Friday, January 11th, 2013
Please commence giggling like a seventh grader at the mere mention of the word. I know I still do.
As the boobs I was dreaming of in the second trimester have returned to their “squeeze them together just so and there will be cleavage” status, I’m very aware that soon they’ll actually serve a purpose besides filling out my shirts.
As they’re about to move from sexy to functional, and at the news that many insurance companies now cover breast pumps and other nursing support free of charge, I can’t help but reflect on the breastfeeding process as I prep for my re-commitment to the boob.
Breastfeeding is baptism by fire. The body starts the milk making process no matter what a lady decides to do and that process ain’t easy. Holy engorgement I’m talking to you. The fiasco that is the milk coming in is one I remember all too well.
If someone had said, “you’re going to be sobbing, sweating, and topless on the floor while your jugs are as hard as rocks, huge, real, and not spectacular,” I would have wondered if there was another way. No amount of pre-ruffage of the nipples or cabbage leaves assuaged the pain. Endurance was the name of the game or “this too shall pass.”
The actual nursing part hurt for a much longer haul. It took six weeks for my bits to stop cracking and bleeding and feeling like a tiny piranha was gnawing them off. I’d been warned about the actual time it takes for nursing to stop hurting, but it still didn’t stop me from crying every time my daughter latched in an odd mixture of happiness that she was getting it, and silent expletives at how bad it hurt.
There is just so much to breastfeeding. It takes planning: easy access clothes, a place to nurse, timing, paraphernalia (nipple shields, hooter hiders, whatever a lady fancies). It’s hard to be at the beck and call of the boob. Nursing boobs themselves are awkward lumps of milk, leakage, and unpredictability. They, like most of us in the middle school years, need a while to work their awkward out.
Also, I nursed in isolation for much of the time my first go round and that my friends, is enough to send a lady to the loony bin. Listening to everyone in the other room yuck it up made me more than a wee bit lonely. This time, I know better.
I refuse to let my hangups about nursing in public or in front of others hold me back. Boob schmoobs. Ain’t no thing. I’m feeding my kid when I need to and if somebody sees something in the process, lucky them.
After the initial six week transition, breastfeeding got easier and enjoyable, but at times it was still just plain endurable.
Nursing is not always ethereal, natural, toplessness in fields of flowers (actual images retrieved when searching “breastfeeding” on the stock photo website). Sometimes, it’s simply primal grunts, guzzles, and slurps. I think something in that is incredible though. It’s doable. And even, lovable.
Despite the difficulty it was to nurse at times, I really did love it. It was just more of a frenemies to friends, to lovers kind of relationship. More romantic comedy/horror than straight romance.
I’m an advocate of breastfeeding but not because it’s easy or I loved every second. I’m no La Leche League member, but I am a believer and supporter in what the body can do. It’s amazing. And sometimes ridiculously hard.
It can be rough for so many reasons but I’m hoping with my Bachelor’s in breastfeeding, I’m ready for my Master’s this go round. I hear it’s typically easier the second time. I’m optimistic about a smoother transition, but I’m not afraid to be a little bamboozled by the girls again.
I’m praying with my previous experience that my boobs will be bigger, better, faster stronger at this nursing thing.
Image: Mother nursing a newborn via Zurijeta/Shutterstock.com