Breast is best is something that has always been drilled into our heads. We are told by various doctors, midwives and mommy friends that breastmilk is liquid gold and the best thing possible that we could offer our babies. Now, this has developed its own mommy-war, with those who choose or have to formula feed feeling like they are terrible mothers for not breastfeeding. We know this is not true, and that a fed baby is a happy and healthy baby.
This article, however, is all about the boob. Breastfeeding has been coined as the cheaper, easier and best option, but that is not always true. Sure we don’t have to buy formula, or make a bottle at 3AM, but it is definitely not all rainbows and sunshine down the nursing trail.
There are downfall’s and we want you to know them. There are also great rewards that we want you to know about Basically, we wan you to know everything about nursing and everything that comes along with it.
I know as an exclusively breastfeeding mama, there were times when people (who had never breastfed) would make me do some serious cringing. One of the biggest ones is when they would say it must be so easy for you! Or when people would wonder why I couldn’t leave my baby with a babysitter for a long amount of time. These are just a sample of the question and comments made to a nursing mom that really drive us nuts.
Here are 15 things all nursing mom’s really need you to know.
15 It’s Not Easy
Breastfeeding may be easier than formula feeding, you do not need to mix and make a bottle, and make sure it is at the right temperature. But, saying something is easier is not the same as saying something is easy. Nursing is not easy, it can become all consuming. Breastmilk digests quicker than formula, so feedings are much more frequent and can seem like they are happening around the clock.
Cluster feeding is exhausting. Cluster feeding is when a baby eats much more often, as they know a growth spurt is about to happen and they need to build their mom’s supply to satisfy them. Cluster feedings can be as frequent as every half an hour. This can make life really challenging for a mom who either has errands to run, chores to do, or other kids to watch/chase after. Cluster feeding also happens very frequently in the first year of life.
14 We Sometimes Can Not Put Baby On A Schedule
It is one of the most common pieces of advice given to new parents, get your baby on a schedule, it will save your sanity. The thing people do not realize is that it can be very hard to get a breastfed baby on a feeding schedule. This is one thing that may make formula feeding easier, as they usually go a set time between bottles. This allows mom’s to plan their days around bottle feeding.
Since breastfed babies feed more often, and there is that darn cluster feeding we talked about, it makes it hard for a mom to plan her day around feedings. They could want to feed at any time. This doesn’t mean that we never go out, we do, we just have to be prepared that we may need to feed in public, or pump and bring some bottles with us. Pumping is a whole other issue though.
13 Pump It
Pumping is something that almost all breastfeeding mama’s do. It is a great way to get other people to help out with the feedings, and to build a stock pile in your freezer. While pumping has a lot of benefits, it also has its downfalls. Pumping is a pain in the butt sometimes, to sit there holding a mechanical machine against your breast can be a nuisance and a little weird. Even if you get the kind that you don’t have to hold, it can be just as weird. Pumps are also very loud.
If you are like me, then for some weird reason you just can’t pump anything. I over produced in general, but was never able to get anything out of a pump. I am sure I was just not using it correctly, but I really didn’t have the energy to learn, I just used the boob.
12 Public Feeding
Due to many reasons we have covered already, there will always be multiple times when we have to feed in public. This can be very hard on a nursing mama, especially if she is still new to the whole breastfeeding thing. Not only do we have to worry about the mechanics of breastfeeding, but we have to worry about all the breastfeeding shamer’s out there.
There are still people in this world who believe that women should never breastfeed in public. That if they absolutely have to leave their house, then they should feed their baby in a washroom or in their car. Now, most of us do not pay any attention to these people, and we just go about our business and feed our baby. It will never cease to aggravate a woman, and make them feel the need to get into a heated argument.
11 We Don’t Just Know
Nothing is more natural and biological than breastfeeding, right? While this may be true, it does not just come naturally to us. It can be one of the biggest learning challenges for a mom, it can be a struggle to get the baby to latch properly, to feed for the right amount of time, and to feed enough. We may have to deal with some pretty painful nips due to an incorrect latch.
Breastfeeding can be so difficult that there are lactation consultants out there. It is there job to teach us how to latch a baby correctly and answer all the many questions we have about breastfeeding. We may have been graced with breasts that were designed to feed infants, but getting them to work in the way they are supposed too does not come naturally.
10 Lots Of Worry Involved
One of the positives about bottle or formula feeding is mom knows, and can track, every single ounce that the baby is taking. Bringing comfort and reassurance that baby is eating enough. This is one of the biggest downfalls about nursing. If we do not pump and bottle feed, we have no way of knowing exactly how much the little one is taking in. This can bring a massive amount of worry to a new one.
I am sure we all remember the story of the nursing mom who was not producing enough for her baby, and had no idea. Her baby ended up passing away due to not having enough milk. The only real tool we have in assessing that our babies are getting enough is to track the amount of dirty diapers, this can also be deceiving.
9 All The Leaks
It is no secret to any mom who nurses that leaks happen. I will never forget the moment I knew my milk had come in, it was about 3 days after I had given birth to my daughter. I was walking and realized my shirt was all wet, it was very embarrassing as I frantically looked for the nursing pads. These are little cotton pads that we nursing mom’s have to wear in our bra to prevent embarrassing moment later.
