Since the beginning of time, women have been breastfeeding. It’s an organic, all-natural way to nourish your child and provide them with the nutrients they need to grow. There is a lot of pressure now for women to successfully breastfeed and sadly, that isn’t possible for everyone. World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that women breastfeed for at least six months, though the ideal length of time would be around two years.
It’s an intimidating prospect, and a lot of new mothers feel compelled to do so. Unfortunately, there are a lot of things that no one tells you about breastfeeding. We’re here to help you understand what’s coming.
It Isn’t Just About Feeding
Yes, your child will be fed, but there’s more to it than that. Breastfeeding goes beyond nutrition and is soothing for your baby, which often means your baby will want to feed even when they’re not hungry. It’s also an excellent way to bond with your child.
It Hurts (like hell)
No one tells you just how much it hurts. In fact, even when people reference pain they really undersell it. So, let’s set the record straight – it hurts, as though someone is trying to twist your nipple off of your body. Luckily, there are covers that offer protection (though may make latching a challenge). Mint is an excellent herb to relieve some of the pain, or you could try putting cabbage leaves inside your bra.
You probably heard that breastfeeding helps you burn calories… what they don’t tell you is that it’s probably because you have no time to eat. Why? Well, your baby is going to want to eat 24/7. Of course, that might explain why your nipples are so incredibly sore.
The Supply Isn’t Never-ending
You might not have enough milk to satiate your baby, which means that you may need formula to supplement. You have probably heard that formula will help your baby sleep better… sure, it might, but also… it might not. There are no guarantees in parenthood.
Your Partner Won’t Understand
It’s difficult for anyone except other breastfeeding mothers to understand what you’re going through. As much as your partner would like to help and empathize… they just can’t. It’s not their fault which means that as much as you want to, you can’t hold it against them. When you start to supplement, though, they can get in on the feeding schedule.
You Don’t Need A Cover
You really don’t – all it will do is make you and your baby sweat, which means you’ll feel miserable and your baby will scream between suckling. Throw a cover over your own head while you eat, how do you like it?
It isn’t easy. However, ideally, breastfeeding is an excellent way to bond with your baby and provide them with all of the nutrients that they need. Your baby might not latch, you might not have enough milk, and there are other issues that you may face. There’s no need to feel guilty if you are unable to breastfeed. Ultimately, it’s up to you to make the best decision for yourself and your baby.