4 Breastfeeding Challenges I Didn’t Expect
You already know that you may have latch issues or to be prepared for cluster feeding, but what about those challenges people don't tell you about? Here are four things I wish I would have known when I started nursing.
Painful letdowns are a thing.
I grew up in a family where breastfeeding was very normalized and supported, but somehow, everyone failed to tell me that the nipple is not a straw and the milk doesn't come out immediately. Instead, you have to wait for the letdown. For some women, it's nothing more than a little tingle — some have trouble identifying it all and have to listen for a difference in the baby's sucking patterns — but for others, it's a real pain. Literally. More common in women with oversupply, it can range from an uncomfortable tightness to a burning pain that lasts several seconds. It may never get better, but you'll eventually learn how to white-knuckle through it.
Milk gets everywhere.
While many women worry whether they will have enough milk, a less talked about problem is having too much. If you're one of the “lucky” ones with an oversupply, be prepared to leak on everything. Been a bit too long between nursing sessions? Say hello to a soaked bra and shirt. Someone else's baby crying? Your boobs don't care. They letdown for all. And unless you're tandem nursing twins, make sure to have a towel or diaper ready to catch the spray from the other side because the letdown reflex doesn't limit itself to where it's needed.
Breastfed baby diapers should qualify as toxic waste.
When your little one first arrives, a dirty diaper may not seem like much, but once your supply is established, all bets are off. It starts with a gassy smile, and then you feel a rumble in the diaper. Seconds later, you've got the worst smelling diaper you could ever imagine, and it's starting to leak out around the legs. If you're lucky, you'll make it to a changing table quickly. If you're not … well, you may be surprised how willingly you'll throw away once-worn outfits that have fallen victim to breastfed poop.
Your toddler could earn a gold medal in nursing gymnastics.
If you're planning on nursing past a year, you may think that you've gotten into a good groove and it will be smooth sailing after those initial couple of months, but just like with everything else, parenting comes into knock you off your smug pedestal and bring you back to the reality of raising children. Nursing a toddler is very close to what I imagine wrestling with a rabid monkey over a banana to be like. There's no covering up. There's no heart-warming, milk drunk smiles. It's just crossing your fingers and hoping for the best.