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Breastfeeding Is Hard! Why Do We Say It’s Easy?

Breastfeeding Is Hard! Why Do We Say It’s Easy?

Someone did the math and actually counted that 1 year of breastfeeding compares to a full-time job. It equates to around 1,825 hours of holding your baby to your breast. 

A full-time job with 3 weeks of vacation is 1,960 hours. Pretty impressive, right?

All the sleepless nights. All the early mornings. All the tears. It’s a job all on its own. 

Breastfeeding is hard.

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It comes naturally

Breastfeeding is considered to be the most natural way to feed your baby. Although this is probably true, it’s not all peaches and cream.

Breastfeeding doesn’t always come easy. And most new moms (speaking also from my very own experience) are just not quite prepared for what breastfeeding is really like.

Why? Because they are told it’s natural. That being said, it should be easy, right?

Everyone is promoting breastfeeding as a wonderful natural experience that will help you to better bond with the baby. Or that it will make your extra baby weight just disappear.

For most of us new moms, it does not come like that. 

Why is breastfeeding so hard?

I remember feeling like a failure when my baby boy wouldn’t latch properly and the pain from breastfeeding was almost unbearable. Feeling guilty that this supposedly natural thing does not come natural to me at all. 

Why has no one told me it will be this hard? That it will hurt? I was totally unaware of this!

If I’d known the truth about how difficult it might get, I could have saved myself all that negative self-talk and rather reached out for help. Which I eventually did, when struggling to breastfeed my second son.

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It is a mix of feelings

It takes a little time to figure things out. You might even need support if you have other issues. This often triggers tears as you might become frustrated from trying to get a hang of it.

Then, of course, you will cry because you are worried your milk is not good enough, or you don’t produce that much as your baby needs.

And last but not least – leaky or engorged boobs. No nursing pads seemed to work. Made me cry a lot.

Nursing your baby for the first few months really is a mix of feelings. While watching your baby as it feeds fills your new momma’s heart with so much love you never knew you were capable of, at the same time you are going through so much physical pain.

It hurts so bad the first weeks. At my worst, it felt like my son had hundreds of razors inside his little mouth.

I remember I cried every time I fed my son, with cold sweat running down my forehead. Because it was just excruciating.

If you’re struggling, please get help. A good lactation consultant can make a huge difference in your confidence and the whole breastfeeding experience

Why don’t you enjoy breastfeeding?

To put it simply: because in most cases, it’s not pleasant the first few weeks.

Your nipples hurt

It still haunts me when I think about that. Cracked nipples. Blood. Excruciating pain. I have seen a doctor because of this several times, checked with a lactation consultant, checked for tongue ties, latch, tried every nipple cream, and numerous natural remedies to relieve the pain and prevent nipples from cracking. 

Some worked for a while, some not at all. I ended up with candida numerous times. I just couldn’t take it anymore. I was in constant pain. And I felt like a failure.

You may have problems producing milk

Breastfeeding is hard. It’s hard when you just can’t do it and they say you didn’t try hard enough. Although some will say every mom is capable of producing milk because it is natural, I believe it is not true. Sometimes your body just can’t do it. You try so hard and still every feed ends in tears and frustration – both you and your baby. Sometimes, it’s just not worth the struggle.

Your boobs get engorged and sore

Here is the thing: It’s hard when you have problems producing enough milk, but equally hard when you have too much of it. When you have a lot of it, you get engorgement. Your boobs get so filled with milk, blood, and fluids that you get hard patches, bruises and even breathing hurts. You can’t sleep properly because it hurts. You can’t pump properly because your breasts are so full it’s difficult to latch the pump to them. So you need to get rid of the excess milk manually before you start pumping. But that hurts. Again.

You leak all the time

Engorged boobs leak. But they also leak when your baby starts crying the first few weeks. It is kind of an automatic response from mother nature. A crying baby triggers hormones in your body to release milk.

It still feels “socially unacceptable” to breastfeed in public.

It is hard when they tell you to cover yourself, or when they give you the looks. It’s hard when you see everyone going uncomfortable because you took the boob out, so next time you decide to nurse your baby in the car instead. So no one feels uncomfortable. And when you’re brave enough to feel comfortable doing it in public, they will sexualize it.

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Fed is Best

When I look back I see the reason why I breastfeed, even though it was so hard. I had the ability to create amazing nutrients for my babies and a place for them to calm down and feel safe. The nursing times have been tough, but the reason for it was beautiful. 

But the social pressure to breastfeed because it is presumably the “healthiest” way to feed your baby can take a huge toll on new moms’ mental health. 

How you want to feed your baby should be YOUR choice – free of judgment and pressure. Each woman has their limits. Breastmilk or formula, it’s valid. 

It is YOUR personal choice.

FED baby is the best.

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