I can distinctly remember when I committed myself to breastfeeding.
I was in between contractions in the triage at the hospital, hoping – praying – for pain meds when a nurse approached me and asked, “Will you be breastfeeding?”
Clearly, it was not the question I was really interested in. I was more interested in a sedative or even a glimmer of light at the end of this painful pregnancy tunnel.
I rambled off a “yes” and squinted with pain without realizing what a huge commitment I had just made.
Me being jovial at the hospital.
Can you see the sunshine beaming from my face?
But that’s when it all began. The start to this super weird journey of creating food and becoming a human milk machine, prone to leakage and with boobs so rock hard I could leave you bruised if you hugged me too hard.
Since those first days at the hospital with my baby girl, my life has basically revolved around breastfeeding. Everything I do, everything I plan, everywhere I go is based off of when I will need to feed, pump or refrigerate. And let me just say – breastfeeding is weird.
So let’s break this down.
10 weird things about breastfeeding
1. Leakage- So it turns out that if your baby sleeps through the night, your boobs still produce milk as if the baby was waking for feedings. So what happens when this occurs? You wake up with super huge, leaky boobs. It’s both remarkable and hilarious when you’re sprinting to get your bra on while there’s milk dripping all over the floor.
2. Boob pads – To go along with the whole lactating thing, you have to wear maxi pads for your boobs. They are these little round pads you slip into your bra so that if and when your boobs start leaking, the pad catches it and you continue on with these soaked pieces of cotton wedged into your chest. The fun part about boob pads for me is that my dog likes to eat them out of the trash. Gross. I’m literally feeding both my child and my dog with my breastmilk and I’m TOTALLY NOT COOL will the latter.
3. Pumping – As a full-time working mom, pumping is a must. If you don’t pump, your boobs get backed up and I’m pretty sure you just explode into a million pieces of confetti. I can’t prove it, but that’s what it feels like. The weird thing about pumping is you have this scary looking machine that milks your boobs. I’ve never felt more like a farm animal in my life.
This is what my breast pump looks like. Scary, right? It looks like some kind of satellite dish for your boobs.
(Photo from Ameda.com)
4. Explaining that you have to pump – Perhaps the weirdest and most awkward conversations I’ve had in my life have revolved around me explaining that I have to pump. I started a new job when Cecilia was almost four months old and one of the first conversations I had to have with HR was “Hey, I gotta milk my boobs, where can I do that?” So I’m designated a conference room at the FARTHEST corner of the office from where I sit (and I work in a very big office building). I swear I walk about a mile each day back and forth to do that… maybe that’s helping with the baby weight too. I work with a bunch of dudes, and I’m pretty sure at least 75 percent of them don’t even know what I mean when I say I have to pump. They probably think I’m pumping gas or churning butter or something. I don’t know why they would think I’m churning butter.
5. Getting crafty because you don’t have access to a fridge– Breast milk only lasts for so long without needing refrigeration. I am a journalist. I cover meetings and events and I’m often working out of my car. So what does this mean? I have to find a place to store my breast milk. Solution? I get a cup of ice from a gas station or what not and literally make my own cooler to hold it over until I get home.
6. Pumping while driving – It may not be the safest thing to do on the road, but I dare say it’s better than texting while driving, it’s not illegal and it saves me A LOT OF TIME. I have a 30-minute commute to and from work. That means I have 30 minutes dedicated to pumping in traffic. I wear a cover so other drivers can’t see my goodies. Best thing I’ve ever done.
7. Covers – Turns out there is a market for boob covers. So there’s all this debate on the internet about moms who openly breastfeed their kids in public with their boobs hanging out all over the place. That’s cool and all, but it’s not my style. I got this super handy dandy cover I put around my neck to use as I feed my baby. I guarantee you that only a few people ever even notice when I’m feeding in public… but feeding in public can still feel weird from time to time.
8. Pictures of breastfeeding – To each their own, right? I’m all about expressing yourself in whatever way you see fit and more power to ya. However, I PERSONALLY think it’s a little weird when people post breastfeeding pictures all over the Internet. Here’s why. It’s not about the fact that you’re breastfeeding or I can see the side of your boob or anything. It’s about the fact that one day your child will grow up to be a teenager and there will be a picture of them attached to nipple floating around the Internet.
9. The stare – Hey you know those shirts that say “Hey I’m up here” with an arrow pointing up at your face? Yeah, that’s basically how I feel every time my child gets a glimpse of my boobs. She literally stares me down and fixates her eyes on my rack. So weird, yet so funny. I get it! You’re hungry! (She’s basically always hungry)
10. Boobs of steel – I mentioned it briefly above, but let me reiterate – when you breastfeed and your boobs start to produce a lot of milk they get SUPER BIG and super hard. Also, if you feed your baby on one side and not the other, than one boob remains super big and hard while the other goes limp. Look in the mirror sometime when you do that, it’s hilarious. It’s like having one happy boob and one sad boob. Cheer up, sad boob, you’ve done your job.
Now don’t get me wrong, breastfeeding my child was one of the best decisions I’ve made so far. She’s healthy as can be, she’s never been sick and I’ve dropped my baby weight unbelievably fast. If I could knock my Oreo habit, I’d probably be skinnier than I was before I was pregnant because of breastfeeding.
BUT, as I mentioned, it’s super weird, and I find enormous amounts of humor in it. So keep on keepin’ on, fellow milk maids and dairy queens. At the end of the day, we all made this sacrifice out of love for our babies and one day when they are teenagers we can taunt them with the idea of running one of those breastfeeding pics in their senior yearbook. Cheers to happy, healthy babies and the best exercise-free workout you’ll ever have!
They say your kids will be smarter if you breastfeed, and one day my kid just randomly turned into an astronaut. It was remarkable.