Tuesday, September 6, 2011

N is for Nursing ~ 10 things no one tells you

(I know, I know. Another A2Z post out of order. I promise to have J, K, L, and M up sometime in the next 6 to 9 years ... 69 years?! No, 6 to 9 years ... I love Madagascar 2 : )

I remember it like it was yesterday. It was the most awesome, awful, wonderful, insane, amazing day of my whole life.

I had just given birth. There was an ice pack in my underwear. I felt like my insides were going to fall out of my butt every time I stood up. But I was happy. And my baby was healthy. That was all that mattered.

You see, what no one tells you is that labor is the easy part. Even without an epidural, the sleepless nights, non-stop crying jags, and the overwhelming fear you have somehow irreversibly screwed up your poor innocent baby for life are a million times harder than going through labor.

And nursing. Oh man, nursing. It's one of the best things you can do for your baby. But it is not without its challenges. For example:

1. It HURTS.

I vaguely remember complaining about the pain associated with nursing the first week we were home from the hospital. By the second week, my husband was tired of hearing it. He asked me at 3 a.m. to, "please stop talking about your boobs". Being a emotionally unstable calm, rational person, I screamed, "LET'S PUT YOUR FREAKING NIPPLES IN A MEAT GRINDER AND SEE HOW YOU FEEL!"

Bottom line: Nursing hurts a lot, at least at first. Also, husbands should keep their mouths shut.

2. Babies are hungry. ALL THE TIME. Especially in the beginning. Like the meat grinder sensation, this gets better.

3. The first month sucks. Literally and figuratively (ha ha, that's punny).
One word - engorgement. This, coupled with hormones and having to spray your nether regions with numbing spray just so you can move without yelling "F!" equals pretty hardcore stuff.

4. It takes practice. 
Babies have to learn how to nurse and you have to teach them. This can be a daunting task if it's your first time. Luckily, there are a ton of resources out there. My favorite was La Leche League. Also, finding someone who has already been there and done that can be an absolute lifesaver.

5. Your boobs will be changed forever.
Sometimes they will feel like rocks. Usually, however, they will feel like droopy empty Ziploc bags. And when you lay down flat on your back, you just might have to pull them out of your armpits. Just sayin'.

6. You will probably have a milk leaking episode ... or 17. 
The Golden Rule of Nursing Moms is ALWAYS CARRY AN EXTRA SHIRT.

7. You will probably flash most of the planet. 
Pretty much everybody in town has inadvertently seen too much thanks to Baby T. However, since my boobs could easily be mistaken for the stars of a Glad ForceFlex commercial AFTER it has been stuffed (and then emptied) with piano parts, I don't think it really matters.

7. Manual breast pumps look like are torture devices.
They can be useful. But if at all possible, invest in an electric pump or rent one. Spending fifteen hours trying to get an ounce of milk SUCKS (just can't get away from that one pun ... har har). Believe me, I know. I have yet to take my own advice here due to the issue of mula. But someday I will be free of the evils of a manual breast pump. Someday.

8. Your kid will make obnoxious noises when nursing. Especially in church.
This may not be all babies. But lemme tell ya, my kid is an extremely loud eater. He sounds like a little piglet. Or a Slurpee machine. It is embarrassing. Baby T especially enjoys making these noises when I'm trying to feed him in quiet places. Not to be repetitive, but it is embarrassing.

9. Biting happens. Especially in public places with acoustics that nicely echo your yowls of pain.
Baby T doesn't have any teeth yet, but he can still get a nice grip with his little gummies. I think his primary motivation for doing this is because the results are highly entertaining. At least to him.
Picture this: Mommy is feeding Baby in the middle of a church service. All of a sudden mom yells, "OW! (echo: ow, ow, ow)" and yanks Baby from under the nursing cover, then holds him up and gives him a high noon glare. Baby starts crying hysterically. Everyone in the church turns around to stare at him. His blubbering instantly stops and he smiles at them all as a single tear slides down his adorable round baby cheek. The entire congregation smiles back and some old lady sitting near you says something to the effect of, "Oh, poor little baby. Did your mommy pinch you?" Aforementioned mommy barely restrains herself from punching aforementioned old lady right in her freshly Poli-Gripped kisser. And the vicious cycle lives to see another day.

10. Despite the hardships, nursing is also an awesome and amazing experience. It is the best gift you can give to your baby. It may be difficult, embarrassing, frustrating, painful, and time-consuming ... but it is so worth it!!!

Thanks for dropping in!

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