Something I’ve grown very comfortable with talking about and pretty passionate about since having a baby is breastfeeding. Maybe this is an awkward topic to talk about and if thats the case, you totally have my permission to close out of this post and continue on your merry way, but lately as I’ve been trying to overcome this weird writers-block I’ve been experiencing and brainstorm some things to blog about, I kept thinking of breastfeeding. Likely because I’m breastfeeding 90% of my day. (not really – but i do have a hungry little dude who takes his food very seriously)
I love nursing. I feel like nursing can get a lot of negative talk and some people have very strong negative feelings about it, but I love it. I knew way before I was even married that I would nurse, and if I was able to, I’d nurse for a long time. Lucky for me when H was born he was a natural. He had an awesome latch and my breasts were on their A-game too (is that really weird to say?) and provided plenty for my growing son. I am five months in to this and have no plans of stopping anytime soon and I feel very fortunate that my body is complying with this mindset as well. I produce SO much milk. I often joke with my family that I could go to a third world country and help out so many babies because of the enormous amount of milk I make. I still have to wear nursing pads, I leak on pretty much every shirt I wear, I still squirt milk across the room from time to time and my boobs always look huge because they’re full full full 9 times out of 10. It can be messy and it can be a pain (physically and mentally) but I’m grateful my body is letting me do this.
Funny enough, however, pumping is not my thing. I have a breast pump I really like and when H was teeny I used it occasionally and could produce several ounces within about 15 minutes. As time has gone on, for whatever reason my body does not respond to the pump very well anymore. It takes me quite a while to produce 2-4 ounces and its incredibly frustrating, especially because I know how much milk I produce. After reading some articles and talking to some people who know a thing or two about this, I’ve learned sometimes some women just can’t pump very well but nurse totally fine. It’d appear I’m one of these women.
I really do love breastfeeding. I look forward to it. Here are some of the things I’ve learned/wish I would’ve known when it comes to nursing:
- It Is Bonding: I really do feel close to my son when I nurse and its not because he attaches himself to me during this time. I just love that its this thing only he and I can do and it makes my heart feel settled and happy.
- The First Several Weeks are ROUGH: I loved nursing right from the get-go. At very first it just felt weird, but then a couple weeks into it the pain set in. My nipples felt chapped and every time H would latch my entire body would tense up as searing pain shot through me. There were times I’d find nail marks in my palms because I’d squeeze my hands together so tightly as he latched and gave the first few initial sucks. The worst then was when he’d unlatch, look around, latch back on, unlatch, look around, etc. It was exhausting and so, so painful.
- Milk Will Fly: I had a friend tell me that milk squirting across the room is a myth, or at least not very common. I’d heard other people say they would spray so I assumed maybe I would just a little bit. But oh boy, it will rocket across a room if you aren’t careful. Its as funny as it is disturbing.
- Its a Great Time to Catch Up on Social Media: Like most people, I get busy throughout the day doing various things – when I nurse I almost always have my phone out and it gives me a little while to catch up on whats new on social media.
- Babies Get Grabby/Pinchy/Scratchy: And yes, your boobs will be the brunt of it. If I’m being candid here, my boobs usually look like I’ve had a kitten clawing at me all day. Scratched, scabbed and sometimes bloody. It hurts. But its really hard to explain to a baby that they can’t do this when they don’t understand what you’re saying, you know? So you learn to deal..
- It Can Calm a Baby in No Time: If H is ever incredibly fussy and the usual stuff isn’t helping him, I nurse him and 100% of the time it works. My delivery nurse told me nursing has a calming effect on our babies and I completely believe it. Nothing calms him down more than nursing.
- Sometimes its a Binky: To continue with the above bullet point, I think sometimes babies just use your boob as a fancy binky. Like they aren’t sucking hard enough to get milk, but they’re sucking enough that they’re getting the binky effect. (TMI?)
- Your Baby Learns Where the Food Is: Sometimes H will just start grabbing at my shirt or shoves his face into my chest. I actually think this is one of the cutest things ever. Sometimes it happens in awkward settings, but its too adorable to really worry about. And its a very clear way for them to let you know they’re hungry.
- Its YOUR Choice: I think the hardest part about being a mom is all the opinions and judgement you get. My mom told me early on in my pregnancy to ignore most of the opinions people give me and ultimately do what I feel is best. After H was born I totally got what she meant. I know what is best for my son, no one else knows him like I do, therefore they cannot give me valid opinions and their judgement is out of line. If you want to nurse for 1 month, great. If you want to nurse until your baby is 3, go for it. If you don’t want to nurse at all and choose the formula route, awesome. You mother your child the way you feel good about and don’t let anyone else’s opinions change the way you go about being a mom. You do you. Thats what your baby needs.