If anybody asked me during my pregnancy if I was planning to breastfeed, I would proudly answer with a big fat “YES!!!” – I was SO keen to breastfeed, even though I had little to no knowledge of how it worked, what it would involve, or what it really meant. I honestly don’t know why I wanted so badly for it to happen for me and our baby – I just did.
After giving birth, I popped that bright pink little bundle of love onto my chest and watched as he rooted around and latched on, feeding like a champ *relief*. Little did I realise that things wouldn’t be so easy when we left the hospital and re-intergrated back into the real world!
Here’s some things I have to say about boobies and babies…
1. You’ll never drink a hot beverage again. Expect all mouthfuls of tea/coffee to be luke warm. Don’t worry, you actually get used to it, and trust me, you’ll just be pleased that you haven’t accidentally taken a huge gulp from a half full mug of something beige you set down yesterday.
2. Everything you could possibly need will be out of reach. This is more common in the beginning weeks. During the first few weeks of breastfeeding my ass was firmly glued to the sofa for what felt like hours, as Tobias clusterfed and napped his way through the day. When he was feeding I wasn’t confident enough to stretch to the glass of water, or reach over to the plug to switch my charger on. So I sat, in the same spot, helpless, staring at the box of celebrations that were just too far out of reach.
Thank god those days are over, now I can successfully brush my teeth, pour a drink, or even drive to the shop with baby still latched on! (I don’t mean to insult anyone’s intelligence but that last one’s a joke!!!! Before the “shit mum” police jump on – obviously).
3. If you pump, you’ll be horrified when you catch a glimpse of your nipples. Just don’t look.
4. People ask stupid, annoying, none of their business questions… “How long are you planning to breastfeed for?”… How long is a piece of string? I DON’T KNOW. “Aren’t you really self conscious about doing it in public?” No, but if I was I’m sure that question would be a huge help. “When are you going to give him a bottle so someone else can have a turn?” GIVE STRENGTH. Genuine curiosity I can accept – but rude passive aggresive questioning from clueless bystanders makes me mum-rage. (A whole new level of rage)
5. Your boobies will resemble water sprinklers sometimes. Honestly I’ve never felt more like a garden water feature in my life. I’ve sprayed Tobias in the eye, myself in the eye, the remote, the coffee table – you name it, I’ve covered it in breastmilk.
6. You’ll have the appetite of a really athletic teenage boy. I’m ravenous. It’s disgusting at times the amount of food I can consume. And I’m not just talking about the snacks (although those are plentiful) – I’m talking about the sheer volume of carbs, the chips, the pasta, the rice, the noodles. Just enjoy it. I’ve accepted that whilst I’m breastfeeding I may as well enjoy the fact that I kind of have an excuse for eating like a total starvo.
7. Mum shaming (in relation to feeding a baby) – it’s EVERYWHERE. It’s apparent in social settings, it goes on in baby classes, it happens ALL OVER FACEBOOK (on the pages, in the groups, in the comment sections). As long as a baby is healthy and happy, why do people get themselves into a bloody state?! I love breastfeeding, it’s been massively straightforward for us (I think I’m one of the lucky few that haven’t hit any major bumps in the road) – but it doesn’t work for some people and that’s NO ONES BUSINESS. I hate mum shaming. I hate it even more when it’s directed at those who have broken their hearts trying to make breastfeeding work and it just hasn’t. Leave new mums alone. Surely if you’re a Mum you understand the absolute terror involved in trying to navigate your way through those first terrifying few weeks. Likewise the other way around – if you’re bashing a Mum for breastfeeding their child, then you should also shut up. I’m a huge believer in the idea that, if you aren’t a baby’s parent or your boobs aren’t involved in how that child is fed, then you need to zip it.
8. A booby solves everything. Atleast in our house it does. My partner has taken to loudly announcing “booby” when Tobias is upset. I bet that fact makes the totalitarian hardcore CIO mums poop their pants (not critiquing that parenting tactic, it just wouldn’t ever work for us). I don’t know how many times I’ve marched back into the living room unclipping my feeding bra, boob out and headed straight for the booby monster. Honestly we live in a mad house.
9. Breastfeeding is glorious, it can be messy and sore, it can be frustrating and heartbreaking. It’s exhausting, but also liberating. Sometimes you feel like you don’t own your own body anymore but in the same day you can look down at the little human you’ve managed to grow and nourish and think “wow, my body is BAD ASS”. There are moments of chaos as you try to get a post vaccination screaming baby to latch, when you’re willing your little one to fall asleep as they fuss and fidget for absolutely no reason, or teething has started and they’re just “off their feed”. But the serene quiet moments, those are beautiful. When you’ve had a long hard day and you look down at that milk drunk face. When the health visitor informs you of your child’s weight gain. And my most recent favourite, breastfeeding my extremely hungry baby in the shower after his first swim because he just couldn’t wait a minute longer – I’ve never experienced moments like these.
Breastfeeding is tough, but it’s sure as hell the most rewarding thing I’ve done.
So let’s raise a boob to our booby milk monsters!