There I was eight months pregnant, about to pop, sitting in a informational breastfeeding class, listening to every positive thing about breastfeeding “It has great health benefits for the baby and for you”, “ You will lose weight so fast”, and one I feel is overused “It is SO MUCH EASIER than formula feeding”. Not once in the whole hour class did they bring up one downside to breastfeeding, so there I was a week after my child was born crying my eyes out because of the things I never knew before I made up my mind I was going to breastfeed.
There are days when all your child is going to do: IS EAT
All hospitals give you a pamphlet or explain how your child’s stomach is the size of a golf ball when they are first born and slowly their stomach starts to get bigger. I will be the first to say, my child did not make me feel like her stomach was as small as a golf ball, all my child wanted to do is eat and eat and eat. Every hour, every second, every minute, no matter what I was doing where I was at my child wanted the boob. Sometimes it would last weeks, sometimes a few days and the hardest part of it all was I couldn’t see how much my child was getting making things needing to get done harder and body feeling drained to the point of exhaustion.
Breastfeeding is emotionally, physically, and mentally draining
When it comes to breastfeeding, there are many unknowns. For example, you cannot physically see how much milk your body is producing or giving to your child. As a result, when your child begins to scream and scream, showing all the hunger cues your mind starts to wonder, and you ask yourself if you’re producing enough. For some moms, this creates a feeling of fear. As a result, they tend to bring out that hard to understand contraption called “The Pump”. If you are anything like me, your body does not respond to it in the beginning and the stress begins to go into overdrive. I remember just sitting in my bed crying to my husband that I was not producing enough and how I felt personally like I was failing my baby. Then there was the physical aspect of making sure my baby was in the right position an completely latched. We are told it’s easy. But it’s not. Breastfeeding is a mental challenge. In teh beginning, you are constantly worrying about feeding the baby.
It takes food to lose weight
As a new mom, I was in the mindset that I’d diet, workout, and keeping feeding my child. WRONG. In the first week my milk almost dried up because my body needed the extra five hundred calories I was trying to avoid. I had to face that for the next year, diets would be something to avoid. Later on I realized, the extra calories were going to my child and weight started dropping quicker than I even expected. Some moms have a problem with this concept but it is a barrier that has to be broken early, especially for a positive experience.
Your nipples will feel like sandpaper
THE PAIN, formula beats breastfeeding moms on this one. The first few days of teaching your child how to feed is the hardest on your body. Your nipples may experience tenderness, cracking, and worst of all bleeding. The hospital will offer certain creams but half of them do not work instead I resulted to squeezing out milk and rubbing it on my nipples to ease the pain. The constant relatching your child on your breast during that time is the hardest and one of the most painful things you just have to break through.
The fun world of bra pads
There are different names for this item but every breastfeeding momma has had or almost had the experience of their boobs leaking, causing the embarrassing water looking stains on your shirt. As a result, companies came up with this neat little idea of period looking pads but in the shape of a circle for your bra. The worst part: depending on the brand they are almost as expensive as formula. Not once did someone suggest these life savers and only later did I find that they make the reusable version made out of organic, washable cotton.
In the end, breastfeeding was a positive experience for me. It created a bond between me and my child that I don’t know if I would have if I decided to formula feed. Even though the road to figuring it out did get tough, at the end of the day it was the best thing for me and my child. With time, it get easier emotionally, physically, and mentally. I promise.