Reality Check: Breastfeeding is Hard
Here's the deal, breastfeeding is not always easy. In fact, there are a lot of mamas who would argue that it is almost always freaking tough.
I'm definitely one of those mamas.
Breastfeeding is tough physically, emotionally, and basically just all around.
First off, the expectation of breastfeeding is downright horrible. From the moment they place that sweet new baby on your chest, you're getting the push to nurse. Even for mamas like me who planned on breastfeeding feel that there's this major "breast is best" mentality that makes it difficult to admit when it's hard or when you don't like it. I know so many mamas who have a miserable couple of months with their newborn because they are trying to force themselves to nurse and it just isn't working, and they feel so much guilt. That is really hard.
Plus, let's talk about how it is straight up uncomfortable when your milk comes in. Having your breasts full and having a little babe who doesn't need to eat much is hard. (It is SO important to have a pump because of this--that will make things a bit easier!)
It's also just really hard to get a baby to suck and actually get anything to eat. Well actually, they'll clamp on pretty easily, but whether they will accomplish that without making you cringe in pain is another story. With my son, I spent the first 2 weeks nursing in absolute pain every time he latched. No matter how many of the nurses' tips I used or how careful I was to get it "just right", I ended up with cracked and bleeding nipples. Even putting on nipple cream every hour didn't keep me from dreading the next time my son got hungry. Yeah, the pain is hard.
Then, when everyone suggests you feed the baby at all times, or whenever they are upset, or whenever you have a minute to breathe is hard. It's absolutely infuriating as a new mom to have everyone say, "Do you think he's hungry?" Let's get something out there--having people ask you what you think is making your baby cry is annoying for anyone, but having people expect you to strip down at all times is so hard.
Oh yeah, let's not forget that little tidbit about not really being able to put on real clothes at all while you're a breastfeeding mama, because your shirt is coming off every couple of hours, otherwise you're dealing with a wriggling hangry baby. And let's be honest, a nursing shirt isn't the most flattering. It's super fun...oh wait, no, it's just hard.
Once you actually get the hang of breastfeeding your baby, guess what? It's still hard. It's hard when you have no clue about how much your baby is eating and whether or not they're gaining weight. It's hard when you feel like you can't get a sitter because you might need to feed your baby and they won't take a bottle yet. Its hard when you get mastitis and you feel like you have the flu and you still have to be there and feed your baby. It's hard when you have to keep your calories up and are constantly hungry and thirsty because you're doing so much for your baby. It's hard when you don't lose all the baby weight just breastfeeding.
Here's the truth, mamas. Breastfeeding is hard. And no one ever tells you that. It's supposed to be a super easy thing, but it isn't. We get that. It's hard.
It's hard because there is a lot of commitment that you're signing up for. It's hard because it will hurt sometimes and it will be uncomfortable sometimes and you will be sick of having your back hurt and your nipples leak.
But here's the other truth, mamas. Breastfeeding was one of the sweetest ways for me to connect with my babes. Once I got over the hardest hurdle of that first month, it felt like the hard things weren't enough to make me give it up altogether.