Long before Connor was born, I knew that I wanted to breastfeed my children. I’ve always found the natural act to be beautiful and the science behind breastmilk fascinating. Once I got pregnant I couldn’t wait to start researching my method of choice for feeding our baby. I read what I could in books about how to breastfeed so I could get an idea of what to expect and I joined a breastfeeding support group on Facebook. You can only be so prepared for something brand spanking new but the experience is really what you learn from.
Milk takes a few days to really come in.
I had this vision in my mind that my son would be born and suddenly my breasts would fill up with milk then we’d have this incredible first nursing moment. While it was indeed incredible, it wasn’t what I expected. Not long after my new baby and I were transfer to our room in the hospital, we attempted the first latch. I placed his head and mouth where it needed to be and sure enough he latched on all on his own! While it only lasted a few seconds I was in awe of this journey we were on.
To my surprise your milk takes time to come in- it’s not an instant process. I started off producing thick colostrum right before Connor was born. At first I thought I wasn’t producing enough for him and his nurses talked us into supplementing with formula. But thankfully by day three my milk came in. It shocks me how small your newborn’s stomach is; your baby only needs so much at first.
Your breasts will be sore and feel heavy.
I remember on day three that I woke up from a nap and my chest suddenly felt heavy and achy. As soon as I pumped I was getting real milk! As thrilled as I was, getting milk brings on pain. Your chest will feel so heavy that you are afraid you’ll topple over at any moment. Then your nipples will be extra sensitive and achy from doing their job, but soon enough they toughen up. I highly recommend using coconut oil or a nipple balm during this trying time. Just remember: it’s not forever, you’ll get through it!
People will judge you regardless, so go for it.
The very first time I nursed in public was at Target when Connor was a few weeks old. My baby was crying out from being hungry, so I went to the bathroom to latch my son on and covered it all up with a blanket. I felt so nervous that someone was going to say something rude, but I took a deep breath and went back out to where my husband was at. As my sweet boy suckled away I felt so proud that I finally worked up the courage to nurse in public. As we were exiting the store I noticed I got a few looks, but the two that stood out were older women giving me dirty looks like they were so appalled that I had my breast out. I just smiled back; nothing could ruin this feeling I had.
As the months went on I nursed in public whenever my son was hungry. Eventually I got to the point where I felt confident enough to nurse without a cover and I felt no shame. Regardless of what you do, people will judge. Do what makes YOU happy. For me taking care of my child makes ME happy.
Your body probably won’t make the exact amount your child needs, and that’s totally ok.
I assumed that once your milk was in you’d make the exact amount that your baby eats. I quickly found this to be untrue. After Connor was born I both nursed and pumped. I usually had extra milk at the end of the day so I was able to start a freezer stash. I got to the point that my freezer was getting full of milk that I donated my entire freezer stash to another little one.
Seven months into my breastfeeding journey I got hit with a bad case of the flu. After a week of suffering I finally got better but my supply took a serious hit. I was barely making enough to feed my son so I had to start supplementing with formula. Thankfully after nearly a month of power pumping and taking care of myself my milk supply got to the point where I was making just enough to feed Connor’s needs.
The bond breastfeeding creates between you and your baby is absolutely incredible.
My absolute favorite part of the day is when breastfeed my baby. I nurse him all throughout the night and right when I get home from work. Throughout the day I usually choose to nurse over bottle feeding. I’m in love with the way he looks at me while eating, and the satisfied smiles he gives me after. When he gets hurt and upset while playing, I nurse him immediately to comfort him.
Friday marks eleven months of breastfeeding for us and even though it hasn’t been the easiest thing I’ve done I’m so thankful that I chose this for our journey.
What surprises did you have when breastfeeding? Share in the comments below!