A resource to inspire, inform and empower parents.

When It Comes to Breastfeeding Everyone Has the Answer

I haven’t been totally honest with you. I haven’t been sharing my true breastfeeding journey for a while now. I was at first. I was all kinds of honest about how much breastfeeding drove me crazy, how nursing aversion set in and how I felt so touched out. I also shared the triumphs and the beauty. I still share that freely, but something has happened to my expression of the bad days.

I got so sick of hearing, “Well, time to wean!” And even the less obvious but still obnoxious, “You really need to listen to your body and it sounds like your body is telling you it’s time to end your nursing journey. But you have done so great, you should be proud!” Thanks, but I didn’t ask for your opinion and I don’t need your directive on how to feel much less on where I am in my breastfeeding journey.

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, breastfeeding.

I got so sick of reading those comments and hearing those snide remarks from random people who I dared express a moment of frustration to. Why are we so weaning focused? It’s like as soon as we latch a baby on it’s all, “When are you going to wean? How long are you going to breastfeed?” Why can’t a person just breastfeed and see how it goes? Why do we have to know the end before the baby can even suck, swallow and breathe at the same time?

I have had struggles at jobs. Real miserable times at jobs I’ve had in the past. No one ever once said to me, “Well, you should just quit!” I’ve had struggles in my marriage and other personal relationships as we all do. No one ever said, “Well, just get divorced!” This is not a normal thing to say to people so why do we say this to breastfeeding moms?

I don’t know. But I got so sick of hearing it that I pretty much stopped posting so much about my personal struggles. It simply adds to my frustration when I am trying to have a conversation with someone about my feelings and they just totally shut me down with their weaning advice.

That’s the other thing. We hate feelings in this country. Especially from women. Express anything other than delight and pleasantries with a smile on your face and everyone goes running for the hills.

Well, I am done. I am not doing anyone any favors by not sharing the whole story. I don’t care anymore what people have to say about my personal breastfeeding experiences. I continue to breastfeed because I feel it is right for my family. That’s pretty much all you need to know about that.

And as for liking it all the time. Give me a break! Guess what? I have feelings. Lots of really big and uncomfortable feelings! And I don’t always like breastfeeding. Actually there are plenty of things to not like about breastfeeding! No one likes it all the time. There are even days when it’s hard to like it all!

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, breastfeeding.

Sometimes my head hurts because I roll my eyes so much at my son asking for “boobie” for the 683rd time today. Sometimes his mouth bothers my nipple so much I pull it right back out. Sometimes I don’t want to breastfeed him at all and tell him “no” while he kicks and screams and tantrums. Sometimes when he starts to stir at night I stare at him with big, glowing eyes trying to send him cosmic sleeping vibes so he doesn’t wake up. Sometimes when I sit on the couch and he turns to crawl toward me I hop right back up. I have gone entire portions of the day standing at the counter so that he can’t reach my shirt. Sometimes I don’t like breastfeeding, just don’t like it at all.

Even after all that I choose to continue to breastfeed. And I will for as long as I feel like it’s a good decision for me. And that’s all you need to know about that. I don’t owe anyone an explanation. And the next time I am expressing my feelings of frustration to you about breastfeeding the polite thing to say is, “I’m really sorry you’re struggling. That sounds hard!”

I share these stories to be a part of this community of breastfeeders who are feeling every feeling on the spectrum. The moms who know it’s not fun all the time. I share these stories so that no one has to feel alone. And so that no one gets the idea that breastfeeding is always like sitting in a meadow of lilies on a sunny day. Actually you should know it’s never like that. Never. Breastfeeding is lonely at times and it’s always hard work. And there are very bad days. But as long as you find any reward in it then march on you badass. And screw all those people who think it’s easier just to wean. Boy are they clueless.