Waking up every hour of the night to feed.
A full nights rest.
Cracked and bleeding nipples.
No pain at all.
Walking around with a toddler connected to your boob all day.
Begging a toddler to relieve your engorgement.
Loving every moment because breastfeeding is amazing.
Dreading every moment because your boobs cannot handle being pinched, clawed, and sucked on for another minute.
As easy as it gets when it comes to feeding.
As hard as it gets when it comes to feeding.
Dealing with engorged boobs at work and school.
Pumping every two hours so your NICU baby can have your milk.
Taking supplements and power pumping to get your supply back.
Continuing to pump your milk even after you've weaned your last child, just so another mother's baby can have the benefits of breastmilk.
Frantically searching for a mom who will donate her milk to your child.
FINALLY getting two ounces of milk from each breast.
Not getting any milk from the pump at all.
Patting your boobs for a job well done.
Cursing your boobs for not doing what they're "supposed" to do.
Taking your baby to the doctor to learn that they've passed their birth weight at two weeks old.
Taking your baby to the doctor to learn that they've lost even more weight.
Having that perfect latch.
Having to use a nipple shield.
Eating everything in the house.
Cutting out all of your favorite foods to make your milk safe for your sensitive baby.
Giving your baby only milk straight from the breast.
Exclusively pumping and feeding baby by bottle or feeding tube.
Supplementing with formula.
Feeding your friend's baby a bottle with the pumped milk she left.
Feeding your friends baby from your own breast because she doesn't respond to a pump, but also desperately needs a break.
Not being able to breastfeed and thinking you failed.
Not being able to breastfeed and being proud because you did the best you could.
Being praised by the public.
Being shamed by the public.
Being a part of a few breastfeeding Facebook groups and being a breastfeeding mother myself, I've leaned that breastfeeding is all, and more, of the things I have written above. It's not all good. It's not all bad. It is beautiful and ugly wrapped together.
I'd like to know, what is breastfeeding to you?