“I didn’t know it/they could do that!” is a phrase we hear quite often in our house. I’m also forever hearing alternative ways to use breastmilk; whether it’s in the freezer for ice lollies, or in the bath for soft skin. It really is magic stuff.
Here’s a few of the things I didn’t know about breastfeeding/breastmilk before I started breastfeeding.
It’s hard work. I thought that once a baby latched on it’ll just be a case of feeding them whenever. No. The first few weeks are a constant battle what with sore nipples, mastitis, and engorgement. You also have cluster feeds to contend with (no one told me about cluster feeds!) and the night feeds. Baby also has to learn, and each feed can be different. Baby will often time feeds just when the food shop arrives or when the postman knocks on the door
Milk doesn’t just come out of your nipple area. The areolas join in as well. I genuinely thought T had cut holes into my nipples when he once accidentally bit down. I also thought that those holes would eventually join up and my nipple would fall off (I may have also been sleep deprived). Either way, I didn’t know milk came out of other holes.
It comes out blue when expressed! (S) The amount of times K expressed and the first few ounces were as blue as the ocean (okay, I’m exaggerating – but it was blue!).
You will burn calories. I knew breastfeeding worked your body, but I didn’t think it would physically burn calories, which explained why I woke up ravenous and often very thirsty during feeds. Apparently you can burn a good 500 calories per feed! Pass the cake!
It has healing properties (S) Whenever T cut his head or face with his nails, K would squirt or wipe a bit of breastmilk onto the affected area. Within a few hours it would be fully scabbed over if not barely visible. It’s magic!
Despite your boobs doubling in size during pregnancy, they will continue to grow whilst breastfeeding. It wasn’t long into my pregnancy that I had to up by bra size, so I bought 2 nursing bras to kill two birds with one stone, thinking that my new bra size would be the one I nurse with. Little did I know that once I started breastfeeding that I would have to up my bra size AGAIN. Epic fail.
Your boobs know when a feed is due before your baby does, and will continue to tell you until your baby is fed. I was out at dinner with my mum friends, a few miles away, when my boobs started tingling. I knew T was due a feed. I amusingly text S to see if he was feeding at the time and like magic, he was.
You can literally feel your milk coming in. When I’m feeding T I’ll often feel my other boob “filling up”. It’s not like the feeling of when you fill a bucket – it’s like a warm tingling sensation. But very quickly my boob is then a different size and shape.
I didn’t know milk came from the blood (S). I thought milk just happened. Never in my right mind did I think that K’s blood created it. This explains why you have to be careful when drinking, but things like food poisoning won’t effect T because the food bug sits in the digestive system. Very clever!
Not everyone wants to do it. I (nievely) thought that once you have a baby you would naturally want to breastfeed your baby if you were able to, but from speaking to other mums I very quickly realised that some mums actually don’t want to. Whether it’s because they wish to share the feeds with their partner early on or because they don’t want to lose their bodies to the baby, it’s interesting to know that not everyone wants to breastfeed.
What new things did you learn after they occurred?
K & S