Thursday, December 20, 2007

OK. Some of my friends have asked me to tell them a few things about having a baby that no one else will tell you. (Get ready…this is yet another post about breasts and breastfeeding. If you don’t want to hear about it, I suggest you skip this post.)

When asked to tell something no one else will tell you about having a baby, I promptly answered that breastfeeding hurts like a son of a gun. (Well, OK honestly this is not exactly the phrase I used but since my family reads this blog, we’ll just leave it at that.) Why is it that everything I read about breastfeeding said things like “some mild soreness may occur” or “you may experience slight discomfort”? Slight discomfort my foot! Try “Breastfeeding may feel like you are putting your nipple in a paper shredder”. Somehow I don’t think many people would attempt it with that description. Yes, it does get easier and does eventually get to be pain-free but in the beginning it HURTS!

When I first found out I was pregnant I signed up for the What to Expect When You’re Expecting online newsletters. Now that I’ve had the baby, they send me newsletters about What to Expect the first year. Today’s newsletter was especially funny. I really love the title,

Here it is:
Nursing Your Nipples

It's been seven weeks after delivery, and with any luck, you're feeling a whole lot better down below. But while your lower body may have healed, if you're a nursing mom, your nipples may not be so lucky. Sore, tender, or even cracked nipples are common battle wounds of the newbie nursing mom. But take heart — your nipples will eventually "toughen up," and there are things you can do to ease the way until then.

For some reason that’s all of the newsletter I can see right now. Probably because their website is down for maintenance or something. It is, after all, 3:45 am and I should be in bed. Nope. Ever the multitasker, I’m up feeding Easton, checking emails and blogging.

This newsletter is one of the few pieces of info I’ve read lately that does not sugar coat it like I mentioned earlier. The What to Expect info is usually pretty reliable and accurate. At least that’s what I found anyway.

But back to breastfeeding. Yes. It hurts! How in the world can something so “natural” and healthy be so darned painful? And it certainly doesn’t come naturally! It takes practice. And sometimes you have to have someone actually teach you how to do it right. When Easton wasn’t gaining weight like he should, we went to see Laurie the lactation lady and she helped immensely. She was really encouraging and surprisingly I wasn’t even weirded out by having her watch me breastfeed. Probably because at that point I had had about all the pain I could handle and needed any help I could get. You shouldn’t have to say things like “It hurts to even wear clothes!” when talking about breastfeeding. It just shouldn’t be that hard!

And if you DO decide to keep at it (I’m glad I did), Lord help you if you decide to actually do it out in public. I think it totally weirds my friends out to have me nursing Easton in front of them. I mean I am ALWAYS completely covered up and they can’t see anything but I guess just knowing what I am doing makes them uncomfortable. Not all of them, but quite a few. Why is it so weird? I mean it is what God intended and how everyone did it “back in the day” so why does it make some people so freaked out? And why are there not required to be places for breastfeeding mothers to go nurse their babies when they are out in public? I do not want to nurse my baby in a bathroom stall just to avoid freaking people out but I also do not want to have to nurse him at the dinner table either. I think there should have to be comfy, quiet, out-of-the-way places for moms to go to feed their babies. Do people just expect nursing moms to be shut away at home until they are no longer breastfeeding? In some cases that could be years! OK, I’ll get off my soapbox for now. But really there should be some kind of law passed that makes nursing rooms mandatory. Just like handicap accessibility, there should be nursing accessibility too.

So. That’s my number one answer to the request to “tell me something no one else will tell you about having a baby”. I could go on and on about other things, but since I’ve already talked WAY too much about breasts and breastfeeding I think I’ll stop there. Good night! (Er…morning.)