15 Strange But True Facts About Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is one of those polarizing parenting topics - everyone has a STRONG opinion and many people refuse to see the other side of the conversation.

Milk drunk Liam at 3 weeks old

When I was pregnant, breastfeeding was probably one of the things I had the most anxiety about. All I kept hearing was about how hard it was. It was also a bit nerve-wracking to know that if I chose to exclusively breastfeed, I was solely responsible for my baby you know, not starving.

I approached breastfeeding with an open mind. I would try it, and if it worked for us, awesome - but if not, I had no problem exclusively pumping or even giving formula. Thankfully, Liam and I got the technical part of it down quickly and easily. It was more getting over the mental hurdle of breastfeeding that I found difficult. By that, I mean it was really hard to basically be ready to get my boobs out on demand and just feed all the time. It's hard not to feel like a cow, milk machine or human pacifier. I also pumped right away so that my husband could help with feedings, and that was lifesaver for me, personally.
One of our first nursing sessions

My goal going into nursing was to re-evaluate every 3 months if and how long I'd continue actually put Liam on the breast. For now, I'm going to keep going as I have, which is pumping at work and nursing when I'm home. I hope to be able to give Liam my milk for at least a year, but whether that means I continue doing both or switch to exclusively pumping, we shall see.

It's taken me a while, but I was surprised when I finally realized that I actually like nursing a lot more than I thought I would. I find it easier than pumping, and I really do enjoy the "bond" it gives me with Liam, especially now that I'm back at work. We have some really good chats after he's eaten and is laying on the Boppy.

Along with discovering I liked it, I discovered some other weird realities, too:

1. You hoard milk. For those mama's who pump, you know what I'm talking about. Building up a freezer stash of milk becomes a strange goal, and the more milk you add to it, the less you want to use it. I've had to dip into my stash several times since going back work, and can't tell you how angry I get every time. I guess for me, I want the stash for when I (or Liam) decides to stop nursing, so he can have my milk for as long as possible. And it's nice to know it's there if we go on vacation alone, if my supply is low, etc.

2. Your proudest moments are when the baby is weighed at the pediatrician. When Liam went to his 1-month appointment and had gained THREE whole pounds, I was ready to fist bump my husband. I did that. He gained weight because of ME and me only. Especially at a time when you don't really know what the hell you're doing, to know that you're doing something right - something as important as nourishing your child - is huge.

3. You literally cry over spilled milk. If you haven't experienced this yet as a breastfeeding or pumping mama...I hope you never do. When Liam was in the NICU, before we could try nursing, I knocked over a whole 2 oz of pumped milk (that was a lot at a time when I was just getting my supply in, and that was all he ate in feeding). It was true heartbreak. Even now, I try to get every last drop in the bottle!

4. You constantly keep track of the time. In the beginning, when you have to feed or pump at such specific times, you realize pretty quickly how fast 2-3 hours pass. As Liam gained weight, I began to just feed on demand. But a full baby equals a happy baby in my house, so I am always cognizant of when he last ate, and use that as the gauge on if it's safe to go out in public. AKA, what are the odds baby has a hangry meltdown? Keeping track of time will keep those to a minimum.

5. You plan your day around your boobs.  The thing is, not only does baby need to be fed, but mama needs "relief," if you will. If you go too long without either nursing or pumping, your boobs hurt - a lot. (Not to mention risk of mastitis and clogged ducts.) Also, see above regarding hangry babies.

So, you just have to plan when you can get your nursing/pumping done if you have anything planned. For example, my friend stopped by after work the other day, and usually, I feed the babe not too long after I get home. So I made him give me a specific time he'd be here, because basically, I needed to know if I should whip out the boobs before or after he stopped by.

6. All boobs, all the time. It's just crazy how much you think about your boobs. How full are they? How sore are they? Are they leaking? Do you care if ___ sees you nurse? Do you care if ___ sees your boobs? My hubby definitely sees my boobs a million times more now than he ever did before. My dad, brother in law, father in law, mother in law, sisters, best friends, etc - they've also all seen my boobs. It's just the breastfeeding way. I do try to maintain some decency when I'm not around my girlfriends or husband, but sometimes it doesn't happen. Sorry not sorry.

7. You feel proud and simultaneously disappointed, depending on if you get good/low output from pumping. No greater feeling than filling up a whole bottle of breast milk to add to the stash! (See #1) And if you can get a second letdown? AMAZING.

