What They Don’t Teach You in Breastfeeding Class
Newly graduated from nursing school and fresh off an internship in OB as I approached my due date with my daughter, I was confident that I had this baby thing down.
I had even prepped myself a little extra by taking a breastfeeding class. I sat smugly in the room, hands clasped over my giant belly as I fielded questions myself about the labor and delivery floor.
Fast forward a few days after my daughter’s birth (which, by the way, was not exactly textbook. Smugness has a way of biting you in the back). Things had been going pretty well. She was eating well, pretty much sleeping after feedings at night, and seemed to be a pretty happy baby.
After feeding her and settling her in the bassinette for
the night the next two hours, I tucked myself into bed and drifted off.
And was shocked when I woke up later in a giant puddle. My entire nightgown was soaked, the bed sheets dripping, and my husband sitting up in bed, looking at me with a horrified expression on his face.
What is going on? I thought. Am I sweating? Did I spill water? Omg, did I pee the bed?
It was just my milk coming in.
Somehow I had missed that part of the breastfeeding class. You know, the part that would have warned me that I should have prepped for a major leaking battle when my milk came in. For the next few days, I struggled with painful, engorged breasts and felt like a freak for leaking through every shirt I owned. I didn’t know how to regulate my milk supply and tried pumping for relief—only to end up with a raging case of mastitis.
Breastfeeding has a way of surprising even the most prepared of moms.
After successfully nursing her first two children, Andrea Marie thought she had the breastfeeding thing down pat. Until she found that nursing her third baby was “ten times more painful than giving birth.”
Jessica House found the “hormonal” side of breastfeeding to be the most surprising. Jessica says, “While I was nursing my daughter, I went through these happy/sad phases. I was a wreck hormonally until a few months after I finished nursing!”
For Nicole Brabant, the struggle to provide her son enough milk was daunting. “I just assumed that my milk would be enough for him, nutritionally speaking,” says Nicole. “You always hear that ‘breast is best,’ but unfortunately, it wasn’t in our case.”
How about you – what surprised you the most about breastfeeding?
Photo credit: Chaunie Brusie/J & J Brusie Photography