One thing a lot of mothers (and fathers!) worry about when deciding how to feed their baby is how their decision will impact their social lives. This is a valid worry; after all, having time with friends and your spouse is important.
Many people believe that choosing to breastfeed means choosing to give up your social life until breastfeeding ends. This is simply not the case.
It is true that, if you are breastfeeding, you are solely responsible for providing your child with nourishment until they start solid foods at around the middle of the first year of life. This certainly does put some limitations on how and where you spend your time.
What a lot of people seem to forget, though, is that one’s social life will be affected however that person chooses to feed their baby. Having children is the single most effective way to halt your social life in its tracks, at least temporarily! Things change when you have a child, and that fact stands whether or not you breastfeed or formula feed.
The breastfeeding demands of a newborn baby are intense; they will need you to be around to feed from at least every 2-3 hours, and lots of time in between those feeds for cuddles! However, this intense period does not last forever. It is hard to relinquish your freedom, especially if this is your first baby. It’s a total culture shock and takes a lot of getting used to.
The way I see it (and the thought-process that got me through that time) is that this time in the baby’s life is so short. Before you know it, your baby will be a walking, talking little person who certainly doesn’t need to have mummy around 24/7! It feels like a long time when you are within it, but looking back it goes past in the blink of an eye.
Remember also that you probably won’t have the energy, or the inclination, to resume your social life straight away after the birth. People seem obsessed nowadays with the fact that mothers should be aiming to ‘get back to normal’ but you don’t have to do any such thing if you don’t want to. If you’re not ready to leave your baby for any length of time, don’t do it.
And besides, there are a million and one things you can do with a baby in tow. The beauty of breastfeeding is that you needn’t worry about lugging equipment around in order to feed your baby — all you need is your breasts. If you can get the hang of nursing your baby in a wrap sling, you will be free to take your baby anywhere without even having to worry about taking them out of the wrap to feed them! How’s that for freedom?