8. You get pissed if any milk is wasted. When we give Liam a bottle and he doesn't finish it, I get a little ticked. Differing schools of thought, but many people say that if a baby doesn't finish a bottle, you aren't supposed to feed it to him again, because he has introduced bacteria and it can make him sick. We usually put anything he didn't drink back in the fridge and try to use it within a couple of hours. We are careful to first smell it, and make sure it's not "bad," because I can't stand the thought of throwing out milk.

9. You choose to nurse instead of letting Dad/Grandma/Auntie/Friend feed with a bottle because it gives you alone time. When everyone wants to love on your baby, it's amazing - but I find myself missing Liam, even when he's in the same room, in the arms of family. So while I do share him by letting others give a bottle and to avoid #6, I don't mind nursing him to steal a bit of "us" time.

10. You secretly love that you are the only one who can give your baby what he/she needs. Sure, it can feel burdensome at times to know that you are the only source of nutrition for your baby. But other times, it feels powerful and amazing.

11. You think of milk as magic. Baby crying? Baby won't sleep? Baby won't stop hiccuping? Baby has chapped lips? Breast milk, breast milk, breast milk. Every single time.

12. You touch your boobs a lot. I always grab my boobs, mainly to check and see if I'm leaking or if I'm full. It's become a bad habit. I went out last weekend on a bar crawl all day, and I brought my pump, like a responsible BF Mama. But I forgot my bottles, and couldn't find them ANYWHERE while I was out. So all day, I just kept grabbing my boobs to see if it was time to go home yet. (See #5).

13. Your anxiety about going out in public with the baby is not over whether or not he/she cries or causes a scene, but if there will be a place for you to nurse if you have to. I hate nursing in public, so I try to always bring a bottle when we leave the house. But I'm human and do forget, so as a Plan B, I am always scouring the bar/restaurant, wherever, for where we could be comfortable if I needed to "whip it out."

14. You look forward to waking up in the middle of the night to give your boobs some relief. Not much more to say about that, other than it also gives you time with your sleepy angel babe.

15. You fear rejection in a new way. When I came back to work, Liam was obviously taking the bottle much more. It's not uncommon for babies to prefer breast, but it can also happen the other way. A few times at the beginning, he screamed when I tried to nurse him, and it made me so sad! I was worried that our nursing days were over, but it hasn't happened since.

What do you think, mamas? Any otherthings that surprised you when it comes to feeding the babe?


  1. As you know I have so many mixed feelings on breastfeeding. I've just always had it in my mind that I wouldn't be able to because of my surgery- but there is a chance I could. I think it would be an amazing experience, however I don't think I would have the patience to do it as long as you! You never know, your next one might hate it and never take to it, so soak it up with Liam!

    1. You should give it a try and see what happens. If you're able to do it, you might be surprised with how much patience you actually have. I know I was! :)

  2. All of this is so true! Especially hoarding milk. I was producing way more milk than my baby needed in the nicu so we went home with tons and then for a bit I kept nursing him and pumping every feeding to keep supply up. But I have yet to defrost one frozen bag of milk! I can't bring myself to do it! It was suggested to me this week that when baby is on baby food I can puree breast milk into it, which I think is a great idea!

    1. That IS a great idea! I'm so jealous of your stash. Sadly, I've had to use a lot of mine to supplement since I've come back to work, but I am working my ass off to get my supply up so I can start saving a little. We're going on a long vacation away from baby in September and I REALLY want him to still be doing breast milk at that point. Just remember, frozen milk doesn't keep forever. One tip I got was to swap freshly pumped milk with some of the older bags of milk. You don't want it to go waste!

  3. I am learning so much from you! Thank you!

    1. I'm so glad! That's what I'm trying to do in this new "mommy blogger" venture. I just love when I read something that informs me or that I can connect with, so I'm glad to hear I'm doing that for others! XO

  4. Way to go! My husband and I wanted to bf so badly and we tried for 8 weeks (I didn't produce more than an ounce) but when the pediatrician looked at us and told us our baby was starving and failing to thrive I fucking lost it and went straight to formula. It was a hard decision, but like you said you have to do what is necessary to have a healthy baby. He is such a cute little guy and I can't believe how big he has gotten!

    1. Good for you for trying so long! I'm sure I would have given up by that point. And um, I would have lost it too if I heard that! If I've learned anything in this short stint of being a parent, you've gotta do what's best for you and your baby. :) Thanks for the compliments! He is a growing, adorable boy!

  5. All true. I made it 5 months and 9 months and both were perfect for me and the baby at the time. My best bfing advice is be open to anything and to ignore 99% of bfing advice. With the first I used a shield and never did formula at daycare. With the 2nd no shield and formula at the daycare whenever they of we felt like it. Whatevs!


Your comments & feedback make my day, so please let me know what you've got to say!