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  • hamillwhitney

BREASTFEEDING: A TALE OF TWO TITTIES (PART I: Meet Your New Boobs)

So you've just had a baby.

[that's cool.]


If you plan to breastfed your new bebe, go ahead and keep reading.


If not, that's cool too, go ahead and read on anyway if you'd like, BECAUSE WE ARE HUMANS OF THE 21ST CENTURY AND WE ARE NOT ABOUT THROWING SHADE OR PASSING JUDGEMENT.


So let's stop pretending like it's any of our business how a mother chooses to nourish her new bundle of round-the-clock eating machine. (I mean, joy).


*PUTS SOAPBOX AWAY*


That being said.


I've shoved my sore nips and engorged breasts into all two of my babies so far and I'm here to tell how that's been going for me.


**DISCLAIMER**

I AM NOT A DOCTOR. OR A GOOGLE MACHINE.

I don't expect you to value any of my opinions or even agree with me on it. I'm just sharing my experiences.

THAT'S ALL. (Take it or leave it).


I'VE LOVED BREASTFEEDING.


But I'm gonna be real here.


THE FIRST 2 WEEKS OF IT ARE ABSOLUTE "WHAT DID I DO TO DESERVE THIS?" HELL.


[For me, anyway]


The thing is, IF you are on the fence about whether or not you want to do it, those first two weeks will make or break (probably break) you.


Even if you are DEAD SET on nursing, those early days can easily convince you otherwise. For like a million (and a half) reasons.


Let's explore some of those reasons.


The first one is obvious: No matter how much you've tried to educate yourself, you can't possibly prepare for the reality of how it's going to change your life for the next several days, weeks, months, year(s)(?)


It's a lot of change, girl.


LET'S TALK ABOUT THE BOOBIES THEMSELVES, FIRST:


For example, who knew there were so many different kinds of nipples?


Furthermore, who knew that your nipples, which you always thought were normal, could be different from one boob to the other?


And who knew that this could cause all kinds of difficulty in trying to feed your newborn baby - whose only desire, besides to sleep, is to suck on what turns out to be abnormal nips?


[I want to know. Does anyone really have a full pair of 2 perfectly normal ones? What even is "normal"?]


Maybe you thought about this beforehand. (I did not.)


What does all this nipple nonsense mean for you and feeding time? It means that baby will probably prefer one side more than the other. And that, as bad as you want to just use the "good side" so that it doesn't take two hours every time you have to nurse, you should really try to force the other Hunchback of Notre Nipple on your little one when they slack off on that side.


It means that you might get a little (or a lot) asymmetrical (if you aren't already). #yaayy


It means that you'll have to have a full on wrestling match with at least 4 hands and 3 people standing around you in the hospital as you try to shove whatever flavor of chest pepperoni you got going on into that baby's mouth for those first feeds.


It means that during your hospital stay the whole nursing staff, every on call doctor, and lactation consultant (or two), will become your boobs' new best friends. And you won't even care.


You'll also learn that it takes a couple to a few days for your precious liquid gold to come in. And you'll worry that that tiny amount of sticky white stuff called colostrum coming out is not enough to satisfy your wailing miracle.


And a lot of times it won't be.


So the nurses will monitor his/her blood sugar and talk with you about whether or not you need to supplement with formula.


Which can be frustrating if you plan to breastfeed exclusively.


Why?


Because formula goes in a bottle. And bottles are easy to suck out of. And newborns are lazy pieces of heaven (you were worried for a second there πŸ˜…). And thanks to that, they get nipple confusion and it becomes difficult to get them to take the breast. And breastfeeding is hard enough as it is.


If blood sugar levels are stable, most hospitals (assuming that's where you gave birth? I don't know your life) will now give you the option of doing what they call SNS Feeding. This is where they hang a small bottle of formula (usually clipped to your gown or pillow near the shoulder) upside down so that the formula will pass through a small tube which they tape to your breast so that the opening is next to your nipple. This way, when you put baby on the boob, the tube will drip small amounts of formula into their mouth along with the colostrum (or breast milk if you continue using this method) while they eat.


It sounds great. The best of both worlds, right?


In the grand scheme of things, yeah, sure.


But when you are already exhausted, sleep deprived, sore, and unstable in the hormones department, a finicky tube that takes extra time to set up and keeps falling out of your baby's mouth can be less than ideal.


And then there's the fact that your baby can be tongue-tied, or lip-tied, or have reflux, or milk allergies, or be underweight, or do a stint in the NICU, or any other number of reasons that make an already foreign, painful, and difficult process even harder than it is. #WTF


Then you'll be discharged (probably the same day your milk comes in) and the hospital, with all its staff, resources, and boob-wielding hands, will cut the cord and you'll sympathize with your helpless milk-sucking leech as you root around looking in desperation for help with what are now your raw, engorged, sore, porn star-sized tatas.


