Breastfeeding is one of the most natural things that a mom can do but also one of the hardest things that a mom can do. For some moms, its a breeze but most moms run into at least one issue that may cause them to like breastfeeding less than they assumed they would.
1. Breastfeeding hurts – The first month of breastfeeding is painful. Lactation specialists will tell you that it should only hurt if you’re doing it wrong, but I disagree. Your nipples hurt just from being sucked on constantly. The best gift I received at my baby shower was a bottle of lanolin. To this day, I give it to expecting moms to help relieve sore, dry and cracked nipples that come along with breastfeeding.
2. You will leak – You will leak all the time. You will leak when you’re full, you will leak when the baby cries, you will leak when you shower. In that first month or two, you will feel like a faucet that can’t be turned off. Take advantage of breastfeeding pads and nursing bras or tops that have built-in extra padding to help absorb leaks!
3. You will feel like all you do is breastfeed – In those early days, when your baby eats every 2 to 3 hours it will feel like the moment you stop breastfeeding, you have to start all over again. A friend once advised me to find some new shows to binge on because it can be very boring and you could easily spend half of your day with a baby latched to your boob.
4. You may want to give up – I wanted to give up so much in the early days of breastfeeding. It was exhausting. I didn’t feel this incredible bond that everyone told me I would feel. I just felt overwhelmed. I felt overwhelmed because the majority of taking care of my daughter fell on my shoulders since a big part of taking care of her early on involved feeding her.
5. Its okay to give up – I am a proponent of breastfeeding. I believe that there are so many benefits to breastfeeding but with that being said, I don’t agree with women being pressured into it. There are many women who for whatever reason aren’t able to breastfeed, yet they wrack themselves with guilt because they don’t want to look like bad moms. I am from the camp of a fed baby is best and I always believe that you should do what works best for you and your family.
6. You may feel like a failure – Breastfeeding is hard. Really hard and it's often full of so much uncertainty. If you give your baby bottles, you know exactly how much milk their getting, but with breastfeeding, you’re usually guessing at whether your baby is full. As an exclusively breastfeeding mom, your babies growth solely rest on your shoulders and that's a lot of pressure for an already overwhelmed new mom.
7. Cluster feeding is a thing – I know I said earlier that there will be times where you feel like all you’re doing is breastfeeding but there’s this thing called cluster feeding which usually happens when your baby goes through a growth spurt and they are increasing their milk intake and your milk supply to keep up with their growing bodies. When this happens, you will probably be breastfeeding the majority of the day.
8. Weaning may be hard – You may find that weaning is hard for you, your baby or both of you. I wasn’t someone that loved breastfeeding and did it for 14 months. I was 100% ready to be done with it but I still felt emotional about it. Its kind of like leaving a job that you no longer like but it’s the only job you’ve ever known so its become a bit part of you. You may also find yourself with a baby that doesn’t want to wean. As your baby gets olde, more dependent on solid foods and less dependent on your milk you will find your supply decrease dramatically. Breastfeeding may become more of a comfort thing for them and thus something that they don’t want to give up.