I’m sure all you expectant moms have heard the many horror stories about breastfeeding. When I was pregnant I planned to breastfeed but was scared of how painful it might be based on the storeis I had heard from other moms. So, what’s the scoop, is it really as bad as all those horror stories?
The answer is… it depends. I know, don’t you hate those kinds of answers? The good news is, it can be great! My experience was wonderful. In the beginning, yes there were some pains – mostly in the form of dry flaky skin and a slight burning sensation from dry nipples. All in all though, it didn’t hurt that much. The first time baby latched it felt different, I wasn’t expecting that kind of suction, but again, not painful I don’t think. Any initial discomfort passed with time.
The bad news is, yes it can be quite painful for some people. If all goes well, breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful. If it is, then something is probably wrong. One of my girlfriends suffered through thrush on her nipples, had two bouts of mastitis and had three large scabs on her nipples. Needless to say, breastfeeding did hurt for her, but she was so determined that she fought through it and came out the other side still breatfeeding – what a trooper!!
Another common horror story is troubles learning to breastfeed. It can be a challenge or it can be easy as pie! With my first baby it was a learning experience. In the beginning I remember spending 20 minutes each feeding just trying to get him to latch! After a few weeks though, we were both pros. Then with my second, within minutes after birth she was latched no problem, had crazy suction, and didn’t let go for 45 minutes! One of my friends, on the other hand, had a sleepy baby who wouldn’t stay awake during feedings. The nurses in the hospital suggested that undressing her baby for feedings would make her cold and more wakeful. When that didn’t work she was told to get an ice cube and rub it on baby’s back when she wold try to fall asleep. Needless to say she wasn’t too fond of this approach.
So what’s my point you ask? Breastfeeding is different for everyone. Don’t listen to horror stories from your friends, mothers or neighbors because you can be guaranteed your experience will be different (for better or worse). If you want to breastfeed when your baby is born then just give it a shot and you’ll figure it out from there. If it’s easy, great! If it’s not then you can battle through. If you decide it’s not for you then you can switch to the bottle, but at least you can say you tried!