From a mom, to a mom.
Breastfeeding can be such a beautiful thing, the fact that your body can create food to feed and grow another human is amazing. The milk itself can change based on your babies needs and is basically the immune system for your baby until it grows its own. The bond you create during those hours, and hours, and…hours, of feeding is something like no other and can make a mother feel very accomplished.
As much as I love breastfeeding and I would never want to steer anyone away from the experience, I feel there are some truths being left out that I would like to share. Here are some truths to better prepare a mom looking to breastfeed:
IT HURTS!– No one seems to tell you that for the first couple weeks of breastfeeding you will feel like you are getting your nipples pierced every time your baby latches on (actually I have had friends who have had their nipples pierced and they say the pain of breastfeeding is worse). Don’t worry though it does go away and gets more comfortable so don’t give up! Just wait it out and having something to squeeze really hard nearby or something to bite down on to stop you from swearing the first couple times also helps.
Babes like Boobs– Now that you have gotten use to feeding, be prepared to do it all the time….like ALL the time. Middle of the night? You have the boobs so guess who gets up to feed the baby. During the day? Don’t go too far because you are their food source. And then nap time….finally you think you may have some time to yourself, until the baby falls asleep on your boob and you don’t dare wake them so now you are stuck under a baby for two hours (I hope you brought a good book to read).
Leakage– My biggest tip is to get some nursing pads (or as I like to call them boob pads). I prefer the reusable ones, they are easy to just throw in the laundry and you don’t have to keep buying new ones (also not to mention the environment factor). So here is something someone may not have mentioned to you before but, when you nurse out of one breast the other one will slightly leak. This is where having some extra padding in there might help to absorb the extra milk so it doesn’t create big wet marks on your shirt announcing to the world that you are lactating. And if you are a smaller chested person like me these pads are great for making your breast look a little bigger (I don’t know why I never discovered these in high school) aka free boob job!
Shower Tip– What mom doesn’t love a hot shower? Sorry what mom has time for a hot shower?! So you finally find a break in the day when you get to bathe and you are sooooo excited! You strip down and jump into that nice warm water, you start shampooing your hair and thinking of what your life was like pre baby and then you feel a tingling sensation in your boobs. You look down to find milk squirting out, and this is when you cry over wasted milk. You worked so hard to produce that liquid gold and there it goes….down the drain. So my advice is to always feed baby pre shower so no milk is wasted. Yes your body will produce more and your kid won’t starve if this happens! But… you should consider yourself lucky if it happens in the shower, sometimes it likes to wait until you are toweling off and then you get sweet sticky boob juice all down your clean body (yum).
I hope passing on this wisdom hasn’t scared you away from breastfeeding in anyway, as my wish is for this to better prepare new mamas out there. No one wants to talk about the hard parts that come with being a new a new mom but you will happy someone prepared you.