The 5 Stages of Breastfeeding
The ‘Will It Be This Hard Forever?’ Stage…
In the beginning it’s difficult because you’re both learning. You don’t know what to expect, and neither does baby. Baby doesn’t have the neck support it takes to make her way to your breast, so it’s completely up to you to position and latch her correctly. Well meaning doctors advise you to time how long she’s at the breast, warn that you’ll need to wake her up if she sleeps too long’ and weigh her constantly to be sure you’re producing enough milk. Your breasts are still adjusting to making milk so, you may experience cracked nipples, engorgements, or even clogged ducts. All of which can be extremely painful.
The Blissfully Routine Stage
You and baby fall into a routine. Your boobs adapt so no more leaking, no more engorgement, and no more clogged ducts. You no longer look at your pump as a medieval torture device. And, you can set it up, pump, break it down, and clean it as well as any Industrial Age assembly production machine. You never thought you’d get here, but you did it mama, you’ve got this down! Or so you think but then,
The Dreaded Teething Stage
That first shiny pearl of doom makes its way into baby’s mouth. Your little one learns they can make you squeal with a well timed chomp and you realize you’re going to have to learn the skills of the stealthiest ninja to avoid their steel jaws. But don’t worry, mama, the novelty of biting wears off, and nursing becomes routine again. And then, baby discovers the outside world…and so next comes the …
The ‘Oh Look, Something Shiny’ Stage
If you’re planning on getting anything done during this stage forget it. Little one will come to you to nurse and then notice the sound of a lawnmower outside, or a leaf blowing in the wind, or the sun coming in the window. Each new sound, movement, or object within her line of view will become of more interest to her than your boob. So… she’ll head off on an adventure ready to check out whatever she saw while she was at your breast only to remember…’oh wait…I’m hungry.’ You’ll have just gotten up and be ready to do something else when she’s back at it and ready to nurse again for at least another two seconds until the next distraction appears…
The ‘I’m Done’ Stage
Sometimes baby reaches this stage first, and sometimes mama does. Sometimes BOTH mama and baby are ready to move on from breastfeeding at the same time. You never know when this stage will come on, sometimes it can come just after the first year and sometimes it can be years after you expected to be done with breastfeeding. And though while you’re in it, it can sometimes feel like you’ll be breastfeeding forever- believe it or not- this stage almost always comes on faster than you think and before you know it that little one no longer comes to you for the most nutritious meal of the day. So, if you can, enjoy it!