It's Not Unfair, It's Just Different

Breastfeeding. Everyone's favorite topic (insert sarcasm here). We know that breastfeeding is best for babies, yet it skeeves many people out. Don't believe me? Mention breastfeeding around a man without children and see what kind of response you get. I did this once and saw a friend's husband's face turn green. Now I bring it up around him just for fun.

this is probably not an exaggeration

According to Elizabeth Gilbert, "Having a baby is like getting a tattoo on your face. You really need to be certain it's what you want before you commit." Breastfeeding is also a commitment. Maybe it's like getting a tattoo on your ankle. 

When you breastfeed, you have the piece of mind you are doing what is best for your child. (Disclaimer: If you have great difficulty breastfeeding, cannot breastfeed for whatever reason, are suffering from postpartum depression and breastfeeding is making you feel worse, etc. -- formula feeding is totally better for you and your baby. This post is not meant to be judgmental in any way.) Nursing creates an incredible opportunity for bonding. Also, to be honest, the lazy side of me loves not having to sterilize and wash bottles. I cherish those sweet moments when baby boy looks up at me and smiles after nursing. I also love how nursing seems to be the only thing to calm him down when he's really upset. It is also an amazing feeling that I have given my chubby cheeked, 15ish pound, 3 month old all of the nutrition he's received since birth.

On the flip side, being an exclusively breastfeeding mom makes you feel like the primary caregiver. If your little one is like mine and has decided he doesn't really like bottles,  it's all you. It's all me at 2am. And sometimes at 3am, 4am, 5am, 6am, etc. If you are in a marriage that involved you doing everything all the time before you had a baby, then you will probably be fine with this schedule. My marriage was and still is not like this. Thankfully I have a wonderful husband who doesn't mind doing housework. He even does his own laundry and has always packed his own suitcase without a second of help from me. If anything, he is the one who helps me pack my suitcase. 

Enter having a baby. It's all me. Of course my husband is still his wonderful self. He gives baby boy baths, plays with him, changes diapers, etc. Can he just give him a bottle in the middle of the night? Not really. Does this sometimes bug me? A little. Can I be away from baby boy for a few hours? Of course! I will go get a pedicure, go the the mall, whatever. Can I be away from him for more than a few hours? Not really. Can I be away from him for a day or a weekend? Not a chance. 

Sweet husband is going out of town in a few weeks to see some friends and go to a football game. I'm happy he's going. Tennessee football is his favorite thing, and he will get to hang out with some friends that he rarely sees. This feels like a weird shift in the order of things. As my friend Laura put it, "It's like we've traveled back in time to the 1950's." Is it unfair that he can still do things like that and I can't? Even though it feels like that at times, it's not unfair. Just different. Baby boy does not rely on my husband's body for food. My husband also misses out on all that precious bonding time that happens during those feedings. Someday I'll be able to leave my baby boy overnight or for a weekend. Right now I'm just going to enjoy the cuddles and appreciate knowing that he needs me so much.

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