I can’t even begin to count how many different articles I’ve read on breastfeeding ranging from “things they don’t tell you about breastfeeding” to “power pumping” and beyond. I wanted to share my own personal experience. One thing I can say for sure is that it was a learning process. Maybe later I will write a long post about my birth story, but in a few words, given the fact that Max was born premature, it was a while before I was able to breastfeed him, so I had to pump. I truly had a love/hate relationship with my Medela. I knew I was doing a good thing by providing milk for my baby, yet I felt like I was tied to the machine 24/7. Here are a few things I’ve found to be true about pumping, and then breastfeeding.
1. Engorgement was a very legitimate fear of mine. It happened several times during the first month post partum and it was the worst pain I’ve ever experienced aside from actually giving birth. Nothing really helped, I just had to struggle through it and continue pumping.
2. I was producing enough milk to feed a small village. Now I know this is definitely not a bad problem to have, as I met many mothers in the hospital who were struggling with their milk supply, but it did mean I had to pump religiously every 3, and sometimes every 2, hours in order to keep up.
3. Your bra size will change- a lot. Or maybe it won’t. All I know is mine changed so drastically I am still learning how to live with it three months post partum.
4. Now that Max is home and I’m breastfeeding exclusively, I no longer have to pump as much (maybe 3 times a week), but I still have to use a nipple shield. His preemie status means he just can’t latch on as well without it yet. This also means that I am sometimes crawling on the floor in the middle of the night looking for this invisible nipple shield that is impossible to find.
5. The baby is now the boss and I have to be available to breastfeed as soon as he starts fussing and rooting. Aside from 1-2 bottles of breast milk that my husband feeds him, Max is pretty much a little leech hanging on me nonstop.
6. It’s not intuitive. I wish I could say I just lie back on my bed and the baby feeds. Unfortunately I have yet to find a super comfortable position for myself that doesn’t activate at least some minor muscle pain. Oh well, it’s a work in progress.
7. Ignore the first six things- it’s the best bonding with your baby you will ever experience and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.