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.
- 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.
- 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!