Breastfeeding is hard.
Pumping is hard.
Bottle-feeding is hard.
Formula-feeding is hard.
Although they are all hard in their own ways, they do have something in common—each task is done out of love for a growing child.
My breastfeeding journey with Zion has been a pleasurable journey thus far. My postpartum period with her has brought me wisdom in ways that I don’t think I would have learned without it. Some of the wisdom has been looking at the positives in the negatives as often as possible. The following are four things that I have found in the late night/early morning feedings, during the vulnerable moments full of exhaustion.
Four things I take advantage of when I get up to feed:
I always make sure to keep a full cup of water close to my night-feeding area. Breastfeeding makes me parched and there is something therapeutic about satisfying extreme thirst, well, when done slowly. (Less potential of choking.)
2. Going to the bathroom by myself
Becoming a mother means giving up private time (at least, while your children are young). Enjoying the opportunity for a peaceful bowel movement or simple bladder relief in the comfort of your home is rare with young children. I take advantage of the peace and quiet my home experiences during the late night/early morning hours to enjoy a few minutes in the restroom alone.
3. Looking out my window
Nature is something in this life that brings me peace. Living next to a freeway makes it difficult to see nature, much less hear it. Being awake in the late hours of the night and wee hours of the morning give me an opportunity to see and hear nature while many others are asleep. It may not be much of nature, but I do get the sky and some palm trees which make a beautiful picture at night, especially when there’s a full moon.
4. Being grateful for the moment
When I breastfed Little Nugget, I remember thinking about how miserable I felt getting up to feed him. I remember focusing on how exhausted I felt and how frustrated I was with Little Nugget because he wouldn’t sleep. This time around, I make a conscious effort of focusing on how grateful I am that I can breastfeed Zion, and how grateful I am that I can watch my baby grow right before my eyes. I hold her head in my palm as I did the day she was born. I hug each toe and squeeze her feet. I smell her sweet scent, especially her breath as she yawns. And my favorite, I softly kiss her cheeks and the corners of her mouth. Doing all of this helps me appreciate the moments of exhaustion because I focus on the love I perform them with.
If you’re a parent who still wakes up with their baby at night, I challenge you to try any of the above, or discover your own task of love. I believe that doing so will help you appreciate your exhaustion instead of hate it. If you already exercise your own feeding advantages, please share them with me! I’d love to add to my list.
Cheers to finding love in everything we do!