I love breastfeeding my baby

Okay, so here is the deal, let me say it one more time:

I LOVE BREASTFEEDING MY BABY.

That is why we are 18 months in, and she is still nursing.

However, breastfeeding is not glamorous! It is tough and has some downsides. I am listing them here and now. I think I have enough experience to give a few reasons why it “sucks.” Pun intended.

Just know this is not a post to deter anyone from breastfeeding (quite the opposite it is for the women who can relate), it is a fun spirited list of why breastfeeding is hard – in no particular order. Maybe it will enlighten those who have never breastfed and give them something to think about or provide a different perspective.

In reality, these reasons are just a drop in the bucket when it comes to the fantastic benefits of nursing. I will be writing my 18 best reasons for breastfeeding next, so be on the lookout for that post.

Bottom line, this post goes out to all the women who are breastfeeding, have breastfed, attempted to breastfeed and those planning on breastfeeding! You all have my utmost respect! I hope all you ladies can relate to me and can poke fun at yourself as well.

It may get a little TMI – but that is probably why people have no idea what nursing women go through. That is because breastfeeding is so taboo, despite it being such a huge part of life!

Oh, and if you are reading this thinking ‘why don’t you just give your baby a bottle’ read up on my other article for an easy explanation: Our Breastfed Baby NEVER Drank from a Bottle, How We Survived

Also, if you are thinking I did everything incorrectly – just know my first few months with my baby were spent visiting and calling lactation consultants, reading breastfeeding books and googling about breastfeeding non-stop. I even met with a lactation consultant and attended multiple breastfeeding classes before giving birth.

So believe me I tried to do it correctly.

#1 It is hard

There is no understatement for this, for many women it is hard.

If you do not believe me google it. You will find a gazillion articles, websites, and books all dedicated to helping women breastfeed. If it was easy, trust me you would not need so many resources for it.

Or better yet ask a mom. She can tell you first hand her experience.

Now if you had an easy time nursing then kudos to you!

But my personal experience and for virtually every mom I know, it was a struggle.

Yes, it is natural, but there is also a learning curve. Babies are born with the instinct to suckle, but that is about it, you both have to learn how to breastfeed.

#2 No perfect latch

Every single lactation consultant and book will say breastfeeding should not hurt. Well, tell that to my daughter who insists to this day on making nursing painful.

I do not know what I did wrong, but my daughter has always had a painful latch. I did everything I could to remedy it – read books, watched YouTube videos, met with several lactation consultants – in the end, nothing worked. So I live with it.

When I was at the point that I wanted to give up, a lactation consultant told me, her latch just might never be perfect and you might feel discomfort, and that is okay.

That was the most relieving advice anyone ever told me. My daughter was getting my milk and growing, so I was doing something right. After that, knowing that she was getting what she needed from me was enough to continue despite the discomfort.

#3 Nipples bleed and hurt

Yup, we go through that too especially in the beginning. So next time you are visiting your friend or relative to see the new baby, just know the mama may be in pain or discomfort of some sort – be sensitive to that.

If she is not in pain from giving birth, then she may be in pain from nursing. But we gladly accept company and put our pain aside so everyone can see our baby. No matter how much it hurts our nipples when we put on a shirt!

#4 It is time-consuming

There are days when my daughter just does not want to stop nursing. Days when I have to get ready to go to work, or we have a social engagement to get to. But I let her keep nursing because I want her to have a full tummy and to be happy.

These days I am always late for everything because of it.

Sometimes I just wish that people understood I am not late just to be late or because I can’t be on time. I am late because I am taking care of my baby to the best of my best ability and nursing can take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour or even a few hours if she falls asleep.

There are times when I just let her sleep in my arms because I do not have the heart to wake her up.

#5 It bothers people

There are times when you just can’t help it – there will be people who are uncomfortable with your nursing! What am I suppose to do when my baby needs to eat, and I happen to be at the store or somewhere else out in public?

Should I deny her needs just so I do not make people uncomfortable?

I try my best to cover up, but there are times when I am caught off guard, and a nipple peeks out. Oops, but I assess the situation and do my best. I just wish people knew how hard I try to last before I nurse her in public, so I do not make others uncomfortable.

#6 Teeth

Do I really have to explain this one? Probably not.

My daughter’s first tooth sprout at the ripe age of four months and I have been dealing with teeth since then. At 18 months, she now has almost every tooth and when I make her laugh while nursing – I can 100% let you know her canines are absolutely there.

