Before I started nursing, I knew it would take a lot of practice, patience and some commitment…I just never imagined it would consume ALL my time. To say breastfeeding is a challenge is certainly an understatement. Definitely not something for the faint of heart.
Hard work aside, there’s no denying the medical benefits of breastfeeding. Antibodies in breast milk can protect against major illnesses like obesity, asthma, diabetes and cancer, to name a few. In addition, breastfeeding can help boost a child’s IQ. So, it makes sense that doctors recommend it.
But the time commitment needed to take on this ever-important function is quite daunting. A mother can really become an around-the-clock milk factory. And that’s exactly the situation I’ve been finding myself in over the past month.
You hear about the latching-on issues or nipple confusion you may encounter, but you may not hear so much about the constant pumping or demand feeding required to sustain a proper milk supply for baby. Yeah, that’s right. The more you pump or feed, the more milk your body produces for later…so if you skip a couple pump sessions while hubby bottle feeds, you’re sending signals to your body to produce less milk. And so you find yourself trapped in a perpetual pumping/feeding cycle. A bit frustrating indeed :(!
Breastfeeding can really pervade itself into every aspect of your life and become much more than a full-time job, so it’s important to prepared. Here’s how it’s affected mine:
Food: I grab whatever I can eat after baby has been fed, changed and resting.
Showering: What a luxury! If I can time it so that baby isn’t fussy and sleeping before noon, I can sneak in a quick shower.
Sleeping: At night, a 3 hour sleep schedule is a good night. But baby hasn’t displayed a very consistent pattern yet. Could be 1, 1.5 or 2 hour schedule. During the day, it’s impossible to nap when baby does…feedings happen about every two hours and can last anywhere from 15 to 40 minutes. And then of course, you gotta throw in some time for pumping.
Entertainment: I’ve never watched more day-time reality tv in my life. What else can you do while attached to a pump machine? 🙂
Outings: Haven’t really gotten out much despite the nice weather kicking in. Baby can’t be in direct sunlight and I just haven’t had time to take him for a stroll around the block during the day yet. Hopefully that will happen soon!
Not exactly what I thought nursing would be like, but this is the reality. I guess that’s the price you pay to have a healthy child. And I’m sure it’ll be well worth it after 6-12 months!
Ana, a mom to three rambunctious little boys, has supported hundreds of thousands of women throughout their pregnancy and motherhood journey since 2012 as a blogger and maternal health advocate at MommysBundle.com.