Once I became pregnant I read up as much as I could about breastfeeding. I learned the different positions, the possible complications, and I understood the basic information I needed to feel like I kind of knew what I would be doing. There is a ton of information out there today for any new mom who wants to breastfeed. But there is also a lot that you won’t learn from a book or from your lactation consultant.
Let me share what nobody tells you about exclusively breastfeeding.
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The First Latch
I can’t imagine I’m the only one in the world who felt this way when I say: the very first time the nurses placed my baby on my chest to encourage her to latch it felt very foreign. After all, this is the first time you are meeting your baby face to face. It is the first time you have nursed a baby. Not to mention, there are people all around. Despite the fact that they undoubtedly just saw every inch of the rest of your body. But that is in the past, and you can bring your modesty back to the table. It is normal to feel this way. As natural as breastfeeding is, it doesn’t always start off feeling that way.
It won’t be picture perfect.
When I picture breastfeeding, the first thing that comes to my mind is a peaceful baby easily enjoying a meal as the mom is equally as relaxed and comfortable. The reality of the matter is that real life is not always like that. As new as you are to this breastfeeding thing, your baby is equally as new. But they are far less patient when things aren’t going so well. Sometimes what works one nursing session, doesn’t work the next. Just be flexible and follow your baby’s cues.
I didn’t understand this concept of a nursing strike until it happened to me the first time. My baby started refusing to nurse and would scream whenever I would try to bring her to latch. It was disheartening at first because I thought she just didn’t want to breastfeed anymore. She was really just getting frustrated because she was more interested in the rest of the world at that point.
Breastfeeding can be consuming.
You are your baby’s sole source of nutrition. Your baby depends on you for every meal. This is a big deal. It can become very stressful. Breastfeeding for me was my first and last thought of every day. I had to be mindful of everything I ate or drank, and if it would impact my breastfeeding. Planning my day around being able to breastfeed, lead me to really not wanting to go anywhere and limiting the visitors.
Many people are game for breastfeeding in public, and kudos to them! You do what works for you, and for me I did not feel comfortable doing that. This completely restricted where I went and when, but no one said this was going to be easy.
This is a combination car seat and nursing cover from Amazon. Great item to have! It is stretchy material perfect to fit over any car seat. I would recommend you use this product as it doubles as a nursing cover (for those of you more brave than me).
Breastfeeding is SO worth all the stress.
With hard work comes great reward. I know I mentioned a lot of stressful situations I experienced with breastfeeding, but this is not to discourage you. It is to show the reality of breastfeeding. It is not always easy, but it will be SO worth it. Providing your baby with the BEST nutrition possible- I wouldn’t have it any other way. Plus, it creates such a strong bond between you and your baby from the very beginning. You learn together and struggle together. You get through it together.
Exclusively breastfeeding my baby has been full of ups and downs. There have been some days where I was not sure I would be able to continue doing it. It is a huge learning curve, but I am so happy I kept at it. Despite the difficult times, I am proud to have been able to breastfeed.
I strongly encourage you, if you are planning to breastfeed, to learn as much as you can about breastfeeding before your baby is born. This will help give you the foundation you will need when breastfeeding does not go according to the books.
An excellent online resource you can use is Milkology.com
For only $19 you can get a downloadable video full of all the information you will need and want to know about breastfeeding.
I hope this helps you, and happy breastfeeding! Remember- life won’t always go like the books say it does. Just keep at it. You got this!
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