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"Okay sweetie, give him your breast and he'll just start sucking."
As beautiful of an experience breastfeeding truly is as a whole, no one ever told me that it would hurt like a—well, you know.
First of all, your milk doesn't come right away—which if you know me by now, sent me into another fit of worry. I became the "will I not be able to feed my child" mother. The more I kept my son attached to me, the easier it was for my body to realize that I was trying to produce something.
Atta girl, there you go, your milk has finally come in. Now that's all nice and dandy, until you realize that your boobs are going to feel like you're actually carrying twins on your chest. It filled with milk just as fast as it was gone. Yes ladies, I am talking about engorgement. It honestly didn't feel like breasts anymore. My once (decently) even breasts were two lumpy, hard, bowling ball sized masses that I dragged around with me. But it's okay, I was feeding my child.
However, this is where you have to be careful! Now, if your breasts become too engorged, don't do what I did and wait. You want to get all the milk out as soon as possible. Engorgement can lead to mastitis, an infection in breast tissue caused by blocked ducts. If you don't take preventative measures, it could potentially harm you. If you do want to read more about it, I've inserted a link leading to La Leche League's website to tell you more down below.
Luckily, despite my terrible habits, I never had to experience mastitis. But I did go through engorged breasts and blocked ducts (probably hurt more than labor (probably not). Regardless, never again.
But, what did I fear the most during this entire experience? Was it if I was feeding him enough? Was it if I was in harm's way of an infection? Was it my chapped nipples? No. My biggest fear was leaking. Before becoming a mom, I wondered how women kept their clothes dry if milk was constantly being produced. I thought maybe boobs just take a break? Obviously not. Then I discovered boob pads or most commonly known as nursing pads. Just when I thought we only needed pads for our nether regions, we need pads up here too (geez). I thought I was well-prepared, nursing pads and everything. Right on my nipples they go, just in case I have an accident. I was sitting down at the table, minding my own business until I felt wet. I thought I just spilled water on myself. But wait, I didn't have any beverages even remotely near me. What the hell just spilled on me? I spilled on me. My breastmilk went flowing straight down from my nipples down to almost my crotch. I was soaked. This is another side effect of letting your boobs get too engorged, it just releases itself whether you like it or not. TLDR; I've lost plenty of shirts to breastmilk and I've very much learned my lesson since then.
I'm glad I eventually took control of these suckers.
But to leave you on a brighter note, I love breastfeeding. I'm damn lucky to have had this opportunity to do so. I know the concrete foundation to my relationship with my son was a product of being able to breastfeed him and then some. Aside from all the pain that I went through, I'd do it all over again for him.
So, don't be discouraged! It'll be much like everything else, trial and error. You'll have good days and bad.
To my non-breastfeeding moms, you're doing just as great of a job. Don't let anyone tell you that you're less of a mother without it.
Again, linked below is a more detailed article on mastitis.
Happy breastfeeding, mamas!
Additional Information About Mastitis
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