Sleep, what is sleep?
I always had a little chuckle when I was pregnant and people told me “Make sure you sleep before the baby comes!”. In my mind, I couldn’t possibly be getting less sleep with constantly having to pee and experiencing tiny baby feet pushing on my bladder. Oh. Oh, how wrong I was. You see, babies eat frequently. I was warned of this. What I somehow missed the memo on was that babies also take forever to eat. Okay maybe not forever, but usually a nursing session for a newborn lasts between 20 and 40 minutes, and they eat at least every two hours. So that means you have approximately an hour and a half between nursing sessions.
Co-sleeping will suddenly make sense.
If you would have asked me if I ever expected to co-sleep when I was pregnant my answer would have been definitely not. I mean, there are so many risks! Fast forward to when I started breastfeeding and the idea of co-sleeping suddenly made a lot more sense. I vividly remember when Ronan was around 3 months, and I looked over at Cameron blissfully sleeping with his useless nipples while I stared a the ceiling (No offense, babe!). You see, Ronan refused to take a bottle. Which meant I was the one constantly on feeding duty. It became much easier to have the baby next to me, and I amazed myself at the awareness I had of where he was. After a whole lot of research on how to safely co-sleep, it has been one the parenting choices I do not regret for a second.
You will have a love-hate relationship with your pump and get really super excited about finding great storage bags for your liquid gold.
I really, really disliked my pump at first. I actually preferred, and still do to some extent, to hand express. But when I really need to pump a quick bottle or need things to be more hands-free my pump suddenly became my best friend. Make sure you have the right sized flanges and know that you might have a better yield on a setting that isn’t full force! You will also get really excited about finding great breast milk storage bags. My absolute favorites are the Purity Breast Milk Storage Bags (found here; around $20 for 75 bags). As a side note, I really disliked then Lansinoh storage bags (100 for around $11, found here) because they tended to leak but LOVED the Lansinoh Momma bottles, which were the only bottles Ronan would eventually take (3 for $20 at Babies’ R Us).
Cluster feeding requires intense mental preparation and a small army.
If you’re not yet aware, cluster feeding is the medically appropriate way of saying “your baby will essentially adopt the way of the parasite and be permanently attached to your boob”. This requires intense mental preparation and a small army. It is okay to cry, to scream, and to demand ice cream. Speaking of armies…
You will eat as much as the small army you will need to help you.
Breastfeeding burns anywhere from 380-600 calories a day. While this might be the equivalent of a small to medium sized reasonably healthy meal, you will have the appetite of a horse. This is normal and ok! You’ll also drink as much as a horse. One time I accidentally dropped sloppy joe filling on Ronan and got Doritos cheese on his onesie. Sorry, kiddo.
Babies are Heavy.
Especially if you’ve had a c-section. I know what you’re saying–“but they’re like 6-9 pounds!”. Well, yes this is true, but unless you’ve been actively practicing carrying around a sack of flour all day, I highly suggest getting a Boppy Pillow (Found here, Starting at $30 New ). I personally loved my Boppy, but others I know really liked the My Brest Friend Pillow (around $35, from Amazon).
Your ideas on modesty will likely change (and it’s okay if they don’t, too).
When I was registering for my baby shower I made sure to put breastfeeding covers on the list. Afterall, I didn’t want to become one of those moms. Well, let me tell you, Ronan had other ideas. My baby happens to be one sweaty, opinionated little creature that I wouldn’t change for the world. He happens to really, really, really hate the cover. With a passion. It took some time but now I’m comfortable breastfeeding anywhere. Let me be the first to say, if you start your breastfeeding journey, and want to cover, or feed openly, or feed with a bottle, I support you either way.
Teeth are terrifying.
I was SO NERVOUS FOR HIS TEETH TO BREAK THROUGH. Borderline petrified. Breastfeeding isn’t the most comfortable experience in the world even when it’s all gums. While we did have a little rough patch when we were both getting used to his new chompers, it was short lived and lasted about 3 days before we had both adjusted to them. Push through, and this too shall pass.
You will experience the BEST cuddles of your life.
So, so cozy. Enough said.
You’ll probably become really super proud of your “stash”.
What is a stash, you might ask? A stash is basically the horde of extra milk you’ll be stock piling. If you’re on a forum like What To Expect, women will be competitive about it. Here’s the thing, that milk doesn’t do anybody any good sitting in your freezer. Keep what you need, and consider donating the rest.
You’ll also become really proud of your boobs.
That’s right. You’re awesome, boobs. High Five.
Featured image photo credit to Britt Wegener Photography, used with permission. Chest bump GIF is from Giphy.