The UGLY Side of Breastfeeding for the First Time

Breastfeeding. Nursing. Breastfeeding for the first time.

When I decided to breastfeed this time around, I was super excited because I knew that I was going to save a shit load of money.  While at the same time providing my son with liquid gold produced straight from my body.  That was a win-win situation in my mind. 

I began to research breastfeeding must-haves, how to latch correctly, and the benefits of breastmilk.  My friends and family who have experienced breastfeeding would tell me how much they loved it, the bonding and all that great stuff. A few of my friends told me some of the negatives as well.  I heard the negatives that were said to me at the time, but I felt as though they didn't exaggerate it enough.  First time breastfeeding was HARD!

NOTE: Every breastfeeding experience is different. This blog is from my OWN experience.

The First Latch- The first latch and every latch after that for the next two weeks were super painful.  I am sure the pain came from the fact that my son naturally had a hard latch and because my nipples were not use to breastfeeding. All in all, it was horrible.  I think the pain from latching was one of the reasons I almost gave up and switched to formula.  I couldn't believe something that was supposed to be a beautiful bonding moment was so painful. I dreaded his every 2-3 hour feeding time because I knew the pain that was coming along with it.

Sore Nipples- After all that latching practice eventually your nipples become sore. Painful to the touch kind of sore. It takes a while for your nipples to toughen up against latching. (About 2-3 weeks, maybe more) With your baby feeding every 2-3 hours it seems as if your nipples will never not be sore. Keep a supply of lanolin cream handy! 

Breast Feeding Contractions-  During the first few days of breastfeeding, along with the uncomfortableness of latching, your uterus contracts during your feeds.  Contractions made the feeding process a little more uncomfortable for me.  None of my friends or family told me about my uterus contracting during feeding.  It was a "wtf is going on" moment.  Thankfully the second day after labor it stopped. 

Engorged Breast- After the first week at home my breast became engorged.  Engorged breast is the most uncomfortable and painful experience that I wouldn't wish on any new mother.  Your chest is uncomfortably full of unreleased milk.  I was engorged all the way to my armpits. (yikes!)  It took about three days for me to release the milk and rid my engorged breast.  My lactation consultant said that some moms produce a lot more milk than what the baby can take at the beginning which causes them to become engorged.   Made perfect sense to me later on because I am a full bottle pumper.  

Having to Stay On Top of Your Milk Flow- Any bad habits that you have in the beginning can affect your milk later on.  You have to make sure you pump A LOT in the first month or two to keep your milk production high.  You have to drink a lot of water and eat to make sure you can produce milk.  Waking yourself up in the night to get a pumping session in.  It's like a second job, literally.  Adjusting to a newborn and keeping your milk production can become super overwhelming.  Saving money on formula makes it all worth it. 

Not Having The Proper Support-  Having the proper support is EVERYTHING because breastfeeding for new moms can be a tough new situation. Nothing makes a situation harder than having a horrible support system. Not everyone supports breastfeeding because we have substitutes like infant formula and that’s their prerogative. People tend to throw "just give him formula" in your face.  Nothing is more discouraging than feeling like you're failing and or complaining about something as simple as feeding your child. Make sure your support system understands how hard this journey is.

All in all, breastfeeding is a bittersweet journey. I can honestly say more sweet than bitter because it comes with so many beautiful moments. 

Well if it’s so beautiful why did you write Six Things, I HATE about breastfeeding and this blog?

I wrote this blog because as with many things in life situations come with pros and cons. I want everyone to know what they’re getting theirselves into. I am a tell me EVERYTHING, the good the bad and the ugly type of person. There’s nothing better than knowing what you’re getting yourself into before it happens ESPECIALLY when it comes to breastfeeding. 

If you're reading this and you're an expecting mother with the high hopes to breastfeed do not let this blog discourage you.  Let this blog prepare you for the days to come. If you are a new (or experienced) mom currently struggling with your breastfeeding journey, let this blog remind you that you are not alone a lot of us moms have been there. DON'T give up because the pros to breastfeeding are well worth the beginning struggles. 

My son is six months now and I look back at how I was once ready to give up breastfeeding because of how hard it can be at the beginning. It was hard for me mentally, physically and emotionally but I am so happy I fought through it.  I can honestly say I would gladly go through it all again if I had to.  

Let me know some of your breastfeeding struggles and how you overcame them! 

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