Let me start off by saying I believe “fed is best” when it comes to any baby, whether that is breast milk or formula. For me, I was blessed to have a great milk supply with both my children, allowing me to nurse my daughter for 12 months, and my son for 8 months (so far); I hope to go the entire year with him as well. Nursing to me is an amazing experience and creates such a special bond between baby and mom. This bond, however, comes with a price and a lot of sacrifices for the mother. For pregnant moms, here are some things about nursing people may not tell you!
- It Can Hurt. Yes, an incorrect latch, a teething baby chopping down … it can be painful, and sometimes there can be blood. Be sure to consult with a lactation specialist before leaving the hospital and make sure you know the ropes. I highly recommend taking a class before the baby arrives. The first week is the hardest, but then it becomes more enjoyable and less bloody!
- Non-Sex Appeal. Nothing says romance like an amazing kid-free evening with my husband with a romantic dinner and some adult talk, when the romance is immediately thrown out the window because you have to pump the second you walk in the door. The screeching sound of the pump will probably haunt my husband for years.
- Trips are Hard. I was in a wedding while nursing and I left my little baby at home. I had to pump every three hours while away then pack and travel with the milk while keeping it cold. Nothing like traveling with 100 ounces of milk on dry ice ;). You have to bring all the supplies, call ahead to ensure your hotel has a fridge, and bring a ton of extra zip locks, to help avoid any leaking bags.
- Time. It takes time. To nurse and pump takes a lot longer than putting together a bottle of formula. It also limits poor mama’s ability to let dad wake up in the middle of the night to feed the baby because that milk needs to make an exit too. Be prepared to make this part of your routine, and allow for this extra time in your days.
- Some People are Weirded Out. I know a lot of people in my life that just don’t know how to react when you nurse. Do they look? Do they look away? I even had someone ask it if “sprays everywhere”. For my sanity, and for those around me, I always use a nursing cover. It makes it more comfortable for everyone and avoids any weird eye contact. I love my Milk Snob cover if you are looking for a good option.
- Enjoy It. The days can be long with a sweet little baby but enjoy the journey. I love holding my sweet child’s hand as he gets his belly full. It is amazing that our bodies are able to produce milk for our babies to eat!
- Savor It. For both my kids, I bought a keepsake ring made of breastmilk. There are several companies out there that make them, but I used Lait de la Vie. You simply pick out the item you love, ship some milk to the company, and they transform it into a gem to be put into a ring/necklace/earrings. They are beautiful and a great way to honor your nursing journey!