Every Breastfeeding Mother can relate to the feeling of their body feeling strange and alien to them. Hormonal changes may make a become rounder and curvier or you may be become thinner than your pre-baby days.
More so, your boobs probably leak at inopportune times, such as when people are coming over—and it’s not uncommon to wake up in the middle of the night with your breasts full and aching.
While you may feel like a milk factory at times, breastfeeding can actually be pretty beneficial for you and the baby. Mothers who breastfeed have a lower incidence of breast cancer, heart disease, diabetes, ovarian cancer, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, obesity, and more.
What can make your experience more pleasant is to understand some of the more unpleasant side effects. Here’s what you need to know if you’re living life with a baby attached to your nipple.
You May Shed Weight
There are women who say they just couldn’t keep weight on when breastfeeding and then there are those who say they couldn’t lose a pound until they stopped nursing.
Breastfeeding burns an additional 300 to 500 calories per day, and studies have shown that it helps lose the weight that comes with pregnancy. Some women however experience more hunger that leaves them even more ravenous than they were when pregnant.
No matter what camp you fall into, keep healthy snacks like nuts, fruit, and water nearby to stay well-nourished and hydrated.
The Milk Changes
Due to the fact that some women breastfeed well into the second year and beyond, it shouldn’t be a surprise that breastmilk changes nutritional value depending on the age or health status of your baby.
The contents in breastmilk if you have a day-old newborn versus a one-month old infant or toddler are completely different.
As a baby gets older, certain immune factors in the milk will change. If your baby (or you) is sick, antibodies in the milk adjust to fight infection.
Your Nipples Become Tougher
Nipples are full of nerve endings and have sensitive skin that has not often been exposed prior to breastfeeding. Pregnancy itself helps make the nipples more stretchy and stronger.
After a week or two, any discomfort should start to go away. If it doesn’t, there may be an issue with the latch or an infant tongue tie. See a doctor immediately.
Your Breasts May Feel Tingly
Don’t be surprised if your breasts feel tingly before the milk starts flowing. It’s called a “letdown” reflex, which is a “neurological phenomenon when the baby suckles at the breast.
An increase in the hormone oxytocin opens the milk ducts, starting the flow. The feeling may tingle, be enjoyable, or even relaxing. Oxytocin can rise when you simply think about your little one or hear them cry.
On the other hand, stress, anxiety, and caffeine can all interfere with this reflex. As such, it is important to remember that you need to take care of yourself.
You May Feel Angry
For as many times as you do it during the day, there may come a time when you physically feel like you can’t sit there and breastfeed anymore. You’re angry and just want to stop.
To your surprise, you may even feel suddenly disgusted by it. Research shows that breastfeeding triggers a range of intense emotions, including negative ones like breastfeeding aversion.
While many women tend to feel guilty when this happens, it’s important to note it’s totally normal and there’s nothing wrong with you. Some mothers have reported feeling this way when their infant tweaks the nipple on the other side while feeding.
Other triggers for these negative feelings include not eating or sleeping well, and pain that comes with nursing an infant. As such, it’s important to take care of yourself and address any latch issues, so you can feel more like yourself.