Breastfeeding is an amazing experience, but like all things worth having, it’s not a perfect one. For a new mom, the following is a list of 12 things that no one really tells you about (until you to start to realize on your own) while nursing your baby.
1. You will look like you have breast implants.
Lest you think that is a good thing, these new breasts of yours will feel as hard as those of a mannequin, leak like you wouldn’t believe, spray your new baby in the face, and hurt all over.
The only solution to this sudden engorgement is to feed your baby who may have trouble latching on now that your nipples are the consistency of plastic. Some women will have so much milk that the baby may be unable to empty the breast completely anyway, so it might be necessary to pump afterward just to relieve the pain.
2. You can squeeze your breasts and know which to feed the baby from first.
You’ll feel like Karen Smith from Mean Girls because you’ll be able to tell which side to start a feeding on when you feel your breasts. In fact, you may have one over on Karen because you may be able to tell simply by looking in a mirror! An engorged breast may be a cup size or two larger than normal and it will definitely feel harder than an emptied breast.
3. Your toddler will stick their hand down your shirt and you probably won’t notice.
In fact, someone else’s breastfed toddler will probably stick their hand down your shirt… and lest you think your boobs will be your own when you wean, think again. Your kids will love to touch them, rub them, plunge their faces into them, and stick their hand down in between them long after they have stopped nursing.
4. You will wake up to pump even when your baby keeps sleeping.
You won’t want to do this, but it’s either that or try to sleep on hard, painful melons. Pumping stands a better chance of giving you a few more precious hours or even just minutes of sleep.
5. You will wake up in puddles of milk.
You thought all those burp rags were for the baby? They’re also for you.
You should probably sleep on them in those first few months of lactation to prevent milk stains on the mattress. Better yet, grab a towel, because you will wake up in the middle of the night and find yourself in puddles of milk.
And when your nurse your baby after a couple of hours of sleep, your other breast will leak everywhere so you’ll need something to sop that up as well.
6. You will be in public and suddenly find that you have a pair of wet spots on your shirt.
Your baby will cry or someone else’s baby will cry and you’ll leak. No matter how you try to prevent it, it will happen and someone will notice. Sometimes, your milk flow outsmarts even the most absorbent pair of breast pads. Usually, though, mommy brain gets the better of you and you either forgot the breast pads altogether or they slipped down below your nipple after your last feeding.
7. You will
milk yourself use a breast pump
…and feel just a bit bovine. Even though human milk is the best food for your baby, you won’t be able to help feeling just a little bit weird attaching yourself to a machine to harvest it and then storing and freezing fluid that comes out of your own body.
8. You will learn that nursing can be a wrestling match.
Just when you thought you’d gotten the hang of breastfeeding, your baby will mature and gain more use of their limbs and body, practicing all of their best karate and wrestling moves on you.
9. You will learn that nipples are really stretchy.
I’ve heard it called niplash. Your baby is nursing, gets distracted, and quickly turns to look at some outside stimuli while still attached, stretching your nipple to ridiculous lengths before snapping it (ouch!) out of their mouth. You won’t have time to stop this from happening. It will occur in the blink of an eye.
10. Your boobs will be outside of your shirt most of the day.
At least at first. It’s just easier that way since a young baby is attached to them more often than not.
11. You won’t really care when someone sees your breast.
You mean to care, but you’re so used to your breasts being functional and out in the open that ultimately you’ll just shrug your shoulders and say, “Whatever. My baby is hungry.”
12. You will have a love/hate relationship with nursing.
On the one hand, you will absolutely fall in love with another human being while watching them gaze at you adorably over the crescent moon of your breast. On the other hand you’ll think, “Again? You just nursed! I just want my body to myself.” There is no in between. You struggle between wanting to continue this beautiful bond with your sweet baby, and wanting your autonomy back.
If you are a expectant or new mom who’s looking to breastfeed, you need to know that there will be highs and lows, good parts and bad parts, but ultimately you will look back upon that experience and time as some of the most precious minutes you ever spent with your child!