Welcome to the sixth Carnival of Breastfeeding! This month the theme is "What I didn't expect when I was expecting." Below you'll find links to other bloggers' posts on that theme.
When the first of my friends to have a baby told me that she was having trouble finding time to take a shower I thought to myself, "She's got to be doing that wrong."
When I teach breastfeeding classes and it comes time to break the news that babies eat every 2-3 hours (whatever you feed them), I can tell from the startled looks on some faces that many of us have no idea what we've signed up for. I also meet new mothers who are convinced that, once the baby comes, they're going to have time to clean out the basement or study for the bar.
To be fair, I didn't get it either. Maybe if I'd read more accounts of new motherhood, like those in this book written by a doula in my old hometown, it would have been more clear. Anyway, here are some of my memories of preparing for breastfeeding during my pregnancy:
Reading a breastfeeding book and shouting to my husband who was in another room, "This is going to be a lot of work!"
Attending a (not very good) breastfeeding class, and later sitting in the parking lot shouting directly at my husband, "This is going to be a lot of work!"
My brilliant idea of 'testing out' my new breastpump (when you buy something you want to know if it works, right?) and accidentally pumping some colostrum out. At my next midwife appointment I sheepishly asked what that orange colored stuff was. She said patiently, "That's colostrum, and unless you want to go into labor soon, I'd suggest that you put the pump away."
So, I had a vague notion of the amount of work it would be to feed a baby (7 hours a day), but there were still many things I had no idea were coming. Here are the biggies:
I didn't expect that the breastfeeding would make me dump a successful career to become a lactation consultant. And I certainly didn't expect to write a blog about it! I do remember sitting on the couch, nursing and reading Our Babies, Ourselves and suddenly getting seized by the desire to improve public health by helping women breastfeed. So, here I am.
I didn't expect to be in awe of the power of breastfeeding. I didn't expect that my son, even after spending his first week in the hospital with an infection, would be a pound over his birthweight at his two week checkup (can you say oversupply?). I didn't expect that he'd be four and have never experienced an infection of any kind. And I never expected that he'd be able to eat food so spicy that it makes his father break out in a sweat.
But most of all, I didn't expect that breastfeeding would force me to confront the fact that I'd become a mother. The concept of motherhood was pretty scary to me, and the whole thing felt like being pushed on stage against my will. I had a rough start, but nursing came so naturally that I couldn't deny that I'd become a mother. And I love it.
So, let us know what you didn't expect in the comments section below. And be sure to check out the great contributions on this theme from these bloggers:
- Sinead and Breastfeeding Mums writes "What I wish I'd known about breastfeeding."
- Melanie at Spit up on my Shoulder tells us why "Education is key" when it comes to breastfeeding.
- Angela at Breastfeeding 1-2-3 tell us "What I didn't expect when I was expecting."
- Shelly at Adventures of a Breastfeeding Mother tells us what she didn't expect about breastfeeding.
- Ashlee at New Mama's Nest tells us what she didn't expect about breastfeeding her 'early bird.'
- Rixa at The True Face of Birth tells what she didn't expect when she was expecting.
- Down with the Kids reflects back on breastfeeding as she weans her son in her post “Goodbye Booby”
- Heather at The Spice Choir talks about how breastfeeding changed her social interactions.
- Andi at Mama Knows Breast shares her top 10 list of things she didn't expect about breastfeeding.
- Jen at The Lactivist tells us how "Nursing isn't quite what I expected."