Nothing in pre-motherhood life prepares you for breastfeeding...
I recall having gripes throughout my first pregnancy all the way till delivery - from nausea to sleepless nights. Towards the end, there was literally only one way out. But breastfeeding... it was another ball game altogether.
For me, the first month of breastfeeding, combined with the dreaded Chinese confinement, was a rude induction into motherhood.
So for all my fellow mamas and mamas-to-be, here are some things I wish I knew before diving into breastfeeding for the first time:
- You will become meals-on-heels, feeding on the clock and on demand. Babies have an exclusive 24-hour access pass to the boobs, and will be on a three-hour schedule at a minimum. Sleep? Who needs sleep?
- It can be really draining figuring out the whats, hows and whys of breastfeeding. It is okay to ask fellow mummies or "Google it" to figure out your game plan.
Get pumped. As our babies get older, and we get into the groove of breastfeeding, most moms do use the breast pump at some point - be it to sneak out for a couple of hours, or when heading back to work. Just milk it.
- It is okay to cry over spilt milk. I remember my husband helping to store freshly pumped breast milk enthusiastically, only to spill all of it on the kitchen counter. I cried in frustration (at the situation, not my husband). Or maybe just a little bit at the husband...
- You are not alone. While you are feeding or pumping in the middle of the night, just remember there is at least one other mama out there who's nursing, or online shopping under the faint light of her breast pump. #mamassupportmamas
I ended up breastfeeding Ethan until he turned one, and am still breastfeeding nine-month-old Emma. Some days are easier, some days I just dread boob-o-clock, but really, breastfeeding is not a walk in the park... Any breast friends out there with me?