1. Nursing Hurts and Therefore is NOT Easy
I say this not to discourage anyone from nursing, but to encourage you TO nurse! We all know the benefits of breastfeeding our newbie, but no one really says why it’s so hard or why some mom’s chose not to do it. Most of us, including myself, thought that breastfeeding is a natural, beautiful thing, and that it just happens. The truth is, it really HURTS. For some the first couple weeks, for others the first month. I remember getting super discouraged reading lactation specialists' articles saying if it hurts you're doing it wrong. This made me feel slightly alienated, like am I the only Mom that thinks this sucks?Then I realized from my encounters with other moms and upon my own experience, that this just isn’t true. A good friend said to me, “nursing is like someone giving you a hickey on top of a hickey on top of a hickey!” Nice visual huh?! But very true. Your sensitive nipples need time to callus and toughen up. However, know the different between pain and a symptom. If there is extreme lightening bolt pain, or hot, red spots on your breasts, this is when pain is not normal and is a symptom of something greater, like thrush or mastitis. Don’t ignore your instincts and seek help. Being a health professional, In my head, I thought this pain was supposed to happen and it will go away, but when you're hysterical and wincing every time your baby wants to nurse, this is a problem. It’s okay to seek help from specialists like lactation consultants, cranial-sacral therapists, mid-wives, physicians, and chiropractors. I think when you know to expect discomfort, you’re more likely to stick through the tough couple weeks instead of giving up because in reality it can be natural, amazing, and pleasureful.
2. The First Months of Postpartum Your Schedule is Purely Around Your Baby’s Feeding Schedule
Most newbies nurse every 2-3 hours and sometimes they even like to cluster feed which could mean they want to eat right after another. Initially when they nurse it can take anywhere between a half hour to an hour per feeding. You will literally feel like you're on boob arrest all day. Don’t worry though, it doesn’t last. As your baby gets older, they do get more efficient and most feedings at that point will be around 15-20 minutes.
3. Its Okay to Cry
We’ve all heard of the baby blues, but I don’t think we ever think that it’ll happen to us. We all look at motherhood as this passage of life and that everything falls into place. What I don’t think we realize is that our body was just overwhelmed with hormones and just got done going through this relatively “traumatic” experience! We are already sleep deprived headed into labor and then after that baby comes, we never get to catch up. Reality hits that we have this new little one and we have to figure out how it works with our current lives. I remember sitting in my rocker just crying because I didn’t know if I’d ever be “able to do this.” It’s completely normal to feel this way and don’t think you’re the only one who sits in distraught. News Flash! Motherhood is scary! You’re not alone!
4. Leaky Breasts and Crotch OH My!
Yup! Your boobs leak involuntarily, sometimes excessively, and there’s nothing you can do about it! Stock up on disposable breast pads (like a maxi pad, but for your leaky nipples). I tried to do the environmental friendly thing and tried the reusable organic ones, but the problem was because you can’t change them frequently they become a harbor for bacteria and fungus. This increases your risk on clogged ducts, yeast infections, and mastitis. Get the big box of disposables and change them often! On to the V. If you haven’t just had an ice pack on it for the last couple days, you’re lucky! After birth you literally have what’s like a period on steroids! You can expect this for a couple weeks.
5. Contractions Continue After Labor
That’s right! The one thing everyone is dreading from the moment they find out they’re pregnant, those nasty contractions! I know I was expecting them to happen before the birth of my baby, but after?! Are you kidding me?! After labor your body is super efficient working at shrinking your once tiny uterus back to it’s original form. Thank you Oxytocin! The release of this wonder hormone does a few things after the birth of your baby, it enables you to give birth to your placenta and any excess fluid etc. that is in the uterus with the baby, it allows for milk let down, and amazingly allows you to forget the unpleasantries of birth that in a couple months actually make you think, “hmm child labor wasn’t that bad, let’s do it again!” The contractions continue to shrink the uterus, which according to medical professionals, the severity of those post delivery miracles gets worse the more children you have. YIPPY!