Let’s Talk About Boobies

I-Heart-Breasts

Mommy’s Corner is a weekly series exploring our journey in becoming parents, our love for our ShuGar baby, and general topics related to mommyhood.

You ready? Let’s do this. Mr. ShuGar and I took a breastfeeding class last week and we both learned A TONS! You wonder how much we could actually learn about breasts in three hours? Well, apparently, a whole lot. I’ll share with you what we learned in our class below. Before I do so, I’d like to preface that I understand breastfeeding is a “controversial” topic for some, although I’m not really sure why. Additionally, I am aware that not every mother wants to or can breastfeed. This is a no judgment zone, so for purposes of this post, I will continue with sharing my discovery of the value of breastfeeding.

I’d like to begin by quoting my sweet bloggy friend, Kaitlin, from Hand Made Freedom. She tweeted me that “boobies are magic” and after taking this breastfeeding class, I concur. Up until this point, I never really saw my breasts as a functional part of my body. They are there just hanging out (not literally, not yet at least!) and I don’t think much of them. Now, I have seen a whole other function of my boobies and I am simply in awe of what they can do. Not only do they produce milk for my baby, but they provide so many benefits beyond the breastfeeding years.

The class began with a room full of expectant parents. There were boppy pillows throughout the room and a large mannequin with a breastfeeding cover (to be revealed later). Our teacher had us introduce ourselves, announce our expected due date, and list one benefit of breastfeeding. She started in the back so Mr. ShuGar and I were going to be last since we sat in the front! Darn! I thought there was a benefit to sitting in the front? I immediately started to sweat because I knew by the time they would get to us, all the good ideas would have already been said. I spent most of that time brainstorming what to say in front of everyone. And, then, it hit me! Two benefits of breastfeeding are:

  • You can embrace your womanhood and do what your female body was built to do. It’s a quintessential female experience and I am honored to do it. It’s as if we are expressing this when we breastfeed, “I am woman. Hear me roar and watch me feed my baby.”
  • I have read that if you don’t “express” your milk after you have a baby, your boobies get engorged. Super ouch!

Mr. ShuGar then followed up with his own take on the pros of breastfeeding. I quote, “It’s tax-free and made in America.” Oh, I forgot to tell you. My hubs has a wry sense of humor.

