There was not a doubt in my mind that when both Joey and Anthony were born, I would be breastfeeding. I took the breastfeeding 101 class offered by the hospital, I talked to a few friends about the best supplies and equipment for pumping, heck I even had Ted read up on breastfeeding. Regardless of all the prep and learning I underwent to wrap my brain around breastfeeding, nothing prepared me for the rollercoaster ride it was with Joey and has been with Anthony. Because I’m not one for swearing in public, I’m going to go easy on you here and politely share 10 things I wish I had known about breastfeeding— you can leave it up to your imagination as to what expletives I might share.
And just to keep things interesting, I’ve asked a few of my mom pals to join in the fun and contribute to this list! Are you ready for it?!
1. Breastfeeding is isolating. Please don’t go it alone. It takes two to make a baby so it should be two of you feeding the baby. “But I can’t nurse him,” says the Dad to the Mom. “Oh but you CAN still do SOMETHING,” says the Mom to the Dad. We had that conversation in our house and this Momma didn’t put it so nicely! Here’s how Dad can be involved with breastfeeding.
2. It’s a pain in the neck. Rebecca, mom of two, shares, “nobody told me how important self-care is with nursing— that my back and neck would hurt a lot at times. “ Rebecca recommends a self-care kit for Mom: herbal tea, lavender oil, hot baths or showers, regular massages, heat compresses to the neck and shoulders, and yoga! [For more from Rebecca be sure to connect with her HERE].
3. It can be expensive. You might hear that breastfeeding is cheaper than formula feeding. Which would be true if you didn’t buy all the swag that comes along with breastfeeding— which is of course what I did. I’m a fan of the Medela breastpumps, Lansinoh Lanolin ointment, and Bravado nursing bras and tops. Your credit card will thank me!
4. Now’s the time to eat for two. Soon-to-be mom of two, Elizabeth, drilled it in my head the importance of diet and eating enough “good stuff” when you are breastfeeding. Afterall, the food mom eats helps to make enough milk for baby. You can read Elizabeth’s guidelines for eating well while breastfeeding here and try her recipe for chicken avocado pita pockets. YUM! [For more from Elizabeth, be sure to connect with her HERE].
5. Breastmilk stains! Or at least mine does. Is that weird? Don’t answer that question. A lot about breastfeeding is weird!
6. It might feel unnatural. Kristy, busy mom of three, shares, “I couldn’t understand why something so “natural” seemed so unnatural and difficult at times.” I get it Kristy. And I’m sure if you’ve been there and done that with breastfeeding you’ll head-nod at the fact that the first week through two months of your baby’s life felt about as awkward as 50 first dates! [For more from Kristy, be sure to connect with her HERE].
7. Breastfeeding comes with mommy-guilt. Get a Kleenex for this testimony from my friend Jessica— “Breastfeeding has not gone perfectly with either of my boys, but in each case I have kept trying – and trying. I have teamed up with incredible breastfeeding support groups and lactation consultants, yet still ended up supplementing with formula. This decision came with feelings of guilt and failure. Though should it have? We place so much pressure on ourselves to DO IT ALL and to do it BETTER than the next mom. I feel the biggest lesson I have learned throughout all of my breastfeeding adventures is that I am not perfect and I will never be that Pinterest-Mom doing it all. But I will be ME and I will continue to take strides to be better than I was yesterday.” Amen to that, Jessica. [For more from Jessica, be sure to connect with her HERE].
8. The priority should be your baby’s nutrition. What do I mean by this? Take a moment and read my friend Lindsay’s story about breastfeeding her little cutie Chase. REALLY read it. If you do, you’ll quickly realize that it’s not about having a baby drinking milk from your breast. It’s about giving your baby the right nutrients to grow. And sometimes those nutrients need to come from formula. [For more from Lindsay, be sure to connect with her HERE].
9. Magic happens the second time around. Sort of. I will say all-things breastfeeding were easier with Anthony than with Joey. Am I more confident? Yes. Have Anthony or I had medical issues impacting his breastfeeding experience? Nope. The first few weeks were still tough— figuring out a schedule, getting the flow going, working on gas and spit-up. 12 weeks was a turning point for both of my boys where breastfeeding became EASIER done than said. Hang in there! It does get better…
10. Surround yourself with a support system. My friend Lauren is on month #36 of breastfeeding so she knows a thing or two about it. “You need someone to complain to when you are in pain or your supply is low. Find support, whether it’s a long-lost friend on Facebook who is also breastfeeding or another new mom you met at a playgroup.” Funny, Lauren has become part of my support system for blogging AND breastfeeding— even though we’ve never met in person! [For more about Lauren, be sure to connect with her HERE].
While I didn’t leave you with many expletives, I want you to remember that with anything involving food and children, Positivity is KEY. Whether you breastfeed or formula feed your baby, the most important lesson I’ve learned in all of this is the happier I am, the happier my babies are. And yes, that means I TRY to be happy at 2am, 4am, and 6am feedings.