When I got my first baby, I had all these romantic expectations on what my breastfeeding experience would be. Here are some of the realities that I wish someone had told me about.
1. It’s not automatic: That it takes a bit of work and time to finally get it right.
2. I needed to put my baby on the breast immediately after birth. I was not able to do this and subsequently it took
a while before my baby would accept to breastfeed as she preferred the faster option of cup feeding.
3. It does not have to be painful. I thought that it was normal to have painful nipples when the baby started to
breastfeed. I later discovered that the pain was caused by my baby latching on poorly and once I got lactation
support, I learnt about the correct latching techniques.
4. That I would get some cramps and pains on my stomach when the baby was breastfeeding. This is nature’s
way of contracting the uterus back to its usual size with the added benefit of controlling bleeding after birth
5. I needed to wear breast pads even in bed. I would be wake up and find my bed sheets wet with breast milk that
had leaked. Using sports bra’s or ‘boob’ tubes to support the breasts and breast pads gave me a more
comfortable time and I did not need to change my bed sheets daily
6. It was important to establish breast feeding first before introducing a bottle as this causes nipple confusion for
the baby and could lead to baby preferring the bottle rather than the breast
7. I did not need to eat copious amounts of food that made me get constipated and bloated. I just needed to stay
well hydrated, eat well balanced diet with smaller meals several times a day.
8. I would get a lot of pressure from many quarters about how, when, how long I should breastfeed. I needed to
learn what worked for my baby. As long as my baby was adding weight adequately, passing urine and doing
the poop regularly, then my breast milk supply was enough.
9. As my baby grew, she underwent the ‘teething’ period and my breast was the first casualty as she tried to see
how these brand new teeth worked. I had to learn how to teach her not to bite me
10. That the spectacular cleavage that came during pregnancy and birth would soon disappear once I weaned my
baby from the breastfeeding