The other day a friend of mine texted me to say that she was sitting on the floor of an airport terminal pumping since she couldn’t do it in the bathroom…and it got me thinking. When you get pregnant, especially the first time, those wonderful books like “what to expect when you’re expecting” or “Breastfeeding: The Parents Guide”….explain so much to you. HOWEVER, I think they left out the chapter on the realities of breastfeeding. So here’s my list of what they forgot to mention.
1. They forgot to tell you that you will pump/nurse anywhere…and I really mean anywhere. The terminal of an airport, driving down the road, sitting in a parking lot, even on a boat. Whenever and wherever you can. I try to use the nursing cover so as not to expose everything though. Thankfully a friend just gave me the hands free pumping bra and I am in heaven!! In fact, just last night I pumped while driving to a meeting at church-I'm quite the multi-tasker what can I say??.
2. They also forgot to mention in BOLD letters that the average woman only produces 2-4 ounces of milk TOTAL at each session. When I was in high school, I went to church camp and they did a skit. During the skit, one of the girls was acting like a farmer milking the cow, saying “Give Bessie! Give Bessie! Baby’s got to live!” Do you know how many times I have found myself thinking that very same thing begging the pump to give me more than an ounce or two?!? So alas, I’m thinking, WHAT??? I’m actually normal and all those movies about women with freezers full of milk are abnormal? Heck yeah-I’m finally normal at something in my life!
3. I recently learned that you produce the most in the middle of the night (why did I not know this the first time around?!?) . So of course, I set the alarm at wake up at 3am to pump in order to try and store some for my pending return to work. Whoa baby-I excitedly woke my sweet husband from his slumber yelling “WE WON THE LOTTERY!” As he’s trying to figure out what on earth I’m yelling about, I say again “I just got 5 WHOLE ounces!!” Needless to say, he really was not near as excited as I was and certainly disappointed we had not in fact won the $400 million jackpot. You win some and lose some right? In addition, that saying, "there's no use crying over spilled milk" has never knocked over 5 oz of breast milk. You will sob, weep, and throw quite a tantrum.
4. This being my second baby, I thought breastfeeding this time around would be a piece of cake since I was an old pro. WRONG. Having a three year old to constantly ask you questions makes life a little more interesting. For example: “mommy, why do you have move-ly boobs?” or proudly telling anyone, “my mommy’s boobies have milk in them”. In fact, whenever I am pumping, she as affectionately named it “whack-up –ing” since she says the pump says “whack-up”. REALLY? But on further reflection, I’m pretty sure that pumping/nursing has made me “whack-up” or at least make those closest around me question my sanity at least once. It also means she imitates mommy.....
5. They lied when they said it does not hurt. Sure, your nipples get used to the feeling but it does still hurt. It’s not exactly comfortable when they first latch on. And have you ever had someone bite down on your nipple? Yeah I’m pretty sure it’s comparable to childbirth pain. So don’t believe it…it will hurt occasionally. Here's an example......
6. Lastly, I’m not one of those “save the world breast is best” women. In fact, I’d probably have given up breastfeeding this time around if it weren’t for the fact that my oldest has and we are now fairly certain my youngest has a severe milk allergy. Formula just doesn’t work for them-at least not unless it’s the $60/small can type. So we choose breastmilk. And mommy sadly gives up cheese and dairy to help her-oh how I long for a milkshake, or a taco with cheese and sour cream. But for all the struggles, one look at this sweet baby….and it’s worth every hurt/struggle/moment.