The Truth About Breastfeeding That No One Talks About

I'm a momma to two little girls and I've got to admit that I'm feeling a little baby hungry.  My husband and I want to start trying for a baby next year.  As I'm preparing myself to be pregnant again, I can't help thinking how far I've come as a mother.  I still remember the first time I was pregnant and being so nervous and scared.  I wished that I had an older sister to tell me what to expect about breastfeeding but I ended up figuring out everything on my own.  If you're pregnant for the first time and would like to know some details about breastfeeding, allow me to be your big sister for a minute and I'll tell you everything I've learned.




1.  If your baby does not latch on right your nipples will bruise, literally turn black and blue, and can crack and bleed.  To latch on right, the nipple should be completely in baby's mouth with her lips against your breast on either side. I thought that just getting any of my nipple in her mouth was a win but really I was just causing a whole lot of hurt for myself by not pulling her off and making sure she was latched on right.  I used to cry when it was time to nurse because it hurt so bad.  Fast forward to my second baby.  I knew to not let her suck with only a part of the nipple in her mouth and would gently pull her off and reattach her the right way and we both avoided dissolving in a puddle of hysterics and actually enjoyed that special time together.  The second time around I also put Lanolin on my nipples after every feeding to keep them from getting chapped and it made a world of difference.

2.  If you use one breast more than the other, one breast will be bigger and you'll be a little lopsided.  This happened to me both times. You should switch off which breast you use first at every feeding and that should keep you pretty even.  I was not very good at this because one side was just more comfortable for both of us.  Luckily for me, when I stopped breastfeeding and lost all my milk my breasts evened out again both times.


3. When you don't nurse and there's milk built up in your breasts it can be very painful.  When your breast is full of milk it gets rock hard and really sensitive.  I kept telling my husband that it was like having rocks in my breasts.  Sometimes you can feel little balls of trapped milk under your skin.  When you need to nurse but baby's sleeping or not hungry, you can pump or take a warm washcloth and compress to release some of that milk.  It feels weird to be milking yourself, but we've all had to do it.  Welcome to the momma club!

4. Your breasts will leak.  Oftentimes I'd wake up and my T-shirt would be soaked with milk.  It's a good idea to have nursing pads to stick in your bra to make sure you won't leak through your shirt.  When your baby cries, your milk will let down and you'll feel like a tingling rushing sensation when the milk goes to your nipples.  Even a cry from a random baby can make you do this.  You'll need to find yourself a good nursing bra.  I've bought my nursing bras from Target but sometimes they are hard to find because they are mixed in with the other bras and other times they wont have the size I need.  The next time I'm pregnant I want to try a bra from ThirdLove.  They give you a little quiz so you can find exactly what will fit your body type.


5.  Here's the truth that you won't really get until you try breastfeeding.  There's nothing in the world like it.  You are physically and emotionally connected to this little being.  Your body is so in sync with their little body that your milk will change and give him/her more nutrients when they are sick.  Your body will start to expect when baby will be hungry and let down your milk before they even cry.  Breastfeeding is a beautiful personal experience.  The image of those little eyes looking up at you stays in your heart forever.  And yes, your body will never be the same again but here's another truth, we are women warriors.  We have scars because we've gone through pregnancy and labor and survived it.  We are stronger now than we ever were before.  We've had aches and pains but also joys that others can only guess at.  And while the world might poke fun at the breastfeeding experience we can smile our secret smiles because we know they will never truly understand it.  So, my sisterly advice is to be excited.  This experience will change your life forever. 









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