So I decided that I should write a blog post about the thing I spend most of my time doing these days...Breastfeeding.
My newborn is what I like to call a "snacker" since she wants to eat like every 45 minutes when she's awake, and every 2 hours during the night. The first few months of breastfeeding you kind of feel like a full time milk production station.
Since she is my second child I have been through all this before, but had forgotten all about all the things that happen that no one ever tells you about. So, for all you breastfeeding mommies, or pregnant mommies, here is my list of 10 weird things that no one ever tells you about breastfeeding...
1. Soaking WetFor the first couple of months you may find yourself needed to sleep with towels and boobie pads since you will likely wake up covered in breast milk. During the night is when you produce the most milk, and as a result you end up soaked in breast milk. Yeh - I have to wash my sheets 2 to 3 times a week, and I sleep on a water protective pad. Between breast milk soaked sheets and clothes, and poopy and puked on baby clothes I've never had to do so much laundry in my life.
2. Serious Nipple PainAfter the first two weeks the pain goes away, but you can be sure, no matter how prepared you are for some discomfort, the first few weeks your nipples will crack and it will hurt like hell fire! Make sure to get some nipple cream before you go into labor. Also, your pretty perky nipples will never look the same again.
3. Warm Water LeakageTaking a shower after getting no sleep for days on end seems like the most heavenly experience. Warm water is also good for letting milk down - in other words, sometimes when you get out of the shower your boobs will start spurting milk like a fire hose. There...now you won't be surprised when it happens.
4. Peek-A-BoobDepending on your comfort level with exposing your breasts to other people, this one may or may not bother you. No matter how descreet you try to be while in public, or even in your own home, sometimes people will see your breasts. It's inevitable if you have a baby like mine that screams to the top of her lungs every 45 minutes and frantically searches for a nipple to latch on to. You've got all your hooter-hider stuff ready to go, and you descreetly pull a boob out from under your cover to give to your squirming hungry baby, and with all the fumbling around and effort to make baby happy, your giant milk swollen boob will likely peek out at some point and give an eye full to whoever might be around. My modesty has sort of gone out the window, and yours likely will too.
5. Boobie Hard-OnEver heard of a boobie hard-on? Well, it happens. There's some sort of instinctual reaction that happens when you hear a baby cry, and the results can be super awkward and weird.
One day you will find yourself at a grocery store or some other public place, and you will see a mother with a cute little baby, and then the baby starts to cry...next thing you know your boobs perk up like two giant torpedoes, start filling up with milk, and may even start to leak. It's really awkward if you forgotten to put on water proof pads, or if they just don't really work enough to stop milk soaking through your shirt and leaving 2 big wet marks on your giant torpedo boobs.
This same thing can also happen if you hold someone's baby and the baby starts rooting around your breast area searching for milk. They know you have some, and your boobs react with a mind of their own. Don't say I didn't warn you.
6. Shopping DilemmaOnce your baby is born you get excited about the prospect of wearing normal clothes again, but then is quickly shot down when you realize that finding clothes you can easily breast feed in is even more challenging than finding cute maternity clothes.
Yes, my new uniform is deep v-neck tops, and they have to be cotton! There are so many challenges with pulling out your boobs in a flash when your baby is hungry. Everything from discretion, easy access, comfort, style, and most importantly...finding tops that won't show leaks as much, and/or dry quickly.
I could go on and on about this one, so I think I will save all my shopping tips for nursing clothes for another blog post all of it's own.
7. Sleepless NightsYou made have heard about this one - but did you know that you are really the only person that will be waking up with the baby?
You may have this idea that your spouse or significant other, or grandmother, or whoever will get up in the middle of the night with you to help care for the baby. WRONG. You should just rid yourself of this notion now, especially if you plan for your baby to be an exclusively breast milk baby.
Really the only one who can help your baby is YOU, since you have the milk. When the baby wakes up you basically have 2 tasks, change their diaper and feed them. There's really no point in waking up other people to suffer along with you when you are the only one who can feed baby.
You could spend a lot of extra time pumping milk during the day so your spouse can get up and give them a bottle, but let's be honest, that may work for one or two feedings, but for the first few months your baby will wake up 4 or 5 times (maybe more!) in the night to be fed, and unless you have super boobs and a whole bunch of extra time - you won't want to pump that much milk.
I'm lucky if I can pump once a day for those times when my husband helps me, especially since I have a toddler at home too.
I can't say for sure - I'm sure there are some couples out there that spend equal time getting up with the baby, but in my personal experience and for most breast feeding mommies I know - it's a singular job that likes squarely on the shoulders (or chest area) of mommy.
8. MOOOOYou may have this idea that breastfeeding your baby is all about bonding, and the most wondrous natural, miraculous thing in the world. And that is absolutely true...expect for the times when you are tired, run down, super busy, multi-tasking while feeding and generally feel like a giant COW.
Sometimes when my grunty little baby is vigorously sucking all of my fluids out, and making loud sucking, slurping and piggy sounding noises, while I try and check my email on my phone, I get the strong urge to loudly call out, "MOOOOO"
9. What Social Life?So, you think you will be able to go out and drink and party it up with your friends after you have a baby? Maybe you just want to go shopping with a friend and get your nails done. Pssssh - yeh right.
While you may get the occasional excursion out without your little one, you probably will not be able to go far, or for very long since you will either have to get back in about 2 hours once your boobs swell up with milk, or you will have to pump while you are out.
Your body's feeding schedule, and your baby's feeding schedule doesn't understand going our with friends. So, you should just get used to going on little one hour excursions, either that or just take baby out with you.
10. Pump and DumpYou may have heard of this term before. It's what you will find yourself doing if you decide to have more than 2 glasses of wine, or even just one really strong cocktail. Unfortunately sobriety doesn't end with pregnancy if you are breastfeeding. You can have a glass of wine here and there, or a beer, but unfortunately alcohol gets into to your milk along with every thing else you eat and drink. Really only a very small percent goes into your milk, but that's way too much if you decide to do shots, or drink an extra large long island ice tea.
So, for that night you come home from your only "girls night out" in a million years and you are pretty sure you are drunk or really buzzed, you might want to consider the old 'pump and dump' - meaning pump all your milk out and pour it down the sink.
Luckily you can always make more milk :)
P.S. - this is only meant to be a funny commentary on my personal breast feeding experience, and is no way meant to dishonor or discourage breastfeeding. Breastfeeding has been one of the most rewarding and amazing experiences of my life - and I highly recommend it.