15 Things They Don’t Tell You About Breastfeeding

86 Comments

Ready for Sleep

Maybe you’ve attended a breastfeeding class, seen the pamphlets in your doctor’s office, or done your research online. Whatever the case may be, you’ve no doubt seen the nutritional superiority of breast milk, that you will lose post-baby pounds faster, and read about the blissful bonding experience with your soon-to-be baby. But here are 15 things they don’t tell you about breastfeeding…

1. It hurts. Like a thousand little knives twisting off your nipple every time your baby latches—and you’ll obsess endlessly over that tiny latch!

2. Your new baby will want to nurse 24/7. They said nursing burns calories? What they don’t tell you is that you really lose the weight because you won’t have time to eat!

3. Actually, she’ll keep nursing way past when you think the well has run dry and you’ll wonder if it’s her intention to suck your soul out of your nipples.

4. At some point, you’ll become jealous that your partner doesn’t have a set of boobs. Why did women get the biological short stick? Why does he get to keep drinking? If anyone deserves a stiff cocktail, it’s you!

5. You’ll feel short-changed. All that glowing literature didn’t adequately express how hard it is to be at the beck and call of the world’s tiniest and crankiest drill sergeant.

6. You bet women in Zimbabwe don’t sit around talking about how “bonded” breastfeeding makes them feel. They just feed the baby. Period. Formula is looking awfully good right about now.

7. Even after you supplement your baby with formula (which your mother claimed would help her sleep better), she’s rooting for you in less than 45 minutes.

8. You’ll cry when the pediatrician says that formula isn’t toxic and it’s not a bad alternative. Really you’d cry for anything right now; it’s been 72 hours since you last slept.

9. You’ll cry when baby takes to formula too much. Isn’t this your job as a woman, you failure?

10. When your partner asks you why you complain about breast feeding so much, you’ll be tempted to leap off the couch and twist his nipple off while screaming, “How you like that!?!” But you don’t, because you still haven’t been given clearance to exercise.

11. You’ll try pumping and despair when you only collect half an ounce on each side. That’s enough to keep your little monster quiet for ten minutes.

12. One day, you’ll wonder if you’ve showered and brushed your teeth yet. It’s 6:00 PM.

13. Nursing covers are a scam–a waste of money and fabric. Your baby screams and sweats under it making you feel like the worst mommy ever for trying to avoid flashing the entire mall.

14But you’re tough. And you’re stubborn. And you can do it.

15. And if you don’t, or can’t, the world will not come to an end. Even a little.

Comments

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  1. 2

    Caitlynne says

    I could not agree with this more. I have a 2-week-old baby and agree with EVERY SINGLE ONE of these!! I was already formula feeding my first baby at this point and was determined to breastfed this baby longer. Every day is a battle between my sore nipples and the wonderful can of formula in the cabinet.

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    • 3

      haley says

      As I reading this I was disagreeing with ever single thing they said until the end, you can do it. Brest feeding doesn’t hurt, not does your baby eat every ten minutes more like every 2 hours, this while post is nonsense lol

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      • 4

        Leona Wellington says

        Yes this post is nonsense. I agree that it only hurts while your nipples are getting tough. Being a believer in raw food, (as living food, for living people) I also believe that ‘raw human milk’ from the mother’s breast is the only way to go. All else, no matter how well packaged has been processed and is no longer, ‘living food’, In terms of ‘prana’ or ‘chi’ ‘life force’, only breast milk has it all. Then again if a mother begrudges the time she spends doing what nobody else can do for her, perhaps she is not putting the right kind of mental energy into what should be a worlk of love.

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    • 5

      says

      As someone with an 11 week old baby, I say hang in there. This list is only true for like the first two, maybe three weeks. (Though I never supplemented.) Then suddenly it gets easier. And now it’s really no big deal at all, it doesn’t hurt, and I cherish, not resent, that only I can feed her.

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  2. 6

    Wendy says

    Hey, it only hurts for a little while – the first week or so, then it actually starts to feel really good! Personally, I never felt so needed as when my kids were nursing. My son did try to swallow me whole on a regular basis, and I loved it! I know it can be incredibly frustrating sometimes, though!

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  3. 9

    Momchalant says

    I’m so glad you wrote this. NOBODY tells you how freakin hard it is to breast feed. I stated how long I was going to breast feed, not how long I hoped to breast feed. I didn’t think I needed to hope, just know. I only made it a month before I was hallucinating from no sleep, trying to pump every last ounce, praying my nipples would stick out so the baby could breast feed without me pumping, and putting cold wash rags in my bra, not caring that I had huge wet spots on the outside.

    Breast feeding is hard. It takes discipline to keep going.

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  4. 10

    Beth Ann says

    Oh, I so often look at my husband enviously and wish he would just grow boobs already! I kept her safe for nine months, I pushed her out, it’s his turn!

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  5. 11

    Hana says

    Formula is like crack for babies! It’s so expensive and they love it so much!This is our third baby and I feel like I’ve finally figured out how to both breast feed and bottle feed successfully. Our Ped recommended only giving the baby one formula bottle a day preferably by someone other than me. We stared doing this when he was 3 weeks old and it has been going great so far.

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  6. 12

    Ally says

    Thank goodness my sister told me to be prepared the first time (and the first bunch of times) I pumped that I wouldn’t get anything, not even a drop. If left to my own thoughts I would have assumed I would be cow-like…so my expectations were (rightly) lowered from the start when it came to pumping. Which made the 3 drops of breast milk I actually squeezed out feel like I just ran a marathon after 0 training! I now try to tell first timers the same thing. I don’t care if it’s actually true – but if lowering expectations to make moms feel GOOD or normal about themselves while starting out, I think that’s a win.

