In a Tom Cruise jumps on Oprah’s sofa sort of way, I’m pretty chuffed I’ve finished up breastfeeding.
As a mother, you often resign yourself to the fact that your infantile dictator will have you at their beck and call for quite some time. Night. And. Day — the feeding, and the pooping, and the napping, and the comforting, and the cleaning, and the losing of the mind.
Having two babies in two years has been one steep learning curve and I have learned more about life, and about myself, than I had done in the subsequent 30 odd years before that.
Breed they say. It will be wondrous they say. It’s what they don’t say that leaves you exclaiming, ‘What sort of fuckery is this?!’
Evidently, it’s widely assumed that you already know what to do because nowhere in the prenatal care I received did it mention anything about breastfeeding other than the ‘Breast is Best’ message.
Here’s what I figured out quick smart:
1. It hurts!
I might as well have offered up my nipple to a ravenous dog and have it savaged like a well worn chew toy, throwing in the sucking ferocity of a Dyson for good measure. As I perfected the latching technique after seeing a lactation consultant, the pain eased up. But the discomfort doesn’t end there.
The let down reflex is when the muscles around the ducts contract ejecting the milk. Ever had acupuncture with 50,000 hot needles in your boobs? No? Me neither, but I reckon that’s pretty close.
Getting my info-mercial on, but wait there’s more! On the extremely rare occasion I was lucky enough to get out for some mummy alone time, if I missed a scheduled feed, those puppies just kept filling up. They would get so full my boobs kind of started from my armpit, filling almost as high up my chest as my collarbone. Over full and achy, I imagine that’s what blue balls feel like.
2. They get hot.
Searing hot. Hot rock therapy stones have been placed on your chest type of hot. Waking through the night on many occasions feeling menopausal, I couldn’t work out if I was sweating like a flush shoe addict in Jimmy Choo, or if they were leaking.
3. Oh yeah… they leak.
Everywhere. Post birth, I was padded up to the nines, I had pads in my pants and in my brassiers. Here’s a tip, get the plastic backed ones and remember to put them in before you make an appearance on national television. #SoggyHeadlights #Akward.
4. The Thirst
You know how in vampire movies they all talk about newborn, freshly turned vampires having an uncontrollable and crazed insatiable thirst? Yep, like that. So thirsty, one could suck the water from the kitchen tap with more efficiency and enthusiasm than a $2 hooker.
5. The Footy Socks
Sigh, it’s bittersweet. When all is said and done, my spawn have literally sucked the life from me. My once firm, pert baps are no more and I now have less than what I started with. Flesh that resembles footy socks now takes up residence in my brassier. On the up side, it was awesome seeing the calories go to someone else’s thighs for a change and I never once felt guilty about tucking into my second custard-filled doughnut. Or my third for that matter.
It is such a double-edged sword when I wish that these hard, tiring and difficult times would pass because there will come a time when I wish it had never ended. Like when my daughter is 16 years of age, slamming her bedroom door in my face screaming about how much she fucking hates me and how I’m so OLD I couldn’t possibly know what it’s like to be a teenager.
When one parenting challenge ends, a different one begins.
Think I’ll just take it one step at a time, making it up as I go. As long as my kids are alive, happy and fed at the end of each day, that’s a win. And don’t worry, if you don’t know what you’re doing, no one does!