10 Things I’ve Learned About Breastfeeding

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I’ve breastfed two babies now, so that obviously makes me an expert with a wealth of breastfeeding wisdom to share with the masses! LOL. jk. I’m not even close to an expert, I’ve got nothing particularly novel to share, and I’m approximately 0% qualified to educate anyone on the art of the boob feast. Nevertheless, I’ve learned some things just by fumbling through it and maybe this will help a new, frantically googling mom or at least give her a laugh or something… plus it’s World Breastfeeding Week so it seems like an appropriate post for today!

Breastfeeding is pretty cool. You make actual, perfectly balanced food from your body and then use it to nourish your precious little baby.  You’ve got a ready-made meal for your mini, anywhere, anytime! Plus there’s about a million-and-a-half health benefits for both mom and baby, but mom blogs and breastfeeding crusader warrior mothers like to shove those down our throats every chance they get so you already know about those ; )

Breastfeeding is also sometimes the worst garbage. And it’s absolutely NOT for everyone, so you do you, mama, NO SHAME! In fact, check out this post on formula shaming if you’re so inclined.

With all that said, here are 10 things I’ve learned about breastfeeding!

1. It’s a full time freaking job.

When I was reading up on breastfeeding pre-baby, I imagined feeding my newborn every few hours, and then putting it down to sleep while I floated around the house doing fun, nesty, new mom things. HAHAHA. How naïve. Both of my boys spent their first three months almost permanently latched to my breast. Forget the “make sure the baby eats every three hours, or 8 times a day” guidelines because those are crap. Expect to spend a huge amount of time literally stuck under your constantly nursing newborn. You’re going to feel pretty useless, but try to embrace it. It’s temporary – eventually they slow down and also start eating things that don’t come out of your body. But for now, get some good podcasts, or like the entire Harry Potter series, and settle in mama, cause you’re not going anywhere.

2. It’s the easiest way to calm a baby.

In my experience, there was literally never ANY kind of problem that my boobs wouldn’t fix. Baby’s hungry? Breastfeed. Baby wont nap? Breastfeed. Baby’s getting stabbed with needles at his immunization appointment? Breastfeed. Baby’s screaming at the top of their lungs in a restaurant and disturbing the happy diners? Breastfeed. You get the picture. For some people soothers/dummies work wonders. But my kids only wanted the boob. On the upside, I never had to listen to my child cry for longer than I wanted to because the second I got a boob in their face, they’d instantly chill. It’s kind of like magic.

3. Your nips will never be the same.

I used to have cute, petal pink, lady nipples. Now they’re these weird, dark, uneven disaster nipples that just keep getting longer and coarser the more I breastfeed. Maybe they’ll go back to their former splendor when they’re no longer abused by hungry animal babies, but I doubt it. I’m pretty sure I could light them on fire at this point and not notice.

4. Lactation cookies don’t really work.

Most women, at some point in their breastfeeding journey, will worry about their milk supply. If you’re like me, you’ll turn to the internet for some magical granola fixes to get the juices flowing again. Enter: Lactation Cookies – A miraculous baked good designed with all of the finest galactogogue ingredients! I whipped up multiple batches of these babies, chock full of brewers yeast, flax, oatmeal, wheat germ, herbal supplements etc. etc. etc… But the only thing that wound up being engorged was my waistline. IF (and that’s a big if…) those fancy ingredients actually work to promote milk supply, you’d have to eat a whole lot of cookies to see a difference. If you’re going to go that route, opt for brewer’s yeast, blessed thistle, and fenugreek tablets instead of ingesting 17 cookies every day. Or just make regular cookies that don’t taste like grass and stale beer, and go to town on those instead!

5. People will judge you.

Unfortunate, but true! I breastfeed in public without a nursing cover all the time (mostly because I’m just too lazy and too cheap to buy one) and I’ve had so many people make judgemental comments such as…

“If you’d like some privacy, there’s a bathroom over there” … NO THANKS, Edna. If you’d rather not observe the miracle of my nursing infant you can go hang out in the toilet while everyone else enjoys real life. EYE ROLL.

or

“Could you cover up, please?”… NOPE. I’m feeding a child, not waving my tits around! It’s not my fault your raunchy mind can think of nothing other than inappropriate and sexual things when you see a nursing mother, and I’m not going to hide under a blanket so that you can feel more comfy behind your conservative, patriarchal buffer. FACE. PALM.

Uhggg. But that’s not all you get judged for. If you do choose to cover up (because maybe it’s winter and you’re literally freezing your titties off, or you feel more comfortable that way, or you have a cute nursing cover that you actually like using, or whatever!) people will still make comments!

“You don’t have to cover up! It’s natural and beautiful!” … I’m glad YOU feel comfortable with MY boobs, but it still my body and I’d rather not be told what to do with it, thanks.

You’ll also be judged for how long you breastfeed…

“Isn’t he a little old?” … Aren’t you a little bit of a nosy asshole?

“You quit already? I’m still breastfeeding my two-year-old because there’s a second wave of evolved immuno-excellent milk at that stage!” … GO AWAY.

So you basically can’t win. Try not to let it bug you!

6. Pumping is lame.

It’s uncomfortable and it makes your nipples swell up like gross cherries. You do what you gotta do, but it’s still lame AF.

7. Some people’s milk tastes like awful soapy dishwater after freezing it.

I did not know about this one until I finally thawed one of the bags from the MASSIVE stash of breastmilk I had pumped and frozen, and my baby literally gagged on it because it was so awful. Moms with a lot of lipase in their milk can run into this problem after freezing. There’s nothing wrong with the milk, and some babies will still drink it, but mine definitely wouldn’t. So I had to dump all of that beautiful liquid gold I had extracted and start over! Now I scald all of my pumped milk before freezing and that takes care of it. Not cool, though!

8. Cabbage leaves don’t help mastitis.

Mastitis hurts like a bitch. Putting cabbage in your bra does nothing other than make you smell like your mouldy old great aunt.

9. You probably don’t have to worry about it.

I’m pretty sure my Google search history in the first few months of nursing looked something like this: Is my baby getting enough milk and how much wine is too much when nursing and what is the optimal sleeping position for milk supply and how long can an adult survive off of only her own breastmilk and help. Truth is, you probably don’t need to worry about it. If you ARE worried about it, ask your doctor. Otherwise, odds are that you’re doing great and you can relax!

10. You’re the boss of when you stop.

When I got pregnant with my second, my first was still nursing. I could really only handle one cute little parasite sucking out my life-force, so I decided that was that and cut my son off. He was sad for maybe one day? And then that was it. It’s up to you when you stop. Don’t let your kid boss you into keeping nursing longer than you want. Don’t let nosy Anne from Mom’s Group boss you into weaning your toddler if you’re not ready. It’s your body, and you’re in charge!

 

So there! 10 random things I learned about breastfeeding! What did you learn about breastfeeding that surprised you? What do you wish you’d known? Let us know below!

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