I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying “Breast is best” when it comes to feeding your newborn. But what don’t the “experts” tell us about when it comes to breastfeeding? I was very fortunate that my body responded immediately to my daughter because I had no plan B. None. Never even discussed the possibility of having to formula feed. For those of you who may be on the fence about breastfeeding, I’d like to pass along what wisdom I’ve learned during this incredible journey with my daughter. This is NOT a Pros and Cons list because, in my opinion, there are no cons, only a beautiful experience!
- It’s hard. It’s certainly not for everyone. We’re told that our bodies are programmed to know exactly what to do but for some, it’s a challenge. Your breasts may be too big, too small, your nipples might be too flat, maybe you have low milk production or your baby may be tongue-tied or have a weird latch..there are so many things that could work against you. Breastfeeding is not easy, it takes patience, practice, and a great support system to get into the right groove.
- It’s draining (pun intended!). It is physically and mentally exhausting trying to nourish a human being. As I said, it takes lots of patience and practice to get the hang of it. It can be frustrating trying to keep up with the demands of your growing little one. Not to mention, your baby takes important nutrients from you to feed itself. The key is to look after yourself. Rest as much as you can, ask for help, drink lots of water and don’t forget to eat!
- Your boobs will hurt. Not every time but be prepared and have lots of nipple butter on hand during the first few weeks. They will crack, maybe even bleed, and they’ll feel like they’re going to explode because they get too full. Hopefully you’ll never have to experience mastitis but if you do, make sure you have cabbage leaf on hand. Thrush is another painful and unpleasant issue and should be dealt with by a Holistic nutritionist or another healthcare professional.
- You will be stared at. But who the hell cares!! You are doing something completely natural and what’s best for your child so don’t ever feel embarrassed! I knew whoever I was with always had my back and would defend my decision to breastfeed in public. People will criticize no matter what you do so just ignore it and don’t let it get to you!
- You won’t get anything done. You are their food source therefore you are now at their beck and call. My daughter would not take a bottle until almost 8 months and even then it was a struggle. My schedule revolved around her. If she was hungry, I had to stop whatever I was doing to feed her. If my husband and I wanted to go out, we had to have a time frame, otherwise all hell would break loose. You will become a queen multi-tasker!
- You will get bit at some point. Depending on how long you decide to nurse your little one, once those teeth start to come in, watch out! You will feel like quitting right then and there but (hopefully) your baby will learn quickly and stop after you take the boob away immediately.
- What you eat affects your baby. You will analyze every single thing you eat from here on out. You will learn pretty quick what foods may trigger a screaming baby. Spice, sugar, and dairy were some foods I tried to avoid.
- The only time you will be bra less from here on out is in the shower.
Now the best part!
- It is the most rewarding experience. Even at 3am when you’re exhausted, when you look down and see those tiny lips sucking away, it is such an amazing feeling knowing that you are supplying their entire being with the nutrients to thrive.
- It’s such an incredible bond. You are their security, their comfort zone, their everything. Enjoy it, embrace it. your child will have a special bond with each person in their life but you are the only person they will share this with.
- Your body is amazing. Your body knows exactly what your baby needs to thrive. When your baby is sick, your breast milk will change to provide the needed antibodies to your little one. It knows what your baby needs at different stages of their development for optimal growth. You are setting up the foundation of their health by providing them the proper nutrients and immunity that they require.
- Not only is nursing best for your child’s health but it’s also best for your own. Breastfeeding helps lower your risk of breatcancer and as another bonus, speeds up postpartum weight loss.
- Don’t have to worry about not having enough formula with you! You always have a full supply of milk on hand. Stop, drop, and nurse.
Breastfeeding isn’t right for everyone but if you do decide to do it, good luck. I hope you enjoy and appreciate this experience as much as I did. My daughter was 13 months when she decided she was done and I cried when that was the end of it.
If you have any questions or concerns about breastfeeding or even formula feeding, please contact me!