Today, we’re putting a premium on experience. Because as they say, experience is the best teacher! It’s good that you’ve been reading about breastfeeding and how to effectively prepare for it, but have you ever wondered what it’s really like? Like, really really like? I’ve been exclusively breastfeeding my daughter for 17 months now and it has been a love-hate relationship. One time, she latched on for a good hour and I said to myself that it’s time to wean her off. But then, when I woke up, she had the cutest smile on her face and I completely changed my mind. What a journey it has been and I hope you also get to experience the same, Mama! Here are some things you can expect from breastfeeding which you don’t usually read in books.
You would do anything to make your baby have a good rest. And when I say anything, that includes weird sleeping positions that are usually accompanied by statue like stillness. I breastfeed my daughter using the side-lying position. This means that one arm is extended under the pillow, while the other is either on my baby or resting on my side. Hold that pose for the whole night and wake up to a completely frozen back! Ouch!
If you’re planning to co-sleep just like I do, make sure to slowly “defrost” your back when you wake up in the morning. Get down on all fours and slowly rotate your hips and back. There are a lot of yoga videos you can watch online which will help you release the pain.
I’m sure you’ve read that hydration is the key to a happy breastfeeding mama–especially every morning when you feel like you can drink a drum of water! Spending the night feeding your baby is no joke and before you can continue on being a great mama, you need to care for yourself first. Besides, you can’t give what you don’t have, right? So make sure that you have a tumbler beside your bed because breastfeeding is like running a marathon while you’re asleep.
In my breastfeeding journey, I find myself going back and forth, bouncing from the feeling of awe at what my body can do to laughing at what it actually does. After my baby has fed on one breast then declines to continue feeding on the other, that means I’ll get one “deflated” breast and one full breast. Oh, the humor in learning and self-discovery has made the experience richer and more fun!
After a year and a half, my rompers, no-access dresses, and complicated tops are still hidden at the back of my closet. Did I think that it would take this long before I could wear my favorite outfits again? The answer is nope. As long as you decide to exclusively breastfeed or pump, you’ll have to think of what to wear to make it easier on you and your baby. Stock up on button downs, off-shoulders, or loose shirts that are easy to lift without losing so much coverage.
I remember my pedia telling me about how breastfeeding takes so much commitment even before I gave birth. She told me that if I really wanted to breastfeed, I had to make the decision to do so. Her words kept on replaying in my head especially during the first days after I gave birth. I remember crying so hard at the beginning because it was so painful. My nipples cracked and my baby cried so much because she was hungry and I couldn’t muster up the courage to make her latch again. In my mind, I just kept on coming back to that thought so I said to myself, “you know you want this for you and your baby, so commit to it no matter what.” I’m glad I did, because 17 months later, I’m still in love with the whole experience. Was it smooth? Nope. Is it worth it? Definitely!