Breastfeeding is a tricky thing to prepare for. Like snuggling a fluffy dog, or marching with millions of other people around the world, or watching an entire season of The Bachelor from start to finish; you just have to experience it to know it. I did the best I could when it came to preparing; I listened to friends, read about breastfeeding in parenting books, and acquired a nursing pillow (and various tubes of lanolin). Still, it only got me so far. There are still plenty of things I wish I knew about exclusive breastfeeding, way before I started.
I mean, the over-prepared student in me would have gladly practiced establishing latch, figuring out supply, and mastering various nursing positions if I could have. However, not only were my breasts not ready yet (thanks a lot, nature), but I also did not have a hungry newborn just, like, hanging around for my own personal benefit. That’s just not how this stuff works, unfortunately. You have to be in the moment, jumping head-first into the proverbial deep end, to see if you'e really going to swim. Yay, motherhood.
However, now I’m on the other side of it, I can pinpoint what some of the key lessons are that I took away from breastfeeding exclusively, in hope that they’ll help someone else (and to remind myself what's in store with the next baby, because this mama isn't making the same "mistakes" twice).