Before getting pregnant, I never put too much thought into whether or not I would breastfeed – it always seemed like the obvious choice for feeding my someday baby.
I’d always heard that breast milk was the ultimate nutrition for your baby – it’s easy to digest, is a great source of fat and proteins they need for brain development, and has lots of antibodies that will keep them strong and healthy. So when I finally had Shai, I wanted to make sure I gave him as much of a head start as I could. I was super-lucky that he latched on so easily – I think I may have even cried happy tears when he did.
But, like most things new mothers face, breastfeeding has been a learning experience…
It’s Time Consuming
When I brought Shai home from the hospital, he was feeding every 2.5 hours. It made having any sort of life outside of the nursery pretty difficult – though I did get quite a bit of writing done between feedings. Eventually, that went up to every 3-3.5 hours, but at least that gave me time to pump. Or shower. Or throw on some mascara, if I was feeling fancy.
It Can Be Scary
I didn’t think anything could be scarier than having to size all the way up to a 34DDD bra, but then I discovered the joys of bleeding nipples and clogged milk ducts. I think my jaw dropped to the floor when I found a layer of nipple skin on the feeding pillow. Or my first week back home, my boobs went all lumpy and hard and I could hardly squeeze any milk out. Things like this happen. They’re alarming and painful, but you just have to work through them.
It’s a Great Way to Bond
I love being able to provide for my baby and the bond that it’s created between Shai and me. Even though I’m back at work, I still have him at the rehearsal studio with me so I can feed him on breaks. Having the help and flexibility to keep this consistency was important to me.
Did I Mention It’s Time Consuming?
Between leaking if you don’t pump soon enough and the actual feeding itself, it’s a commitment. One of the most time-consuming things is getting him back to sleep! Breastfeeding itself is actually pretty easy, but if they’re full of energy or fussy, it takes a while to get them settled down. Then sometimes you’ll get them fed and settled just in time to feed again. It’s a vicious, hungry cycle, I tell you.
It’s Not the Only Choice
For some, choosing to breastfeed (or not breastfeed) isn’t as easy of a decision. I had friends who were seriously weirded out by the thought of a little thing suckling from their boobs – which, when you put it that way, does seem a little off-putting. Then there are some babies that, despite their mothers’ best efforts, just don’t take to breastfeeding – which can be terribly upsetting to a new mum. Whether you do or don’t is between you and your baby.
You’ve got this, mamas.
Photo Credit: Shane Russeck