Breastfeeding is beautiful, empowering, healthy, bond-forming, and awesome. But it also manages to be pretty gross too. As great as it is, it's definitely not glamorous all the time (or ever, really.) Whether you're a first time mom or a seasoned nursing pro, you're bound to identify with at least a few of these somewhat gross things about breastfeeding.
Believe it or not, all these gross aspects of pregnancy are totally healthy and normal. In fact, much like pregnancy and all of motherhood, the picturesque ideas we have of breastfeeding in our mind rarely pan out the way we planned.
Between my two daughters, I've breastfed for a combined total of more than three years. And although I absolutely loved breastfeeding and providing my daughters with the very best nutrition possible, sometimes I felt like a dairy cow whose sole purpose was to sit and sustain another human with my udders...er, boobs.
I never regretted it for a second though, because despite the hard moments, and even the downright gross ones, some of my favorite memories of my girls are from our times breastfeeding. So if you're struggling with any of these seven gross breastfeeding norms, take heart mama, because what you're doing is pretty amazing too.
1. Waking Up In A Puddle Of Your Own Milk
Leaking happens, a lot, especially in the first months when your body is still getting used to its own supply. Nursing pads ($7) will become your best friend, especially if you don't want to change your sheets (and shirt) every night.
2. Leaking At Random Times
Thanks to your letdown reflex, triggered by oxytocin release, you could potentially start leaking milk at any random point in time, Very Well stated. Hear a baby crying in the supermarket? Cue the letdown. You haven't fed your baby in a while and just thought about how darn adorable they are? Cue the letdown.
3. Feeling Like Your Boobs Are About To Pop
Engorgement is one of the most painful parts of breastfeeding. Whether you're simply adjusting to having your milk come in, your baby is having an unexpected nursing strike, or you're just having an off day, having breasts full (literally) of milk is no fun. Luckily, pumping, nursing, and even hand expressing can help take the edge off, according to Medela.
4. Cracking, Bleeding, Or Feeling Nipple Pain
Although having cracked or painful nipples is a sign that something isn't right, Baby Center noted that it's a common condition for many moms struggling with latch.
5. Noticing A Strange Scent From Your Breast Milk
According to La Leche League Iinternaitonal (LLLI), everyone's breastmilk tastes and looks differently depending on your diet, so don't be alarmed if — when you're comparing pumped milk with another nursing mom — your breastmilk looks a little bit differently than you expected.
6. Falling Asleep With Your Boobs Out Because, Nightfeedings
Being awake all night and having a baby attached to your boobs means= not really caring whether you're covered up or not.
7. Feeling Like A Dairy Cow
It's bound to happen at some point, and when it does, just remind yourself that your body is way more impressive (and way better looking) than a dairy cow's.