Social media is going nuts over Whitney Eve Port's recent video on breast-feeding. I watched it, and couldn't help but tear up as I understood exactly what she meant.
Why is breast-feeding so painful for some of us, but for others it's not? The same could be said about general pregnancy; how come some women float through pregnancy while others struggle to make it through each day?
Here are a few take-homes about breast-feeding that I noticed as I breast-fed both of my children.
Then there’s latching. A new word that comes with the ‘New Mom’ territory. Incorrect latching HURTS!!!
In spite of the pain that came with breastfeeding, I seemed to skim my way through it during baby one. I was totally in love with my newfound ‘I don’t have to go to work for a while’ status and of course, with my new baby boy! I accepted the pain and just went with it.
You would think that my body would have toughened itself up in preparation for baby #2, but weirdly the second baby was even worse. Breastfeeding my daughter was more painful than childbirth and I had two natural, non-medicated childbirths. So I know what pain is!
My husband would come into the room as I settled down to breastfeed my daughter, to see me breathing in and out as if I was in labor! ‘Ow ow ow ow ow’ I would whisper with my eyes closed, wincing as the tears rolled down my face! ‘This. Hurts. So. Much’ was another common mantra of mine as I breastfed her!
I don't know why it hurts so much. I think I had a lot of nipple damage due to incorrect latching. I'm not really sure, but I tell you, breast-feeding hurt so badly I sobbed many times. I tried different positions, my doula came over to prop me up in different ways. She brought me nipple guards, some natural nipple balms. I tried everything but it was always agony, and I was never able to figure out why.
So yes Whitney, breastfeeding can be really, really sore.
2. Breastfeeding is boring.
Nobody told me that I would spend hours of my life in a black room when my husband was fast asleep. When baby wakes up in the night, it’s the sole responsibility of the breastfeeding Mama to nurse the baby, while staring off into space. It’s quite a comedy act trying to jump into action quickly enough so as not to wake up hubby, then getting baby comfortable enough to latch on, trying to stay awake long enough to burp him or her gently enough, so that he or she would go right back to sleep.
Hours of my life spent breastfeeding; not being prepared enough to have a book at hand, or not wanting to turn the light on and disturb hubby because he had to get up for work in the morning. Breastfeeding can be boring, so you've either got to get really good at meditating, being patient, or (in my case)become a book addict.
3. You might not enjoy breastfeeding.
I'm the first to acknowledge that it's an incredible experience for bonding, and cuddles, and some down time, but you might not like it. It might not be for you. It might not make you feel comfortable or happy, and after everything that you've gone through to get pregnant, to carry a pregnancy to full-term, and to deliver the baby, I think that we should all have the right to give ourselves permission to choose to do it, or choose not to do it.
Friends and family of mine have loved it, and others have absolutely hated it, and derive no pleasure from it whatsoever. I don't know if there's any truth to this, but surely, our babies can sense our unhappiness hormones?
Shouldn't one on one time with baby be spent doing something that makes you happy, as opposed to doing something that makes you miserable?
I say we can all make up our own minds as to what’s best for us and our babies.
4. People are going to stare.
I didn't anticipate being in a public place, or my home, and having people watch me like a hawk as I was breastfeeding. It’s an incredibly intimate experience initially for both baby and Mom.
When I was out and about when baby needed a feed, breastfeed, it can feel extremely foreign to let it all hang out! It takes some getting used to when someone is staring you down!
So if you are mom to a nursing baby, and you feel a little uncomfortable: you're not alone. Talk about it to your friends; I bet some of them feel the same way.
I'm not too keen on the whole nursing bibs or aprons. Personally, I liked using my Aden & Anais muslin wraps to create a semblance of privacy. You’ve got to figure out how to control your environment if you're not comfortable with other people watching you do it.
5. Be prepared to breastfeed anywhere.
I could tell you more than a handful of hilarious stories of me standing over my baby, hovering a boob in his or her face, because I couldn't lift them out of their car seat. Then there's the times where I've breastfed while holding baby and pushing a shopping cart at the same time! Talk about multi-tasking!
I would love to hear any funny breastfeeding stories from Moms reading this, because you've got to be mobile, willing, and able to just breastfeed whenever your baby needs you to.
When they're newborns, we Moms are on automatic response to get them on the boob. So be prepared to do that, and then it won't feel so shocking when you actually do it.
6. Pumping Is Just Plain Weird.
Man, I could write a whole other blog just on pumping, and how strange it is when you first start. Nobody warns you about the obnoxious noises that come out of the pump machines, that really do make you feel like you're a cow.
Pumping is a bizarre feeling until you're accustomed to it. And while it's awesome to do, so you have your milk reserves ready to go for a family member or sitter to give to the baby, the process of pumping is one strange thing to get used to.
Perhaps it's just me that thought these things about breastfeeding were weird, but these are issues that nobody talked to me about, and I didn't read about either! Obviously, if you have any comments or feedback that you'd like to share with us, just drop them in the comments box at the bottom of the blog.