We’ve all heard the drill: breastfeeding is best for babies. It contains not just all the nutrients your baby needs, but also all the antibodies! It promotes mother and baby bonding! It helps you recover faster after childbirth!
While that is true, some of us can only react to that information with a sigh or a good roll of the eye indicating “not this again!”
The truth is that breastfeeding isn’t exactly the best option for every single mother in every single situation. Here are some ugly truths about breastfeeding that can make it not so ideal.
There’s no going around it: breastfeeding is tough on working moms. We mean really tough. There are a number of things you can do to make breastfeeding a bit more convenient, don’t get as wrong. We’ve posted advice after advice, hoping that we can make it a bit easier on at least a few working moms.
However, they still do have to go through balancing work and waking up in the middle night to feed the baby and teaching the babysitter how to bottle feed and pumping and storing the milk and… Well, the list goes on and on. Let’s just say that working moms can have it tough.
Your breasts were built to feed your little one every two to three hours. Over this period of time, they become increasingly engorged with delicious, nutritious milk until, alas, when you need to put off that feeding for a little longer, there will be pain. And then, you finally get sweet relief when you find the time to pump it all out. A few hours later, the pain comes back all over again. When you’re breastfeeding, you can be, like, when does this all end? But then you look at your hungry baby and decide to just stick it out.
While some moms have trouble keeping their breasts empty, some just find it tough to even start breastfeeding at all. This is mainly because hardly anything comes out!
This can be frustrating for some women, making them think that they must be some sort of failure of a mother or something. But, yes, the milk is usually there, although the mother lode can sometimes arrive late. Enjoy it while it lasts because your breasts just might get chronically engorged in the days to come.
All that feeding and pumping can result in nipples that are dry and chapped. As you can imagine, this is no fun considering you’ll need to feed or pump all over again every hour or so. The irritation can be enough to make a grown woman cry. And the worst part? Not feeding and nursing to relieve your nipples can lead to the pain of overfull breasts.
There are, of course, a few strategies to help your nipples heal. But while you’re waiting for that, yes, you’ll have to deal with it.
For first-time moms, a proper latch can be hard to achieve, especially if you don’t have anyone to actually show you how it’s done. It might help if you’ve gone to prenatal school but, as you might understand, sometimes you miss a class or two. Or three.
The problem with an improper latch is that it can get super painful. Your baby’s tongue can just drag against your irritated nipples. The little one may even bite, which isn’t pleasant. If you’re one of the unfortunate moms who experience this, just get someone to teach you and be done with it.
Most of us aren’t professional weightlifters, which is unfortunate. Especially now that you’ve got two heavy weights permanently strapped against your chest. Leaking milk, at that.
It can be uncomfortable to lug the twins around. So much so that they can put a strain on your back, especially if they weren’t that light to begin with.
Did we mention leaks? Those leaks are seriously annoying. Sometimes just hearing a baby cry or thinking about your own is enough to get that old letdown going, getting your bra and possibly your shirt all wet. You knew you should have brought an extra. If only these leaks didn’t come around at such inconvenient times, it wouldn’t be so difficult to go out of the house every once in a while!
Because your breasts are bigger, it may be the right time to get yourself some new bras and, perhaps, even clothes. To some, this is good news. After all, who doesn’t appreciate a few brand new things to wear? Well, it turns out, quite a lot of us. Especially if you’ve just given birth and even what used to be the most comfortable of tops now cling to your breasts like plastic wrap on a wet surface.
It can be a hassle to have to go out and buy some new clothes, especially when you’re not just feeling it. But we advise you to just go through it. You’ll feel great the next day when you finally have something both comfortable and fashionable to wear. Until you leak milk right through it, that is!
Waking up at night is something that will appeal to your motherly instincts. What better use of your time than providing for the nutritional needs of your wee little baby? Until, of course, you take one good look at your snoring partner. Lucky him, not losing any sleep over this. If you had a genie lamp at the moment, you’re pretty sure one of your wishes would be to give him fully-functional lactating breasts.
You could, of course, recruit him into bottle-feeding the baby breastmilk at certain times in the night. But then, you might still want to feed the baby yourself anyway because those jugs have now become engorged.
So you pump out the milk. You make sure to divide it all into sterile containers. You label those containers with the appropriate dates and times. You have to make sure they don’t spoil. That can be a lot of work. We’re not even covering how to defrost them so they’re baby drinkable.
Some of you may say, hey, it’s not that bad. And the truth is, it isn’t. Unless, of course, you’re a mom whose schedule is super packed and even having to think about pulling out the right bag from the fridge is a nightmare.
Then there’s the fact that it’s not only nutrients and antibodies that get a good ride out of your breasts and into your baby’s body. Some viruses, such as HIV, as well as chemicals such as alcohol and quite a few drugs, can also hitch on. As you may imagine, these aren’t exactly the kind of things that anyone would want to feed their baby.
It’s a good idea to have yourself checked thoroughly during your pregnancy, as well as take necessary precautions, to ensure that baby stays healthy.
Regular breastfeeding can lead to a healthy, happy baby. It can also lead to sad, saggy breasts. There are, of course, certain breastfeeding positions that can help you prevent this. But with those two heavy weights being pulled down all the time, let’s just say that gravity isn’t exactly on your side here.
While it may take a few babies before your breasts are noticeably saggier, you might one day sigh and wonder where your plump and perky twins went. Of course, that doesn’t take away from the fact that they fed and nourished a bunch of little people. You have those bragging rights, at least.
Many moms become very happy when the little one starts teething. After all, this means you’ll be starting on solid food now and, finally! Weaning from breastfeeding!
The only trouble now is that that little tooth can graze all over your already sensitive nipple. Which is something that can definitely bring tears to your eyes, albeit not in a good way. Proper breastfeeding techniques, of course, can help you avoid painful breastfeeding during teething. However, be warned! When your little one is done feeding, they just might be inclined to use your nipple as a teething ring. Better pull it out before they get any ideas.
Then, there’s all the perfect little moms that you meet who keep on going on and on about eating right and exclusive breastfeeding and – oh no! – keep your little one away from that horrid formula! Which makes you wonder, sometimes, if you’re any less than a mom because you somehow cannot manage to breastfeed your baby more than two or so times a day. And OK, so maybe you mostly bottle feed right now. Big deal.
It can be frustrating when everyone and their mom and your mom recommend breastfeeding and, for some reason, you just can’t manage it! You mostly keep quiet in mother’s class anyway.
The simple truth is that the best way of feeding your child is one that will not drive you insane. While this may raise the eyes of the little miss perfect mommies out there, don’t give in to the pressure. You know what’s best for you and you should probably stick to that rather than jumping into something that ultimately makes you miserable!
After all, bottle feeding can still be healthy and good for your child. It may not have all the stuff that breastmilk has, but it’s not going to kill anyone. Now, one problem remains: how do you dry up that milk so you don’t have to be so chronically engorged all the time?