Breastfeeding

So, what’s the big deal with breastfeeding? I learned…

  • Breastfeeding can deter children from developing allergies in their later years.
  • Babies will naturally gravitate to your boob. We saw video! You just have to guide them a bit.
  • Women who adopt can breast feed! That blew me away because I assumed you had to carry a child in order to produce milk.
  • Just because breastfeeding is a natural part of the female body, it does not mean it is easy. Don’t beat yourself up if your baby doesn’t immediately latch on. It happens to many, many moms. There’s just shame associated with not being able to do your “mommy duty.”
  • Another word for lactation consultants is lifesavers. They can walk you through any struggles you have in the breastfeeding process. Usually, it’s because you may be holding the baby wrong or the baby needs to be taught how to latch on properly. I found out that my insurance covers a lactation consultant so I would take the time to inquire on your end.
  • It saves lots of money! Formula can be uber-expensive.
  • The areola actually gets darker and bigger during pregnancy because it serves as a visual target to babies. How cool is that?
  • In many other countries, breastfeeding in public is not a big deal. Women bust out with their boobs and no one thinks twice. I experienced this myself in Europe. In America, it’s a different conservative story.
  • The composition of breast milk helps make your baby’s immunity super powerful. It has all sorts of essential nutrients the baby can’t get from formula.
  • 87% of breast milk is water.
  • Mommies should try to breastfeed soon after the baby is born. This gives the baby skin-to-skin contact, which helps support baby’s development in these first precious hours, not to mention it begins to solidify the relationship between mommy and baby.
  • In the first few days, you don’t actually feed the baby milk. Instead, your breasts contain what’s known as colostrum, which is a substance that provides incredible protection for newborns as it has loads of antibodies and acts as laxative, helping the baby produce his first bowel movement.
  • Breastfeeding with milk generally starts three days after the baby is born. In the first few days of the baby’s birth, they will only consume 1-1.5 oz of colostrum.
  • If you do not breast feed or pump in the beginning stages, your body will produce less milk. The more you actually feed your baby, whether it be pump or boobie, the greater likelihood that your body will create more milk over a longer period of time. Inversely, if you give up on breastfeeding early, the greater the guarantee is that you will no longer have any milk to produce.
  • On average, babies will be eating (you feeding) every three hours in the beginning of their lives.
  • You CAN drink alcohol while breastfeeding. All you need to do is breastfeed your baby, drink a glass of your favorite alcoholic drink and then within 3-4 hours the alcohol leaves your body. You can then resume breastfeeding. (Confession: I got excited with this one – I can’t wait to drink some wine!)
  • Drinking coffee is not recommended as it stays way much longer in your system. Shucks!
  • If you plan on going back to work eventually, our teacher recommended we begin pumping at 2 1/2 weeks after delivery, then every morning after you feed baby. This will allow baby to get used to the bottle during week three and also give daddy some daddy and baby bonding time. This fresh milk can be frozen for up to five months!
  • They recommended feeding the baby room temp milk or cold milk. They said the less heat, the better.
  • Added bonus: Breastfeeding has been proven to help mommies lose weight over a few months time. Breastfeeding is not a miracle that causes you to drop the weight immediately, however, it does support long term weight loss. Yay! Note to self – Ignore all these celebrities who go back to their normal pre-baby bodies in a flash. Not reality!
  • If you have to go back to work like me, they, along with several friends, recommend getting a high-quality, electric pump, along with this nifty breastfeeding bra. I know it looks crazy, but it’s better than holding the pumps in your hands for anywhere from fifteen to twenty-five minutes several times a day.

Hands-Free-Breast-Pump-Bra

Breast-Pump-Bra

  • Lastly, thanks to the new healthcare law, I actually received a great breast pump + hands free bra in the mail recently. Isn’t that amazing? These products can cost a couple of hundred dollars, so I am grateful for receiving the pump above entirely for free. Call your insurance to see if you qualify, but I believe every woman does.
  • Oh, and sign up for a breastfeeding support group if you are looking for help, support, and/or new friends.

Thank you, friends, for reading all about boobies! I hope you were able to get some gems of info in any part I wrote about. I think it’s important to share any benefits we know about raising babies. Any little bit of support goes a very long way!

Did you breast feed your baby? How was it? Did you find it easy peasy or super hard to feed? If you are not a mommy, do you know if you were breast fed? 

Photo credit: I Heart Boobs Logo, aditional photos Carmen Garcia-Shushtari

  • Alecia@Detoursinlife

    I don’t mind sharing my experiences and observations so here goes. I attempted to breast feed both of my children. My first child, she didn’t take to it naturally and it was a real struggle. At first she was tongue tied, so we had that clipped, but she still wouldn’t latch on. So, I pumped and kept trying. She finally got it about 6 weeks. We now know she has sensory issues and muscle issues with her mouth so that made sense looking back. But I pumped for her for a few months. Word of advice – invest in a good pump regardless! It was a lifesaver! Yes, you will feel like a cow when you pump and you will not realize your nipples can actually go out that far – especially if you pump at the hospital with one of theirs. It freaked me out the first time I pumped at the hospital – holy cow! Another thing, if breast feeding doesn’t happen right away in the hospital, get a pump and pump! You need to get that colostrum and feed it to the baby before your milk comes in. My second child – took to breast feeding like a champ! He was too good at it and killed me – so I pumped with him as well because I was cracked, bleeding, and sore. He fed like a champ but he also would choke easy because I had an ultra fast let down of my milk and it would overwhelm him. Best advice I can give is to try! If you and the baby don’t mesh – then pump. Use the lactation consultants at the hospital and find one for at home if you need it. If breastfeeding and pumping doesn’t work for you – that’s OK. I supplemented with formula with both my children and they turned out just fine. 🙂

    • Thanks so much for sharing! I have heard several women talk about being tongue-tied and how common it is, but needs to be resolved because it makes feeding really challenging. Thanks for the pump advice. Yeah, I got a good one for free via my insurance. So funny about the nipples! Thanks for the warning. I’m so amazed with the female body. I never knew about the colostrum so I will make sure baby gets it regardless of the circumstance. It sounds like it can be difficult and painful at times, but to not give up because there is hope. Thank you for being so honest and telling me about your experience. It helps me keep things real and know that I can do this. It’s a woman thing and we all were built to do just this. Hugs!

