Many people know and decide right off the bat that they want to breastfeed. It truly is one of the most amazing things we can do as a woman! Not only can our bodies create human life, but we can also produce liquid gold to feed our little babies after they are born. Many new moms know that the 100% want to breastfeed, or at least try to. But I also know it is not for everyone, and I do not want any you moms who chose not to breastfeed to feel bad or anything like that! I am just here to talk about my “slightly” brutal experience and truth about all the joys of breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding creates an amazing bond between a mother a child, and no matter what I am about to reveal to you about my experience, I promise I truly did love breastfeeding! Through all the nipple cracking, nipple biting, engorged breasts, and of course the joys of battling mastitis there is nothing more rewarding than feeding that little baby and receiving endless cuddles and love.
I knew that I wanted to breastfeed my baby from the beginning, or at least try and breastfeed for as long as I could, but I definitely had no idea how much work goes into it! My breastfeeding journey started when I was about halfway through my pregnancy when I decided to take a breastfeeding class through the hospital that I was having my son at. Honestly, the breastfeeding class was very informative but nothing compares to the reality of just having to jump right into it with the help of your hospital nurses.
It is so incredible how our bodies know the exact moment we give birth to start producing milk for our babies. After birth, I remember getting moved into the post-delivery room and then it was time to feed my little baby boy for the first time. Not only do we have to figure out how to get the baby to latch properly, but on top of that, we have to worry about holding and handling our fresh and fragile baby! We have to try different positions, switch off between boobs, and on top of that wake up at least every two hours to feed our little angels. My nurses were truly amazing, they helped me any way they could. Breastfeeding was not easy for me right off the bat. My son would not latch into me whatsoever so, the nurse had to bring in a pump and taught me how to pump milk out of my breasts. Then we had to use a syringe and feed my son my milk out of that. The second day got a lot better and my son and I began to get used to the whole breastfeeding thing, finally. But, of course, it didn’t come that easy. My son only liked being fed from my right breast! I know people say that babies are too young to know any different, but let me tell you, my son knew the difference. So yes, my right boob was noticeably bigger than my left boob for about the first month of my breastfeeding journey. It eventually evened out and my son began to realize that the liquid god tastes the same from both breasts!
After dealing with my uneven breast issues, here came the cracked nipples. The chapping… the cracking… the continuous sucking from that newborn… the bleeding… the scabbing… it’s all real. I will tell you that right now, get yourself some nipple balm! Oh, and while you’re at it, do not forget those boob pads because you WILL leak in that cute top you decide to wear out one night. The cracking does eventually get better but for me, that was just the beginning.
If uneven boobs and cracked nipples were not enough for me I, soon after, got mastitis. For those of you who do not know what mastitis is, it is an extremely painful breast tissue infection. This infection causes extreme breast pain due to inflamed breast tissue and clogged milk ducts. It is usually caused by a bacteria that is transferred from your baby’s mouth into your breast. When I found out I had mastitis I literally felt as though I had a horrible flu. I could not get out of bed, I had a fever, and all I wanted to do was sleep. I did my research, as I lay in bed with a hungry newborn and tender breasts- I knew right away I had mastitis. The good news is that mastitis is cured with a visit to the doctor and a prescription. The bad news is that you still have to breastfeed your baby like you normally would because continuously breastfeeding allows the breast engorgement to go down and the ducts to unclog. I am not going to lie, dealing with mastitis was the most painful breastfeeding experience I had. I was strictly breastfeeding so through my run-in with the infection I continued to breastfeed.
Once my mastitis cleared, I started not producing enough milk to feed my little boy. Because of this, I began drinking Mother’s Milk Tea twice a day. This definitely helped my milk supply! I would highly recommend this tea to any moms who are breastfeeding. It’s yummy and it really did help my milk supply go up.
My first three months of breastfeeding were definitely the hardest to get used to but after that I absolutely loved it and I would not change anything. I decided to breastfeed my son for exactly 12 months. I decided to not do any longer than the first year, honestly because he had a ton of teeth and my son found biting my nipples to be a fun game for him due to the fact that he enjoyed my, subtle, reaction of pain. I had a long discussion with my son’s pediatrician and she was very okay with my decision to stop breastfeeding my son at a one. As much as I was ready to stop breastfeeding, my son was absolutely not ready to stop. It was more an attachment thing than anything. And I honestly flat out stopped breastfeeding one day, no whining my son off of it… that may be the one thing I do regret. It was a very hard time for my son, but only because of his attachment to me. And the fact that his first birthday party was the day after I decided to cut him off. We all make mistakes as parents, but it honestly was a hard week for my son to get used to switching from my breast milk to whole milk.
Breastfeeding is, no doubt, one of the most amazing experiences we have as a mother. There are ups and downs throughout the months of breastfeeding. You will most likely fall asleep with your little baby drinking from your breast. You will have moments where you may wish you had a little bit of space. You will leak in public at least once, and yes your boobs will be like a waterfall when you shower with warm water. You will put cole cabbage on your breasts to try and help the engorgement. I hope none of you have to deal with mastitis… But remember, you are an amazing mom and you are doing a great job! I know breastfeeding is not always the easiest, but I promise it is more than worth it and you will no doubt miss it the day you decide to stop. So take advantage and give your baby some of that liquid gold!