Preparing for your new bundle of joy means getting the nursery ready, figuring out a new schedule, and anticipating those newborn snuggles. If you’re planning to nurse your baby, you’ll also want to prepare for that as well, which is why I’d like to talk about what no one tells you about breastfeeding. Be sure to bookmark this page and pin it to your favorite Pinterest board (trust me, you’ll come back to it!).
What No One Tells Your About Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is certainly a monumental moment in motherhood and can come with a wealth of emotions. While it’s always shown in a positive light, there are several things that no one tells you about it. Below are a few things to keep in mind as your journey on to nursing your baby.
It’s f***ing hard.
There’s really no other way to put it. There are a few moms who may say that they didn’t experience any problems at all; however, for the majority of nursing mothers, it’s the complete opposite. From waiting on the milk to come in to finding the best breastfeeding position, nursing your baby can be downright hard. And that’s okay!
It can hurt.
Yes, this is true but let’s look at the facts. There are so many changes that a woman’s body – especially the breasts – go through in order to prepare for taking care of a baby. Once your body turned incubator has released your baby into the world, it’s not done. It then enters the phase of nourishing your baby and this happens well before your baby is even born.
However, once earthside, your breasts are preparing to express milk and your nipples also are preparing to be latched on. Going from no one sucking on your breasts to having a baby latching onto them multiple times a day can come with a bit of soreness. Please note that bleeding and chapped nipples are not normal.
To help alleviate the pain that comes with nursing, I recommend using creams, lotions, and oils that have been made to aid mothers who are breastfeeding.
It often doesn’t come naturally for you OR baby.
Do you remember what it was like trying to ride a bike for the first time? Or how about getting the hang of tying your shoes? Believe it or not, learning how to breastfeed your baby works much like that. Although your baby will have a natural ability for eating/sucking, using her mouth and using your breast will be foreign at first.
And from the mother’s perspective, learning how to help your baby latch will seem awkward at first as well. Don’t stress about it not coming naturally because it will become natural over time as your and your baby get to know one another.
Cluster feeding is part of the journey.
It’s safe to say that cluster feeding is going to become one of your best friends. Most moms agree that they experience the most cluster feeding when their babies hit a growth spurt. Your baby will want to eat more but in small “clusters.”
When this happens, you’ll feel like you just fed your baby 10 minutes ago, but they will typically only eat for a few minutes at a time. These phases will also pass and often doesn’t indicate that there are any issues to be concerned with.
Engorgement is another part of the nursing process that happens during the beginning phases. Your body has to get used to how much your baby eats and find its sweet spot for milk production to keep up. At first, the milk factory is turned on and ready to go and when your baby goes several hours without eating, things can get a little backed up.
To help with engorgement, you can hand-express, pump, or use a warm shower to alleviate any pressure and pain. The engorgement phase shouldn’t last too long and you’ll want to make sure it doesn’t turn into something serious such as mastitis.
Not all nipples are created equal.
Your nipples may go through a few changes of their own whether in size and color, but even then, not all nipples are created equal. Even if you have smaller nipples, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll have a more difficult time nursing. In fact, some moms who have what would be considered the ideal size for easier nursing can still have issues.
You might resent your partner.
Resenting your partner after giving birth, and especially during the beginning stages of breastfeeding, is totally normal. There is a lot going on with your body, including the balancing of hormones and adjusting to your new norm.
There are a few ways to stay on top of not allowing your feelings, emotions, and hormones get the best of you and your relationship:
- Understand that motherhood is hard no matter how many children you have.
- Embrace the newness that comes with having a new baby.
- Don’t put unrealistic expectations on yourself and your baby.
- Stay away from comparing your breastfeeding journey to others.
- Talk about how you’re feeling with people you can trust.
It’s not for everyone and that’s ok.
At the end of the day, breastfeeding is not for everyone. Some moms stop shortly after their baby is born while others choose to go for as long as possible. Regardless, you will have to decide if breastfeeding is something you want to do. If you choose not to, there are other ways you can still feed and bond with your baby.
Breastfeeding can be a joyful time as well as a stressful time. Be sure to give you and your baby grace as you learn new things about one another and how the ebb and flow of nursing can work. Keep these things that no one tells you about breastfeeding in the back of your mind and revisit this post anytime you need a refresher.