You can read every book, blog, forum, and magazine article about breastfeeding-and closely observe Robert de Niro's technique in Meet the Parents-but, like most everything in parenting, all the research in the world won't prepare you for the surprises that inevitably will arise. Having nursed both of my children, I can tell you that going through it once still did not prepare me for some of the speed bumps that popped up the second time around. Although such surprises are unique to each new mom, I thought I would share mine with you:
Top 7 Things That Surprised Me About Breastfeeding
7. Babies are not always chomping at the bit to eat when they get here. Instead of arriving with cookies in hand and a "Got Milk?" sign, my son basically wanted to sleep for three days straight. I found myself poking him and tickling his lips and saying, "Dude! Wake up! It's time to eat!" Which he would do… for about 10 seconds at a time. *Sigh*
6. That "myth" about lactating at the mere mention of a baby? Not such a myth, as the barista with whom I was talking about my newborn daughter-and who pretended not to notice my two wet-can attest. Which is the day I learned what "nursing pads" are and sent my husband to the store in search of them. (Lucky him.)
5. Even if your baby is nursing like a champ, as my daughter always did, you may still become engorged. On the bright side, I got those rock-hard breasts I had always wanted! (Yes, it hurt. A lot.)
4. You can have two children and have completely different breastfeeding experiences with them. My firstborn nursed like a pro from the get-go, even though I hadn't even planned on breastfeeding (more on that story here) and had done zero preparation for it, while my son had some initial latch issues and never took to it with the enthusiasm that my daughter did. So you just never know.
2. Wearing a bra at night became commonplace. I know, I know … usually, nothing feels better than taking off your bra at the end of a long day, but not so much when your breasts are leaking milk. (Never thought I'd see the day when I bought my bras based on absorbency.)
1. It doesn't always get easier. Just when I would think my son and I had hit our stride, he would hit a milestone-such as rolling over or crawling-and suddenly become very distracted when he ate. You know how you're obsessed with The Bachelorette? That's exactly how your baby can be, only instead of obsessing about the final rose, he is thinking about his new trick: "ALL I WANT TO DO IS CRAWL RIGHT NOW, WOMAN!" It can be very, very frustrating.