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What I Wish I’d Known Then: A Poem

October 25, 2009

Welcome to the October Carnival of Breastfeeding! At the end of this post you will find the links to other participants in this carnival.

What I Wish I’d Known Then

I wish I’d known that breastfeeding was going to be hard, despite what the manuals implied
That it was going to hurt for about four months
That my baby was going to be unable to get a proper latch for several weeks
That I was going to get thrush
That I’d have to buy a double electric pump and learn to hate it
That my baby wouldn’t nurse the way it said in the manuals
That I wasn’t going to be able to comfort nurse my baby for about eight months.

I wish I’d known that I’d need a supply of grapefruit seed extract
That I shouldn’t wear a bra all day
That milk on the sheets is better than having an infection
That I’d have enough milk to feed twins
That nursing lying down is the easiest way for a new mother to get some rest
That bed-sharing can also help a new mother to get some rest
That The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding was the manual I should have read
That focused practice and the perspective of another can really help.

I wish I’d known when and where the local La Leche League held their meetings
That babies vary so much in the way they nurse
That there was no one “right” way
That I would find support at a babywearing group
That I would find comfort at a diaper free baby group
That I would find friends at a breastfeeding group.

I wish I’d know then that not everyone judges
That I shouldn’t worry about offending people by feeding my child
That there was no reason to judge a bottle-feeding mother
That I needed to be brave, if only for myself
That my mother would disapprove of public nursing
That men would get embarrassed by something that should be normal
But that not everyone has these issues so I shouldn’t dwell on it.

I wish I’d known then that I’d be so insanely passionate about breastfeeding
That I would care so much about babies that weren’t even mine
That I would become judgmental
That I would offend someone
That my feelings would get hurt
That I would hide in shame to avoid confrontation
That I would be humbled and emerge a stronger woman
That breastfeeding is a journey, not unlike motherhood itself.

I didn’t know then that breastfeeding would complete me as a woman
That it would challenge me in ways I never dreamt of
That I would be so fulfilled by something so simple
That I could be so in awe of my own body
That I could have such an intimate relationship with a child
That it would change my relationship with my husband
That it would give me so much peace of mind
That breastfeeding is even better than I had ever imagined.

And that it does get better.


Other participants in this month’s Carnival of Breastfeeding:

What I wish I’d known then…that it wasn’t up to me alone by Happy Bambino’s Blog
4 things I wish I’d known about breastfeeding by Three Girl Pile-up
What  I wish I would have know about breastfeeding by Birth Activist
You don’t have to grin and bear it by Melodie at Breastfeeding Moms Unite!
If I’d Known Then… by Whozat
What I wish I’d known then–My list for next time by Momma’s Angel
I wish I would’ve known! by strwberryjoy
What I Wish I’d Known Back Then About Breastfeeding by Christina at Massachusetts Friends of Midwives
AP Principle #2: What I wish I’d known when I started breastfeeding by Hobo Mama
When breastfeeding begins badly, and what I should have done about it by The Milk Mama
Breastfeeding: Wish I’d Heard More Good Things! by Fancy Pancakes
15 Breastfeeding Facts I Wish I’d Known as a First Time Breastfeeding Mum by Breastfeeding Mums
When Breastfeeding Feels Wrong by Fighting Off Frumpy
Nursing Wisdom by Cave Mother
Trust Yourself and Your Body by Bliss Tree
Breastfeeding: What I Wish I’d Known Then by MomUnplugged
Breastfeeding is life changing by Blacktating

12 Comments leave one →
  1. October 26, 2009 7:58 am

    so true…so very true. The books said it would be easy, natural…I did get the book you mentioned, and it was great. I got mastitis 4 times with my 2 girls. I agree, I loved it, but it wasn’t easy in the beginning.

  2. October 26, 2009 9:36 am

    Beautiful! I love all of these posts that have so many pieces of information. I chose one thing I didn’t know but I love how much I relate to so many of the other participant’s posts. There really is so much I wish I’d known then.

  3. October 26, 2009 10:29 am


    Beautiful thoughts here. I breastfeed as well, and find it rewarding. My daughter is 9 months. She is dairy, soy, & gluten sensitive which has forced me to alter my diet .It took some time getting used to… But well worth it!


  4. October 26, 2009 10:51 am

    “I wish I’d known then that I’d be so insanely passionate about breastfeeding”

    Me too. All you say is correct. And I bet if I have another baby, I will learn a whole lot more again.

  5. October 26, 2009 11:40 am

    Love this poem. I relate to a lot of it, altho we had an easy time from the start, and I was feeling pretty damn passionate about it from oh, day six. After I got my bruised nipples solved. Breastfeeding is definitely one of the coolest things I’ve done. I don’t know if someone who hasn’t breastfed (I’m thinking of my husband) can understand how cool it is, even if he can intellectually appreciate it.
    I’ll have to check out The Motherly Art of Breastfeeding- not Womanly, the La Leche book? I like LLL’s Womanly Art of BF, also Nursing Mother’s Companion.

    • October 26, 2009 11:54 am

      Oops, I thought I’d fixed that. It is “Womanly” not “Motherly.” I meant the LLL book. Sorry!

  6. October 26, 2009 12:28 pm

    Love this poem, especially the stanza about not knowing how passionate you’d become about breastfeeding. It’s really amazing, the way it changes your whole perspective on child rearing.

  7. Modern Milkmaid permalink
    October 27, 2009 6:10 am

    This was beautiful and gave me the tingles. Thank you.

  8. October 27, 2009 12:23 pm

    Thanks for all your comments! I am trying to get around to reading everyone’s posts.

  9. October 30, 2009 2:25 am

    This is so intriguing to hear your story in these bare lines — like a tantalizing glimpse into the stories that lie behind those statements. I’m glad you persevered through all the difficulties and discomforts (physical and emotional), and that now you’re putting out what you learned for someone else to hopefully have an easier time of it. And written so beautifully, too!

  10. November 2, 2009 11:23 pm

    Wow — just now reading this, and I really enjoyed it.

    Thank you!


  1. Mumunplugged : For switched on Northern Irish mums

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