i would have to say that probably one of the biggest surprises of motherhood so far for me has been breastfeeding.

i think i went into things as prepared as i probably could have been. i mean, i took the hospital class and all...and read a bit about it in books. but still it wasn't quite what i expected. so for all you mommies-to-be, or whoever is interested, i thought i'd write a bit about my experiences so far.

i knew it was definitely something i wanted to do if i could from the start. i mean, there's too many benefits to list...it's great for your baby, it helps you heal, it's FREE, etc! and it's the most natural thing in the world, right?

i think that's where i may have been a little idealistic. at about 6 weeks in, we've definitely got things down now. but there was definitely a learning curve involved. for both me and the bambino.

i had heard some horror stories about pain in breastfeeding. i mean, definitely there was some from the start, but after giving birth it kind of put that pain in perspective. though no doubt, it isn't fun having scabs on your nipples, and for them to still need to function every 1-2 hours. not comfy. just give yourself a big titty twister and hold it for about half an hour to imagine the feeling.

but this part i was still kind of braced for. i'd heard about it. and once we got a proper latch down and i toughened up, things started to improve tremendously. if i was way too sore, i'd pump an occasional feeding into a bottle to give myself a slightly less painful break. it also gave my husband a chance to join in the feeding fun. the hospital lactation consultant also gave me a nipple shield to help my little one latch on better, and give me a little pain relief till i got used to things. that pretty much worked like training wheels for both of us, and once jia learned that she could get at the milk even faster without it, she pretty much weaned herself off of it.

during the postpartum phase, you are really getting used to so many new changes in your body...changes that happen really quickly!

at first i was afraid somehow that i wouldn't be able to produce milk. when you've never produced milk in 30+ years, it's kind of hard to imagine! so it's kind of amazing how your boobs step up to the plate and fulfill what their actual function is...and boy do they!! my doubts about even being able to lactate somehow blocked me from the reality that my boobs would pretty much be leaking milk at all times!

breastfeeding is a commitment. not only is a newborn frequently hungry...but you also frequently have to get the milk out...or else it's going to come out on it's own terms...in probably an embarrassing way. so the art of boob maintenance becomes pretty much a full time job. if you change things up, miss feedings, etc...it will not only equal discomfort, but you also need to stick with a routine to keep your milk supply strong enough to nourish your little one.

perhaps the psychological aspects of it are what have been the most challenging to me though. even though i believe strongly that it's something i need to do, and that this is a healthy and normal function of the breast, and that i need to feed my baby when she's hungry...it's still hard for me to nurse in public. even with a cover. it's crazy how our culture has distorted the function of breasts. should i feel shame for feeding my child? i have to admit that deep down it's hard for me not to.

it's really opened my eyes up to how skewed our culture can be. i'm getting over it. but it's been a challenge for me. i realize that i avoid now going out sometimes because i don't want to have to nurse in public. which is kind of wrong.

anyways, over all though breastfeeding has been a sweet and bonding experience...i just don't know why people don't talk about it more. the physical, the emotional, the psychological, etc...

it's amazing the way God makes our bodies to work though. when you've been carrying a child inside you for months, it's such a blessing to be able to continue that connection by continuing to provide for that little one with your own body.

One Comment

  1. I know from my own experience how awkward it can feel to nurse in public at first. But good for you for not giving up! I was all gung ho about breastfeeding and then I noticed how some people would actually glare at me or practically run away even if I was completely covered. It is sad that we are made to feel guilty for feeding our babies! But I breastfed my son until 15 mos and just started ignoring the people who I came to realize were really just ignorant. I hope you feel comfortable enough in the future to go out when you want to. Good luck!


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