Breastfeeding: It’s Not Easy Being the Cow!

It’s Not Easy Being the Cow.

For some of you, breastfeeding may be a glorious time spent gazing into your child’s eyes, bonding, and feeling that connection that you’re providing them with all they need. And for some of us, it sucks.  Literally and figuratively. I honestly felt like a cow. 

I remember preparing for baby #1, taking all the new expectant parenting classes, one of which was ‘Breastfeeding 101’. We went through the proper latch, storage, pumping, positions, nipple cream, and how it takes dedication.

What they failed to really drive home is that breastfeeding dedication is unlike anything you’ve ever done in your life.  Baby wakes up hungry at 2 am, 3 am, 5, 6 or 8 am – guess what mama, you’re on the clock! If you decide to sit one feeding out and let dad give it a go, well you better get up and pump or you’re gonna wake up in pain and in a puddle.

It's not easy being the cow

Breastfeeding is more than dedication. It’s a lifestyle. You spend every day planning how to properly nourish your child: timing nursing sessions, watching what you eat and drink, pumping, freezing milk, de-thawing just the right amount, and hoping your boobs don’t start leaking in the middle of a meeting. Breastfeeding means literally asking every server at restaurants for a half-full glass of their “hottest water” so you can warm the ice-cold bottle from your cooler bag before the baby has a stage 10 meltdown. It’s an endless cycle without a light at the end of the tunnel. 

When my first baby was 6 days old, I was sobbing because – per the class – you shouldn’t pump too early to prevent oversupply. Well, there I was with engorged breasts and an inverted nipple {TMI sorry, but how does that even happen?!}, and a kid who wasn’t helping the cause.  I would have bet my life savings that I wasn’t going to make it a month being the cow.

In my heart and in my head I had to convince myself I could do it, I knew breastfeeding was my goal, and come hell or high water I was not giving up. I would be the cow!

So for the next 9 months, I suffered through milk spilling everywhere, the horror that is a nipple shield, pumping in my car, deliriousness, poor latch, and anxiety about having a shortage of milk. As I said, it sucked. 

However, all the time spent alone pumping or nursing was washed away when I got to one year. I literally looked back and thought OMG I did it! It was like running the longest marathon ever, but crossing the finish line was an achievement I never expected. 

I – the mama cow – exclusively provided food for my baby for 9.5 months and made it to a year with supplementing while working full-time. I did it!

It's not easy being the cow; breastmilk

So, if you’re in the thick of it and hate it and wish you were doing something else, just know you are not alone. There are other moms like you, scrolling their Facebook feed while sitting in an armchair thinking to themselves: hurry up baby, we’ve got things to do! It’s not always fun being the cow, but when you get to the finish line it is a satisfaction like no other. 

Being the cow is hard work! Whether you breastfeed 1 day or 1000 days, it’s something to be proud of!

::Disclaimer:: Here at MMM, we believe that fed is best! The well-being of our babies is always the most important. In no way is this post intended to shame any mama for not breastfeeding. This is an honest account from one of our team members, meant to encourage breastfeeding mamas who may be having a hard time. If you have a story that you'd like to share about your baby's feeding experience, please share it with us in the comments below, or send us a private message.
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Hi! I'm Stephanie co-found and co-owner of Mid-Michigan Moms. I'm a working mom of three wild babes and one naughty dog. I love everything about living in Michigan - that means lakes in the summer and snow in the winter. When I'm not spending time outdoors with my family (or working) I enjoy hosting, Michigan State football + basketball, true crime TV + pop culture documentaries, trips to Target, shopping the N Sale, and filling up my calendar with adventures! I honored to be a part of this amazing community here at Mid-Michigan Moms, and am so excited to share and learn along with you in this journey called motherhood!