My Love/Hate Relationship with Breastfeeding

image via flickr user Mothering Touch

I always knew I would do it if I could. After all the “breast is best” info you get with prenatal care and in the hospital, I was convinced breastfeeding was what I would do for my babies,  if we could make it work. I never took into account what an emotional roller coaster my experience with breastfeeding was going to be.

{ MORE: My Baby Won't Stop Biting While Breastfeeding: Tips to Navigate this Frustrating Experience }

There's a definite learning curve, at first. You have to figure out what works best for you: football hold, cradle, cross cradle. It's a lot to take in, and I never did know if my baby was latching correctly in the beginning. There's something pretty incredible about being the source of nourishment for your baby, and it's enough to make a hormonal new mom very emotional. But, I'm not going to lie, there were parts of breastfeeding that made me want to pull my hair out!

With my last daughter, I was breastfeeding literally anywhere—in the backseat of my van, in the corner booth at the restaurant, or in just about any nook or cranny at the YMCA I could find. It was far from the vision I had of nursing my little baby in her nursery's rocking chair. It became a real challenge as she got bigger because she didn't want to be covered up when I nursed her. I learned to really love my van's tinted windows! I longed to be like those mothers who could just pop a bottle in their baby's mouth. (As long as I was nursing, I could never get my kids to go back and forth between bottle and breast!)

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But, then, there were those moments when things were quiet and, as I pictured, with just the two of us. The emotional connection between a mother and her nursing baby is something that is unparalleled. It was everything I imagined and more as I could feel that intense love and bond.

But, the bigger she got, the less those moments happened, and more often she couldn't be bothered to hold still and nurse for longer than 15 seconds here and 10 seconds there. Not to mention the times in the checkout line at the grocery store, where it was VERY clear to everyone exactly what it was she wanted from me at that moment. I have a girlfriend whose little girl can even be found in an all-out tantrum, screaming “Boooooobie!” Because, isn't it so endearing? 

I'm not going to even attempt to tell you when you should stop nursing, or even to nurse at all, but for me, the grocery store line at about 13 months was my breaking point. She was not hungry. She was fed. She was just bored and ornery, and so she resorted to her fallback—breastfeeding. We tried weaning gradually, but ended up having to go cold turkey for her to “get it.”

Now that I'm finished breastfeeding, there's a certain freedom that comes from having my body to myself again. I was actually able to take my older daughter on a weekend trip to visit her cousins—just the two of us. Something we wouldn't have been able to do if I was still nursing.

I have to admit, though, it's bittersweet. I miss that bond and the time we spent together, just her and me. But, I do not miss the battle with the blanket/nursing cover outside my son's classroom at the YMCA!

{ MORE: Why You Need a Breastpump (And The Best Way to Get One!) }

What was your experience with breastfeeding? Did you ever find yourself nursing in places you never thought you would? Did you struggle with mixed emotions about ending the nursing relationship? 

What do you think?

My Love/Hate Relationship with Breastfeeding

Jeanna Strassburg is a wife, and mother of three, who enjoys kitchen dance parties and summer time! Jeanna received her bachelor’s degree in Education from Brigham Young University-Idaho in April of 2007. She enjoys spending her time cooking, cleaning and tending to the proper duties of a stay at home mother… NOPE! Truthfully, she enjoys eating the food, but not making it or cleaning up after it. She likes to have a clean home, but loathes laundry and dishes. Loves her children, but coul ... More

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  1. Profile photo of Briana Briana says:

    I love breastfeeding! It is truly the best thing I think I have ever done for my daughter!! There is however a love hate relationship, I agree with the article on that much. I miss eating the foods I like dairy products mostly & spicy food (yum) but it was worth the sacrifice! Also having to bf in public is not always the easiest but we make it work! Breast is Best honestly & I have been exclusively breast feeding because my LO wont take any bottles or pacifiers. Still wouldn’t change my mind for anything. Glad I did my research this go round!

  2. Profile photo of Theresa Theresa says:

    I nursed for 18 months. It got to the point where she was requesting “mama” every 2-4 hours. I wanted my boobs back and so did my hubby. I started by replacing her night time feedings with yogurt. After about a week, she stopped asking for “mama”. Now, she gas been weaned for four months and I ask if she wants “mama”. She says, “NO!” every time.

  3. Profile photo of Aubrey Aubrey says:

    With my first son, I worked in a small restaurant that had no place for me to pump, So in January, in SD I had to go to my car and try to express as much as possible on my 15min breaks (which I always froze because it took my car 20minutes to warm up) I also only had a manual pump which don’t work as well as the electric. We made it to 4 months. I also went to school and had no place to pump their either. He hated bottles, and it took us forever to find a formula that didn’t make him sick. With an unsympathetic pediatrician who wouldn’t prescribe the formula so I could get it on WIC. With my second son, I didn’t work as much, but still had the same issue on the temp jobs I took, no place to pump. We made it to 6-7 months, but he never had an issue with taking a bottle so it wasn’t that big of an issue. With my last son, I knew the laws around breast feeding so my boss would give me her office to pump in when I worked. My baby went to 16 months of breast feeding, and yeah, it was the cluster feeding and the comfort feedings that made me wean him. He never did take a bottle (we only tried 6 different kinds with about 20 different nipples) so once I started weaning him, he went to a cup.

  4. Profile photo of liz says:

    I love watching my baby so close to me when im breast feeding her

  5. Profile photo of natalie natalie says:

    That was such a funny/cute story! OMG. My daughter is not even four weeks old but I can totally imagine her in the check out line screaming booby… Lol something to look forward too….LMFAO

  6. Profile photo of Phammom Phammom says:

    It’s how I feel. Love nursing but the cluster feeding is what’s hard for me.

  7. Profile photo of gfeld gfeld says:

    I never nursed beyond 7 months. It does not appeal to me having my kid request a nursing.


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