With three girls under my wing and a penchant for attachment parenting I’ve currently clocked almost 6 years of breastfeeding. Phew! I’ve lowered my chance of breast cancer and probably even Alzheimer’s, and I’ve learned quite a few things along the way, too.
Here are my top 6 tried and true mommy “facts” about breastfeeding:
1. Breastfeeding hurts when they have teeth, and it doesn’t when they do [have teeth]. There is nothing more painful than two weeks into breastfeeding when your poor nipples are still getting used to being used as a 24 hour playground. Even with correct latching and lansinoh cream it just takes a bit of time for your body to adjust. Likewise, even though many moms are scared of breastfeeding after teeth appear, babies quickly learn how to breastfeed without using their new chompers. Babies are smart, after all: biting mommy = no more milk. One or two genuine shrieks from me followed by an immediate de-latching was all it took for all three of my girls.
2. You will never get good restaurant service again. I kid, I kid. Well, kind of. You WILL get good restaurant service again, just not while you’re actually breastfeeding. This one has been verified by friends and found to have an exponential effect when [gasp!] more than one nursing mother is sitting at the same table. Whether your wait staff is male or female your drink service will slow to a crawl…eye contact ceases…and you become very glad that you put in your food order before your baby became hungry. You can keep checking to make sure there’s not actually a gaping hole in the middle of your Bebe Au Lait nursing cover but you really shouldn’t bother. In this case it’s definitely them, not you.
3. You can do it here or there…or anywhere. I’ve breastfed in cars, on planes, while wearing wraps, while wearing wraps while hiking, on mountain slopes and everywhere in between. I’ve even breastfed in the middle of the Breckenridge cafeteria while taking a break from the slopes. Basically don’t let preconceived notions make you feel like you can’t go somewhere or do something, simply because you happen to have a still-nursing child.
4. No bottles = Happy Lazy Mommy. I admit it: I hate doing dishes. Even taking into account the wonder of the modern invention that is the dishwasher I still hate doing dishes. If on top of everything else I also had to worry about not only carrying bottles, but also time frames for formula or breastmilk expiration, sterilization, the crusty bottles that rolled under the back seat of the car, and which nipples have the best flow for my baby’s age, it might have sent me over the edge. There is an ease to the first year of life when you have the knowledge that wherever you are all you really need are wipes and a couple of diapers to get you through any kind of outing.
5. Other people don’t need to feed your baby to bond. I caught a lot of flack from family [Husband NOT included] for not regularly pumping and supplementing with a bottle. The cold, hard facts are that people like to feed babies. And when you’re breastfeeding and your baby is gazing into your eyes and softly stroking the back of your arm [or scratching it with teeny tiny nails – thank you middle child!] it’s easy to see why! So why exactly did I refuse to pump? See Number 4 above. I just didn’t see the point in spending my time pumping, thus increasing my milk supply and causing engorgement, only to reap the benefit on the rare occasion we had an opportunity for a night out. Also, being forced to lay down for half an hour or take a time out from cleaning to read a book or relax while nursing was not something I was keen to eliminate. Husband and babies all bonded perfectly, and our daddy’s girl ratio currently stands at 3/3. [Note: I would pump shortly become family came to visit on the chance that Husband and I would have an opportunity for a date. They all basically refused their bottles. End of the world? I’m afraid not. I would just fill up their tummy before we left, have a great two hour long date/dinner, and then come home in time for bedtime.]
6. Pretty nursing bras make every day feel better. That’s right…I said pretty. Sure you can go to Target or Motherhood Maternity and get some really functional nursing bras. But if you want to spend the next several months [and possibly year] of your life not feeling like you’ve left the sexy wife train behind, I would seriously suggest investing in a few fantastic bras. My favorite site to get beautiful, supportive, nursing wear? Fig Leaves. Think of a perfect melding of lingerie and nursing bras and you’ve got the right idea.
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