Breastfeeding: Expectations Vs. Reality


Breastfeeding is amazing. It provides our babies with a nutritionally perfect food that nourishes them from day one. We love seeing breastfeeding normalized – whether through photos on news sites or the latest celebrity selfie.

But let’s be honest, breastfeeding in real life is a lot different from the images we see in magazines and on websites. So we asked our community of Medela moms to show us what breastfeeding really looks like.

Hundreds of moms shared their breastfeeding reality on Facebook, and the results were hilarious, inspiring, and just plain honest. Check out a few of our favorites below.


Expectation: quiet nursing moments in an other-worldly white bedroom.
Reality: nursing while gaming in the living room.

Photo via Cheyenne C.G.


Expectation: healthy breastfeeding snacks like fruits and veggies.
Reality: breastfeeding moms are HUNGRY and want to eat some serious comfort food – despite their little one’s silly antics of sticking their feet in mom’s face!

Photo via Antioneya H.


Expectation: older children behaving like your own little helper while you nurse.
Reality: older children plastering your face with stickers while you nurse.

Photo via Nichelle C.                                               


Expectation: a princely little pup that respects boundaries like Jaime King’s.
Reality: your own furry companion wants in on the nursing snuggles.

Photo via Joy D.



Expectation: Plenty of relaxing nursing moments in bed.
Reality: Plenty of busy nursing moments cooking dinner for the family.

Photo via Lindsay F.


Expectation: a toddler who sits quietly and keeps you company while you nurse.
Reality: a toddler who passes out in your other arm while you nurse.

Photo via Chenoa P.


Expectation: you’ll perfect the cradle hold.
Reality: you’ll perfect the cradle hold, but your baby will have another position in mind.

Photo via Heather M.R.


Expectation: you’ll go out to dinner and look glamorous as you nurse your baby and normalize breastfeeding in public.
Reality: a burger on the couch is just so much easier and so much tastier!

Photo via Jessica B.


Expectation: you’ll have all the help you need to get ready in the morning and nurse your baby.
Reality: you are your own personal stylist and you still feed your child.

Photo via Danielle E.


Expectation: your shopping trips will be interrupted by intermittent nursing breaks on boutique couches.
Reality: your shopping trips will be interrupted by intermittent nursing breaks in fitting rooms.

Photo via Michelle G.


Expectation: you’ll look as cool and effortless as celebrity moms while you pump.
Reality: you’ll nervously pump in the car under a cover-up because you can’t find a private nursing room.

Photo via Claire T.


Expectation: you’ll have time for a nursing photoshoot so you can remember these precious moments.
Reality: what time? Your days are spent running errands and breastfeeding on-the-go.

Photo via Brie B.


Expectation: your partner will lovingly look on as you nourish and grow your little one.
Reality: life with a new baby means if there’s an opportunity for you OR your partner to sleep – you’ll take it!

Photo via Shanna L.


Expectation: you’ll be able to sit back and perfect that moody smoky eye while you’re nursing.
Reality: you’ll have an older child holding a toy mirror in your face while you nurse and scramble through your makeup.

Photo via Jamie N.



Expectation: you’ll take glowy pictures of yourself pumping, complete with gorgeous blowout.
Reality: you’ll pump and nurse at the same time with no time left for doing your hair.

Photo via Carissa M.


Expectation: you’ll take your little one on all of your vacations and adventures.
Reality: baby gets to spend time with grandma and grandpa and you pump on all of your vacations and adventures.

Photo via Becky M.P.


Expectation: you’ll spend serene moments contemplating the miracle of breastfeeding.
Reality: your serene moments contemplating breastfeeding are interrupted by a game of catch with an older child.

Photo via Bridget C.


Expectation: you’ll have plenty of one-on-one time with your new baby.
Reality: you’ll have plenty of four-on-one time with ALL your babies.

Photo via Mimi G.


Expectation: you’ll set up a home office, put on cute work clothes, and nurse when your baby is hungry.
Reality: you’ll open your laptop wherever you can and nurse seemingly all the time!