Ah, breastfeeding! There’s nothing like that. Forget about the scientifically proved health benefits. I am talking about the pure joy for both mom and baby.
My first birth experience (and so far the only experience) was not very pleasant. I was in labor for more than 20 hours and ended up with an emergency C-section. I seriously (and sillily) thought I was going to die. When all was over and the nurse handed me the crying newborn, I barely had the strength to take him. And when I finally held him in my arms, I felt nothing, not the “love at first sight” that everybody has been talking about, but exhausting.
Then everything amazingly changed in two hours, when the baby first cried for food. A nurse showed me how to latch the baby. Soon as I brought him onto my breast, he widely opened his mouth and latched on. It was just great. Now I truly felt like I belong to my baby and he belongs to me.
That was the moment I became a mother.
I did not have a breastfeeding plan when I was pregnant. During a prenatal interview with my future pediatrician, I said, “I’ll try to breastfeed if I actually have milk.”
He told me, “Virtually every mother has milk. You’ll get plenty of breastfeeding support at the hospital.”
“Whatever,” I thought to myself.
But breastfeeding is truly a learning behavior. I learned to breastfeed and learned to love breastfeeding. Now, for me, breastfeeding is one of the best ways to enjoy being a mother.
I love breastfeeding sessions. They are the quality time I share with my baby. I have told him many stories I casually came up with while nursing. They can also be “my time.” I have watched an entire series of Case Closed, my favorite Japanese Animation as a teenager, on my iPad through several breastfeeding sessions.
I love the cabbage leaves that relieve breast engorgement. My husband said my cabbage leaf bikini top is cute.
I love pumping my breast milk and watch how I can get nine oz of milk out of a 10-minute pumping session. I love to fill my freezer with frozen milk. It makes me feel productive.
I love discovering how much I can do with only one hand. I surprisingly learned that, while holding my baby to my breast, I can also feed my cat, type on computer, or do my makeup…all with one hand.
I love applying my own breast milk on my face. It works even better than the most expensive facial mask.
Although I do not enjoy pumping in a bathroom stall, sometimes I just have no choice. I love reading funny bathroom literature. I would never read those if I did not spend those pumping sessions in different bathrooms.
I love the understanding I built with my baby through breastfeeding. I have mastered his hunger cues and am proud that I can offer what he needs, knowing that I am his world.
I love how the baby eagerly draws my nipple into his mouth and gently suckles until my letdown; I love how his little hands softly rest on my breast while nursing; I love how his eyes close when he gets “milk drunk…”
The list can go on and on. Even those breastfeeding problems are somewhat lovely–
Latching on can hurt like a hundred little knives twisting off my nipple, but thanks to that, I learned that Lansinoh that treats sore nipples also makes the best lip balm!
So, what’s NOT to love about breastfeeding?
TO-WEN TSENG 曾多聞