6 things you thought would happen when you breastfeed, but actually don’t

No matter how prepared you think you are about nursing your baby, there’ll always be surprises along the way!

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As a first-time expectant mum, Sujatha Ram, 28, did everything by the book. She ate prenatal vitamins religiously, turned up for every single prenatal visit, signed up for antenatal classes and read top parenting books.

She thought she couldn’t have been more prepared. She was wrong.

“Once baby came, all the theories I thought I was going to apply flew out of the window,
says Sujatha. “This was especially true when it came to breastfeeding. No one really knows how it’ll actually turn out.”

Breastfeeding is supposed to be the most natural thing in the world. However, this doesn’t make it any easier, especially not when you’re doing it for the first time. Unlike how the pregnancy books and antenatal classes portray it to be, nursing is also not as simple as baby meets nipple. There is so much more that happens (or doesn’t happen) when you’re trying to establish a nursing relationship with your little one.

Many of these surprises tend to blindside new mums and feeling alone in their struggles. Here are common breastfeeding experiences people highlight often enough, although it should. Because being aware and preparing mentally for them can ease a lot of stress that comes with breastfeeding, making it a more enjoyable experience.

Breastfeeding is great when it works out for everyone, but there will be days when it’ll get emotionally and physically draining.

Surprise #1 Baby will have a perfect latch

The perfect latch is definitely attainable, just not on your first try… or your second, or even your third, for that matter. The first few days will be all about trial and error. You’ll be trying out the various breastfeeding positionsthe cradle, the football, the crossover, baby-led nursing ― to figure out which one suits you and bub the best. At the same time, your peewee is also perfecting his latch, which can only come with lots of practice. As you help him along, your breasts are bound to feel a tremendous amount of pain from all that latching, unlatching, re-latching, unlatching…well, you get the idea. Nipple cream is your BFF during this time, mums! 

Surprise #2 It will be a magical, bonding experience           

After bub chomps down on your breast and you get over that rude shock, you’ll gaze down at him adoringly and think about the wondrous breastfeeding journey you’re both embarking on. It will be an overwhelming emotional moment. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stay that way, not all the time anyway. Yes, there will still be those beautiful moments of snuggle-time when you’re feeding your wee one. But then baby also feeds round the clock, usually every two hours, and don’t forget those marathon cluster feeding sessions. It’s bound to tire you out and you’ll soon realise not every feeding session will look as perfect as the pictures you see on those breastfeeding posters. Nor is there any shame to admitting it. Breastfeeding is great when it works out for everyone, but there will be days when it’ll get emotionally and physically draining. Just remember you’re doing a great job, mama!