Nursing is a way to connect and bond with your baby – to nurture her and to provide her with the nutrients she needs while instilling in her a sense of comfort and security. Breastfeeding is a beautiful thing, I get it.
But I’m going to be honest with you, it’s not all shits and giggles (not for me anyways). In fact, there are some things that I loathe about my lovely lady lumps becoming milking teats for my ravenous baby.
1) Becoming “The Hunchback of Nursing Dame”.
I used to have the dainty posture of a ballerina. Yes, my many years of hunching over a computer keyboard may have contributed to my slightly-curved stature, but breastfeeding has advanced my stance to a full-on hunchback. It is simply impossible for me to bring breast to mouth without curving my back into the shape of a semicircle.
2) Hearing “Mommy Cloey’s crying, she needs you to milk her!” from my kids – on an hourly basis.
For some reason people who are holding, in close proximity to, or even aware of the presence of a nursing baby, feel the need to educate the mother on when that baby is hungry.
With the first squawk or crank of the neck it’s “ohhh she’s hungry..” or in the case of my kids, “she needs mommy to milk her.” Well guess what world: mommy cows always know when their calves need to be milked. The reality is, we either: a) have just fed baby and know it’s more likely a soiled diaper or a desire to be held in a new position, b) we are avoiding nursing because we don’t feel comfortable doing so in public (see #3 below), or c) we are trying to set a feeding schedule for our cluster-feeding offspring.
3) Fear of showing my breast-ginas to the world.
I’m not an exhibitionist. In fact, I’m quite the opposite. I still change in the private stalls at public pools, I feel awkward in tops with plunging necklines, and I even keep my bikini top on at topless beaches. Prude? No. Modest? Maybe.
I’m almost as uncomfortable with flashing my nips as I would be if I were flashing my va-jay-jay in a public place. I will go out of my way to hide my areolas from the world my friends.
4) Wearing a wardrobe based on boob accessibility.
I’ve finally pumped out that little life that has occupied my body for 9 months, I’ve lost most of the baby weight, and I’m finally ready to leave the confines of my home. Too bad I can’t wear anything because I’m nursing!
Maternity clothes no longer fit – the chest and belly fabric has been stretched thin, deforming every top and dress in my closet. I can’t wear my pre-baby clothes either because most of them don’t provide access to the boob. So I’m restricted to t-shirts and stretch pants. Sexy.
5) Wishing for an epic latch.
I don’t care what anyone else says, nursing hurts. I’m on my third baby and this fact has not changed. In the beginning, when baby has first arrived and is ravenously searching for her first sip of mommy’s nectar, it effing HURTS. Like curl-your-toes, squish-your-eyes-tightly-shut, clench-your-fists hurts. And while that initial pain eventually subsides, the fear of a bad latch will haunt you. For me, the feeling of having a baby feed off my sensitive lady bits never feels soothing or enjoyable. I wince every time she opens her mouth and eagerly approaches my milk bag.
But despite all of the discomfort, I can say this: breastfeeding is worth it when your baby releases her suction, relaxes her clenched fists, and falls into a lovely milk coma like this: