Nursing Pros...and Cons.

Search anywhere and you will find seemingly endless literature about the health benefits of breastfeeding.  At my previous job, all I did was promote nursing and encourage new moms to just “stick with it.”  I would always say, “you are doing the BEST thing you could possibly do for your baby (and yourself)! You can do it!”  I’d literally get mad at moms who asked for formula and plea with them about how it WILL get easier and to hang in there!

Now that I have nursed, I will admit that I have been one of those frustrated moms and can see why so many women throw in the towel. Nursing, at least in the first 6 weeks, is rough. I’m officially 3 weeks in and decided to share my personal “pros” and “cons” of being a nursing mom.

PROS:

  • Nutritional benefits. I decided to just lump the long list of health benefits for mom and baby under one bullet because the list could go on forever!
  • Convenience. There is nothing more convenient than pulling out your boob anytime/anywhere to feed your baby (particularly at night when you are tired and cranky).
  • Bonding. Nursing really does help a mom bond with her baby in a special way…their little faces are just so darn cute when they’re cuddled up so close!
  • Soothing. Babies, at least my baby, calms down immediately when I put her at the boob. Even if she’s not really eating, it’s a nice feeling to know how quickly you alone can soothe your child.
  • Pumping. Once your milk supply comes in, pumping can be a Godsend. Brandon gives Hannah about one “mom milk” bottle a day and it’s a nice way for me to get away for a little while.

CONS:

  • Mentally draining. Being the sole source of nutrition for another living being is definitely hard work. It is extremely time consuming and sometimes you just feel like a milk machine!
  • Physically taxing. In the first week, I struggled to get a proper latch. My little girl is a champion eater and with her on me for what felt like 24/7, my nipples bled, cracked, and became extremely sore; many a sob sessions were had. In week two, I felt like I was finally getting into a rhythm with Hannah, but now that I’m 3 weeks out…I might be developing mastitis; more pain, more frustration, lots of nursing/pumping/hot compresses, etc.
  • Prohibitive. I know this part will change, but right now, it’s pretty hard to do or go anywhere on my own without worrying about the next time I will have to nurse/pump. This could probably fall under my “mentally draining” bullet.
  • Enhancement. Already having a fairly large chest…adjusting to my new DD’s is a major con. I hate the feeling of what seems like everyone staring. I need baggier shirts!
Overall, I know that nursing will keep on getting easier, but getting through these first 6 weeks (in all aspects of parenthood), drives you a little nuts. However, with that being, for every gripe I might have, I have 10 more positive things about parenthood to counter with. It’s all that’s keeping me going right now; reminding myself that she is worth every ache and pain. I guess that’s what being a mom is all about!
QUESTION: What was/is your greatest nursing PRO and/or CON?

 

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9 comments to Nursing Pros…and Cons.

  • [...] enough supply, or just choose to give formula. I’m not judging. Believe me. Remember my Pros and Cons of Nursing post? Even though I followed up with a post where I was Still At It, that doesn’t mean I [...]

  • [...] At It! Several weeks ago I wrote a post about Nursing Pros…and Cons.  When I wrote this post, I was on “the [...]

  • Pam

    I know it has been years since I nursed but ever since I read you were dealing with cracked nipples I was wondering, do they not recommend using vaseline anymore? We were told to apply after nursing and then wipe off with a cotton ball that was in a dish of water by our nursing station, before we nursed. I don’t ever want to be the older woman telling someone to do something that is not recommended anymore but thought I would mention it. I have read your blog for a few years now. I am in a CP(now called DE) Nutritional Sciences program and will graduate May 2014. I did the babies first and then school :o ) I applaud you for sticking with it through the hard part.

  • I love the picture of your baby. Breastfeeding “It Rocks”. I definitely know that it is a great thing. Very difficult if it gets painful, but so worth it. Bonding with my babies this way was so incredible. Stay with it we are all rootin for you.

  • This is my sixth baby, who is now 5 weeks old, and I have had latching problems for the first time since baby number one. Lots of pain, cracking etc. The pump really saved me, though, and allowed me to heal. I would do it again and always said the same kind of things (why wouldn’t someone breastfeed?) but man, it is HARD, and I totally see now why they would want to stop doing it. This time I was crying every time I nursed from about week 3 1/2- until 4 1/2, and if not for the pump I don’t know what I would have done. My friend told me her lactation consultant had said bacitracin or neosporin were fine and wouldn’t hurt the baby – so I started using it instead of the lanolin, and it really helped them to heal. Good luck-and keep at it if you can!! :) You can do it!!

  • Pam

    Pros- you never have to heat a bottle in the middle of the night while your baby is crying. You always have another “bottle” when your outing runs long.
    Cons- teeth at 4 months, breast infection, ouch. But you get past it.
    For my last 2 I was at home fulltime and able to nurse until 12 to 13 months. I have such good memories. The last one started college on Monday.

  • I haven’t gone through this yet, but I try to read up on it as much as I can, whenever I can. I have this feeling it will be difficult for me, so I’m prepared to get frustrated (my om had a tough time). I think it’s something I will do for the first several weeks, no matter what, then I may have to quit. We’ll see. Hang in there Erin!

  • I am not ready to have kids yet, but my friend and I were just talking about this subject tonight while we walked. I’m still not sure if I want to breastfeed (one day), because it sounds so painful and intimidating! My sisters and I were all bottle fed, and we turned out okay :) …but I know that today, there are even more things to worry about in formula, and it’s just one more expense! So many things to consider!

  • I had trouble with latching in the beginning too. I remember crying every time she would latch those first few weeks. It is draining. It is SO much work! And I hated pumping. I felt like my boobs were out 24/7 the first 5 months haha. But it is SO rewarding, so amazing and I am STILL doing it at almost 16 months! It just feels great to know I am giving her the best nourishment and protection from my milk. I feel so fortunate and blessed that it has worked out! I get worried though…she is showing NO signs of stopping or slowing down LOL…I think it will be emotional when we stop, but at the same time I a kind of looking forward to having my body back to myself, you know what I mean? Bewteen pregnancy and nursing I feel like she’s owned me!

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