The Unspoken Realities of Breastfeeding: What I Wish I Knew

Breastfeeding, a sometimes beautiful yet almost always challenging journey that many new parents embark on, holds a myriad of unspoken truths. Beyond the serene images of bonding and nourishment lie the untold tales that every parent wishes they knew before stepping into the realm of nursing.

1. Latch Woes: It’s Not as Instinctive as You Think
   Many envision a seamless latch right from the start, but reality often paints a different picture. Both mom and baby may need time to figure out the perfect latch, leading to moments of frustration and uncertainty. Your baby isn’t born knowing how to breastfeed. I am sorry.

2. Nursing Bras are a Game-Changer
   A good nursing bra is worth its weight in gold. Comfortable, supportive, and designed for easy access, these bras become a lifeline during those midnight feeds. Trust me; investing in a few quality nursing bras is a decision you won’t regret. BUT…..and here’s a big one….it would be better to go free than get the wrong one. Binding your breasts up tight is old advice, so we don’t do that anymore.

3. Cluster Feeding: Brace Yourself
   Cluster feeding, the phenomenon where your baby seemingly wants to nurse non-stop, can catch new parents off guard. It’s a temporary phase, but knowing that it’s normal can provide a much-needed sense of relief during those long nights. Ya’ll get yourself a postpartum doula and save your sanity now!

4. Mental Health Matters
   The emotional toll of breastfeeding is often WAY underestimated. From the pressure to produce enough milk to the sleep deprivation, it’s essential to prioritize mental well-being. Seek support from friends, family, or professional lactation consultants when needed. And never, ever, feel bad about reaching out to a qualified therapist during this time. In fact, let us find one for you!

5. Pumping is a Skill
   For those returning to work or wanting to share feeding duties, mastering the art of pumping is crucial. It’s not just about the right equipment; learning how to pump efficiently and maintain a pumping schedule takes practice. And patience. And truly is often more difficult than feeding at the breast.

6. Hydration and Nutrition are Non-Negotiable
   Breastfeeding can be dehydrating, and the demands on your body are significant. Stay hydrated, eat nourishing meals, and remember that your well-being directly impacts the quality of milk you provide for your baby. In case you haven’t heard me preach this already….eat your colors. And when you breastfeed, be prepared for your need to consume an extra 500 calories or so each day to sustain your milk production.

7. Nipple Cream is Your Best Friend
   Sore nipples are an unfortunate reality for many breastfeeding moms. Nipple cream CAN be a saving grace, providing relief and preventing further discomfort. Don’t be shy about using it liberally. But, also don’t be worried if it doesn’t work for you. This isn’t a one size fits all remedy.

8. It’s Okay to Ask for Help
   Breastfeeding challenges are not a sign of failure. Whether seeking advice from other experienced moms or consulting a lactation consultant, reaching out for help is a strength, not a weakness. Also, it’s ok to stop breastfeeding if you need to for your own mental health. It’s OK, we promise! We are here to help.

Understanding these unspoken truths can pave the way for a more informed and empowered breastfeeding journey. Each breastfeeding experience is unique, and embracing the realities – both joys and challenges – can lead to a more fulfilling and positive breastfeeding experience. Look no further–you can find your #doulanearme right here at MFD.