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The State of the Milk Factory

They say that it usually takes about six weeks to establish a good breastfeeding relationship.

Aerin turned six weeks old today. And aside from a couple of bottles of formula in the first week of her life, we have been exclusively breastfeeding her (about 60% straight from the boob, and the rest from pumped milk).

The verdict?

I still don’t like breastfeeding much. Sigh.

I really, really thought — and wanted to believe! — that I would love breastfeeding my child if it was working out well.

And it is going splendidly. Aerin is a great nurser. She latched on correctly from day one, has a strong suck, and does not suffer from nipple confusion.

So why don’t I love it? Why can’t I look to nursing sessions as sources of bliss and relaxation, as other moms do? Why do I not feel like they’re bonding sessions?

I wonder what this would taste like if it really existed.
(image source)

Instead, my breasts feel strangely detached from my body, as if they are just another object I use to take care of my baby.

And I honestly don’t feel like I bond with her any more when nursing, as opposed to feeding her from a bottle. In fact, I prefer the bottle because I can look into both of her eyes.

I also now have tremendous difficulty seeing my breasts as sexual objects. Yes, I know that women’s breasts are designed to feed and nourish the young, and any sexual uses should be considered secondary functions. But the sudden transition from years and years — from the moment I donned my first bra — of their being sexual objects to asexual tools that spend hours each day dangling from the mouth of a babe (or from the ends of a breast pump) is pretty brutal. Whenever my husband looks at them with *that look*, all I can think is, “These floppy things? Can we lay off of them because you’re only reminding me of the kids and that does little to turn me on.”

Yes, the boobies will be expelled from all sexual acts — by my request — until I can start disassociating them from my children.

Sorry for the TMI, and back to the subject…

Breastfeeding Claire (or my attempts to breastfeed her) was such a challenge that I had blamed it for my taking so long to bond with her. But now, I see that this was not the case at all. I am taking just as long to bond with Aerin, to love her and to really feel that she is my child.

Maybe I’m just missing that instinctual mommy gene. Most aspects of motherhood has been tremendously difficult for me because it just does not come naturally. Everything — including the love for my children — has been a learning process.

The good news is that I am still a firm believer in believing that nothing worth having comes easily.

And they’re totally worth it.