Our 1 month old baby just fell asleep, on my breast, and you better believe I let it happen. I am not into this whole put them down sleepy but awake thing…I do not want to leave a chance that she will not go to sleep and I will have to do this whole thing again. To be totally honest all of this “advice” and “best practice” BS is what has sparked this post. The truth is, I am a mother of a toddler and a newborn, and I am tired, and I am going to do whatever makes my life easiest at this point.
Many people (and magazines, marketers, doctors, etc) try to be helpful to parents; giving tips on how to make your kid a genius, how to help develop superior motor skills, or proving how your parenting decisions will impact their ability to be upstanding citizens in the future (no pressure). This often leaves moms to be, new moms, and even experienced moms questioning ourselves, our parenting abilities and whether we are doing things “right”. We sit and question, wonder, second guess and google… when the answer really should be, and usually is, what we feel is right!
Not claiming to be an expert here (I have two children… one has turned out so far so good, the other it’s a bit early to call it) or to hypocritically dish out advice, but I have compiled a few of my personal findings on the topic of breastfeeding in hopes that they will resonate with some of you incredible mamas out there. Whether you have a set of tangerines or watermelons, take a peek:
SIDENOTE: Formula mamas– I feel you and have mad respect for you- I have many bright, normal, even excellent people as friends, siblings and colleagues who were formula fed (so all the talk of this being a sub-par alternative is hogwash) I am of the mind that each of us does what they need to do to feed their baby, so go on with your bad self… But this post is for the breast feeders.
- THE “RIGHT WAY”
After breastfeeding our first to one year, and now starting another- I actually looked up a video today to see if I was doing it right. The video showed three possible positions- cradle, football, and laying down. 3 positions. 3 positions? Are you serious- for a large chested Amazon woman like me, I have already found about 19 positions that work… and none of them are nearly as calculated and precise as the 3 outlined in the video. You can’t tell me that what works for an A cup petite (not dissing, I wish I had an A cup) is going to work the same for this set of F’s on a six foot frame. Also important to note that the majority of breastfeeding moms aren’t doing it in “ideal situations” with every prop available… many of us are getting out of the house, staying active, or looking after other children at the same time, so we get a bit creative with our positions.
In the video the lactation consultant also told the new mom that if it hurt she was doing it wrong. I couldn’t disagree more… maybe after a few days or a week if it still hurts you are doing it wrong. In my experience it hurts at first- even if you are doing it right, an area that is used to getting a few seconds (maybe minutes for the lucky ones out there) of action a week goes to being the life of the party for a mini, high powered vacuum cleaner, sometimes as frequently as every hour!! It hurts- even if you are doing it right but stick it out it will get easier.
- NURSING BRAS, SHIRTS, etc
Disclaimer: Once again speaking from a large chested, tall human perspective.
They suck. I have not found ONE item of nursing gear that I LOVE. I have bras that work… temporarily… for around the house, and MAYBE a quick stop at the store. For the most part, my boobs are either hanging lower than is remotely attractive, or I am facing an eternal uni-boob (you know, where your boobs are squished together in the middle, making it appear like you actually only have one strip of breast across your front) that I have to set reminders to re-apply gold bond powder in between them throughout the day. I do have two underwire nursing bras from a very popular brand, which cost me an obscene amount of money- both of which are also terrible. I am completely open to people sending me nursing bras for me to test out, for free of course, please message me for my mailing address… but truthfully, I bet they will suck.
Going braless is not an option unless you want to recreate the milk bar scene from A Clockwork Orange with a not-quite-as-perky statue… What my friends, family, husband and colleagues will just have to accept is that there will be nothing stylish coming from this saggy uni-boob for at least the next 12 months. This, my friends, is perfectly fine J.
I love it. This means freedom to get out a bit a little further down the line, and the ability to extend breastfeeding into back to work, it also means partner involvement… but lets face it- it is funny shit. My mom recently visited to help us through the arrival of our new baby, and she brought along our new DOUBLE PUMP. I struggled my way through our last baby with a single, low powered pump (it took me about 45 minutes to get 3 oz, which I thought was good… until now). I put it all together, excited and hopeful, strapped it on and fired it up… my mom doubled over in laughter and my husband could barely contain himself. The sound of the machine paired with how ridiculous I look with it on is comparable to being on the line in a dairy farm beside two prize heifers- but is it ever worth it… I can pump 5 oz in under 5 minutes. BOOYA.
- PUBLIC FEEDING
People are going to feel awkward. It is likely not because they disapprove, more likely because they still think of our boobs as party favors, things that get flashed at Mardi Gras to get a couple of dollar store necklaces. Unless someone is a mother, they don’t understand how quickly your breasts go from fun bags for hot nights with your significant other to your single most useful piece of equipment you have ever owned. They are precious apparatus.
Here are a couple of guidelines I would like people in public to keep in mind when I am breastfeeding:
- I don’t care if you look, just don’t stare. As stated above, these are precious apparatus, and they are doing a fucking cool thing.
- Yes, I know I am not fully covered- my baby doesn’t like eating with a blanket over their head… do you?
- No, I won’t do this in the bathroom- would you like to eat your meal in a public washroom?
- Would you rather have a screaming baby or for me to quietly nurse my child (particularly useful for long plane rides)?
- YOUR PARTNER
Unless you are in a same sex couple and your partner can breastfeed too (this is possible! I am eternally jealous)- your partner will not understand what it is like to be tethered to a tiny human for as long as you choose to be their sole source of nutrition, so don’t expect them to. it is also not worth your time explaining the pains of engorgement, what it’s like to worry if you are leaking through your shirt even if you have a breast pad on, or waking up to see that “oh joy! ” the baby has slept long… “But wait now I have rocks in my breasts and my nipples are so big my baby can’t put their mouth around them” – what you can do is get them to give a bottle every now and then, give you a little break, maybe even a nap and just come to grips that for the first year, it’s not going to be “equal”.
There you have it. I wouldn’t necessarily say I love breastfeeding. I do love nourishing my baby and seeing her double chin grow. I do love being able to feed her anywhere and at any time, without sterilizing, mixing, heating etc (shoutout to the formula mamas- that shit ain’t easy).. And I am pretty grateful that my body knows how to do this for me and my babe… So I guess we will leave it at that.
Happy Feeding!! Xo Feisty Anonymous
P.S. The person who coined the phrase “don’t cry over spilt milk” was definitely not talking about Breast milk- that shit is for sure worth crying over.