10 Things No One Will Tell You About Breastfeeding, But I Will

Ad failed to load

By now, it's safe to say that the majority of mothers are aware of the many amazing benefits of breastfeeding. Mothers and pediatricians across the world are quick to sing its many praises (and rightfully so), and offer their relentless support for women who choose and are able to breastfeed (as they should). While, yes, breastfeeding is an incredible thing, there are things no one will tell you about breastfeeding; Things that you, maybe, weren't expecting; Realities that you're going to want to be aware of if you're choosing to breastfeed.

Breastfeeding is good for both mother and baby in some truly remarkable ways. Breastfeeding can lowers a woman's risk of breast cancer; Breastfeeding can provide a baby with incredible antibodies; Breastfeeding can facilitate a wonderful bond between mom and baby. However, there are some painful things breastfeeding mothers have to deal with, both physically and emotionally, that most people don't ever think twice about or necessarily consider before they choose or attempt to breastfeed. Just ask any mother who has tried to breastfeed in public, or has tried extended breastfeeding. Sadly, chances are she's experienced that "special" kind of judgment that only a breastfeeding mother faces on a daily basis and, unless you've been there yourself, you can't begin to understand what that feels like.

It's not an easy job, and if more women were prepared for some of the following realities ahead of time, they might be less discouraged when they encounter them, and more prepared to work through them.

Ad failed to load

It's Really Not That Easy


Breastfeeding is hard sometimes. It's totally worth it, but it is a huge commitment. It requires your baby to have access to your boobs every hour of every day, whether you need a nap or not or you're at home or not or you're in the middle of work or not, and it can be difficult to keep up with that kind of constant demand. Your schedule revolves around feeding your child, and they're going to be hungry a lot. When your life revolves around caring for an all-consuming baby, your own needs become secondary. However, in order to take care of your baby, you've got to take care of yourself, too. Be sure to make time to nurture your own needs.

It Can Be Painful


Breastfeeding is sometimes a giant pain in the boob. At first, your breasts might be sore from your supply coming in, and your nipples will become tender as your baby learns how to latch. You might experience some bleeding while your breasts adjust to feeding your baby frequently, and your back is definitely going to hurt from being slouched while you breastfeed. The good news is that there are several different positions you can try to ease your neck and back pain, and your nipples will eventually adapt to nursing.

It Can Make You Feel Isolated


Unless you're comfortable breastfeeding in front of others (which is great if you are), you might find yourself in a quiet room with your baby, secluded from everyone else, on a pretty regular basis. The peace is nice, for the most part, but if you spend enough time away from everyone else while your baby nurses, you might start to feel somewhat isolated.

Ad failed to load

It Will Make Some People Uncomfortable


If you're comfortable breastfeeding in public, or uncovered, that's great, but don't be surprised if it makes other people uncomfortable. We are, unfortunately, living in a society where breasts are still over-sexualized, rather than appreciate for their function. Not everyone is on board with a woman breastfeeding their baby in a public place, but that's their problem, not yours, so do whatever you feel comfortable with.

It Will Make You SOOO Hungry


If you feel more hungry after breastfeeding, there's a good reason. When you breastfeed you burn extra calories which, in turn, makes you extra hungry. It is recommended that breastfeeding moms consume and extra 500 calories a day to keep up with the demand.

It's Seriously Exhausting


When you are the sole source of nutrition for your child, you quickly become exhausted. Breastfeeding is a full time job, but without the vacation or sick time. It requires you to be readily available to your baby 24/7. Babies don't understand that their moms need rest, they just know that they're hungry and they don't care what if that means waking the entire house up at all hours of the night in order to curb that hunger.

Ad failed to load

You Will Wake Up In A Puddle Of Breast Milk At Some Point


There's a good chance that you will wake up (usually in the middle of the night) soaked. You'll likely be covered in a mixture of sweat and breast milk, which is not super fun, but it's also a sign that your body is working hard to take care of you and your baby. If you're producing a large amount of milk, but your baby isn't completely emptying your breasts when they feed, the milk might make its way out on its own as a means to prevent you from becoming engorged. Leaking boobs are good for nursing, but not for your sheets.

Your Wardrobe Will Revolve Around Breastfeeding


Nursing tanks are your best friend when you're a breastfeeding mom. As for all the other cute shirts and dress that you want to wear, well, um, you're going to have to hold off for a while (usually). Your boobs need to be easily accessible when you're breastfeeding, and you probably don't want to risk leaking onto your favorite shirt. It's pretty normal to have a postpartum wardrobe that consists mainly of clothes that are easily removed, at least for a little while.

It Doesn't Always Feel Like "Bonding"


So many women who breastfeed talk about "the bond." They tell stories of deep and meaningful connections, and talk about how they felt like they and their baby were "one" when they would breastfeed. This is great, and truly incredible for the women who feel that way, but honestly, when you're running on little or no sleep and you're up feeding your baby by yourself in the dark, you might feel more resentful than connected. That's OK, and it's totally normal. Just know that if you feel this way from time to time, there's nothing wrong with your emotions or with you.

Ad failed to load

You're Going To Want To Give Up At Some Point


Like I said, breastfeeding is hard. So many sacrifices come with choosing to breastfeed your baby, and at some point, you might begin to feel overwhelmed. When you do, try not to be too hard on yourself. If breastfeeding is something that you feel very strongly about, don't decide to throw in the towel in one fleeting moment of doubt, because you can get through it. At the same time, if breastfeeding is legitimately causing you too much stress, and if it's just not working for you and your family, don't beat yourself up if you're at the end of your rope. Breastfeeding just isn't practical for everyone, and it's a very personal choice. One that you get to decide based on what you feel is best, so don't let anyone tell you what is best for you. Only you know that.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

13 Unique (& Totally Not Mainstream) Mother's Day Gifts For The Hipster Mom

Hipsters thrive on being outside the norm and not really digging anything considered "mainstream." Whether it's in their fashion, what music they listen to, the books they read, or how they enjoy beverages, there's just something that makes them dist…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's How To Introduce Your Pet To Your Baby & Make Everything As Calm As Possible

Our home, which we lovingly refer to as “the funny farm,” is filled with four-legged family members. We have two crazy beagles and two cat jerks, and boy are they loved and spoiled. (As they should be.) But we are now finally having a baby of our own…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills