Well Being

Breastfeeding: What I Didn’t Expect When I Was Expecting

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naked-breast-and-pregnant-belly.jpgStay tuned below for contributions from several breastfeeding bloggers on today's theme: “What I didn't expect when I was expecting.” Feel free to leave your own comment about what you didn't expect about breastfeeding — good or bad!

When I was pregnant, I did a lot of reading about breastfeeding. I made a commitment to breastfeed as it clearly was the best thing for my baby. What I didn't expect was that breastfeeding would become so much more than my baby's source of nutrition. It served as:

~ pacifier
~ sleep inducer
~ pain reliever
~ immunity booster (I knew about this one, but I didn't know I'd be so extremely grateful for this when the entire family had stomach flu and my daughter was the least sick of all of us.)

It took a while for both me and my baby to get the hang of breastfeeding, but once we did, breastfeeding became:

~ a quiet and restful time for both of us.
~ easier than bottle-feeding, by far! I didn't have to prepare bottles in the night or pack a diaper bag full of ice and artificial milk when I went out during the day.
~ a good transition to solid foods. The flavors in the breast milk made my baby more receptive to solids when she was ready. At the same time, breast milk remained a significant source of my child's nutrition.
~ something that would make my baby smile and giggle in anticipation!

I didn't expect that I would ever want to nurse beyond one year. I didn't realize that there would be huge advantages to toddler nursing. Breastfeeding became:

~ the key to taming tantrums instantly.
~ the only means to get my toddler to nap when even a car ride wouldn't get her to nod off.
~ my toddler's favorite way of reconnecting after a separation.
~ a big part of my mothering style.

I realize that not all mothers come to feel that way about breastfeeding, and that's okay. It's okay to take breastfeeding one day at a time. It's okay to see what breastfeeding becomes for you and your baby!

Stay tuned for more contributions (see the underlined links) as they come in from:

~ Tanya at the Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog recalls the big changes that breastfeeding brought in her life
~ Sinead at BreastfeedingMums looks back over her seven years as a mother and shares what she wishes she'd known
~ Andi at Mama Knows Breast lists her top 10 things she didn't expect
~ Jennifer at The Lactivist shares what she wishes someone would have told her

and our special guest contributors this month (blogs in alphabetical order):

~ Shelly at Adventures of a Breastfeeding Mother tells us what she didn't expect about breastfeeding
~ Down with the Kids reflects back on breastfeeding as she weans her son in her post “Goodbye Booby
~ Ashlee at New Mama's Nest shares what she didn't expect when breastfeeding her “early bird”
~ Heather at The Spice Choir talks about how breastfeeding changed her social interactions and connectivity
~ Melanie from Spit-Up on My Shoulder is a postpartum doula who has written a book entitled Why Didn't Anyone Tell Me? True Stories of New Motherhood. She tells us why education is key
~ Rixa at The True Face of Birth shares how doing her homework helped her have a pleasurable breastfeeding experience

Photo credit: Johan Cloete