We also want you to know that this doesn’t just happen at home, when our baby is hungry. It happens all the time, in any place and or seemingly any reason. If we are out at the mall, without our baby, and we hear another baby cry we start to lactate. Nursing pads have become our best friend. On the plus side, we can squirt dad pretty good with that milk.
8 We Are Hangry … I Mean Hungry
If anyone out there thought that the insane hunger and cravings of pregnancy ended once that baby popped out, you have obviously never breastfed. Being the constant source of nourishment for another little person is not only tiring but it can work up an appetite. You are still eating for two after all.
Nursing moms can still experience cravings as well, a craving is your body’s way of telling you that you are missing something in your diet that your baby needs. It doesn’t matter if the baby is still inside of you or outside. These sudden bursts of hungry, plus being sleep deprived and feeling like a human cow can make even the best of us a ta irritable. Note to all the men out there, it is best to just get the woman food whenever she needs it or asks for it.
7 We Cry Over Spilled Milk
We don’t need to be told over and over that we are carrying liquid gold, we know we are. When we spill our breast milk, we are totally allowed to cry over it, and nobody better tell us differently. Some women pump a fair amount due to over production. This is when your body seems to think that you have just delivered a football team.
Pumping is not something that is done and over in 5 minutes, it can take up to an hour for a woman to pump enough milk. This is no easy feat for a busy mom, or a mom who has returned to work and is pumping. So, can we put ourselves in their shoes for a minute and just imagine doing all that work, having the perfect amount and then tripping over something and dumping it all over the floor. Trust us, we have thought of ways to soak it up hygienically, but it can not be done.
6 We Are Put Last
Everyone knows that when we become mothers (or fathers) that we will become last in almost every instance. We are always OK with that, we love our children more than anything. Nursing moms want everyone to know that when we do breastfeed, we really do have to put ourselves last. When you are in the middle of a cluster feeding session, it is seemingly impossible to even have five seconds to go to the bathroom. We learn how to hold it all in pretty well.
Even things like eating and showering can be put on the back burner. Breastfeeding can take a lot out of a mama, so even when she gets the chance to take care of herself, she is usually to exhausted to do anything but have a nap.
5 Forget The Babysitter
Every parent looks forward to a night out, either alone or with their spouse, and when you have children it becomes much harder to get out and do things that “normal” people do. This is much more true for those who exclusively breastfeed. I was one who was not able to pump, so my baby was exclusively fed from the breast. Not only did this make it impossible for anyone to help with the feedings. It made it even more impossible to go out alone.
Time alone or with my spouse was not possible for the first few months, as I could not guarantee that my baby could go longer than an hour without needing to feed, another downfall of breastfeeding. This made it hard to get out and do something without the baby until she started on solid foods and could be held over from breastfeeding.
4 Breastfeeding Sadness
There is a condition that affects some women who breastfeed that is not that heard of, and it is dysphoric milk ejection reflux. This is a state in which a woman may have overwhelming feelings of depression, anxiety, sickness anger and irritability at the time of let down. Let down is what happens when the milk starts flowing, and due to the hormones involved in breastfeeding it can cause women to have these feelings.
It is not extremely common, which means it is not talked about. This can cause a lot of confusion to nursing mama’s as they don’t understand what is going on. I was one who was very confused, whenever I breastfed by daughter, I would have feelings of nausea, emptiness and extreme fatigue. These feelings would almost always immediately pass after I was done nursing.
3 The Bond Is Intense
Every bond between a mother and her children is intense and important. There is always a debate on whether the bond is greater between a breastfed baby or a formula fed baby. The point of that is neither here nor there, but the fact that there is a strong bond between a breast fed baby and their mother is undeniable. The bond is so strong, that mother’s are urged to remain calm when breastfeeding so as to not effect their little one.
When a breastfed mother is nursing her baby, they are very much in sync with each other. If mom is upset, baby can feel it and will get upset too. This is the one difference there may be between a breastfed baby and a formula baby.
2 The Struggle To Stop
Due to this incredible bond that we spoke about, it can make it incredibly hard for a mother to stop breastfeeding her baby. No matter the age, we want everyone to know that it is no easy task. Sometimes, it is the baby that is reluctant to wean. They want the closeness and comfort that comes along with breastfeeding, and are very difficult to wean off the boob.
On the other hand, it can take a toll on mom as well. When my daughter weaned herself at 9-months old, it was me who was the absolute wreck. The emotions that come with breastfeeding, and feeling like you are very important part of your child’s life can sometimes all disappear. This is because it is the first sign that your baby is becoming more independent.
1 We Would Do It All Over Again
What we really want everyone to know is that we would do it all over again. No matter the struggles and feelings of defeat, we would do it all over again. The constant, late night feedings, the biting and the chapped and sore nipples will always be worth it to us. Breast really is best to a nursing mom, and we try everything we can possibly do to make sure we are able to nurse for the long haul.
We want you to know that we don’t care if you don’t want us to nurse in public, or if you think we should cover up. We are going to do what we need to do in order to feed our baby. We will also nurse them as long as we see fit, there is no set age for us that tells us we need to stop. We will not be bullied or shamed for nourishing our children with the best possible milk that we can find
Sources: huffingtonpost.ca, kellymom.com