What to Expect When You Start Breastfeeding

I can still remember the exact moment when my first baby finally latched on successfully. 

After 3 days of numerous lactation consultants visits, unsuccessful solo attempts navigated by Google, and an overwhelming amount of emotion, my sweet baby girl and I were finally breastfeeding!

As a postpartum nurse, I had taught breastfeeding techniques and lessons to my patients. I had taken training courses to make sure that I was an expert on all things breastfeeding. My patients always said that I gave great advice and pointers. They always left the hospital feeling confident. For this, I felt proud. 

When it was time to have my own baby, I skipped the classes. I felt confident that breastfeeding was easy and natural enough. I thought that I knew what to expect. Lo and behold, there was so much that I still didn’t know.

So what should YOU expect when you start your breastfeeding journey?

Expect that…

  • Not all breastfeeding journeys are similar. 
    • You truly can’t compare your journey with anyone else’s or even your previous experience with another baby. Each time is different, and you’ll learn something new about your baby and your body.
  • You still might spend quite a lot of money.
    • Yes, breastfeeding is free! This is my favorite part about it! But no one told me that I would be spending money on all things breastfeeding related. Give me all the cute tops and dresses. Give me the best, most convenient pump, and all of the cookies to increase my milk supply!
  • It may not come naturally {AND THAT’S TOTALLY OKAY!}. 
    • In the beginning, when the baby seems so delicate and fragile, positioning can be awkward. This is definitely a learning moment for you and the baby. It may not feel natural but with time and practice, the process will become more natural to both of you! Trust me, I’m currently nursing my 6 month old while he attempts to do somersaults in my lap. 
  • It may be unpleasant at times.
    • No one tells you that for no good reason, your nipples will be sore, cracked, and possibly bloody. No one tells you that when you’re engorged, you won’t want anything touching your chest. You may also experience leaking. You may wake up in a puddle of your own milk OR start leaking while standing in the check out line at Kroger.
  • You may have to alter your lifestyle.
    • In efforts to help my daughter’s reflux and skin conditions, I gave up dairy for a couple of months of her infancy. Now, here I am a year later, giving up dairy AGAIN for my son. In the long run, it’s the best for everyone!
  • It may affect your mind and body.
    • Those hormones that you thought were gone after having a baby definitely are not gone! I’m still having hot flashes and weeping over dog commercials.
  • It may become your entire life.
    • Some days, I feel like the only thing I talk about is breastfeeding, and I’m not mad at it! It affects so much of my life at this moment. It affects my time spent away from home, all of the items that I need to take with me when I leave my home, my diet, my clothing options, etc. 
  • It may not work out.
    • Without being pessimistic, I need to say that sometimes for some people, it just doesn’t work out AND THAT’S OKAY! As hard as it may be to come to terms with the fact that you cannot physically feed your child, we are so thankful to live in a time where you can still feed your child the nutrients that he/she may need! Even if you aren’t breastfeeding, you’re still loving on that little angel and that’s what matters, mama.
  • It may make you a stronger woman.
    • After breastfeeding my daughter for 13 months, I felt pretty proud of it! I had the original goal of 6 months and miraculously surpassed that. I was incredibly proud of myself. After all of the feelings of guilt and all of the tears in the beginning, I made it through to my finish line. 
  • It may make you love harder.
    • The bond that you are biologically creating is incredible. 
  • The sleepless nights may be filled with the most incredible cuddles.
    • I want to get annoyed when my 6 month wakes me up at 3am to nurse, but the sweet little coos and giggles make it all better.
  • No matter how long your journey is, whether it be one day or one year, it is something to be proud of!
    • I cannot emphasize this enough! However and whenever your journey ends, it is still a celebration. It’s a celebration of you taking care of your baby and yourself! It’s a celebration of your strength, motivation, determination, and discipline! 

What to Expect When You Start Breastfeeding | Houston Moms Blog

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