titty baby

1

July 23, 2012 by Heather

The word “breast” has always made me extremely uncomfortable.  “Boob” is much nicer, if you ask me.  “Breast” is just so… I don’t know.  Too sensual and anatomy-ish sounding all at the same time.  I can barely say chicken breast without feeling weird.  So naturally, the topic of breastfeeding has always made me squirm.

Of course, now that practically everyone in the world has seen my nipples and who knows what else, I can say “brrrrreast” loud and proud and with a rolling “r.”  It’s true what they say – becoming a mother sort of forces you to lose your sense of modesty.  Not that I really had a sense of that before.

Back in January I promised not to blog about breastfeeding on account that no one should have to read about my fun bags.  Well, I lied.  And you don’t have to read about them.  You are choosing to.

Breastfeeding has been quite the adventure.  I am very fortunate that Parker came out knowing how to suck like a shop-vac, so that made things easier. Ever since the  nurse handed him to me in the recovery room and suggested I try feeding him (in front of everyone, oh me), he has been going to town on these things.  The day after he was born, the lactation consultant came in to offer some pointers and was amazed at how good of a job he was already doing.  My son, the overachiever.  Just like his father.

Maybe I should make a bumper sticker like those honor roll ones on the backs of minivans.  It could say, “MY SON BREASTFEEDS BETTER THAN YOUR SON.”  The lady on the Time Magazine cover probably has one like that.

I’ve said it before, but I had no idea that breastfeeding would be so difficult or so all-consuming.  And by difficult I mean painful at times (for me) and hard to get used to.  In the beginning especially, it felt like that was ALL I DID.  And it still feels like that to a certain extent.  The only difference now is that he eats faster and I’ve learned how to do things quicker, and it doesn’t hurt.  I’ve also learned his schedule and can organize my day around it.  I now know when he eats the most and when he might just need a snacky snack.  A nipple nosh, if you will.

I guess I thought that having a little suckling babe attached to my boobs would feel good or something.  I’m not sure what I thought.  For the first six weeks it felt quite hellish, with the very worst of it being in weeks 1-5.  Oh good Lord above, that mess hurt like the dickens.  He was constantly eating and my breasticles had very few short breaks to recover from the nipple abuse I’d just received at the previous feeding.  It was udderly awful.  Heh, heh.

Week three was the worst.  That was when I almost quit.  One nipple was bleeding and the other one developed this weird sore on it that eventually dried up and fell off, which was as disgusting as it sounds.  My toes would curl every single time he latched on and I would grit my teeth and bite my tongue to keep from yelling what was going through my head.  One time I did yell it, and I still feel bad about that.  I think it was then that Andrew began doubting my ability to be a sane mother.  Ha.

After that week, we broke down and bought the $300 breast pump that would ultimately be my saving grace.  For a while I pumped one bottle a day, which allowed me to have a break in the evenings and gave Andrew a chance to help out with feeding Parker.  Pumping did not hurt like actual breastfeeding did.  Everything I read said that if it hurt then your baby is doing something wrong or you have an infection.  I’m calling B.S. on that.  OF COURSE it is going to hurt for a little while.  A man doctor probably came up with that advice.

I compare breastfeeding to learning how to play the guitar.  When you start to learn chords and whatnot, it hurts for a while until your fingertips get a little calloused and toughened up.  It takes a while for your nipples to get used to what is going on.  And when they do, it is a bazillion times way better.

I still struggle sometimes with how limiting and time-consuming it is.  I am not comfortable breastfeeding in public, so in order to do stuff, I have to time our outings around his feedings.  Or have a bottle pumped and ready, which may or may not be the case.  I am getting used to it though.  Feeding him in the backseat of the car, slipping away to a bedroom to feed him when we have company.  I’m not real good at breastfeeding beneath a blanket (nip slip!), and he is super hot-natured so he hates it.

There have been a couple occasions where I have been out and about and Andrew is home with him and I did not have a bottle pumped for him to use.  So Parker has had formula a couple of times, and I am totally ok with that.  We keep some to have just in case, and it is nice to have on hand.  Back when I was entertaining the idea of quitting, I searched high and low for anything that would say that formula feeding was just as good as breastfeeding.  What I found were a lot of judgy mom websites that left me feeling confused and defeated.  “Breastfeeding is the best way to bond with your baby.”  Yeah, unless you are yelling obscenities every time he latches on!  I really hated it for the first month and a half.

So that is where we are right now.  It actually does not hurt at all anymore when he nurses, PRAISE THE LORD.  Every now and then he’ll chew on it like a piece of doublemint gum and that isn’t so great, but it’s nothing a gentle flick to his little forehead can’t stop.  And it has definitely become a bonding thing.  He’ll look up at me and smile while he is eating and it just melts my heart.  Like, “Mom, you make the best food ever.”  When I feed him after exercising we call it a milkshake.  I’m sure those are especially delicious.

I will say this:  I understand now why some people choose not to breastfeed.  It is really hard.  And I know research says that formula is not as nutritious as breast milk, but you know, they sell it for a reason.  Some women cannot breastfeed for whatever reason, and you will never see me judging anyone because of it.

But I am grateful that I’ve stuck with it.  Thank you to those of you who reached out and encouraged me to keep on keepin’ on.  I have learned to love it, and I love that I know Parker is getting the very best food possible.  Plus it allows me to justify watching two or three episodes of Mad Men each day.

My little sucker fish.

HAPPY MONDAY!  Tomorrow is moving day, yeehaw 🙂

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One thought on “titty baby

  1. I wanted to so bad…but my lady lumps were (and still are presently) too big and thus the milk ducts were restricted causing my milk flow to…well not. So David would suck me dry, then keep sucking for more but would ultimately pass out from exhaustion and then we’d start over half an hour later. If I could do it all over again I would have pumped more and bottle fed the breast milk. And I’m set on doing that next time around with No. 2. You can freeze and save breast milk for like a year I think; it’s what my mom did with my siblings so that she could have bottles for outings and emergencies and so forth. Very handy!

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