Story: The Emotional Push and Pull of Being a Breastfeeding Parent

The complexities of being a breastfeeding parent can sometimes feel like an internal push and pull. There are joyous, connection-filled, snuggle fest phases, and other phases that can make the days and nights feel so hard. Is it normal to love breastfeeding but not love it all the time? I found myself often feeling guilty if I didn't feel completely grateful for our breastfeeding journey during those harder phases. How could I feel pride and frustration over the same experience? The complexities of experiencing two contradicting feelings would often create a sense of guilt. Then I learned about the idea of duality: feeling two different things at the same time. I learned to become more comfortable as the two different feelings and thoughts co-existed. I learned that the differing feelings can both be valid and true.

I can desperately want to sleep but also be glad it’s me who the baby needs.

I can want a date night out but not feel comfortable leaving them with anyone yet.

I can not want to miss another girl’s night but also not want to attempt a bottle.

I can feel proud of pumping to feed my baby and strongly dislike the process that pumping entails.

I can love breastfeeding but desperately wish I could get more sleep at night.

I can love and appreciate the support from my partner but also feel angry in the night when they get to sleep.

I can love my new life as a mom but sometimes miss the freedom and ease of running quick errands before kids.

I can feel so grateful breastfeeding came easy to me, but also feel guilty seeing my friend struggling so hard to do the same thing.

Breastfeeding can feel so beautiful and natural but also frustrating that so many challenges can occur.

I can love the snuggles of being nap trapped but also wish I could just get a few things done around the house.

Somedays I can feel so relaxed and content on my leave, other days I feel restless and bored.

I can be obsessed with my baby but also want some time where no one is touching me.

I can love breastfeeding and feel so grateful it's a part of our journey, but those feelings don't need to be exclusive.

Breastfeeding is a commitment of time, love and energy. Sometimes we make choices that support our breastfeeding relationship but also means missing out on some things. It’s okay to acknowledge the losses or frustrations. I can simply accept having both feelings, notice them and let them pass with time. There is no pressure to hurry that feeling along because it feels uncomfortable or guilty. I can feel it all: the ups, the downs, the joy and the frustration.

I truly love breastfeeding my children, but it does not come without its mix of varying feelings.

Shared by: Olivia S.