Before becoming a mother, I had NO IDEA how huge the decision to breastfeed would be, and how incredibly hard and involved it would be. Here are 10 things I learned the hard way about breastfeeding.
1. Nursing IS NOT plug-and-chug.
It's still baffling to me how something so "natural" can be so damn hard! Between learning the correct latch and the best hold, it took lots of time, patience, practice and pain for both my baby and me to get the hang of it.
2. At first... Cheese Grater. Guys, want to know what a woman goes through in the first few weeks of nursing? Hook a vacuum hose up to your nipple for 45 minutes to an hour, then take a cheese grater to it for the same amount of time. Voila... nursing tits!
3. Who knew MY nursing was everyone's business? Amazing, no one cared about my boobs before I had a baby... Who knew my newborn's nutrition and the daily goings-on of my boobies would be on the radar of every woman I came in contact with?
4. It takes a village. Between doctors, lactation consultants, my husband's 24/7 support, a massive pump, and a bunch of creams, I FINALLY got the hang of it.
5. HELLO MASSIVE BOOBIES! By the time my milk fully came in, I was up THREE cup sizes! Those puppies got so big it looked like my armpits grew a set!
6. There is no rest for the weary nurser. Nursing is 24/7. Every two hours without fail if I wasn't nursing, I was pumping. It took nearly six months to get everything to level out! Needless to say, I was one tired cranky big boobie b*tch!
7. There is NO time limit to nursing. The start of my nursing journey was so rough, I was sure I would never be able to make it to six months. Every day I would tell myself, just one more day... When I made it to a year, I was sure that would be it... Not. Even. I nursed my son until he was 2 years and 4 months old. And I am proud of it, even if I did get some of the sh*ttiest comments and rude looks. "You are STILL nursing?" Damn right I am. It's my kid and my choice. I nursed him until the time was right for BOTH of us to stop.
8. Breastfeeding is NOT always a choice. I NEVER thought I would nurse. Never. I honestly didn't know anyone who did, however, thanks to the small village and contraptions mentioned in #4, I did it, and I am SO thankful and blessed for it. That being said, my heart breaks for my girlfriends who were determined, and could not. My heart breaks for the mothers of preemies who never got their milk. My heart breaks for the woman who found breastfeeding was not for her, and got chastised for not "making herself" nurse.
9. Breastfeeding is one of the very hardest things I've ever done. Full stop. In my case, it took a lot of work, pain, time, loss of sleep and selflessness to nurse my son for nearly two and a half years. Even though nursing became easy enough by the sixth month, it was a very hard-fought road to get there.
10. Breastfeeding is one of the very best things I've ever done. Full stop. Nursing my son will always be one of my greatest achievements in life. Hard work pays off, and I have one healthy, strong, incredibly smart, badass BOSS kid to show for it!