They don’t tell you how bad it hurts. From the moment your little one latches on for the first time until around the second month it will hurt. I’m not saying it should be completely unbearable but it will hurt. It takes your nipples a little while to “toughen up”. My first baby was tongue-tied and had a horrible painful latch at first (before surgery) but my second had a great latch (yes, it was still painful at first). Nipple cream and refrigerated pads will be your best friends! Engorgement also hurts. I discovered engorgement when my little ones started sleeping all night. One early morning I woke up to engorgement. I pumped around 10 ounces and still had enough left to breastfeed, seriously I was that “backed up”! If you don’t have good posture while breastfeeding then your back may hurt. This momma recommends the side lying position, trust me!
It is TIME CONSUMING.
Breastfed babies digest milk quicker than babies who are formula fed. Breast milk is easier to digest than man-made formula. I fed my little one around every two hours and it takes around 30 minutes each time. When he is cluster feeding (a way for them to create more milk) it is nonstop for a few hours. If you pump it will take you around 20 minutes (double pump) or around 40 minutes (single pump, 20 minutes on each side) to express all the milk out. I have done a quick pump of 10 minutes on each side but have found that I have a second “let-down” around 14 minutes that usually lasts until the 20 minute mark. I’m not saying everyone has this but I do and I’m sure I’m not the only one. So whether you pump or breastfeed it will take a while (although pumping will be longer). You will also spend a lot of time worrying about making enough milk and finding ways to increase your supply (why hello lactation cookies, mothers milk and lactation shakes!).
You stay HUNGRY AND THIRSTY.
Seriously, I don’t ever feel satisfied! I feel like I’m always dehydrated even though I’m always chugging water or mothers milk tea I always feel thirsty. I know my intake is enough because my output is plentiful (thank God) but I still feel as though I’m not drinking enough not to mention the extreme hunger after every time I breastfeed.
You are bound to LEAK.
When you make milk you will eventually leak a little, not like a running faucet but you will occasionally leak. I find myself leaking more in the night, early morning and around shower time. I love disposable breast pads that stick to the inside of my bra. They stay in the same spot and you just toss them when you’re finished.
It is HARD.
Society makes breastfeeding hard because some breastfeeding moms don’t feel comfortable feeding their baby in front of others. I have stood up in a bathroom stall while feeding my baby because I not only didn’t want to be judged but I also didn’t want others to see or watch me feed my little one. People can be awful. Don’t get me wrong some mommies are super confident and really don’t care about others opinions (you’re awesome by the way) but some (myself included) still feel uncomfortable breastfeeding in pubic. It can be physically hard as well, as I stated earlier my first baby was tongue-tied and it was nearly impossible to get a good latch until her E.N.T. physician clipped her tongue (yes it was THAT bad). It is also a struggle to always make sure you make enough milk for your little one by eating the right things and drinking a lot of water.
Breastfeeding can be STRESSFUL.
Parenting alone can be stressful. If you are a new parent you are trying to learn all kinds of new stuff all while trying to keep a small human being alive. If you are already a parent and have a new baby you are trying to juggle two (or more) babies or a baby and a toddler/child and maybe even a husband and two pets as well (the struggle is real, lol). Parenting is stressful for both new and experienced parents, when you add the stress of breastfeeding it can be extremely stressful. There is the stress of making enough milk, having a good latch, making time to feed or pump, and balancing life with breastfeeding. Stress can impact your milk supply. Take time for yourself occasionally and learn to focus and stay calm during your time breastfeeding or pumping.
It can be EASY.
I say this because you don’t have to measure, mix or heat a bottle with formula. You also don’t have to worry about having enough formula and nursery water in your pantry. Breastfeeding is especially nice at night. Trust me I have done both. You just have to roll over and feed rather than get up, measure, heat the bottle and THEN feed your hungry baby. When you breastfeed your milk is always ready and the right temperature (unless you use pumped milk) so this makes it easier.
SIDE-LYING is best.
Seriously, I occasionally feed my little one in the cradling position but my favorite position is definitely side-lying! You also have the options of cross cradle, back-lying, football, side-lying cradle and so on. I have tried most but side-lying is the most comfortable, is the easiest for your back and you will be able to relax more. I use a pillow for my head so I can hold my little one on the inside bend of my arm while lying on my side.
You will SAVE a lot of MONEY!
This is one of the main reasons that I chose to breastfeed other than the health benefits (they definitely inform you of). Formula is expensive! Breastfeeding is free and pumping is cheap especially compared to formula feeding.
You FEEL AMAZING while breastfeeding!
Knowing that you are able to feed your baby on your own will make you feel awesome! You will feel like superwoman! Not to mention your body will release feel-good hormones while breastfeeding. It may help you lose weight (although that is not always the case).
Whether you chose to breastfed, breast pump or formula feed I am not judging, I have breastfed and formula fed. FED is BEST!