  • Kristen Genevieve

    This is AWESOME! I am so glad that you wrote about this. I decided to not take a breastfeeding class at this point (though I will likely see a lactation consultant after delivery), and I’m happy that I was able to find all of this info online. HOWEVER, it took lots of time & digging from multiple sources, and I love how you laid it out in an easy-to-read way. So thank you!! (Also, I love your husband’s “tax-free and made-in-America” response – sounds like my husband, too! haha)
    The info I was most surprised by was that bottle warmers are totally unnecessary. My sister-in-law used hers religiously! I came upon that nugget a few weeks ago and my hunny was happy to save some money! 😉

    There’s even more info to know on this topic for sure, but I think one more thing I’ve found that fits in this list is just that its really important to take care of yourself: drink TONS of water, keep eating nutritiously (since its what you’re still feeding the baby), and try to get enough sleep or at least relax so your milk can let down.

    I would be really interested to hear about your experiences abroad and how people view breastfeeding in public differently. I don’t know if I could breastfeed in public (with a cover, of course), not because I think its at all gross (its amazing!) but because I’m a shy/modest/conservative person. I actually had a dream the other night that my husband & I were at lunch with my brother-in-law and his girlfriend and I needed to feed the baby, and when I told my husband he was like…that’s weird! I don’t know, I couldn’t let my baby not eat but I would definitely feel uncomfortable. How do you think you’ll handle breastfeeding in public?

    xo kristen genevieve

    • So happy to hear this was helpful for you! That’s my goal in sharing what I have learned. There’s so much more the class covered, especially when parents asked questions, but there’s just tons to cover. I liked when they demonstrated how to do so and we tried ourselves. Very helpful! It really is amazing how much info there is about boobies and feeding. Incredible! Your husband and my husband sound like they could be friends =)

      Yes, you are right. Taking care of ourselves and relaxing is key to having a good experience. I must remember that.

      In general, I have found that Europe is much more permissive when it comes to nudity in public. I mean, late night they actually have soft porn on the main channels, not even cable! Regarding breast-feeding, no one thinks twice if they see a woman holding her nipple to feed her baby. It’s as if it were a formula bottle. I respect that. Why do we have to cover up something that is completely natural? I agree that if it is by your own persona choice, sure, no problem. But, we shouldn’t feel shamed to do so. I’ve heard of people getting highly offended if a woman doesn’t cover up. Myself, I cover up because I am very shy, but I also don’t want to deal with stares, etc. If I lived in Europe, I might thing differently because I would have been raised to think this is normal and natural. Thanks for all your insight! I love how we bond over all these things!

  • Tania Franco

    Great post, yes I am a mommy and I did breast feed my baby up to 8 months old. I stopped at that age because I was working full time and my baby began to grow teeth. haha. It was not hard, only the part where I was away from him and needed to pump. That was a drag. I felt a bond when breastfeeding, it was truly special.

    Much Love,

    Tania

    http://inspiremyfancy.blogspot.com/

    • Thanks for sharing, Tania. It’s nice to hear that it wasn’t necessarily hard, until the teeth came. Yeah, I am not looking forward to pumping but I will eventually have to go back to work so I will have to master it somehow. I’m looking forward to that special bond between mommy and baby. I just can’t wait! Hugs!

  • Awesome post! Yup, these are all the great benefits of breastfeeding, and it helps with the health of the mom too! I believe it lowers our risk for certain kinds of cancers. Overall, it was a great choice that I made (and continue to make) since it saved us a whole lot of money!