I get a wee bit twitchy when formula vs. breast milk debates happen and women go on about how easy breastfeeding is, how much easier it is than formula feeding, and how easy it c/would be if you just did "x". I'm not doing anything wrong. It isn't easy. Some women have difficult pregnancies, some have difficult births, and some have a difficult time nursing. It seems people are free to discuss, complain about, and dissect the reasons for the first two, but talking about how difficult and unenjoyable it is to nurse is taboo. Why?
When I see my friends pour a little bit of powder into a little bit of water, shake it around, and feed their baby, I can't tell you how much I wish that were me. Breastfeeding isn't easy. Milk blebs aren't a blast. Thrush for the fifth week in a row is not relaxing. Mastitis? Having your nipple bit repeatedly until you bleed? Nope, that isn't enjoyable either. I would take cleaning 10 bottles a day over the pain of any of the aforementioned issues. So, no, breastfeeding isn't easy. We can't all just casually feed in public, we can't all just nurse while we sleep, and we don't all have an easy breastfeeding journey. Please, stop telling mothers this because when breastfeeding isn't easy for them, it is easy to quit.
All of that to say, I do still nurse my baby because I know it is the best choice and I am physically able to nurse. When I look at my toddler, who weaned at 2 years old, I do feel a sense of pride that we made it to two years. I feel like we accomplished something. I feel happy that he still enjoys breast milk from a cup and that he has a natural, albeit young, understanding that breasts are for nursing. However, I can only truly appreciate the nursing relationship we had because it is over.
So, please, stop telling women how easy it is to breastfeed. When someone is struggling, don't tell them how easy it is that they have a 24-hour milk bar, don't tell them how easy it is to learn how to nurse whilst sleeping, and don't tell them how time-consuming it would be to wash bottles. Instead, sympathise and ask how you can help them.