Here is my top ten list of things I wish I had known before (or at least when) I started breastfeeding my son.
1) Breastfeeding will be the hardest, most challenging endeavor you will ever accomplish in your life. I knew it wasn't easy, but come on all animal species breastfeed their young. It is the natural thing to do. So then if it is oh so natural, why did it not come easy to me? I have come to realize that like anything it is a learning experience. Heck, I am still learning. Which leads to number two.
2) Practice makes perfect. Each time you get your newbie baby latched on (and sometimes it can take a long time to get the babe latched) is one more time your baby has done that. He is learning as are you. Weeks down the road and it will all be second nature. I can now nurse my baby and type on my blog. Multi-tasking at it's best.
3) This one is actually something a friend told me in those hard early days. If asked to rank breastfeeding on a 1-10 scale in terms of how hard it is, most new moms will rank it somewhere around an 8-12 in the early days. By 6 weeks, most moms will rank it at a 1. Whereas with formula feeding, it always stays around a 4 and never drops. This has stuck with me because it is so true. My first four weeks of nursing I think I would rate at about a 50. But now, it is so easy. I whip out a boob and we are done. Easy, peasy.
4) You will be so hungry that you might utter the words " I swear to God if someone doesn't move (we were stuck in traffic) I might get out and walk to the nearest McDonalds" And I would have. Breastfeeding hunger is like nothing else, not even pregnancy hunger. I actually eat like 50 meals a day. I have first breakfast, second breakfast, morning snack, mid morning snack, lunch, early afternoon snack, late afternoon snack, dinner, second dinner, before bed snack and then when the baby was waking every three hours I had middle of the night snacks. And on to five which goes hand in hand with four.
5) Breastfeeding makes you thirstier than a person walking across the Sahara Desert. Enough said.
6) Breastfeeding gives children a great immune system. This immune system makes immunization aftermath suck. Kai ran a 103-104 fever for 72 hours after his first round of shots. This happened after all his shots although the fevers were more in the 101-102.5 range. It was crappy, but just goes to show that breastfeeding truly does have an awesome immune system benefit.
|Destructo with his battle scars|
8) And along with second guessing comes all the worrying you will do about whether you have a good enough supply to meet your baby's needs. For all the worrying I did, it accomplished nothing and guess what? I ended up hitting the year mark with only having to supplement 20 oz when I had mastitis. But I got my supply back up and just this Friday ended up donating about 100 oz to a mom who needed it for her baby. All that worrying only to have enough to donate. Go figure.
9) If you are a working mom, you will have a love/ hate relationship with your pump. I loved my pump because it helped enable me to supply milk for my son while I had to be away. I hated my pump because it was a huge time suck (LOL yes that was a pun on words) and I wasn't able to have any sort of social life at work since I always had to pump. I was not sad to see this part of my breastfeeding journey end at a year.
9 3/4) Mastitis really sucks. (But more on that in an upcoming post.)
10) And finally, breastfeeding is a roller coaster ride. It has its up and downs and stomach turning dips and peaks. But you will never regret breastfeeding. I know I will look back on this 20 years from now and truly feel that it was some of the best moments in my life. Never again will Kai need his momma like he did this first year of his life. Excuse me while I go sob in a corner for a short while that my baby is growing up way too quickly.
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