I feel her teeth scraping my nipple for various reasons:

  • When she is not feeling good
  • Falls asleep
  • In an awkward position
  • Laughing
  • Jumping
  • Teething
  • Moving from breast to breast
  • Looking up
  • Crying
  • Dancing
  • Singing

Yes, if your baby is like mine, she will be doing all sorts of stuff while nursing. And there are many more reasons than above when I can feel her teeth. But she is my baby, so she gets a free pass. Plus many of her reasons make me laugh.

I forgot to mention, sometimes she likes to stick food in her mouth while nursing – and tries to chew her food with my nipple right in her mouth. Let me tell you, breastfeeding an older child is vastly different than breastfeeding a newborn.

#7 Engorged

This is a painful one indeed.

If you do not have an outlet for that milk, your breasts get full, and the pressure makes it painful. A pain I had never felt before. And do not want to feel ever again (although it still happens).

This can happen at work often – especially on days you are out of the office or just have tons of meetings. Any little out of the ordinary change to your schedule can mean you skip a pumping session and you will be paying for it later.

The icing on the cake is when you finally get to your baby, and she latches on – prepare for more pain before relief.

#8 You become an uncontrollable leaky faucet

The crazy thing is, all your body wants to do is provide for your baby. Being ready for your little one can lead to embarrassment.

If your baby is not around or something triggers you, you are going to leak. If you forget to put a nursing pad in your bra, your shirt is going to get wet. Then it gets wet in the most obvious embarrassing spot! It screams I AM LACTATING. Or it can scream, I HAVE SWEATY UNDER-BOOBS depending on the location. Both are situations are not cool.

It is a never-ending cycle!

It also happens at home when your baby suddenly wants to nurse and then your 2nd boob let down leaks a puddle of milk into your robe – there is just no escaping it!

#9 Boobs droop

I did absolutely everything wrong when it came to nursing – so now I have a droopy pair of boobs. My nipples hurt so much at first that I avoided bras my entire maternity leave. Yup, not even kidding.

Oh yeah and my daughter loves to nurse while on her back in bed, so she just grabs my nipple with her little hand and pulls it towards her mouth. So my nipples face outward from all the tugging. I am like a lighthouse underneath my shirt.

Enough on this topic for now…if you are a new breastfeeding mom I recommend you go on Pinterest and find an article to prevent boob drooping right now!

#10 It is not convenient when you are out

Honestly, nursing, in general, is pretty convenient. You do not have to worry about buying formula or getting bottles prepared. But when you are out and about – it can become troublesome.

When your baby wants to nurse, and your clothes do not allow for easy boob access (because just for once you want to dress like a woman), you have to go home and nurse.

There are a dozen comparable situations just like this when your throw in your towel and just go home because your baby needs mama’s milk.

#11 Nursing bras

Now that your boobs are droopy guess what? Nursing bras provide like no support. At least the ones I bought do not. Probably because when I went bra shopping, I had no idea what size or what kind of bra to get for nursing. I was totally clueless. And I refused to spend any more money on undergarments I will not be wearing for much longer.

But regardless, nursing bras hardly do their job. They barely provide support, and they are not even cute looking. They are basically a drag.

Maybe it is because I did not do my research? Now, if you can recommend an excellent bra for future mamas let me know in the comments below!

#12 Pumping is a whole production

If you read my post, An Extensive ad Detailed Guide to Effectively and Quickly Pump at Work, then you know it takes a lot to pump at work. I had a complete list of 20 essential things you need to be ready to pump at work. That is because pumping is a whole event in itself.

You have to prep, pump, and store. You also have to get a good routine and prepare ahead of time to do it correctly. Plus, you have to pump to keep your production up and to relieve pain. It is not a choice where you can just skip it because you do not feel like doing it. It is a must do for a variety of reasons.

So it can feel like a chore after a while, but if you are prepared, it makes it less of an obligation.

#13 Twiddling can get painful

If you do not know what twiddling is – then let me educate you. Twiddling is when your baby basically plays with your free nipple while nursing. When your baby is a few months old, it is not too bad, and I read it can even make the milk let down faster.

However, when your baby gets older and stronger, that twiddling can get painful. If my baby’s nails grow out, she will use them to stab into my nipple. As she gains dexterity – so does the elaborateness of her twiddling. So she will squeeze with multiple fingers or even have a toy in her hand while doing it.

