Chapter One Introduction
Breastfeeding is a natural bodily function performed by every mammal in the animal kingdom. But only in the human animal is it as controversial as gay marriage. Everyone has an opinion on what’s the easiest way to do it, what products to have on hand to get it done, and how long you need to partake in the experience. And everyone is quite generous with their opinions, not unlike how they were during your pregnancy when perfect strangers would warn you about miscarriages, stretch marks, and pooping on the delivery room table.
But unlike the political aspects of gay marriage, breastfeeding is a very personal experience. Because of this, only you can decide what’s best for you… although your mother-in-law will most certainly chime in on the topic. You need to factor in all the various elements so you can make an informed decision. There is so much information on the topic that writers like myself have devoted entire books to the breastfeeding experience, all in an attempt to inform, enlighten, and okay, make a few bucks on as well (hey, I have my own kid to put through college).
Whether or not you want to breastfeed is a big decision. Fortunately, your nine month stint of pregnancy has prepared you for making such big decisions. You had to decide if you wanted to know the sex of the baby before it was born. You had to decide a name. And you had to decide if you wanted an epidural during delivery, although for me that was a no brainer since I think painkillers are the next best thing to bleach pens.
To make your decision even easier, and to help guide you through your path once your decision has been made, I’ll take you through every aspect of breastfeeding from colostrum through clogged ducts, and do so with baby steps. It’s like pressing the EASY button on lactation. Lord knows, you have enough stress to deal with already in your life and anything to reduce it is a good thing. You don’t need to be overwhelmed by another aspect of parenthood right now. Breastfeeding is like nothing you’ve ever experienced before, and just knowing that milk will start spewing from your breasts is a pretty freaky thought. It’s like blowing your nose and having Skittles fly out.
While I’m sure there are many of you who are already nursing, I’ll bet a vat of nipple cream the many more are still pregnant and reading ahead since you know that your leisure time will be severely limited once your baby makes his appearance (by the way, I’m going to refer to all babies as “he.” Not because I’m partial to boys, but because my “s” key tends to stick and anything that reduces my stress level is a good thing). Because of this, we’ll start at the very beginning of the lactating journey and work our way out from there. If you’ve already started nursing, just jump right in whenever you’d like. So let’s get to it before your desire to breastfeed fades or your contractions begin!