The Joy — and Pain — of Breastfeeding

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My breastfeeding experiences with my two children were very different. I nursed my firstborn for just a few days because it hurt too much. I then tried pumping for about a month. I subsequently felt very guilty for not being able to do it longer.

I remember feeling badly whenever I saw breastfeeding articles or social media posts. I had wanted so badly to experience it for much longer. However, because of how painful it was, I was very reluctant to try again with my next baby. But given the benefits of breastmilk, my husband and I agreed I would at least try — and I am so glad I did.

I breastfed my second baby for 19 months. To be able to do so filled a hole for me. It made me appreciate my body even more this time around, especially because I had C-section guilt after each birth. Breastfeeding also helped to create a special bond with my second born, something I was afraid — thanks to pregnancy hormones — would not happen.

Breastfeeding or Not?

I loved my breastfeeding experience. It was worth all the exhaustion during cluster feeds, stress over pumping enough milk at work, and feelings of being touched out.

Neither feeding experience made me a better or worse mom, though. I did all I could each time, and I love my kids endlessly regardless of how I fed them. Since I have had different feeding journeys, I could not acknowledge World Breastfeeding Week and the amazing experience that breastfeeding is without also acknowledging that it is a difficult process and a very individual decision for every mother.

So, if you’re feeling badly like I was, remember that you and your body are still amazing. And if you’re proud like I am, appreciate your amazing body. Yes, breastfeeding is a beautiful experience, but it is not the only beautiful experience of motherhood. And remember, the love you have for your kids — not how you feed them — is what makes you a great mom.

This post is part of a series to recognize World Breastfeeding Week, which is celebrated every year from August 1-7 "to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world."

Tags: Breastfeeding, Motherhood

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Written By

Jacqueline Hernandez Lewis

Jackie is a wife and mom of two boys. Recently, she made a career transition from attorney to work-from-home communication... See Full Bio

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