Five Totally Unexpected Breastfeeding Surprises

By Anna Stoyanoff

  1. It hurts… Even when you’re doing it right.

When I became pregnant for the first time, the most noticable of countless symptoms was breast tenderness and augmentation. I finally made it out of size A! After my son was born the breast pain continued and increased with feeding. I was incredibly fortunate to have relatively few problems as baby and I learnt to feed together, but there was still a rush of excruciating pain every time the milk came in, whether he was attached at the time or not. This went on for months. Our breast tissue goes through radical changes during this time so it should be no surprise that discomfort goes along with that – even if we’ve had great support and the baby attaches well! We’re tough mummies though, and the pain did pass eventually.

  1. Stretch marks… now?

At age 23 I went through my first pregnancy with no stretch marks – and of course, no gloating. Our bodies do a pretty good job on their own when they’re that young! But two days after my baby was born, the midwife sat in our dining room talking over what to expect when my milk comes in, and I looked down to see myself inflating at an alarming rate. Imagine your boobs growing from size A to size D in two minutes! That is what happened… and not without consequences. To this day I’ve got visible stretch marks on both sides of my much floppier mammaries!

  1. Oversupply is a thing… with its own set of problems.

There are quite a few types of nursing pads on the market, and none of them are designed for massive oversupply. I did find one style which worked far better than the others (I think it uses similar filling to disposable nappies) and yet still the milk came too fast. I also discovered the hard way that if I used one set of breast pads over too long a period, they would develop masititis-causing bacteria. And don’t even ask how soaked our bed became when Mummy and Daddy had ‘cuddles’! Literally the only thing which helped my fountains not to overflow so much was hand-expressing in the shower…when I had the time for a shower. The oversupply also caused problems with baby taking too much foremilk and air, filling up his tummy before the hindmilk had a chance to come in. Paradoxically, because my toddler was bigger and more demanding, there still wasn’t quite enough to tandem feed without the younger baby becoming frustrated and hungry.

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