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6 Important Lessons I Learned About Breastfeeding

Updated on July 22, 2011
My baby Yna breastfeeding
My baby Yna breastfeeding

How come breastfeeding seems to be so fun and easy in movies and commercials? It actually came as a shock to me that this is one mommy role that can be excruciatingly painful and even messy. Here are some of the things I’ve learned…

Lesson 1: Milk does not come out when the baby does.

I thought I would get to breastfeed immediately upon holding my daughter in my arms. As it turns out, my doctor told me that in most cases the mother lactates 2-4 days after giving birth. Thus, I had to feed my baby with a syringe first to avoid nipple confusion later on and have her latch to my milk-less breasts just for practice.

Lesson 2: Breast engorgement is torture!

The second night after I was allowed to go home, my breasts started to swell and ache. Having my baby latch on to it caused extreme pain. I literally cried and did research over the net first before calling my doctor. I learned that my breasts were engorged and I had to use a breast pump or breastfeed my baby in order to release the milk and clear the ducts that may be blocked. Also a warm bath or a warm compress can help relieve the pain.

Lesson 3: Nipples will feel sore and can get wounded.

Since nipples were made for breastfeeding, I never thought that it wouldn’t be able to withstand constant infant sucking. I was proven so wrong. My nipples became very sore, got wounded, and even bled. The good thing is that it was able to heal quite fast and it got used to the stress after consistently breastfeeding. I wish I had known that this would happen beforehand, though so that I could’ve thought about purchasing a nipple shield or some nipple creams, like lanolin.

Lesson 4: Milk does not just come out from one nipple at a time.

This was one of my most shocking discoveries. While breastfeeding, milk started leaking from my other nipple and caused quite a mess. Later on, I found out that wearing breast pads help a lot to avoid the mess. I also sometimes used a small bottle to collect the milk from my other breast and store it in the fridge so I can feed it to my baby at a later time and give my nipples some rest.

Lesson 5: A breast pump is essential if you can’t be with your baby all the time.

Asides from preventing your breasts from becoming engorged, breast pumps will also be useful to collect milk that your baby will need when you’re not around. Keeping breast milk in the freezer (50F or cooler) allows it to be kept fresh for around 2 weeks, keeping it in the fridge (390F) will keep it fresh for around a week, and keeping it in room temperature (25 0F) will only have it last for 6 hours at most. But do remember that storing it for a long time may lower the quality of the milk as proteins may undergo degradation.

Lesson 6: Milk supply production may need some help.

For some women, milk production may not be sufficient for the needs of the baby. Eating properly and drinking vitamin supplements recommended by the doctor are some steps that you can take. There is a close relationship between proper diet and breastfeeding. Moreover, squeeze every chance of rest that you can get. To improve my lactation my OB even recommended that I take Natalac, a malunggay extract which is a post natal supplement.

Learning how to breastfeed properly is imperative. It’s not just for the baby’s sake but for the breastfeeding woman as well. No matter how hard or difficult it may be, this is still one of the most important bonding times you can get with your baby.

This is my first time to breastfeed and in spite of the misleading movies and commercial scenes, I am happy with the experience, especially since I know that I am doing what's best for my baby.


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    • healthwealthmusic profile image

      Ruth R. Martin 

      8 years ago from Everywhere Online ~ Fingerlakes ~ Upstate New York

      You said it! I am thankful to hear that I was not the only one who thought breastfeeding painful and uncomfortable. I thought I was just 'overly sensitive'. None of my family or friends seemed to have any complaints or problems with it.

      I managed to breastfeed both our children, one until 9 months old and the other until 6 months old. Even after the first few weeks of nursing, I would still feel tingling pain, starting under under my armpits, every time my milk let down.

      My husband and I decided that we are very happy and satisfied with our 2 sweet children...

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 

      8 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      The first six weeks can be difficult, plus your homones are doing a number on you, so everything upsets you. After nursing three I can tell you most problems are solved by nursing more often. The tenderness usually subsides after about a dozen feedings, whether you space them out of not. E-ven-tu-al-ly it turns out to be easier than bottles - but not in the beginning! Good luck.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      8 years ago from Western NC

      Thanks for sharing this. I've always been curious - I don't have children, but I definitely have thought about breastfeeding them if I did. Thanks for this great information. Also, welcome to HubPages. :)

    • Melis Ann profile image

      Melis Ann 

      8 years ago from Mom On A Health Hunt

      All very true. Nursing a baby can start out with many problems and you're right it is a surprise. I am a proponent of telling people like it is as you have here. Too many times women will give up nursing because they feel they are the only ones having a problem. Your hub will help alleviate that worry. My advice is to give it 6 weeks before giving up. I've gone through some of these stages listed above and then had the enjoyable experience many months following. Shared!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I know it's hard. I tried it once but I just could not do it. It's really painful.

    • raeyecarlos profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Grace 

      9 years ago

      Hi, danielleantosz. I personally don't know anyone who has tried desensitizing their nipples before birth yet, so I'm not so sure about it. One good thing to note though is that it gets better over time. After a little over a month of breastfeeding, it didn't feel awful anymore. I can already think of it as a bonding moment and not torture. :)

    • danielleantosz profile image


      9 years ago from Florida

      I don't have children yet, but have seen a few friends and my sister in law struggle with breastfeeding. I am curious, I have heard that desensitizing your nipples before the birth helps, has any one had a good experience with this? Thanks for sharing, I know a lot of women feel shame because they cannot breastfeed or it is a struggle for them.

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 

      10 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      I saw how difficult this! Kudos to all breastfeeding moms out there.

    • raeyecarlos profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Grace 

      10 years ago

      Seafarer Mama, thanks for the additional information and advice.:)

      Esmeowl12 and ameliejan, I'm glad to know that I'm not alone in having this experience. Thanks for sharing your comments. :)

    • ameliejan profile image


      10 years ago from Alicante, Spain

      This is very good advice and very well written. Breastfeeding was torture at times, but I'm glad I stuck with it.

    • Seafarer Mama profile image

      Karen A Szklany 

      10 years ago from New England

      Hi Raeyecarlos,

      Very lovely hub. Well-laid-out with very good information...and very upbeat. :0) Thanks for sharing your experience.

      One detail you may want to include that many people may not know regarding pre-lactation feeding. There is a fluid that mother's make called "collostrum" that has lots of nutrients for our babies, and helps boost their immune system immediately...which is very important for the first 3 months of life. :0) It is golden. I learned this through La Leche League. You may want to find a meeting in your area so that you have other breastfeeding moms for support and information sharing, if you'd like.

    • Esmeowl12 profile image

      Cindy A Johnson 

      10 years ago from Sevierville, TN

      This sounds so much like my experience. I never did enjoy breastfeeding, although I really wanted to. Made myself continue for 6 weeks and had to stop. I appreciate your sharing. So many women talk about it being such a positive thing (which I know it is for some), it's nice to know that it isn't for everyone. Voted up and useful.


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