The New Mom’s {Honest} Guide to Breastfeeding

Disclosure: This post is part our series in observance of World Breastfeeding Week and is sponsored by Woman’s Hospital

The New Mom’s {Honest} Guide to Breastfeeding

When I was pregnant with my first, we were kind of on the fence about breastfeeding. I’d heard all the info, done some research, but I just wasn’t ready to board the train. I had a friend that had tried and had been unsuccessful and another friend that just had no interest in trying. We decided we’d give it a go and if it didn’t work out, we’d move on. Well, baby came and we fell in love. And then my milk came in. Y’all. I went from being a voluptuous woman to Pam Anderson circa 1997. All that preparation yet I wasn’t prepared at all!

So my daughter latched moments after birth and I was so excited as she started eating right away. Mom, win! Right? Nope. Absolutely wrong. Thanks to a visit from a Woman’s Hospital lactation consultant, I discovered her latch was shallow, and while she appeared to be eating, it was all motion and no follow through. With a little coaching, I had a milk guzzling newbie on my hands!

Breastfeeding can be hard. It’s demanding. Sometimes it feels less natural and more supernatural. Here are some things I wasn’t quite prepared for …

The Pain.

When I was pregnant I had a sweet friend tell me that nursing would prove to be one of the most painful experiences of motherhood. But, if I could hang in for two weeks, there would be a magical change. She had no explanation as to the time or the magic, just that it happened. And y’all! I spent many nights crying as I counted down the seconds to her release. It was as if a vice grip had latched to my nipple and was holding it ransom. But  if I can make it through birth and recovery, surely I can stick it out two weeks, right? The pain was mind numbing. But, just as she’d said, that two week mark came and suddenly her latch was bearable, nursing became less of a chore and more enjoyable!

Moooove Over Bessy, There’s New Dairy Queen In Town.

I had no insight on pumping. But I knew that I wanted to be able to share the privilege of feeding with my husband. I was SAHM so I’d pump first thing in the morning and then nurse the rest of the day. And while I know volume varies for everyone, I was a little overwhelmed. Have you ever listened to a pump?! It takes on a life of its own. You start hearing things … “mooing-mooing-mooing,” “feed me-feed me-feed me,” even “mate me-mate me-mate me.” I pumped nearly 10 oz per session! I had gallons of milk in the deep freeze but I had no clue when we’d use it! And if I’m honest, I kind of felt chained to the pump (more power to you pumping moms!!) Ironically enough, six weeks postpartum and I found myself in the hospital for a life saving surgery that would render me unable to nurse for 2-3 weeks. And while I still wasn’t on the die-hard nursing train, it was nice to know I had a stash to use during this time.

The Boobs.

When your milk comes in, your boobs are rock solid. Mine grew; up to my chin, out the sides of my shirt, three feet forward! I had no idea how to contain them! I was perkier than any teenager on the block! However those teenagers didn’t get the joy of milk Geysers humiliating them with wet shirts and soaked bras — okay, maybe some of them had wet shirts, just not soaked with liquid gold.

And can we discuss the fact that once that kid latches, she’d better not pop off. I mean, once letdown let’s DOWN, I could practically drown a kid with the super spray! And also, was I the only one who KNEW I should know better, but was still caught off guard at the fact that milk comes out one million holes, not just one like a bottle?! Don’t judge me too harshly, I still laugh at myself for this one!

What are some tips, surprises, or advice you’d pass on to new moms?

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