Monday, December 1, 2014

7 Things I Didn't Expect About Breastfeeding

I knew the minute we found out we were pregnant that I wanted to breastfeed.  But it was extremely intimidating.  You hear so much about everyone having this difficulty or that.  And then there are the stories of nurses or doctors pressuring you to supplement or just switch to formula for some not-so-legitimate reasons.  So, just like with labor & delivery, I did a lot of reading and preparing.  I even went to a class.  And, no, you do not pull your boobs out and lay them on the table for all to my husband assumed would happen.  haha.

But even with all of that preparing, there were still a few unexpected things that popped up.

1. Your milk comes in rather suddenly.  One morning I woke up and all was normal.  Fed Baby Girl throughout the day and all was fine.  Hubby mentioned after dinner that he thought my chest was a bit bigger.  I also happened to notice around the same time that they were a tad sore.  Go to get changed for bed and *bam* it was like I was a new woman!  I gained a cup size in day!!  Along with a bunch of new stretch marks. ;)  I guess I had assumed that it would be a slower process....not so instantly noticeable.

2. There doesn't always have to be a problem.  After hearing so many horror stories and reading of all of the issues that could arise, I kept waiting for a problem.  You see, Aelah and I were very fortunate, we didn't have any major issues at all.  She latched and ate on both sides within about an hour or so of birth.  The only problems we had were minute - she didn't want to wake up every 2 hours to eat like the nurses at the hospital wanted, and her upper lip needed a little bit of adjusting the first couple of days to make sure her latch was just right.  So when we went home, I kept waiting and worrying that something was going to go wrong.  It couldn't be this simple.  I obsessed over her latch and was anxious about her weight.  If her poopy diapers were an odd color, I was trolling web pages looking for something to be wrong.  But there doesn't always have to be something wrong.  If things are going well for you, then great!  Enjoy it!  If things aren't going well - reach out.  There are local chapters of the Le Leche League everywhere.  And most hospitals have a lactation consultant that can help out.  I can call or email ours any time at no charge.  And there is also a breastfeeding support group at the hospital that meets once a month.  

3. It can hurt...even if everything is right.  I read in a few different places that if it hurt, something was wrong (bad latch, etc.).  Not true.  There are a few different reasons why you might experience pain without there being a major issue - toughening up, let down, and hormones to name a few.  You can read a bit more about this here from Anne at Zephyr Hill.

4. Leaking.  I knew most women leaked at least a little bit...which is why they created nursing pads.  But since a few women I knew leaked very little if any at all...I didn't expect a lot.  Boy was I wrong!  I can soak through a typical nursing pad in a feeding and end up needing a new shirt if I'm not careful!  But only sometimes.  Other times I don't leak at all.  Just depends on how long between feedings and what time of day.  I guess my advice here is: just go with the flow. ;)

5. You will plan your outings around nursing.  Or maybe this was just me.  But when we went to the doctor for the first time or when I had to run to the store, I tried to be strategic about it so we wouldn't have to nurse in public.  I still try to do this when I can but it isn't quite as bad. 

6. The first time you successfully nurse in public you will feel like an Olympic gold medalist!  The first time I fed Aelah outside of the car was at a Cheddar's.  I could have stayed in the car for a bit...but it was cold.  And I knew I would have to nurse in public eventually.  So we got a booth and I sat on the inside.  The entire time I kept checking to make sure my boobs weren't showing and wondering how many people had noticed what I was doing.  Odds are, no one even noticed...except maybe our waitress.  But when we were all wrapped up, I felt like a champ!  I had done one of the things I feared the most!  

7. There will be days, as a friend stated, that you will want to cut off your boobs and give them to your husband.  Ha!  Yep....pretty much.  Cluster feeding happens.  Your little one will want to nurse so often you will get nothing done and you will be up all night.  But it will pass.  I promise.

8. Once the milk starts flowing, it takes awhile to stop.  Baby Girl likes to drink fast.  And once my milk lets down, she tends to cough and sputter a little bit.  In the meantime - milk is spraying everywhere - all over me, all over her, and all over whatever else happens to be around.  It is quite humorous actually.  :D

What is one thing you didn't expect about breastfeeding?  


  1. This is going to sound crazy.... but I didn't expect using a towel after showering to hurt so bad the first month or so while things are regulating and "toughening up". Man, getting out of the shower and drying off was a delicate matter for several weeks! haha! Maybe that's just me though!!

    It's amazing how different each nursing experience is with each child as well. El was a nightmare the first few months. We had so many probs - I am so thankful for a great lac consultant who encouraged me to stick with it!. D was pretty good with latch, etc from the get-go (which was a relief after my 1st experience)... but she was such an efficient eater - literally she'd eat on ONE side for 5-10 mins (if that) every few hours or so.... we stressed ourselves out that she wasn't getting enough. We were silly for worrying, but can't blame us! And for A... we are having some issues - perhaps due to tongue tie. We have an appt on Friday for an evaluation. I have tried everything to get that girl to latch right and she just doesn't keep the suction. It's very painful! The ped at the hospital said she had a slight tongue tie... but our regular ped didn't really give her opinion and referred us to another doctor/dentist. *sigh* Hoping this will solve the problem!

    I am glad things are going so well for you and Aelah! That's definitely a blessing!

    1. I have heard it is different every time around. And I'm sure I'll be preparing for the worst when we have baby #2. Aelah eats super quickly too. I worry every once in awhile but she is gaining weight and not miserable. So I know we're okay. But she doesn't often eat from both sides in one feeding. And to go over 10 minutes during the day is odd.

      I'll be praying that they figure out the issue with A. I was prepared for a tongue tie because I have a pretty bad one. But she doesn't at all. She has a bit of a lip tie which caused some latch issues early on. But now I know what to watch for and can correct the problem very easily. You will have to let me know what you find out! Hoping it continually gets better for the two of you!


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