8 things no one tells you about breastfeeding

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

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BREASTFEEDING exclusively for the first six months is an ideal that's pushed by experts world over, and one cannot deny the benefits of the practice for both mother and baby. Many mothers will attempt to at least get in a few weeks or months before having to supplement for whatever reason, as they truly believe in the benefits. But there are some not-so-wonderful parts of breastfeeding that many women don't talk about, that they share below. From little teeth biting into flesh to engorged, painful breasts, these are the often unpleasant parts of breastfeeding that won't be discussed in 'lactivist' forums.

 

1. You won't necessarily love doing it

Sure you want to bond with your baby and sure you understand the benefits, but breastfeeding is quite a job and many mothers don't love it, but are too afraid of backlash from pro-breastfeeding groups to say so. Indeed, having to feed on demand and be at the baby's beck and call, dealing with leaking breasts, engorgement and night feeds is not something many women love, and that's OK.

 

2. There will be spraying

The experts say that eventually your breasts will sync and when you're nursing from one breast the other shouldn't leak, but that has not been the experience of a lot of women. Fact is, when baby is nursing from one breast the other may start to leak — and sometimes spray like a garden hose — leaving a big, puddly mess.

 

3. It may smell and taste a bit off

You will be told that sometimes the baby will favour one breast for whatever reason — whether the baby is more comfortable or there's more milk coming from the preferred side. But what you may not know is that the baby may reject one breast because the milk tastes different. And different means weird, soapy or sour! Things that can affect the taste include if mom has mastitis (inflammation of breast tissue that sometimes involves an infection) in one breast, the plugged ducts will increase the sodium levels in the milk and make the milk unpalatable. Also, if a mother has excess lipase (enzyme that breaks down the fats in the milk to help baby digest it) in her breast milk, this can cause it to smell or taste soapy.

 

4. Engorgement hurts

When the breasts become engorged with milk they will hurt — badly sometimes. If the milk is not expressed this can cause mastitis, which is painful and which can land you in the hospital. Engorged breasts will also leak at the slightest stimulation — like when your baby, or any baby, cries, or when you shower.

 

5. Prepare for a lot of wet nights

You will wake up wet many nights, not from sweat, but from leaking breasts. It may seem sometimes like your breasts have a mind of their own, and your sheets will suffer for it, unless you wear breast pads 24/7.

6. It can literally tie you down

If you're unfortunate enough to have a baby who won't drink formula and worse, won't take expressed milk from a bottle like some mothers experience, then your baby will literally be tied to your side 24/7. A baby who refuses anything but the breast will prevent its mother from being able to carry out basic tasks — like going shopping or visiting people — without talking the baby along and pausing at intervals to feed.

 

7. Everything about your breasts will change

Your nipples will get longer, harder, darker, and if your baby has a preference for one breast, the shape and size of that breast will always be different. Things will probably never even out.

 

8. It can drain you mentally

Newborns feed every two hours or so, which means that you'll be in demand for most of your day — and for months if you choose to continue even after you resume work. To keep your supply up, even if you're not around the baby you will need to pump, and the whole feeding/pumping schedule can be exhausting, and can get in the way of simple activities like showering and eating. And coupled with any issues mom may have like sore nipples or a cranky baby, the whole process can be mentally exhausting.


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