Reduced risk of certain diseases and higher IQs are just two benefits of breastfeeding for baby. For mom, breastfeeding reduces her risk of certain cancers and gives her a special bond with baby.
These are some of the points we always hear about breastfeeding, but there are some things people don’t tell you. At least, they never told me, and now I’m sharing them with you.
1. It can be boring. Sure, breastfeeding helps you feel a sense of bonding with baby, but if your baby cluster feeds and you’re nursing frequently for long periods of time, it gets boring. Really boring. So grab your laptop, a book or magazine, watch TV, balance your checkbook, whatever it takes to avoid total boredom.
2. Baby may be attached to your breast for a LONG time. There are days you may get nothing done except nursing. All day. Frequently. My daughter, born in July, often nurses on and off for an hour or more and then only waits 30-60 minutes (or less) before demanding more.
3. Sometimes, you just don’t want to. This can be true when you’re extremely tired or your toddler is screaming about something he wants, and your baby decides you must feed her.
4. For such a natural thing, it sure isn’t easy. There can be issues with latching, positions, breast infections and blocked ducts, chapped and cracked nipples…and the list goes on. Funny how no one mentions these things when they talk about how great breastfeeding is.
5. Bottle is baby’s enemy. My baby doesn’t want a bottle, even though it has breast milk in it. I’ve tried the “tricks” others have mentioned to me – having any one but me give it to her, positioning it from the arm pit, switching bottles/nipples, giving it to her cold, etc. Nada. She just doesn’t want it.
6. It is a contact sport. That’s right – while nursing, baby will pump his or her little fists into your breast, pounding on it like it’s a drum and kick her feet, repeatedly, into your torso. Oh, and repeatedly (and quickly) pull her mouth off roughly, stretching your nipple, and reattach.
7. It will hurt. In addition to the fun of #4 and #6, your back, shoulders and even your wrist (from cupping your breast for a good latch) will ache.
8. It can be intimidating to nurse in public. For the most part, I’ve been going to the car to nurse when I’m out with my daughter. However, I have whipped out my cover and nursed in a restaurant, during a playgroup and in a grocery store. And even though I’m covered up, some people still stare and act as if I shouldn’t be doing what I’m doing.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m grateful breastfeeding is working out for me and my daughter so far, but I must admit there are days when I think it would be easier and more convenient to give her formula (which can have its own challenges).
What have you experienced with breastfeeding that you wish someone had told you? What tips do you have for breastfeeding mamas?
After a 10+ years communications career, Jamie K. recently took on her toughest job yet – as a full-time CFO (chief family officer). Currently, she lives in Alabama with her husband, an officer in the Air Force, and her toddler son and newborn daughter, who are her toughest bosses yet.