Breastfeeding is wonderful and we have all heard about the great benefits. Breastfeeding can be really hard or it can be easy, it’s different for every mom. Maybe you will be lucky and it will be easy from the start. Whichever it is, there may be a few things you may not know about breastfeeding. Everything on this list does not always apply to everyone so please do not take it as the gospel. I love breastfeeding. I wouldn’t write a blog about it if I did not love it, but just in case you are not aware…
1. You will be afraid.
I was afraid, I seriously could not imagine a baby pushing out of me and then on top of that I could not imagine a baby sucking on my breast every couple of hours. And I definitely could not imagine it being enjoyable in any way possible. Well, just like I got use to and enjoyed the strange sensation of a baby moving around in my belly, I also got use to breastfeeding and it had a similar effect for me. Once I experienced it and got through the early hump of learning, it was pretty cool.
2. Your breasts will not be sexual to you at all.
Now I have heard this does not apply to all women, but for me and most breastfeeding moms I know those boobs are baby food and that is that…I wonder if they will ever be for cleavage baring, getting out of speeding tickets, and free drinks again? No? Well that’s okay. Maybe once I am done nursing they can fulfill their real purpose again haha.
3. When your milk comes in your breasts will look and feel like they belong to a porn star.
Rock hard and super large. But, like I said above; you really won’t want to use them that way. And, you may be slightly horrified at the size and pain that accompanies them.
4. Breastfeeding will hurt occasionally and that’s okay and normal.
Whether it’s cracked nipples in the first weeks or dealing with engorgement, mastitis, or thrush.. sometimes breastfeeding is painful. I have heard the saying that if it hurts you are not doing it correctly, but that’s really not true. I mean did the person who coined that phrase ever deal with cracked nipples and ridiculously engorged breasts?
5. In the beginning you may wonder how you are going to do this for another day.
Let alone 6 weeks or 3 months or 6 months or a year. Whatever your goal is; it will feel so far away and you will wonder how you can make it. Just take it one day at a time in the beginning. You can do it but it won’t always feel that way.
6. There will be times your skin will crawl and you will want to just pull your baby off of you.
Usually during cluster feeding or nonstop night wakings. For me this was the worst when my son was waking every 30 minutes to hour during the night and the only way to get him back to sleep was nursing. This was a phase. It did not last forever, but at the time I really wanted to pull my hair out and put him down and walk away. It’s okay. This feeling is fleeting but it’s hard when you are going through it.
7. There will be other times that you will love breastfeeding.
You won’t even want to put your baby down. You will experience the lovely breastfeeding bliss that you might be thinking is some baloney made up by breastfeeding advocates, but it will come eventually. I experience this a lot more now that my baby is older and he just nurses and cuddles. It’s a lot easier nursing a few times throughout the day than all night long every single hour.
8. You will worry a lot.
In the beginning you will worry if your baby is getting enough milk. Then you will worry if your baby is gaining enough weight, pooping enough, eating enough. Then you might worry that your baby is gaining weight too quickly. Or that you have an oversupply and your baby is receiving a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance.
Or you will worry that your baby will cluster feed forever or is not getting enough milk since he eats so frequently. You will wonder and worry if he will ever sleep longer stretches or sleep through the night. You will worry if the diet you are eating is okay for breast milk or if the beer or two you had will hurt your baby. If you are a mom, you will worry and breastfeeding is no exception.
9. Weaning is really hard.
Maybe you are excited to wean. Maybe you are ready. It’s going to be great to have so much clothing freedom and wear pretty bras again. Or maybe you are not ready but your baby has other ideas. Maybe your baby or toddler will wean because you are pregnant again. Well even if you think you are ready to wean, weaning can be really sad. When my daughter weaned I was caught off guard by the emotions. I was ready for it and figured it was a good thing. I was pregnant again and did not really want to tandem nurse. But, when it actually happened I was depressed and cried every night for about two weeks! It’s normal to be sad about moving on from a stage in your child’s life. Plus there are some serious crazy hormones involved.
10. Breastfeeding is one of the best things I have done and it does get really easy eventually.
I feel lucky to have experienced it and while this post points out a few things that may sound negative or hard they are worth it. Eventually breastfeeding does get easier. Line up a good support system and hang in there moms!