Why, you might ask? I'm convinced that Eva has a dark power of possession. She owns my breasts and it is something that I cannot control. Aside from black magic, however, there are some logical reasons I am so attached to our breast-milking relationship. A substantial decrease in the incidence of childhood leukemia, childhood obesity, autoimmune disorders and other illnesses in breastfed infants is one. The fact that it provides optimal nutrition for the first six months of Eva's life is another. While I respect those that "love" committing approximately eight hours of each day to allow your child to suck at your teat and exchanging sleep at night for your child's well-being, I'm certainly not one of those idealists. Quite frankly, I don't find it to be very enjoyable at all. Sometimes I break into a cold sweat as Eva approaches my breast. I fear her aggressive latch and the stink-eye she shoots my way as she grabs my nipple like a crocodile shaking its prey to its demise. Actually, it's kind of cute. No, really it is. Painful, but endearing.
Ok, I'll get to my point. I feed Eva from my breast because I don't want her to suffer. Not like I have. Exclusive breastfeeding for at least four months has been proven to reduce the incidence of Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis by as much as 40%. Taking this preventative measure is worth a lifetime of nipple bleeding, sleep deprivation, delirious fevers and anxiety. If there is anything I can do to save her a lifetime of pain, I will do it. Each time I toy with the idea of quitting, I gaze into her big puppy eyes and cry. Hysterically. No, Eva, I won't give up. I won't give up on you. I'm your Mama, and I'll do everything I can to protect you from those vicious poop diseases. Every. Damn. Thing.
It's been almost nine weeks now and breastfeeding is far from kink-free for us. Each feeding is a new attempt. A clean slate. If I ever slept, I would dream of a pain-free, illness-free breastfeeding relationship for me and my little one. For now, I focus on the fact that each bleeding nipple and every high fever represents pain that I can endure so my Eva doesn't have to. Maybe it's just a little bit, but maybe it's a lot. Either way, breastfeeding has made me feel like a mother more than any experience thus far. In fact, it has taught me what it takes to be a mother: Big, huge balls and even bigger tits.