I am no expert on breastfeeding, but after breastfeeding my first for 8 months and currently breastfeeding my 5 month old, I have learned a few things.
- It is actually not fun. Breastfeeding is hard work from the moment your child comes into this world. It will get easier over time and you will find your groove, but it is never fun. It may be an awesome bonding experience(totally is) and you may love it(or hate it) but it’s still not fun. Sorry.
- It is all about the latch. The latch is essential to all things breastfeeding. My nurse with aubrey was very “hands on” and literally grabbed my boob like a sandwich and then guided aubrey to it. It worked like a charm, but for A LOT of women, the latch isn’t always great. A wrong latch can decrease your milk production, make your baby hungry and mad, make you hurt, and make things very complicated. The main thing is, you have to get alllll of that sucker in the baby’s mouth, not just the nipple.
- Your nipples will bleed like Andy’s did on The Office during the charity fun run. Yeah. They will. Lanolin will be your bff for the first weeks, maybe months, until those bad boys get used to the daily torture they’re enduring.
- Your boobs will look AWESOME. Until you’re done nursing. Then they just look like sad, half-deflated balloons. So, keep nursing! Yay!
- Pumping is a blessing and a curse. It is so nice to be able to pump milk and save it or put it in a bottle so that someone else can feed the baby once in a while, or all the time, whichever. However, it is so difficult to find a time and a place to pump, especially when watching another child.
- It is SO rewarding. I love the fact that I am supplying all of the nutrients for my 5 month old right now, as she is fed solely on breastmilk. It is also such a bonding experience and I actually do enjoy it. Most of the time.
- Teething also isn’t fun. You would think that doesn’t fit in this list of breastfeeding facts, but it certainly does. Biting happens. If you know what I mean. Biting and pulling. I still haven’t figured out how to stop this from happening, so I’ll just say it’s not fun. What helps is squeezing the breast so that the nipple can’t be fully smushed, but it still doesn’t feel good. We will get past this.
- You will always be hungry. Breastfeeding burns calories when you’re just relaxing because you’re producing food for another human, so you will stay hungry. I do, at least. But it’s AWESOME because you will lose weight while eating ALL the snacks. Thumbs up for that one!
- All nursing bras are awful. They really need to figure that one out. You can’t wear regular bras with the underwire because you can’t move the cups out of the way easily, nursing bras with no underwire aren’t very supportive and also show leaks like no ones business, and then the nursing bras with underwire are also very uncomfortable and not very flattering. Come on, somebody. Help us ladies out!
- You will leak. Not sure why I forgot about this one until the end. But yes, leakage is really bad in the beginning and nursing pads are absolutely necessary. Now, they don’t happen as often, but they still happen if I’ve gone a while without pumping or breastfeeding.
- It’s worth it! All the pain, soreness, leaking, and occasional biting are a small price to pay for what you’re giving to your child. So even if you have to exclusively pump or supplement, you are doing a GREAT job! You’ll make it, mama!