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  7. 14

    darcy says

    Breastfeeding IS difficult sometimes. Especially the first couple weeks. You’re sore, you’re exhausted, your hormones are wackadoodle and this tiny fiend wants to do nothing more that eat CONSTANTLY! Then, suddenly everything “latches” into place. Everyone involved finally gets the hang of it. Now you can at least get a couple hours of sleep because you don’t have to wake up to make bottles in the middle of the night, all you have to do is roll over. No bottles to wash, cause the milk is right on tap.No expensive formula to buy, hello FREE! And you don’t have to wonder what’s in the formula, because you know exactly what you ate for lunch today. That tiny little fiend always loves his mommy best, cause she is the food source. Nope, breastfeeding is not for everyone and it’s okay if it didn’t work out for you, but let me say this: It is the most unselfish worthwhile thing I have ever done, and I will never regret it for a minute.

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  8. 15

    Amy says

    I think this article gives breastfeeding a bad name a bit. I really hope it does not deter women from breastfeeding! It is the most amazing thing you can do for your baby – it’s what is best. It does not hurt if you are doing it correctly! Many women give up way to soon.

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    • 16

      Theresa says

      Agree!! There are tough parts but great support available if you want to do it, if not, that’s ok, but if I had read this before I nursed three babies I would have been scared.

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    • 17

      Sarah says

      It can still hurt even if you’re doing everything right, but it gets better after a while. And often the choice is between doing it not-quite-correctly and not doing it. I still think it’s worth it, just harder than many people make it out to be.

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    • 18

      Kathleen says

      I agree with you about it being best sometimes- I went through some personal things and couldn’t past two weeks. It was excruciating even though every LC i talked to told me we had a perfect latch. I ended up formula feeding and my baby is happy and healthy. I think it’s important for women to know it isn’t easy- but definitely worth it if you’re able!

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  9. 20

    Robin says

    I feel fortunate that I found the actual nursing to be fairly easy. BUT!!! The one thing that shocked me was how very over-stimulating it was. I couldn’t STAND for my husband to come anywhere near me, I felt like I was completely touched-out. There were days where it was physically uncomfortable to even get a back rub. While the baby happily and easily nursed, being that in demand all the time was very hard on the senses. And that lasted the entire year I nursed.

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    • 23

      Lynn says

      Really!? Pretty sure the author was trying to make us laugh. Yes, breastfeeding is hard but there are many women who cannot for one reason or another. I am sure the author does not secretly work for the formula company. Formula is not evil…

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    • 24

      Sandy says

      Better the formula company than La Leche League Enforcers.The only time I saw my ob/gyn mad was when a member of La Leche League came to my hospital room and lectured me about the benefits of breast feeding, despite my politely explaining that my first child had to be hospitalized for dehydration because I didn’t produce enough milk (despite pumping, consultants, etc.), and I would have to supplement with formula again with this child. The ignorant person here is not the author of the article. Accept that you really don’t know anything about another person’s medical history and leave them alone already.

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    • 25

      Sara says

      Hi Lucy, I can guarantee you that I am not in any way affiliated with a formula company. She hasn’t had a drop of it since she was five weeks old. I should have written that what I wrote pertained to the first several weeks when it was the hardest and then it got better. Even if i don’t outright enjoy it, I do it because it’s good for her and she loves it. Obviously what I wrote was MY experience and I consulted many LCs. She’s six months and we are still breastfeeding, so “utter tripe written by a clearly incredibly ignorant person most probably affiliated in some way with a formula company” I think not.

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    • 26

      Becca says

      Why ignorant? Ignorant is the person who assumes she knows what everyone goes through. I loved the article. I feel terribly guilty every day for not enjoying breast feeding. The article showed me I’m not alone. Everyday I want to quit but everyday I keep going.

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  10. 27

    Katie says

    I disagree with most of these points. They only really describe the first few weeks and not the long term. I found attending a breast feeding class at the local hospital highlighted all these issues and how they could be addressed. Best thing I did before bub came was attend one of these classes. Now I tell all new mothers about them.

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  11. 30

    Anita @ Losing Austin says

    It’s really not all that bad after a few weeks! I hate things like this scaring moms off. It just really isn’t for most people. I know there are exceptions, absolutely. But there’s help and resources, and so much encouragement if you look.

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  12. 31

    Amy T. says

    TOTALLY relate with point #1. It hurt so bad it felt like someone touched a lit ciggie to my nipples. Made my toes curl every time and my son wanted to nurse ALL THE TIME.

    Where I lived there was no La Leche League, either, so sheer stubbornness kept me at it. I have to say, I’m glad those days are done.

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  13. 32

    Gingersnap says

    I read Sara’s blog as “Titless” not “Titleless”. Did a double-take and laughed so hard I cried. *sigh* I am so easily amused.

    I think this article describes the first few weeks really well.

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  14. 33

    KellyR says

    And quite a few of these comments prove exactly why women who choose not to breastfeed or can’t breastfeed feel like abject failures. Quit the judging ladies. It makes other’s feel awful about themselves and makes you look like a total bitch.

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    • 35

      Kaja says

      If I had read this before I had my first I have no doubt I would have been able to breastfeed him longer. I thought it would be easy and when it wasn’t I felt like a failure. Then my leleichi (Sparkly, sorry) Nazi made me I feel like I was the only new mother who couldn’t freaking get the hang of it I just quit. I knew it would be hard with #2 so I was prepared and breast fed him until he weaned himself at 8 months

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