Breastfeeding is hard as hell, and this is coming from someone who has done it successfully with two kids. It’s one thing I always try to tell women who have a desire to do it; it sucks. It hurts. Nothing comes out in the beginning. It’s not easy for anyone.
Well, I’m not sure if it’s really hard for everyone, but in my very scientific observation of all my friends, every one I’ve had who has ever done it had a really hard time. This was also confirmed by an article in Slate I read yesterday titled, Women Have Struggled To Breastfeed Since Ancient Times. It’s hard. It’s always been hard.
The women I know who gave up from sheer frustration (not for medical issues) thought that is was so hard that they must be failing. Here’s what I think; we’ve all been brainwashed into believing that just because our bodies can lactate, milk should be able to flow from our boobs like some kind of abundant fountain after we give birth. No. Not so much.
With all the talk about how great it is for you, there’s really a lack of real support to help you succeed. If breastfeeding is so damn great, why was I sent home from the hospital with several goody bags full of formula? It would have been much more helpful to have a list of lactation consultants in my area, and maybe a way to get free home visits if needed, no? There is the poster in the doctor’s office, the prenatal question about whether you plan on doing it- and then you are pretty much on your own. Here are some details I can tell you about my personal experience that may help you if you think you are failing miserably at this whole breastfeeding thing.
1. Your milk doesn’t come in right away.
Guess what? It can take a few days for your milk to come in. This generally wouldn’t be a problem, if you didn’t have a nurse breathing down your neck every hour, shoving a feeding log in your face and asking you to record how much your baby is eating. If you labor in a hospital – this is what will probably happen. Here is my very informed, medical advice for you; grab the log and just write a bunch of nonsense numbers on it. That way – the nurses will back off and you will be less stressed.
For some reason, the fact that babies are born essentially “waterlogged” and don’t need much in terms of nutrition for their first day out of the womb eludes most nurses on maternity wards. The majority of them will act like you are starving your baby if milk doesn’t start shooting out of your boobs immediately. No one wants to starve their brand new baby. Don’t worry – you aren’t.