8 Truths About Breastfeeding No One Tells New Mums About
This breastfeeding week, read these eight uncensored truths which no one tells you about breastfeeding!
(World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated from 1st-7th August every year to encourage new mothers to breastfeed their children and increase awareness about the importance of breastfeeding. FIT is republishing this story from the archives.)
Six cousins before me had babies in the family, I was one of the last. And I sat through all the pre-natal classes attentively. Top that with years of health reporting experience. I knew everything there was to know about breastfeeding.
Or so I thought.
How I wish someone would’ve told the uncensored truth, not the regular - breast is best, mastitis, lactation diet, latching techniques yada yada yada, so my challenges with feeding the ever-hungry first born would’ve been simpler.
Here’s my list of 8 things no one tells a new mother about breastfeeding. Don’t freak out, it’s to make things transparent and not to dissuade you from the pleasures of the most horribly-wonderful job on Earth.
1. It Is Unremitting Almost Unceasing
Doctor’s say newborns need to feed every two to three hours. What they don’t tell you is that feed frequency is calculated from the start of the nursing time and for almost three months, one feed might last up to an hour. So by the time you straighten your back, it’s time for the second one.
Breastfeeding is such a non-stop cycle that you can get nothing done. You’ll have time to make small phone calls, or start clearing the messy house - nether of which you will complete. Nursing in the first four months, is a full-time occupation and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying or has a lousy memory.
2. And It Hurts Like a 1000 Pins Biting Your Nipples
The first month is brutal.
My son was a voracious feeder. Which is a good thing, but each feed was (excruciatingly) painful, I would clench my teeth, muffle a scream each time he latched on the cracked nipples and scream at all the websites which said, ‘Breastfeeding Isn’t Painful’.
It sure as hell is. And the tiny fingernails, the hard jaws dig into the softest area of your nipple for the loudest ‘Fuck that!’
3. The Boob Spanks Are Real & So Are the Hickeys
When the monster is hungry, you better give the boob with the speed of lightning or get publicly spanked. Worse, the baby will start sucking at any part of the chest like you have a third nipple or something!
Stay safe, mommies!
4. Nipple Shields Are Useless But Invest In Good Quality Nursing Tops
About nipple shields, it’s not fit-to-size, not too soft or small for the newborn’s mouth and needs daily cleaning. Even if your baby latches on to the bottle, it’s mighty difficult they’ll take on the shield.
Nursing tops are godsend. They are so much more fashionable, function-able and comfortable than nursing bras, (also because home is where the bra isn’t) which are layered, lousy and offer minimal support to your (engorged) breasts. You’ll wear these for at least six months, so don’t cheap out.
5. ‘Crying Over Spilled Milk’ Has a Whole New Meaning
And so does ‘liquid gold’. And it starts with hardcore RAGE.
This one time when I spilled 600 grams of precious breast milk on the floor, I was bawling with the fury of a thousand suns.
6. Your Baby Has the Uncanny Ability To Nurse and Poop At the Same Time
And it’s not like you’re feeding them coffee.
7. You Will Drink 10 Milkshakes To Make More Milk & Because People Say You Can’t Gain Weight During Breastfeeding
Only to find out those people were liars!
Breastfeeding is hardcore cardio. On an average, you lose up to 500 calories a day by breastfeeding but feel perpetually hungry. And didn’t they tell you, when you want to lose weight diet trumps exercise?
8. Breast Is Best But If It Doesn’t Happen Then It’s OKAY
Breastfeeding is ridiculously hard, the first, second and the third time. There’s no chemical formula which can replicate what many women can produce for free.
But to the mums who don’t breastfeed by choice, or who can’t, or wish to supplement, or whatever the reason, newsflash - your child can still crack the IITs and the world will not come to an end. Not one bit.
Bottle-fed babies are not uglier, dumber, meaner or sicker than breastfed babies.
So chin up mama bear, chill the eff out and don’t let the haters get to you. No one is defined by how they feed their babies. Period.
Also Read: So I Failed to Breastfeed, Crucify Me!
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