• Breastfeeding isn’t for all of us

    Say what you like, argue what you will, but breastfeeding is not the act of tenderness and serenity it looks like in the photos. Quite the contrary. For most women it’s a difficult and painful act, until mother and baby get the hang of things. The benefits for the baby are great and undeniable. But despite all the reasons the World Health Organization, mothers who breastfeed until their kids start school, or fundamentalist paediatricians may advance in its favour, breastfeeding is a drag. I’m not ashamed to say I dislike it. And I bet a lot of women only persist in breastfeeding because they’re afraid of the reproachful looks they’ll get when they say they’re thinking of giving their babies formula milk.
    Of the countless reasons for not liking breastfeeding that all of a sudden come to mind, I’ll stick to the ones nobody mentions when we’re pregnant, and that I only discovered from experience:

    1. Sore nipples

    I’m not talking about the more serious problems like cuts and infections. Even when all goes well, there’s always that time of day when your nipples are sore and hypersensitive from so much sucking. Yes, there are creams and pomades for that; yes, there are silicone nipple shields, but it still hurts at first – a lot.

    2. Lack of quality sex

    Yes, girls. The day will come when you feel like making love. It’s just that breastfeeding depletes our natural lubrication; and besides, our boobs are no longer part of the equation when it comes to sex. Why? Well, if a hot shower is enough to bring the milk out, imagine what an eager pair of hands will do. And that’s not to mention the aforementioned sore nipples. (It’s frustrating for the child’s father too: he has a huge, firm pair of breasts in his face all day, a pair that wouldn’t look out of place on the cover of Playboy, and he can’t touch them.)

    3. It takes hours!

    Yes, I know we mothers are supposed to dedicate ourselves 100% to baby in the first few months. That’s why we have things like maternity leave. But spending eight hours a day breastfeeding is enough to drive you mad. Why eight hours? Because babies feed at least 7 times a day and the routine is: one breast for about 15 minutes (or more; some people say we should give baby all the time he wants – but they’re obviously people with a lot of time on their hands), 5 or 10 minutes to wind them, then another 5 or 10 minutes on the other breast. Then winding again. Then you have to change their nappy, and sometimes that means a full change of clothes, and then there’s the chance that baby might need to be winded a little more. All that takes at least an hour. In the middle of the night, that means when we get back to bed and we’re finally read to go back to sleep, there are only two hours left before the baby wakes up again. And in the middle of the day, in those two hours we have to decide whether to take a nap or have a bath, eat and do all the things that need to be done around the house. Great, isn’t it?

    4. We feel like cows

    Especially when we have to pump milk out, either for baby to drink later or because our breasts are too full and there’s a risk of mastitis. That’s when we discover we’re nothing more than mammals whose function is to be milked. Every squeeze makes the milk spurt out, just like a milking cow. Very sexy.

    5. We don’t know if the baby’s eating too much or not enough

    What if he’s crying after half an hour at the breast? We’re helpless and don't know what the matter is. He’s fed, his nappy’s clean, we’ve picked him up and held him to us, what can it be? He’s hungry. That’s what it is. So pop out a boob and start all over again.

    To sum up: there are big advantages for baby (although like millions of other people I was fed on formula milk and I’m still here, thank you very much), but for the mother it’s simply a question of convenience. It’s much more practical than preparing a bottle of formula. And it helps us lose weight after pregnancy.
    Fine. Let the breastfeeding fundamentalists insult me all they want. But before they do, they should remember that breastfeeding is an option that lies with the individual. Mothers who don't want to breastfeed are not criminals. Every mother wants the best for her child, and a happy, high-spirited mother may do more good to her baby’s health than a depressed mum who only breastfeeds out of obligation and passes all that negative energy to her offspring.
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