My First Time Breastfeeding: the Good, the Bad and the Unexpected

One new mom thoroughly prepared her for breastfeeding, or so she thought. Here, she shares the ups, downs and unexpected turns her nursing experience has taken.
save article
profile picture of Adriana Quaranto
By Adriana Quaranto, Creator of the 4F’s Given blog
Updated May 1, 2019
writer adriana marie breastfeeds her baby
Image: Adriana Marie

It’s 3 a.m. and I’m on my knees wiping my liquid gold off the floor. My 2-month-old baby, Stella Rayne, is screaming. Eric, my fiancé, is out on a boy’s night. I feel completely helpless and alone.

Rewind 15 minutes. Like clockwork, Stella had woken up to feed. She’d been asleep for four hours, which meant the wet spot on the sheets was from my full, leaking breasts. I could feel the milk stream roll down my sides as I pulled off the blanket, swung my legs over the edge of the bed and reached into her bassinet to rescue her from the starvation I think she’s suffering from. As a new breastfeeding mom, you always wonder, “is my baby getting enough? Am I producing enough milk?”

As I unclipped the milk-stained nursing bra I’d been wearing for three days straight, I looked over to find that Eric hadn’t gotten home yet. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “ugh, men!” But before you write him off as an uninvolved father, let me explain. He deserved a night out that didn’t involve spit-up and lullabies. Normally, he gets up almost every night to help make the middle-of-the-night feedings more bearable. He gets Stella out of her bassinet and places her on my chest to feed, he changes her diapers and even puts my breast pump together and takes it apart for cleaning. Sometimes, he massages my neck and puts a pillow under my arm to relieve the weight from her head. Winning!

But since he wasn’t home, I was tip-toeing my way to the kitchen so my milk-drunk baby wouldn’t wake up—when BOOM! My milk bag dropped and splattered across the floor. FML! Which brings us to me sopping spilled breast milk off the floor while Stella screams her little head off.

Related Video

When I was still pregnant and trying to envision my breastfeeding journey, I didn’t expect to literally be crying over spilled milk. Don’t get me wrong, I knew it wouldn’t be all rainbows and butterflies. You see, I worked for a premier breast pump company for a year, so I knew the hard work behind breastfeeding and pumping before committing myself to this labor of love. But of course, nothing can truly and completely prepare a new mom for this journey. Every woman has her running list of The Good, The Bad and The Unexpected. Based on my own breastfeeding and pumping experience, here’s mine.

The Good

  • The sense of warmth and peace that overcomes me when I look into my baby’s eyes while she’s feeding
  • Bonding with Stella and building a foundation for my relationship with her
  • Learning my baby’s hunger cues
  • Providing comfort to my little one
  • The daily reminder of how truly amazing the female body is and how powerful motherhood is
  • Living in the moment for most of the day
  • Burning up to 500 calories a day
  • Benefiting from all the amazing health benefits to mom and baby
  • Saving money by breastfeeding
  • Enjoying the priceless support and information from free exclusive breastfeeding mom groups
  • Stella’s little hand on my breast while she’s nursing. (Cue the tears)
  • Watching her eye contact transform into full-blown staring contests

The Bad

  • Being on call whenever Stella demands my breasts
  • Keeping up with a proper latch
  • Sore nipples are no joke. Feeding every two to three hours can be excruciating and exhausting
  • Not having enough time to do whatever else I need to do, like brush my teeth, shower, pee, eat, do my hair—you know, the essentials
  • Waking up several times a night to feed my baby when I’m exhausted and healing from labor and delivery

The Unexpected

  • Going from a need-my-space kind of person to loving the constant company

  • I got used to the feeding pattern and lack of sleep after two weeks and function fine

  • That tingling sensation I feel in my breasts when my milk is coming in

  • Discovering that my breasts leak even when I don’t feel totally full

  • A forceful letdown. What?

  • Dehydration. I always feel thirsty!

  • Constipation is real! (Eating lots of fiber and greens helps)

  • Vaginal dryness. Yeah, I said it! Thanks, low estrogen levels

  • I got my period once and then not again; I didn’t think I would get it at all

  • Cluster feeding. Stella will nurse what feels like all. damn. day

  • When my baby cries, I cry too

  • Stella uses my nipples as a pacifier. Just when I think she’s done, she keeps on going!

