I am now breastfeeding my second baby and throughout all of my research, I haven’t ever read an article that gives the serious truth about the major struggles associated with breastfeeding. If I could just sum it up into three words, it’d be “It’s NOT easy!” Here are a few things that I found to be true when it comes to breastfeeding. Disclaimer: these aren’t the initial things that we know we’ll have to overcome with newborns (nipple bleeding/cracking, clogged ducts, etc).
- It can be uncomfortable to nurse. My son is now 6 months old and I still have a hard time finding a comfortable position to nurse in (especially in public). When I am at home, I use a regular pillow or a Boppy and I still feel like I’m hunched over which causes my back to ache. When I see other women nurse, they LOOK comfortable. Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t. But for the women who are uncomfortable, you aren’t alone!
- Milk supply...A milk supply can be a huge challenge to overcome, whether you’re home with your baby or pumping at work. Typically, in the first month or so, the milk supply is great because the milk is just coming in. I am staying home with my son, so I thought breastfeeding would be easier. I assumed my milk supply would be through the roof since my son can nurse on demand. I have experienced a drop in milk supply, causing me to give him formula on occasion (which I am totally fine with!) If I have to run an errand and leave the baby home with my husband, he just throws a bottle of formula in the warmer. There are many things that you can try to boost your supply, such as lactation cookies, Mother’s Milk tea, lots of water, gatorade, etc. I have tried many (including the Starbucks “Pink Drink!”) What works for someone might not work for you, so I have found that I just need to keep my calories UP! This isn’t good for my post-baby body but I’m feeding my son.
3. Latching: Your baby may have a hard time latching. Both of my children had a hard time latching. I spoke to a BCLC many times, who said my children had tongue/lip ties. After seeing a doctor, it was confirmed that my kids did not have a tongue tie. They were just lazy latchers! I had to use a nipple shield for a very long time (and still use it from time to time). I did watch many videos on proper latching and in the end it seemed like my children just had to get a little bigger and learn how to latch. My son has gotten so much better, so I think he needed time. The nipple shields are great if your child is having a hard time latching! Grab one here at Amazon!
4. Pressure: The pressure to nurse is extreme. Whether it’s from family, friends, or social media, it’s there. I have wanted to breastfeed strictly to give my baby the best possible nutrients as well as develop a bond. With my first baby, I breastfed for 5-6 months. I was back at work and pumping became very difficult. My supply started dropping drastically and she was refusing the breast. When I would post questions in Facebook groups for breastfeeding, people would honestly tell me “she’ll eat when she’s hungry” or “It’s normal to refuse the breast so just keep trying.” I just couldn’t put my daughter through the fight anymore. She wanted the bottle. She’s 2 1/2 now and she’s still obsessed with the bottle. I felt that women were pressuring me to breastfeed even if my daughter seemed like she wanted to wean. It seemed selfish to me and I finally threw in the towel. I was proud of myself for the 5 months that it lasted! This time around, I honestly stayed away from the Facebook groups. Fed is best, no matter what. Don’t feel pressured. Do what makes you happy because in the end, breastmilk and formula BOTH have all the nutrients that babies need. And in a year or two they’ll be begging for Happy Meals at McDonalds.
5. Weight Loss. I have heard that nursing SHEDS the baby weight off so many times. It didn’t for me with either of my children. I have actually found the opposite. As soon as I started losing any weight, my baby would get extremely fussy and I would have a drop in my milk supply. When I stopped nursing my daughter at 6 months old, that is when I started losing some weight. Everyone is different and I’ve had to accept that I’m just not one of the women who lose the weight right away. You aren’t alone!
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