An Homage to Breastfeeding

Let’s say you’re like me – someone who looks for joy.

I cannot let August slip away without mentioning the joy I felt breastfeeding. This is National Breastfeeding Month, as I am occasionally reminded by some mother I follow on Twitter.

Breastfeeding not only feels awesomely good for the mother, because you’re so close to such a warm, loving body, but the bliss on the baby’s face – that Milk Dud look – means that the little one is enjoying the bonding too. Physically we are just wired to love the feeling.

I am not a fanatic. I nursed my boy for seven month and my twin girls for a year. (We were moving a lot that year, from NYC to the Adirondacks to San Francisco back to NYC and I wanted to give the girls something they could count on – a warm breast! Plus, it was much easier to pack my boobs than a bunch of bottles!)

I encourage every pregnant woman who is considering breastfeeding to please, please, please, do it. You won’t regret it.

Yes, it might be hard at first for a newborn to figure out the latching on reflex.

So, I relied on professionals to validate me. When I had just given birth and was still at the hospital those first couple of days, every time a nurse walked by, I would call out, “Hey, am I doing this right?” I would nod at the little guy at my breast.

“Yes,” she’d usually say. But if she said, “No, it looks like he’s fallen asleep,” then I’d learn how to break the hold and latch him on again. Having another woman affirm my ability made me feel confident.

I also want to say that I think the whole nipple confusion worry is overblown. Every day I nursed the girls and not only did they get mother’s milk, but they also got at least one bottle of formula. They never refused nipple or bottle. They were just happy to be fed.

I hated pumping. I felt very, very embarrassed from the first time I ever tried it and never got the hang of it. I did not want anyone to see me doing it. (Although I could care less if anyone saw me breastfeeding.) I  felt like a cow hooked up to an automatic milking device. I wanted my little warm calf snuggled up to me, not a plastic funnel sucking up to me.

Breastfeeding so rocks. It is so good. It is so nice. I loved it. And I miss it. At the time and now ten years later, I’m so glad I did it.

Yes, this blog is about usually about fitness and running, but it’s also about health. By running, I am searching for a natural high. In breastfeeding, I found it. (Oxytocin is the feel-good hormone of breastfeeding.)