I am a self-professed hater of being pregnant, and for me, the early days of breastfeeding were the same. I HATED it. Every second. It was hard, my boobs were hard {and huge}, and they hurt so bad. I could feel my skin stretching. My nipples were in so much pain. I am not painting a pretty picture, I know. But I want to be honest here; the early days of breastfeeding can be incredibly hard and painful. I wanted to give up and go buy formula. I did, actually, go buy a huge can about four weeks into it. I was ready {and so was my husband} to quit. I was battling some sort of infection, and every time my son pulled for milk I wanted to scream out in pain. I knew I was going back to work in about four more weeks, and hadn’t been able to really get any sort of milk reserve going. I was freaking out, but something in me wouldn’t quit. In the end I wound up breastfeeding my son for the first year of his life, and we never opened that huge can of formula. Now, I feel lucky that I was able to do that. I know some women struggle to keep a milk supply going, and some struggle with getting their babies to nurse at all. I was so lucky to have a fat, happy and healthy boy who was a master at nursing. Here are some things that really helped me get through the first few months and will maybe help you if you find yourself in a similar situation.

A happy, chubby four month old
  • Get a good book. I called mine the breastfeeding bible. Its actual title is “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” put out by La Leche League International. This thing saved me multiple times. It explained so much, in detail. I could help diagnose my yeast infection {you can get them in your breasts too} and mastitis, thanks to my bible. There is always Google, but I loved having a good book around to teach me things I wouldn’t have even known to search for on Google.


  • Find a good human resource. This can be anyone really. For me my cousin was my go to gal. She had just gone through breastfeeding her daughter. I would call her with questions, or ask her how she did certain things. She was so great to have. We could laugh about how boring it was to sit around and pump, and she could talk me through wanting to jump the breastfeeding ship. If you don’t know anyone who has gone through breastfeeding talk to your Obgyn. They will always have a resource for you. Also, when you deliver in a hospital you are usually introduced to a lactation specialist or a nurse that can answer questions.
  • Cluster feeding happens, and isn’t super fun. This is when your baby seems to want to nurse for extended periods of time. The first round of cluster feeding happened for me the second night in the hospital after my son was born. The little dude wanted to nurse for three hours straight. I wanted to sleep. It was our first fight. He won. Cluster feeding may not seem ideal for you, but it’s good for your supply and good for baby. Be prepared. It happens.
  • If you have supply issues, talk to someone. Call a lactation specialist in your area. They can give you ideas on different supplements that will help, or even recipes for foods that can boost your supply. They don’t always work, but it’s worth a try if you really want to continue breastfeeding.
  • Find a good pump. I bought my pump new, and through my insurance plan at work I was able to get it free as a medical supply. Always check with your insurance to see if you can qualify for a free one. Shop around and look at product reviews. If you are thinking about renting, check out the Medical grade pumps. They are stronger and more durable, but not very portable. Special Addition in Austin is one of a few places you can rent from.
Medical grade pump. Not exactly portable, but durable and powerful.
  • Talk to your employer about pumping. If you are a working mom, like me, you will most likely end up needing to pump at work. Some companies already have accommodations set up for pumping moms, and it’s as easy as working you into a schedule to use a provided space. Other employers don’t, but can and will work out arrangements after finding out that this is something you will need to do after coming back from maternity leave.
  • Know that, yet again, your body will change. Breastfeeding and pumping changes your breasts. Some women go back to exactly what they were before, but know that doesn’t always happen. Some women’s breast grow, some end up smaller after everything. Nipples change, the color, the look. It happens, and just like accepting my post-belly I learned to accept my post-breasts.
  • Know that it will get better. After about three months of breastfeeding, my supply was going strong, and I was in a great routine. It was something that had just become a simple part of my day. Looking back to when I first started it was crazy to think I wanted to quit, I mean, it really sucked at first, but then just seemed normal. Not to mention the weight loss. As much as breastfeeding sucked at first, it also sucked the pounds off of me. I was back to pre-baby weight by about three months postpartum and then was at an even lower weight around six months post. Another perk was not having my menstrual cycle for that entire year of nursing. Don’t be fooled you can still become pregnant while nursing, but not having to deal with my monthly cycle for that year was pretty nice.
  • Try not to feel guilty or disappointed. If you have supply issues or decide to go the formula route, do not feel guilt. Supply issues happen, and they are not your fault. Don’t beat yourself up. It’s not worth it. There is nothing wrong with choosing formula. There are so many great options out there that are perfect, and chock full of nutrients for your babies. Also know that all those benefits of breastfeeding (less illness, less ear infection, the list goes on) aren’t always the case. We had lots of colds and stomach viruses, and ended up getting tubes in my son’s ears after a six-month bout of ear infections. All the benefits don’t always pan out, but it’s not something to stress about.

So, as much as this article started out as an “I hated breastfeeding” piece, it’s not really. In the end I actually loved it, and was a little sad when it was coming to an end. I am proud of the choices I made, and have slowly learned to love {or just get over} the changes that have happened to my body. They are marks that remind me of how strong I am, and the amazing the little boy I helped create.





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