Much like the labor and delivery process, but to a lesser extent, the topic of the physical exhaustion of breastfeeding seems to be underdiscussed (Is that a word? If not, I making it up right now since much of my blog is dedicated to topics which I feel are underdiscussed ;)).
I know women who stopped breastfeeding because of how exhausting and draining it was. I also know women who kept going despite the depletion they were experiencing.
Of course there are those who breastfeed without any qualms—those are the women who my father-in-law and other adults I’ve had contact with seem to know of (or these women are simply not as good at kvetching as I am…)
Just last week I got into a pickle with my father-in-law while we were visiting my husband’s parents for the first time since the birth of our 10-month-old daughter. I expressed to him that I was hungry and weak and in need of the main course food while we were still in the appetizer portion of the meal. Well, apparently “all women breastfeed and they are all fine! So why should Gila have complained?”
This having not been the first time I’ve been faced with people who lack understanding of a woman’s increased nutritional and self-care needs while breastfeeding, I decided to write this post!
While it might not be a physical activity, when you look at the increased caloric and fluid needs of a breastfeeding mama, it is reminiscent of that of an athlete.
I’m even convinced, from my own experience, that women who breastfeed need MORE sleep (Oh the irony!) due to this nutritional and energetic depletion (as well as the emotional depletion of caring for another human being ’round the clock—your whole focus in life shifts and this responsibility is at the forefront of your mind and heart, and that takes ENERGY! Not including the sleep deprivation—which is a HUGE factor in and of itself.
I may not convince my father-in-law, hell, I’ve given up on that.
But have I convinced you?…