Breastfeeding is supposed to be natural. You know that women have done it since the beginning of mankind. It is done in third world countries. And around the world women are feeding at this exact second. But there is so much about breastfeeding that is hidden behind the curtain. It is masked by women talking about how much of a bonding experience it is, how wonderful it is, and how it is the right thing for baby. Don’t get me wrong. Yes, it has its perks, but there are so many not so warm and fuzzy aspects of it that no one tells you. So here it is; I am putting it out there.
The pre-game can make you or break you.
I had a poor experience with my first breastfeeding attempt, so this time around I met with a lactation nurse to calm my nerves and answer my questions. Yeah, yeah the classes are OK, but the one on one Q&A was way more effective. Don’t rely on the lactation nurses in the hospital. You will hate them. Between being tired, hormonal, confused, overwhelmed and did I mention tired?, nothing they say will make sense or be comforting. Seek outside help in advance.
You will make friends with your boobs.
Until I attempted breastfeeding, I can honestly said that I didn’t spend much time with my boobs. I mean, they were there and that was about it. But when you breastfeed, you have a much more intimate relationship with them. You get a little handsy. You now hold your boobs for hours a day when feeding, massage them frequently to keep the production flowing and rub your nipples with cream. Plus, you could compete with a topless dancer for logging how much time they are out and on display.
Breastfeeding is not free.
Yeah we have all heard that if nothing else, breastfeeding is free. I am here to tell you it is far from free. There is the pump, which is a necessity if you plan to go back to work or ever plan to attempt to leave the house. Then there are the storage supplies, sleeping bras, regular bras, the freezer bag thing to take with you, creams, and so on. Dropping $60 on one nursing bra made me realize just how expensive this endeavor is getting. Yeah, and don’t mention that you can get cheaper ones from Target, because when you have boobs, with a bra size in letters you didn’t know they made bras in, you can’t. Nope, not on their website either. We are talking about special order.
Your diet is similar to a drug addict.
Yep, you could take up residence in Colorado because of the amount of food scavenging that you do. Especially in the very beginning, exactly when hubby goes back to work, there is little time to actually make a meal. No, I am not talking about dinner. I am talking about breakfast and lunch, the ones you are solo on. Basically, if it can fit into your hand with out making too much of a mess without a plate and doesn’t have to be prepared in anyway, it is fair game and considered a meal. Things that fall into this category are king cake, string cheese, granola bars, apples and Cheese-Its. All are nowhere near the high protein diet that breastfeeding moms are supposed to consume. Um…sorry, dear baby, I can’t feed you because I am busy preparing protein doesn’t quite work.
This stuff stains.
No, breastfeeding itself does not stain, but Lanolin does. Lanolin is this magic cream that makes your nipples hate you just a bit less in the first couple of weeks. But in the large quantities that I was applying it, it became the nemesis of my pajamas. Which means that by the time I am finished breastfeeding, I will need to replace all of my pajamas and a few of my husband’s shirts that I have claimed with boobie stains. File this also under the breastfeeding is not free issue.
Breastfeeding is an individual sport.
Yes, I know that seems obvious, but after bottle feeding my first and it being a team sport, it sucks to be the only one getting up at night. You really realize it is all on you at about 3AM on the third night home from the hospital. Although, I may have wished so hard that my husband could just take a feeding or two that I am surprised he didn’t start lactating. Damn, where is my fairy godmother when you need her.
A blocked milk duct in your nipple is the female equivalent of getting kicked in the balls.
Yep it is. Every time the baby latches, it is like getting kicked. It is a sharp pain that paralyzes you for a second. The only difference is that you know you are going to experience the pain and you have to do it about every two hours. If childbirth wasn’t enough, this little gem keeps your boobs feeling just glorious.
Breastfeeding has a sense of humor.
You are brainwashed in the hospital not to give your baby a pacifier because they will have nipple confusion. So you become a human pacifier at the beck and call of baby at any time. Add in nipples that basically have been rubbed raw with sandpaper at the beginning, and it makes for a great time. On about your second night home from the hospital, when you are in the trenches of nipple pain and getting brave away from the lactation Nazis and you try a pacifier, you baby wont take it!!! Breastfeeding 1, Mommy 0
Modesty and breastfeeding don’t mix.
There are all these campaigns for acceptance of women breastfeeding in public. And, I know you lose modesty when you have a baby, but at some point you have to reclaim some of it. To each his own, because I couldn’t even imagine whipping my boob out in public to feed my child. Um no. And, no not even with a cover up because there are not enough hands to hold the baby, the boob and then negotiate the cover up in place. It’s too risky for a free show in my opinion. I’ll keep my boobs out of public places for my comfort and your comfort, no problem. I am barely comfortable feeding in my own home much less taking this show on the road.
Breastfeeding is not for the faint of heart.
Your boobs will hurt in ways you didn’t know were possible, and they will do things you didn’t know they could do. So you have to be up for it. But after bottle feeding my first and feeling like breastfeeding moms were nuts, I know now that they are. Being on the breastfeeding side of the fence, I know that breastfeeding moms are putting in a ton of work and the only reward is going to the pediatrician and seeing how much weight the baby has gained. It is a lot of pressure!