I love nursing my babies! After working in daycare for years before having my own kids, I couldn't wait to breastfeed my own babies. Because I had strong bonds with the children I cared for, I wondered if I would feel like I was just babysitting when I had my own kids. I thought breastfeeding would make me feel more like the mom and less like the babysitter. As it turns out, breastfeeding is not what makes me feel like the mom. The fact that my babies never LEAVE at the end of the day. That makes me feel like the mom. But I still think breastfeeding is awesome, and I'll tell you why.
Convenience. I have nothing to mix in, shake up, or warm up in the middle of the night. When we travel, we don't have to take a million bottles, nipples, and cans of formula. My milk is always ready, always the perfect temperature, and I don't have to try and fit it in my bag.
Cheap. Buying formula makes a big difference in your monthly budget. Breast milk is free. (As long as it's your own. Evidently, breast milk from a donor bank is expensive. Just ask Neil Patrick Harris.) Thanks to nursing and cloth diapers, Violet hasn't really impacted our monthly budget yet at all. So as long as we buy groceries to feed me, we're good.
Bonding. There are so many little things that make up the bond you have with your baby. Nursing can be a big part of that. When you nurse, you are forced to spend feeding time together. Yes, I often surf the internet and watch tv while I nurse. But I can't prop the bottle up for the baby and walk away, or hand Ryan my equipment and have him do it. (Although there are times I wish I could. But never fear, I have some milk in the freezer if I need a break.) And nothing beats the look on your baby's face when they first latch on. This is the best. thing. ever. To top it all off, your body actually releases a happy hormone while you're nursing that makes you feel closer to your baby.
Rest. What?! Yes, nursing can help you rest. Especially in the early weeks, it is so nice to be forced to sit down for about twenty or thirty minutes every two to three hours. I'm not even an over achiever, and I appreciate the forced time-out. And that same happy hormone that helps you bond also relaxes you.
Magic Milk. Did you know breast milk is magic? When I went to my family Christmas this year, I hugged and kissed all my snot nosed, carrier monkey nieces and nephews. My body then fought those nasties off for me, AND somehow knows how to tell my mammary glands what kind of milk to make to fight those specific nasties off for Violet. Seriously. I know it's true because I read it in a book. It's called So That's What They're For! by Janet Tamaro. Great book.
Just like any other parenting decision, you gotta do what works for you and your family. This is something that works for me, and I love every minute of it! So does Ryan, it means he never has to get up in the middle of the night with the baby. Lucky duck.