Honesty, and four things I don’t love about breastfeeding

The TED talk video I posted yesterday has really impacted my thinking. The day before I wrote about four things I love about breastfeeding. In the interests, then, of honesty about parenting, here are four things I don’t love about breastfeeding.

See, no one likes it. image from manolaw.blogspot.com

1) Leaking. My boobs leak. Not all the time, thankfully, but sometimes a lot. I can’t really sleep topless anymore because when Del sleeps long stretches of the night, at least one breast will get very full and begin to leak – especially if I happen to be lying on that side or on my stomach. I awaken in the wee hours in a little puddle of breast milk. So I have to sleep in a top of some kind all the time. And even then, when my milk lets down as Del begins to nurse, the breast he’s not eating from leaks. If I don’t have breast pads around, that means a wet pajama top or a damp bra. *sigh*

2) Nursing bras. Don’t get me wrong, mine are great. They are comfortable and open and close easily with one hand. They are absorbent. They are good colors – nude, black, hot pink. But they’re not exactly miracle bras. Support does not equal lift. And sexy they ain’t either. I really look forward to putting the girls back into a nice, low-cut push-up bra that shows off their non-nutritive attributes.

Dollface here LOVES her nursing bra. She is very happy. image from bebybaby.com

3) Sensitive nipples. The better books will tell you that breastfeeding should never be painful and if it is, something is usually wrong that can be corrected. This is really true. But even though breastfeeding isn’t painful, I still end up with nipples that I am just aware of. They usually feel a little like chapped lips, and a little overly warm. Pretty much all the time. I look forward to one day just not feeling them.

4) Having to pump. I am pretty sure that every breastfeeding mom hates pumping. If not hate, at least a tolerant annoyance. I am somewhere nearer annoyance than hate, since I really don’t have to do it all the time. Pumping now and then to build up milk supply is not a big deal to me. It’s the pumping when I’m out away from Del for more than a couple of hours – like, oh, photographing a party or a wedding, or having more than one or two sessions scheduled back to back. Remember #1: full boobs leak. Yeah, also full boobs hurt. And having to take breaks during a long photo shoot to pump milk from your swollen breasts is just a thing I don’t love.

I have it easy, I know. I have had no major challenges breastfeeding Del, and many many women do have challenges that they persevere through to successfully breastfeed for whatever length of time they can. And some women just can’t make it past the challenges and choose to give it up. I am grateful that Del and I have had an easy and satisfying breastfeeding experience. I know I will miss it whenever it comes to an end… but I won’t miss the things on this list. And look out, Victoria’s Secret, I’ll be beating down the door for your hottest double-Ds.

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4 responses to “Honesty, and four things I don’t love about breastfeeding

  • Dawn

    I always thought breastfeeding was supposed to be all natural and intuitive and womanly and painless, but nursing my twins was anything but. The first couple months were awful. I hit stride right around 6 months, but had rough patches (talk about being aware of my nipples) off and on. The best part of the experience might have been quitting…well, once the intense pain abated. I’m pretty proud that I nursed for 15 months, but when I finally stopped I kind of wondered what I had been waiting for because it was so lovely to not be dragging lunch around in my shirt.

    • DragonKat

      Nursing your twins for 15 months is awesome! You should be proud! I do want to reitterate for anyone out there dealing with nursing pain — see a lactation consultant. Not a book. Go get some expert, hands on help. It can make all the difference.

  • Dawn

    Yes, I’m convinced some of the writers of baby books have never had a baby. Also, I like your blog. It’s nice to meet you! I found you through the DC Metro Mom newsletter. I write for Claudine on DMM too, and now I feel like I should read some other writers’ posts more often. 🙂

  • Sara Lancaster (@SaraLancaster)

    I hear you on the pumping. At first it was a life saver, but now it’s such a pain. I’d also add the struggle to know if baby is getting enough milk. I’ve never produced a whole heck of lot, so I feed frequently.

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