn’t think about how lonely it would be locked away feeding him ALL THE TIME. I can remember BALLING one night with my husband because I felt so tied down, which sounds awful. Then I started crying because I saw it then as my baby not needing me anymore. See, I had turned into a crazy person, and looking back now I probably had some postpartum depression as well.
You read all these things about how beautiful it is, and all this fluffy beautiful stuff, but I was this exhausted new mother caught between loving this little person with my whole heart and wanting him to just leave me alone long enough so I could shower. My sweet husband did what he could to try to help, but I was stuck in my crazy hormone brain.
When it came time for maternity leave to come to an end I made a point to pump more and get Reuben, my oldest, ready for the bottle. He was totally cool with the bottle, so that was nice. When I started back to work, as a school teacher, finding time to pump was difficult. Basically I took my lunch to pump and that’s the only time slot I had. My planning period was after lunch, so I didn’t have a second time slot to be able to pump. I usually shot out of work when I could so I could go pump or feed my baby. I. WAS. EXHAUSTED. I couldn’t keep up with work, a baby and home. My husband was traveling 40/50% of the time and I was just tired. I decided to stop pumping during work at first and breastfeed at home at night, because it was easier. I could use lunch and my planning period to do work and Reuben took formula fine during the day. I was able to do this until he was about 3 months old. He started to sleep through the night, I know he totally spoiled me, and I started to dry up. I was good with it, and I’m pretty positive my husband was ready for me to stop obsessing over it so much.
My next 3 kids went similarly, but I at least knew what to expect out of it. I wasn’t as obsessively crazy about it, and I was able to feed a little more comfortably in public. I’m glad I breastfeed my kids, and I’m glad we figured out a happy medium schedule before we went to straight formula.