Note: Breastfeeding is a personal choice and I support any of my readers / friends who chose to either nurse or formula feed. This post is not about which is better because that is for moms to determine what works best for them and their babies.
Well I made it. We made it. My son officially passed his one-year mark in late November and we are still going strong with nursing. For mom’s who breastfeed, you know this is a huge accomplishment. The road was not always easy and even though he is my second child, he was my first exclusively breastfed. My older son never quite figured out the whole “latching” thing, and I was a clueless new mom who felt like a fish out of water.
Once I realized neither he nor I knew what the hell we were doing, I immediately began pumping and continued to pump every day for ten months straight. While I can say I’ve learned to truly love breastfeeding with my second son, I still definitely hate the pumping. Between both my kids I’ve spent, collectively, over 3 months time pumping. That’s a lot of nipple tugging people! I’m so over it, but because I’m a human cow – Mr. Medela and I have postponed our divorce, at least for now.
I chose to breastfeed primarily because it’s free! My first son was born during the recession and my second son was born right after I left my corporate job, so finances were tight. Also, I had heard it’s easier to get your pre-baby body back when you breastfeed. Lastly, it’s beneficial for baby.
I realize each person and each experience is different, but I thought I would share some of my “truths” of breastfeeding with new moms or soon-to-be moms who choose to nurse. Hopefully this will minimize the surprises because as a new mom – don’t we have enough of those already?
My breastfeeding truths:
- It HURTS. Like HELL. Then after a few weeks…. it gets better, much better. Eventually the numbness sets in and the pain subsides, so power through momma. You can do it!
- Know that every day you’ll eat like it’s Thanksgiving. You lose a ton of calories a day just from nursing, so you’ll feel FAMISHED all the time. I tend to take advantage of the vast amount of calories I lose and sneak in some cake.
- There will never be enough water to clinch your thirst. Keep a bottle of water by your bed because you’ll wake up feeling as if you spent all night crawling through the Sahara dessert.
- Be sure to line your bra with nursing pads. It’s all fun and games until you look down and see two large wet spots.
- One boob will always be bigger than the other and it’s very noticeable, especially after you nurse.
- When you experience the “let down” your nipple becomes a shower head and anything in its path will get sprayed, so watch out.
- Your boobs will never be the same again. Let the dream go. Looks like I’ll be investing in some nice bras in the future.
- When your breasts are full, they can knock out Evander Holyfield with one hit. He is no match for my mommy boobs.
- Prepare yourself for Mastitis or clogged ducts. I would consider myself to have a high tolerance for pain and Mastitis knocked me on my a**. If feels like the flu – times a thousand. If you feel like your breasts are on fire and they start to turn red DON’T wait, get on antibiotics stat! Keep nursing, massaging and use a heating pad.
- When teeth come into play don’t scream when they bite you, it makes them bite harder. Learned that one from experience.
- When they become mobile, nursing sessions turn into baby acrobatics complete with thrashing arms and legs.
- All of the above are worth it because of the indescribable bonding experience. Those precious moments will stay in my heart forever.
I know my nursing days are coming to a close and I will admit the thought makes my heart heavy. I’ll miss when he holds my hand or rubs my face during sessions, and I’ll miss the feeling of being truly needed. I know my schedule and body will eventually thank me once the floodgates are closed, but until then I’ll just continue to savor the bonding – and eat lots of cake.