Like it or not, breastfeeding or not, when your milk comes in, your bumblies are going to be rock hard, doubled in size, and they are going to hurt.


They are going to drive you crazy. They are going to drive your husband/partner crazy.

[For different reasons]


Are you there God? It's me, Whitney and I think you took the whole 'must increase my bust' thing a little too far...


**Pro Tip: Seriously, get yourself a bra that is 1 or 2 sizes bigger than what you normally wear because there is no way you are shoving those tig ol' bitties into anything less than that.


(Personally, I have yet to find a nursing bra that I even like, let alone love. A trusty, supersized, sports bra happens to be my booby trap of choice, but to each her own.)


** Plus if you wear one that is too tight, you ↑ your chances of getting a clogged duct (like me) or, even worse, mastitis.


Guys. (Girls). Advocate for 'The Girls'. Milk responsibly. 🍼🍼🍼


Work through engorgement. Use a warm compress. Take a hot shower (PSA it will probably hurt having compressed water hitting your tender tassles for those first few days). Massage them or apply lanolin cream if you need to.


Express or pump off extra milk between or right before feedings (newborns have tiny tums!). This will also help keep you from unleashing a fire hose into your poor babe's tiny milk hole.


(These manual pumps can help catch excess letdown during nursing those first couple of weeks!)


And I've got news for you, Chesty LaRue. It's gonna take a hot minute (try a few weeks) for your milk supply to regulate and for those squeezebags to deflate back down to a semi-normal size.


They are going to be heavy. They are going to be sore. They are going to have bulging veins and bloody tips.


But they are also going to make a custom cocktail full of exactly what your baby needs to be healthy.


[And by healthy I mean fat as heck.]


A few other surprises you can look forward to:

☞ There are multiple holes on your nipple that your milk comes out of. I guess I always assumed it came out of the obvious hole in the center of the nipple.


[WRONG.]


Apparently you can have anywhere from around 4 to 20 "milk duct orifices" and it can vary from one breast to the other.


AND THE MILK COMES OUT IN ALL DIRECTIONS. ← ↑ ↓ β†’


**Tips to stimulate your letdown reflex here


So when those jugs are full, you're looking at anything from a couple of crisscrossed streams to a full on Pink Floyd Laser Light Show. (Or one of each depending on your situation).


☞ If you use a pump it's gonna hurt for a minute the first time you use it, it's a pain in you-know-what to sterilize and clean all the parts, and it sounds like it could power a small city, but they are sooo nice to have compared to hand-expressing or using a manual pump. (It's also a Godsend for sucking out a clogged duct. It will, however, pull your nipples out and make them look like you've given yourself nipple implants...prune-y, tender ones.

(talk to your OB about getting a prescription for a free breast pump through insurance!)



☞ You might also notice that your milk can vary in color from day to day or even from one time of day to another. Usually this is thanks to whatever you ate. My prenatal vitamins (which you do still have to take if you are breastfeeding btw) give my milk a florescent green tint, so, just like the first pee of the day, it looks like a healthy dose of Mountain Dew was mixed into that early morning pump session.


[Some people (I don't know what science has to say on the matter so take it with a grain of salt) have said that their breast milk changes color depending on the amount of antibodies in it (giving it a bluish tint), so when baby is vaccinated, your body senses this change and produces more antibodies to adjust and protect your baby, therefore changing the color.

True? I don't know for sure. But it sure would be cool if it is.]


If your milk looks like it has a pink, orange, or reddish tint: you guessed it. Your poor teats are probably bleeding into your milk a bit. This will probably happen to you at least once. (If it hasn't, then please give me a call and enlighten me on your magical ways.) It's not a big deal...for baby at least (you are probably in agony and wondering who thought up this sick, twisted form of torture and wishing a plague of bloody nipples upon their house). I'm no expert here, but nipple cream, a breast shield, and patience usually got me through it. But see a doctor if it persists. (This shouldn't last more than a couple of days.) If there is blood in your milk, you may also notice a bit in your baby's stool as a consequence (it usually looks black), again nothing to worry about as long as it is related to the blood in your milk.


[I can tell I'm really psyching you up for this whole experience, aren't I?]

[WELCOMEπŸ€—]


This is all a lot. I know.

But it IS going to get better.


Your boobs will return to a (somewhat) normal size, the pain will ease up, and pretty soon you will have the toughest nips of your life. (Go ahead, give 'em a flick, I DARE you.)


Your new knockers may be unrecognizable, but they are capable of some pretty amazing stuff.


Ready to get into the nitty-gritty of nursing?

☞ Check out Part II on nursing here ☜



K.LOVE.YOU.BYE

β™‘ - WHITNEY




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