The words "norma"l and "natural" can mean very different things to different people, especially when applied to breastfeeding. Nursing your baby is the most natural thing in the world, in the sense that your body was made to do it. But does it always feel normal? Definitely not. In fact, it will probably take some serious getting used to in the beginning. But fear not, there are many normal things about breastfeeding that you shouldn't be embarrassed about, from the weird, to the painful, to the beautiful.
I remember being shocked by pretty much everything my body did after giving birth. The letdown reflex? What in the actual heck is happening? Waking up with a soaking wet shirt and painfully huge boobs? It's par for the course. And don't even get me started about using a foreign machine to express milk from my own breasts. It's just downright embarrassing sometimes. So much so that to this day I feel weird about letting my husband watch me pump.
But when you think about the fact that your body is literally sustaining another human being, it's far more incredible than embarrassing. So next time you feel embarrassed or shamed about breastfeeding, be it in public or in your living room, remember that even though it may not always feel normal your body is doing exactly what it should be doing.
1. Experiencing A Learning Curve
Especially in the beginning, breastfeeding can feel completely awkward. You may experience what Best For Babes, a resource for nursing moms, calls the learning curve of breastfeeding. It's totally normal to not know how to do it, and it's OK to ask a professional for help. Luckily, as time goes on, like any skill, you'll get the hang of it.
2. Leaky Boobs
According to What To Expect, leaking breasts are simply your body's way of "perfecting the art of making milk." Although this is a glamorous way to describe it, leaky boobs are completely normal and to be expected for at least the few month or so. But if you're not into wet t-shirt competitions, it's nothing some quality nursing pads can't fix.
3. Lopsided Boobs
La Leche League International noted that it's totally normal for your boobs to occasionally (or usually) be different sizes. While your body is still adjusting to your supply, one side may make more than the other. Luckily, with a little bit of scheduling, rotating sides, and time, the issue will fix itself.
4. Feeling Exhausted All The Time
According to PBS, most new moms are dangerously exhausted for months after giving birth. Breastfeeding is no exception. Whether you're nursing on demand, on a schedule, or are down to a few times a day, nursing is tiring business. The Bump noted that staying hydrated and eating healthy foods (as well as making sure to sleep whenever you can) will help curb the exhaustion somewhat.
5. Flashing Your Boobs Everywhere You Go
If you plan on feeding your child anywhere except your house, it's bound to happen. Whether you want to use a cover or not, feeding your baby in public is high on the list of embarrassing things for new moms.
6. Using A Breastpump
Using a breast pump is just as weird as you'd imagine. Nursing your child is hard enough to learn, and doing it with a machine is just as uncomfortable as it is awkward. For many moms, it's simply a normal part of breastfeeding though, and allows for you to have some much needed time to yourself, so the pros may outweigh the cons.
7. Experiencing Letdown In Random Places
According to Parents, the letdown reflex is simply your body's way of triggering the release of milk from your breast. This is caused by the hormone oxytocin when you hear your baby cry or are close to your baby, for example. This reflex, however, can be triggered by other things too, like a random baby crying in the grocery store. So don't be embarrassed if your milk lets down at random times. (And be prepared with nursing pads).