What No One Will Really Tell You About Breastfeeding: Some Encouraging Words About the Reality of this Journey
Boobs are great. The amount of things they can do for your baby are out of this world. Something as simple as a comforting pillow, all the way to providing to most nutritious things that they could possible benefit from. It’s no wonder that “breast is best” when it comes to feeding your little one. Obviously I’m an advocate of “fed is best” because we all know there are situations in which it might be too difficult or impossible for a mom to breastfeed her baby. I personally know a girl who could only do it for 11 weeks, solely because it never got easier for her, and it was a huge stress in her life. There’s no reason for the process to be a daunting one, so in my opinion, she made the right choice for her and her babe.
I always knew that I wanted to breastfeed when I had Athena; it’s healthier, it’s cheaper, and it’s way more convenient for me to whip out a boob and feed her, rather than going through the process of heating up a bottle. Sure you’re kind of a slave to them for the newborn period, but once you learn to embrace public breastfeeding, the world is your oyster. And after the second month, things got SO MUCH EASIER. So you would think that breastfeeding would just come naturally, as our bodies are made to do it, right? Wrong. It was quite possible one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. That being said, it’s probably one of the things that I’m most proud of in my life as well.
Everyone always said it would be painful at first, but nothing really prepared me for my nipples getting chewed on every 2 hours for 2 weeks straight. And nothing really can prepare you for it. Don’t run washcloths on them or do anything to “prepare” them. Your body is producing the hormones necessary to make it easier for you to adjust. I cried. A lot. Just because it hurt, and I didn’t feel like I was doing it right, and that she wasn’t getting enough to eat. So I was worrying about pretty much was all first time moms worry about. But you know what? I powered through, just like so many women have done before me. We all get through the first rough couple of months. Then it gets easier. Just like with everything else, we learn. I’m happy and satisfied knowing that my baby is getting all the nutrients she could possibly need, all because I decided to keep on going. Much love to me husband and my mom for being amazingly supportive, and for pushing me when I thought I couldn’t do it anymore. I remember my husband sitting right next to me so many times, and helping Athena get a good latch. And then coaching me the whole time.
I guess the whole point of this post is an encouraging word to all you new moms and moms to be: it gets better. All of it; the nursing, the sleeping, everything. Of course, there are things that make it easier, like a good support system (and some soothing nipple cream). If you’re like me and you’re sold on having an exclusively breastfed baby; go for it! And guess what? If it’s three months later and you’re still miserable…f*** it. Give in and give yourself a break, because you can’t be the best mommy if you’re unhappy. Breastfeeding is not for everyone, and don’t let any outside sources make you feel like less of a mom or woman for choosing not to do it.
So remember earlier when I said there’s things that can make it easier? Well here are a few things that I personally found to be useful on this journey:
-Boppy pillow to provide support for mom and baby
-Coconut oil for nipple soothing
-Ice packs (to literally put on your boobs)
-Andddd breastmilk! When your nipples start to get raw, they might even crack and bleed. After your done feeding, keep some of the breastmilk on your nipples and let it air dry.
There are a lot of other useful things, like Lanolin cream and things like that. I personally don’t like any cream type of stuff because I feel like under a nursing bra it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria; as opposed to coconut oil and your own breastmilk. Plus we all know that I like to keep it as natural as possible.
So what helped you on your breastfeeding journey? How long did you breastfeed for? Any advice to new moms?