The oxymorons of breastfeeding: Two sides of the same coin
Ever thought of breastfeeding as an oxymoron? It is a beautifully painful, soothingly uncomfortable, yet horribly joyous experience...
It’s been half a year since my breastfeeding journey began. And what can I say? Breastfeeding is such a huge oxymoron! It is a beautifully painful, soothingly uncomfortable, yet horribly joyous experience.
When I became a mum, I realised that those serene-looking pictures of mothers nursing their little ones were just one side of the entire breastfeeding story. Truth be told, it’s not all bliss. Breastfeeding is a noble endeavour that you need to work on. But though the starting pains and sleepless nights will undeniably not bring instant gratification, there is an unexplainable joy that comes with the awkwardness and the discomfort that breastfeeding brings.
In my 6 months of trying so hard to provide the “liquid gold” for my daughter, I’ve gained so many heartwarming moments. Yet with these joys come the unavoidable struggles of a nursing mother.
Breastfeeding gives me contrasting emotions and experiences that, when put together, beautifully create a deeper meaning for my existence. Through breastfeeding, the last six months were filled with Oxymorons that added colour to my life’s statement.
As a first-time mum, I experienced painful breastfeeding during the first weeks. What I hoped was a magical bonding moment between me and my baby turned out to be a tormenting session I wanted to avoid. Since breastfeeding was new to me, I did not know how to do it right.
Poor latch and incorrect positioning were pinpointed as culprits in my lactation ordeal. And even when I already became familiar with proper latching and positioning, I experienced various awful nursing problems like cracked nipples, plugged ducts, and engorgement.
But in between those painful breastfeeding sessions, an incomprehensible pleasure slowly grew inside of me, pushing me to carry on despite the pain. Breastfeeding is not at all physically enjoyable, especially for first-time mums, but this sublime act is powerful enough to make every nursing mother radiate with joy.
During the first weeks of breastfeeding, I stayed wide awake in the middle of the night as tears dramatically rolled down my cheeks. On my arms rested my baby, latching on me in all serenity. In every infant’s peaceful slumber, there is an unsung story of a mother’s restlessness.
Whether it referred to the literal absence of restful sleep or the state of my mind and emotions at that moment, I went through the pitiful unrest all breastfeeding mums around the world experience.
Other than the lack of sleep, doubts on my milk supply and my ability to properly nurse my little one gave me the jitters. But despite the inner turmoil, the sight of my child quietly and calmly latching on me seemed to bring a pleasant sense of tranquility that refreshed my entire being. There is something invigorating in every breastfeeding session, no matter how demanding it can be.
After the first frustrating weeks of breastfeeding, I finally got the hang of this motherly act. With patient study and practice, it’s amazing how I turned from a totally clueless human being to a skilled breastfeeding momma.
Even if I’ve been breastfeeding for only a few months, I feel like a seasoned lactating mother since the urge to breastfeed just comes out naturally. The maternal impulse to nurture is the best teacher for breastfeeding beginners like me.
Privacy in public
Every breastfeeding mother must have experienced a moment of struggle when nursing her little one in public. It’s a sad reality that in some countries like mine, some people still feel awkward seeing mothers breastfeeding. Thus, to carry out this decent mother-child activity, I still have to look for a secluded area and hide, as if I’ll be doing some outrageous crime.
I have to hurriedly put on that nursing cover whenever my baby stridently cries for milk. But thanks to breastfeeding advocates for gradually spreading awareness of the value of breastfeeding. People are slowly becoming open to breastfeeding, and some establishments have started dedicating a room for lactation.
Amidst a bustling noisy crowd, I can confidently enjoy the freedom to be let alone for the maternal purpose of nourishing a child.
Experience will let you see the two different sides of this same beautiful coin called breastfeeding. It’s a sweet agony I’ll always love to endure for my dearest child.