  • That it’s okay to unlatch baby when she uses me as a paci

  • I didn’t know I needed to start offering a bottle as well as the breast, since I’m returning to work

  • When they say babies sleep 18 hours a day but I still get nothing done and wonder why and where the day went

  • I don’t want to leave my baby with anyone—and I mean anyone!

  • Just how hard breastfeeding really is, and the amount of tears I’ve already shed over it

  • My emotional attachment to the breastfeeding process and journey

I prepared myself for breastfeeding as much as I could, meeting with lactation consultants, reading articles and watching videos, but there are still a lot of unexpected situations that arise on the daily. No two days are the same, and as soon as I think I have my baby all figured out, she goes through a growth spurt and everything changes.

Image: Adriana Marie

I’ve learned how important it is to have a support system. Eric is amazing and I still have those moments of overwhelming defeat, where I wonder if we made the right decision to go through this journey. I feel guilty admitting that, but it’s the truth. When you feel like you’re completely failing this precious, beautiful baby that you created and adore so much, you sometimes wonder if you are cut out for parenthood. It’s easy to get wrapped up in thoughts of total despair when you’re sleep-deprived and dealing with a screaming, defenseless baby. If you’ve ever been there, know that you’re doing the very best you can, that you are enough, and that you’re not alone!

Published April 2019

Boston-born, Florida-raised and New York-seasoned, Adriana Quaranto is a former New York City fashion PR agency owner and New York Fashion Week show producer. She is now a lifestyle blogger documenting her journey into motherhood on her blog 4F’s Given talking about her four favorite F words: family, fashion, food and fitness. She is also a contributing writer for the Miami Moms blog. Follow her journey on Instagram.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

save article

Next on Your Reading List

mother breastfeeding baby at home on the couch
Foremilk vs. Hindmilk: What's the Difference?
Medically Reviewed by Lauren Crosby, MD
mother breastfeeding baby at restaurant
Parents React After Eatery Bans Breastfeeding Moms and Kids Under 5
By Wyndi Kappes
mother breastfeeding while laying in bed on side
8 Breastfeeding Positions to Make Nursing Easier
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
molly baz swehl lactation cookies ad in times square
Why Was This Breastfeeding Billboard Taken Down?
By Natalie Gontcharova
mother breastfeeding infant baby
How Many Calories Do I Burn From Breastfeeding?
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
Parent wearing a nursing top and holding a baby on their chest
Where to Shop for the Best Nursing Clothes
By Martina Garvey
 Kourtney Kardashian Barker on the today show Monday, September 12, 2022
Kourtney Kardashian Reveals She Drinks Her Own Breast Milk
By Wyndi Kappes
mom breastfeeding baby
Olympic Committee Will Provide Breastfeeding Athletes Hotel Rooms
By Wyndi Kappes
mother breastfeeding infant at home
How to Get a Proper Breastfeeding Latch
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
mother breastfeeding baby
Breastfeeding Let-Down 101: Everything You Should Know
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
sad mother breastfeeding baby
Is D-MER the Reason You Feel Sad While Breastfeeding?
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
baby with mouth open breastfeeding
Mom's Impression of a Baby Who ‘Can’t Find the Nip’ Goes Viral
By Wyndi Kappes
mom holding baby while drinking coffee in kitchen
Can You Drink Coffee While Breastfeeding?
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
The 9 Best Breast Milk Storage Bags-Hero
The 10 Best Breast Milk Storage Bags to Preserve Your Liquid Gold
By Korin Miller
mother feeing bottle to baby
Can You Mix Breast Milk and Formula?
Medically Reviewed by Loretta Cody, MD
Kelly Mi Li at Vegan Fashion Week held at California Market Center on October 9, 2023 in Los Angeles, California
Bling Empire Star Kelly Mi Li Opens Up About Breastfeeding Struggles
By Wyndi Kappes
Best Nursing Pillows-hero
The Best Nursing Pillows (Plus How to Use One)
By Kathleen Harris
entrance of disney world
Photo of Mom Breastfeeding Her Baby on Disney Ride Goes Viral
By Wyndi Kappes
a mother breast pumping milk while sitting on bed at home
Why You Might Consider Power Pumping (and How to Do It)
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
young woman pouring a glass of red wine in kitchen at home
Breastfeeding & Alcohol: Is It Safe to Drink?
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
Article removed.
Article removed.
Name added. View Your List