Initially, I wasn’t very enthusiastic about breastfeeding. The main draw for me was that it was free, and because I was taking 3 months of unpaid leave from work, I felt like it was my financial duty to make the breastfeeding thing work and not spend money I wasn’t making on formula. I did it pretty grudgingly for the first several weeks and was fairly well convinced that once I went back to work, I’d switch to formula.
Then, around the 3-month mark, breastfeeding suddenly got very easy–she nursed faster and less frequently–and I actually started enjoying it. Maybe it’s just the hormones. Maybe it’s that I’m back at work, and I really appreciate those sweet nursing sessions with my baby girl more since I don’t see her all day long. Whatever the reason, I genuinely enjoy breastfeeding these days. Now I’m thinking we’ll delay solids, do baby-led weaning, and I’m considering nursing beyond a year. (We’ll see how things go once she gets teeth and if she has any interest.) I like breastfeeding, and while it is by no means the only way to bond with my baby, it’s definitely a big part of our relationship, especially since nursing is pretty much the only time Isla will sit still long enough to be cuddled.
Apart from the “free” factor, I firmly believe breast is best, a belief solidified by all the research I’ve done as a result of breastfeeding. While I’m not wholly convinced that breastfeeding raises IQs, I do think it is better for babies’ immature digestive and immune systems, which are very important benefits. Knowing how babies’ bodies work, and knowing all the good things they get from breastmilk that they won’t get anywhere else, make breastfeeding the one thing I know for sure we’ll do with baby #2, even if we do everything else differently.