After two kids and 18+ intermittent months of being a milk machine for my offspring, I’ve learned some things.
1. You will leak. Some moms only leak in the beginning when their ducts first start producing milk. Others, like me, will leak throughout their entire breastfeeding journey. Is your baby crying? You will leak. Is a random baby crying as you’re walking down the grocery story aisle? You will leak. Are you looking in adoration at pictures of your sweet baby on your phone while you’re waiting for an elevator? You will leak. Are you sleeping? You will leak. Is baby feeding on one breast? Your other one will leak. Keep nursing pads on hand — lots of them.

2. It’s a full time job for the first few months. Specifically in those first few weeks, baby is always hungry, so your breasts will stay booked and busy. Everyone always advises new moms should sleep when baby sleeps, but that leaves little time for anything else, because when baby is awake, you’ll probably be feeding. If baby is hungry and you’re not feeding, you should be pumping. Since breastmilk supply is based on demand, your body needs the signal each time baby eats; pumping tells your body it’s time to make more milk. This mean if someone is giving you a “break” by giving baby a bottle of formula or pumped breastmilk, you’ll need to use that time to empty your breasts. Depending on how long your maternity leave lasts (if you’re fortunate enough to even get one), returning to work may leave you feeling like you’re working two jobs if you’re stealing away to pump every few hours.

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