It is definitely a habit you want to stop early on if possible.

#14 Shirt tugging is embarrassing

This one time I was at my cousin’s house, and we were about to leave because my daughter was getting fussy. So as we are saying goodbye, my daughter decides to grab and squeeze my nipple through my shirt in front of everyone! My cousin would not stop laughing. Luckily my daughter did that around family. If it were in public, I would have been even more embarrassed.

But that is what older nursing babies do, they tug at your shirt and try to grab at your nipples. Whenever she is tired and ready to go home that is what she does as soon as I pick her up – she starts tugging and grabbing what she can.

To her grabbing my nipples are as natural as me grabbing my cup of coffee.

#15 It is an energy sucker

After I nurse, I am usually ready for a nap, or I just can’t get up, or I fall asleep. It is like my daughter sucks the life out of me! Then I just do not have the energy to do anything anymore.

It is just draining, but even though I can be tired, I get my energy going to get all the things I have to get done.

By the way, did you know that sometimes you have to wake up in the middle of the night to nurse your baby?

Haha, of course, you do! So when it comes energy-sucking – it also steals your sleep.

And I thought I was exhausted while I was pregnant – when she was in the tummy, I at least did not have to chase her around!

#16 You end up nursing when you have other things to do

There are times when my daughter insists on nursing when I am trying to meet a deadline or get something accomplished. It has gotten to the point that whenever I am on my laptop at home, she must nurse.

First, she nurses on one side so I can still breastfeed and work on my laptop – then after a minute, she will get on the other boob and just put her entire body on top of me blocking the laptop. So then if I keep working with her whole body on top of me, she will whine and shut my laptop.

Yup, that happens all the time! Nursing does not usually allow for multitasking, especially when your child gets older and heavier.

#17 Not many nurse friendly places exist

When I say nurse friendly – I am talking about space, atmosphere, and location. When I am halfway through grocery shopping, and my daughter wants to nurse I can’t just drop everything and nurse her in the store for a few different reasons.

The first is she is heavy, and I can’t just walk and nurse her like I could when she was much smaller. To nurse properly, we need a chair so she can drink her milk for a few minutes to feel better. The second reason is if I whip out my boob and let her nurse from the seat in the shopping cart I will probably make people feel uncomfortable. The third reason is that stores in general just feel germy – I like to wash my hands and such before I nurse.

Although, I have nursed her in a fitting room during a time of emergency and I have nursed in my arms while walking down grocery aisles. 

But think about it, if you are not home it is hard to breastfeed your baby. I bought an SUV type of vehicle just so I can go to my car and breastfeed her as needed in comfort.

#18 It makes you hungry

Whoever said nursing helps you lose weight is really stretching it. While I am sure it can help with weight loss, I have experienced the opposite, right after I nurse all I want to do is eat. It makes me super hungry, and if I do not have healthy food around me, I will go after whatever I can scavenge.

I think that was a big part of my weight gain after I had her, yes, I gained weight after giving birth. I ate whatever was easily accessible, and after having a baby, I just did not have the energy to prepare healthy meals. Now that she is older I am trying to be smarter about what I put into my body.

I try to have water and snacks around me while I nurse and that does help alleviate the hunger. And I keep junk food out of the house.

For my related post click here: 18 Benefits of Breastfeeding – To Celebrate My 18th Month Breastfeeding

Final thoughts

Ultimately, as a mom, I keep on breastfeeding because I absolutely love my baby and I know it is the best way I can provide for her at this time. Plus, I have the full ability to do so.

Sometimes you have to do what you have to do. It does not matter how much things suck. Or how much I am making other people uncomfortable. If my baby needs her mama’s milk, I will give it to her.

To all the people who think she is too old to be nursing at this age – I will nurse my daughter for as long as we both want and need to.

I think the world has this misconception about breastfeeding, it is made out to be so easy. Even while I was going through photos of babies breastfeeding for this article, they are all absolutely beautiful, and while it is a lovely experience, that is just not the reality of it for every mother all the time.

The fact is, breastfeeding can get tricky, and there are times when you want to give up, but you don’t, you keep doing it for your baby.

I really hope this post will be of value to all the women out there who are suffering in silence when it comes to breastfeeding and motherhood in general.

To all the women out there going through similar experiences I am, you are not and will never be alone.

Can you think of other ways breastfeeding sucks? Or did you go through anything similar? Let me know in the comments below. Thank you so much for reading!

 

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