This is a controversial post, I don’t want to put anyone off breastfeeding/chestfeeding, it’s amazing but these are some things that I didn’t know about it, until I was doing it.
Breastfeeding/chestfeeding shouldn’t be painful, cracked nipples are not normal and they don’t toughen up! if you are experiencing any pain please contact your local breastfeeding support.
1.Pumping is hard
For me I found pumping hard, especially second time around, I would hardly get anything. The worst thing is spilling your pumped milk, I have cried many times from spilling my milk and also when my freezer stash defrosted. I think I have a good supply – my girls put on weight well, so it must be right, but that doesn’t mean pumps can remove the milk as easy as a baby. To be honest, after I had Oakley I just didn’t have the time or energy to keep trying, after 6 pumping sessions in 1 day for 100ml I gave up.
I leaked everyday for the whole 15 months of nursing Willow, I would soak through my reusable pads and after a while I decided to just embraced the wet patches. I was told it would settle after 6 weeks once my supply was established but it didn’t. I guess that I was just unlucky. But when I had Oakley, I never leaked, everyone is different and every feeding journey is different.
I had awful knee pain after I had Willow, during pregnancy you produce a hormone called relaxin, this makes your ligaments relax ready for childbirth. You carry on producing this hormone when you breastfeed/chestfeed. A side effect of relaxin can be joint pain, I only found this out from complaining to a yoga teacher that my knees were hurting. I never knew breastfeeding/chestfeeding could cause joint pain.
When you are nursing you produce less estrogen, this has an impact on your natural vaginal lubrication. I found sex very painful, even when using lube, for me it only improved when I stopped nursing.
5.Can’t leave your baby
My girls wouldn’t take bottles and they nursed for comfort, I’m their dummy and they fed to sleep. I couldn’t leave them, they had to come everywhere with me. I did feel isolated and I felt my non-nursing friends didn’t understand. It was distressing trying to give a bottle, they just wanted the comfort of the boob, breastfeeding creates a beautiful bond and I was the only person that can settle them. My husband found this very stressful, he couldn’t get Willow to sleep until I stopped breastfeeding. It did get easier when they were 6 months old, they would have solids and take expressed milk in a cup, I started to leave them so I could go to the gym, in the morning first and then we worked up to me leaving Willow with Karl after I fed her to sleep. (I still haven’t left Oakley in the evening yet)
6.Made me a clingy parent
Because breastfeeding/chestfeeding creates such an amazing bond and I am the only person who can feed them, get them to sleep and comfort them, I didn’t want to leave them. I joke that it has made me a clingy parent, but it’s true, they contact nap, I co-sleep, they are with me ALL THE TIME. Attachment parenting creates independent kids, but it makes clingy parents, the point above I say I couldn’t leave my baby, but it is also that I don’t want to leave them. Even when I stopped nursing, I missed it more than Willow did, she was ready but I wasn’t. This parenthood thing is an emotional rollercoaster don’t you think?
OMG I’m always so thirsty, I wake up in the middle of the night with intense thirst. People stay hydrated when breastfeeding/chestfeeding!
I felt like everything was down to me, because my girls wouldn’t take a bottle, I was up doing the night feeds, nursing is so much more than food, I was their everything. Some days it felt like they were feeding no-stop, another growth spurt, teething, a cold, hot weather or they are going through some emotional development, or another fucking phase lol. The boob is the answer to all of these things. It’s exhausting and like with points 5 & 6, I felt like I didn’t get a break, I would cry because I wouldn’t even get 10 minutes to myself, yet I didn’t want to leave them. It’s OK to not enjoy every minute of being a parent, it’s OK to not enjoy breastfeeding/chestfeeding all the time, but I never wanted to give up. I’m allowed to moan about it and still carry on doing it.
9.Don’t touch my boobs
Sorry partners do not touch the boobs, they will leak, they might be full and painful, they might feel deflated, just don’t touch them. Some days you just feel completely touched out and you just want to be left alone. My husband says he hates it because they are constantly out and look great. I try telling Willow to stop climbing on me and that my boobs hurt, guess what she doesn’t listen and I’m still her number 1 climbing frame.
I ALWAYS forget to read the labels of medication or let my doctor know I’m breastfeeding, not all medication is safe. Breastfeeding Network have a list of safe medications. Even some cold and flu medication shouldn’t be used.
*This is my personal experience, everyone’s feeding journey is different and every baby is different. I really don’t want to offend anyone and please reach out to me if you are having a difficult time nursing.