8 Things No One Told Me About Breastfeeding {Guest Post}

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?

Guest Blogger - JamieAfter 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.

                     

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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I read this post nodding my head and saying out loud: Yep. Yep. Yep. Breastfeeding is really hard. Not only the time it takes from your day but also the latching process is tough. I was bruised and full of bumps during the entire process. Yet, I’d recommend it in a heart beat. Life is funny like that!

    • Becca, I feel the same way…I am grateful my body is allowing the breastfeeding process to work and despite the challenges, I’m so thankful. My son (now 2) wouldn’t nurse for anything. I pumped for 6 months, and that presents its own challenges! Until I did BF, I had no idea how hard it really can be…I have an all new respect for nursing mamas.

  • Wow, you really nailed it! Even with my ninth baby, every single thing you wrote held true. I couldn’t believe how hard this “natural” process was with my first baby, and it only got slightly easier even with experience. I really wish I had read this article with my first, because I felt like a nursing failure quite often even though I did successfully nurse him. 😛

    • I’m struggling to balance two children. I gained a whole new respect for parents after having one child. I gained a whole new level of respect after having a second child. Nine children…you ROCK! Glad to hear though that nursing remains an interesting experience even after you’ve done it with one child. I’m not planning on any more, but if I do and I run into more challenges (or different ones) I won’t be alone, that’s for sure.

  • I am nursing my son, who is 4 and a half months. He is a full time nurser and won’t accept a bottle either. My daughter is 4 and had this same issue. She finally accepted the bottle at 5 months but it took a lot of “convincing”…
    As stated above I have tried everything to get him to take the bottle but he just won’t. This time around I know that he won’t be nursing forever and I am just trying to enjoy our intimate time together.

    With my daughter I was always self aware while nursing her in public. I would try to find a private spot, go to my car, to a restroom etc. With my son I have become more comfortable with it and will pretty much nurse anywhere in public. Of course with a cover.. I don’t make eye contact with people when nursing in public because I don’t want to see any reactions. Negative especially. My baby has to eat and that’s that!

    • Lisa, at 6 1/2 mths, I still can’t get my girl to take a bottle. I do tend to still try to feed her in the car when we’re out, but I have fed her with a cover in stores, restaurants, etc. I try to avoid eye contact too — it’s amazing how “funny” people are in this day and age about breastfeeding (look at the breastfeeding Sesame Street controversy Mommy B just discussed on her local TV news station). I’m glad for the ability to feed my daughter, but I do wish it were easier sometimes!

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