I don’t know why they call this womanly. Or natural for that matter. Breastfeeding isn’t easy at first, and it sure as heck isn’t glamorous.
There’s things the books tell you, but they don’t really lay it out on the line. And even if you’ve done it before, you’re right back in the thick of it before you truly remember exactly what it is like.
There’s the leaking, that’s always fun. There’s nursing pads on the market to catch the ‘drips’ but really, they don’t make anything for streams. I’m telling you all this so you’ll know in advance. It took me two days to realize the reason I was chilly was not because the house was, but because my shirt was always wet. And since this is baby #4, I think my bra size is now a 42 long. Forgetting to actually wear a bra for the past week or so probably didn’t help. I realized this potential problem when found I was leaking on the waistband of my pants.
There’s also the fluctuating size and condition of my beloved breasts, once so tame and modest. There’s the above mentioned spewing of milk every time Emma cries, whimpers or fusses. Okay, so they also leak whenever she ‘adjusts’ her schedule and is late for a feeding, whenever someone even mentions nursing her, or just spontaneously. Dave next door even asked (because he was curious) if they change size depending on how much milk is in them. I wisely resisted the urge to haul up my shirt and prove it. they go from empty and floppy, to extra-full and rock hard, and every point in between. It’s like magic, or a new toy.
“Fluctuating Breast-O-Rama! Never needs batteries!”
Emma occasionally has the habit of not draining a breast (or two). This sometimes leaves full and slightly painful pockets of milk just sitting there. Sometimes I think I may have enough leftover to help support a third world country.
And then there’s latching on. Sounds like some sort of tactical manouver. We manage to connect up correctly most of the time, unless it is say, 3 a.m and Ron is sound aslep and I can’t reach over him to turn on the light. It’s also rather difficult to do (even with the lights on) when you have an excited baby rooting around furiously and screaming in frustration while trying to dock their mouth onto a spraying slippery nipple.
It’s not just the boobs, there’s the whole rest of the outfit. The baggy sweatpants you wore while pregnant which are now stretched beyond repair, the t-shirt with dried-up blotches of milk in various places (including wet spots), wooly socks, and ragged housecoat. Don’t forget to pull your messy hair back quickly, forget brushing it, and add some big dark purple circles under your eyes. Add a half-filled lukewarm mug of tea in one hand, baby on hip and a stale cinnamon roll within easy reach of the rocking chair. The expression on my face should be a mix of frustration and bewilderment over the fact that Emma will fuss and fidget when she’s done nursing, but calm down completely when I hand her over to Ron.
There. Now you have a picture of me.
For some reason, Ron finds this incredibly attractive, and most of our older friends & relatives keep looking at me like I’m the Madonna and Child. But I wouldn’t change a thing, and I might secretly be enjoying every moment.
Except for the intermittent screaming.