Something happened to me recently. Well, maybe not to me. But rather upon me. Yes. That feels more right. Something happened upon me recently. Something that I never ever could have, in my very wildest dreams, imagined happening to me. I realized. The feeling came upon me. I don’t hate breastfeeding. In fact, I may kind of like it. BAAAAAH!

It was around the 8 month mark with our weeest one. And during, what has become, our normal morning ritual. The time where I sit, in the black with white polka dots rocker in his room. With the lights off and just bits of sunlight refracting through the curtains. And I feed my nugget prior to his morning nap. He finished, laid his head back on the boppy, arms up over his head, eyelids closed and contentedly drifted off to dreamland. I don’t hate breastfeeding! AGH!

Why is this such a big deal? Why is me sharing this info basically the same as Oprah telling the world she has a sister or Robin Thicke admitting to not writing Blurred Lines? Because… for the longest time… or at least for the last 5.5 years, I have bemoaned, begrudged, and bagged on breastfeeding. I have crabbed about crappy latches. Griped about gassy bellies. Moaned about MSPI diets. And now… now I am revealing… it was all a sham! Gasp!

Okay. It wasn’t all a sham. Let me give you a little background without getting into the whole 32 chapters of my breastfeeding journey saga... I have had three babes who have all come in the world under the 5 pound mark. Each of those babes needed a lot of extra TLC in the way of weight gain and feeding including weights after each feeding, syringe feeding, extra nutrients and so on. They also dealt with reflux, MSPI, tongue-ties, latch issues resulting in the use of a shield, thrush, and a few other weird boob-related bothers. So when I completed the first year with my first child, I seriously cut off my nursing bra, let my breasts fly free in the wind, and called it a day {okay. The cutting off and the breasts flying didn’t really happen. But I did feel liberated. And did not look back}. When I quit nursing my second at a year, I had come to grips with the fact that nursing did offer garner some convenience points as well as saved our family a boatload of cash, not having to purchase MSPI- safe Elecare formula. But I still held a summer bonfire and roasted marshmallows off of the hooks of my nursing bra {okay. That didn’t really happen either. But I did mentally burn those bras before I sent them to Goodwill}.

And then, when the wee babe came out of me and into the NICU, and for two days, they did formula, I thought finally! The decision is made for me! But notsofast, they said. The NICU nurses, docs, and dietician {basically the most amazing people in the world} asked that I change my diet again. So I forged on with the pumping and the working on latch and keeping up production. And I swore I’d only do it for 3 months. Then we got to the three month mark and I decided we were almost finding a rhythm, and so I’d do it for 3 more months. And at 6 months, I reevaluated the cost of formula. At $47.99 a can {a regular sized can! No joke.} I decided I could do this crazy diet and put this babe to the breast for just 6 more months. Until he was a year. And if I’m being honest, in my mind, I told myself many times what an incredible favor I was doing our family by not shelling out $600 a month for formula. So all that being stated… if you would have told me that at any point during this boobie business, I would have uttered the phrase, I might love breastfeeding… well, I would have called you Paula Deen and told you to take your lies and get out of my kitchen.

But gosh darn it, Motherhood. You’re always doing this to me. Making me eat my words. Because as I sat there the other day, feeding our littlest, and watching him sack out, I realized that the third time was a charm for me with breastfeeding. I don’t hate it. I actually, for once, feel like it offers comfort to our baby. I actually, for once, don’t question if I’m giving him enough. I actually, for once, feel like it’s our time to connect. I actually, for once, don’t even really care about the MSPI diet. I, actually, for once, am glad I made it to the second six months, once again, so that I could see this as a gift. For once.

I don’t think every mom should or has to breastfeed. This post is not designed to incite mommy wars or guilt. And I have more about those thoughts on my personal blog. I think that each mom needs to figure out what works best for her livelihood, her household, and the babe in question. For the other two of my children I would say that for the entire first year of their lives, I felt as though I was nursing those boys for their benefit. And honestly, for that reason, I probably shouldn’t have stuck with it as long as I did. But I also felt some responsibility to alleviate any potential financial burden. So I felt like it was for everyone else’s benefit… and never mine. But now, I feel as though, all along, there was something in it for me. And that, well, that is an oddly precious gift.

Daily, I find ways that I think of what a gift motherhood has been to me. It reveals these little nuggets around each corner that I never knew I needed or wanted. Like enjoying the kids knock knock jokes more than most anything, or realizing I actually like being a stay-at-home-mom. These little morsels of lessons and happiness that I never could have anticipated. Like actually being thankful for breastfeeding. And it teaches you that life is ever-changing and a forever growth experience. Hey, it took me nursing 3 boys to finally get to the point where I found redeeming qualities! Motherhood is dragging me to being a different person than I envisioned. And I am actually happy for that. 

So there you have it, friends. I might love breastfeeding. I will still, gladly weanat the one year mark but I can honestly say, that after three years, and countless hours spent, I’m glad it worked out for me. And that the second six months, once the groundwork {the very hard groundwork} has been laid, is where it’s at. And that I’ve officially learned that I just never knowwhat gifts motherhood has in store for me. And that… well that is pretty stinkin’ cool.

Ashli Brehm

Ashli Brehm = Thirtysomething. Nebraska gal. Life blogger. Husker fan. Creative writer. Phi Mu sister. Breast cancer survivor. Boymom. Premie carrier. Happy wife. Gilmore Girls fanatic. Amos Lee listener. Coffee & La Croix drinker. Sarcasm user. Jesus follower. Slipper wearer. Funlover. Candle smeller. Yoga doer. Pinterest failer. Anne Lamott reader. Tribe member. Goodness believer. Life enthusiast. Follow me at http://babyonthebrehm.com/