Breastfeeding May Not Be the Most Important Thing

Dear Daughter,

Breastfeeding you may not be the most important thing that I can do for you as a mother. There are many other things that I will need to do as you grow up that will dwarf the amount of time that you are a baby at the breast.

Why is it that, recognizing this, I still breastfeed you? Shouldn’t understanding the simple tiny fact somehow make it easier to feed you something else sometimes? (You know, if you could.. Uh.. Eat from a bottle. Which you can’t. But let’s ignore that right now, because this was a choice made out of desire as well as apparent necessity.)

I want to do this perfectly because I CAN. It is one tiny thing that I can do to give you a good start. No, I don’t believe that breastfeeding is the most important thing in the world. It is not something that I do out of fear of percentage point risks, or because I believe that different choices would be the end of the world somehow. I do these things because I know that there are other things that I will not be able to do perfectly, other areas where I may sometimes fall short.

I breastfeed you because it is one of the many things that I can choose to do for you, for your health, for your happiness.

Life is not about only weighing risks and benefits. Life is not always convenient. Life is not about being perfect all the time in all the ways. Life is about sometimes saying “I can do this, and so I will do this, and I will do it as close to perfect as I can.”

And I can be in this one area. And I can be in some other areas. And I can try hard in other areas as well.

No one has ever told me that I have to be perfect with breastfeeding. I chose to give you this gift of my own free will and out of love. Not because your doctor told me to. Not because I saw it on a poster. Not because my mother breastfed. Not because I read a book.

No.. I breastfeed you because you were born into my arms perfect and I wanted to give you something perfect in return.

<3 Mama

4 thoughts on “Breastfeeding May Not Be the Most Important Thing

  1. My initial motivation to breastfeed was (a)free and (b)pressure – “Breast is best, everyone should at least try”. I was resigned to try half-heartedly and fail – I was okay with that because I seriously thought it was going to be icky.

    Instinct kicked in as soon as he was born and latched. I knew I was going for it. I didn’t know why but I knew I needed to. I just did. And so I continued because in your words, “I can do this, and so I will do this.”

    Thanks for knocking it out of the park again.

  2. Somehow your posts always seem to come to me at just the right time. Thank you for sharing. I have found myself at a loss for words in trying to explain how my 6 month old daughter won’t take a bottle and my continuous choice to exclusively breastfeed…you couldn’t have said it any better. :)

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