5 Things I’ve Learned About Breastfeeding

237 Comments

breastfeeding-baby

My boobs used to be really cute. No, really, they were. They were small, but nicely shaped and perky to no end. But then I had kids, chose to breastfeed, and that was the end of that.

My second son loves nursing, and needless to say, after a year of being the milk bar I don’t even recognize my boobs anymore. I have, however, learned a few new things:

1. The Boob Is Now A Binky.  The left one specifically. He can’t seem to fall asleep until he has smooshed his little face against it like a pillow. Since that pillow is pretty fluffed up by bedtime, he has to nurse it dry to deflate it enough for sleep. If that isn’t proof enough, during the day he jams his hands down my shirt to pull out his Booby Binky. His big brother stole his Lego? Binky time. He bonked his head? Binky time. Grocery store is loud and scary? Binky time. Needs to hide his graham cracker? Shove it down the shirt with his Binky.

2. Hands Off The Goods, Dad. Anytime – and I mean any time – my husband makes a move toward my chest my son seems to sense it. He is like a quarter pint sized Yoda using the force to protect the milk supply. Sex is already difficult after kids because there is no time – or place – to do it, but it becomes even more awkward because touching these baby-seeking missiles triggers the milk switch. Nature made boobs to be a smart delivery system… just not smart enough to tell the difference between baby time and husband time.

3. Public Exposure. Honestly, this one scared the crap out of me. While I was pregnant I read story after story about women who were shamed in public for nursing. While I do not intimidate very easily, pregnancy and newborns turn even the most seasoned moms into vulnerable creatures. I wasn’t excited about my nipples causing a stir. Then one day in the middle of the grocery store my infant son started screaming. Without even thinking about it, I whipped out my boob and started nursing him in his baby sling while searching for non-chlorine baby wipes.

4. More Whine Than Wine. Probably the worst truth of all about breastfeeding is that unless you want to pump and dump until you are blue in the face, you really can’t drink countless glasses of wine. As much as I kid about loving my wine, I have to measure what I drink and time it enough so that I can be sure the sweet libation is not getting into my milk supply. I like wine, but my baby probably wouldn’t. So, I whine a lot. But you know, the kid has got to wean at some point in the next 500 years, right?!

5. Free Range Boobs. I used to have lots of bras that were every color of the rainbow. Some were padded, some were silky, and some looked kind of like Ace Bandages but were unbelievably comfortable. I don’t wear any of them anymore and am now sporting free-range boobs under my shirt. And why is that, you ask? Since my cup size moves up and down a few sizes throughout the day, and because the kid is always attempting to pull a boob out of my shirt, a bra is now about as functional as a turtleneck on prom night.

Nursing is a difficult job. It taxes a mother’s patience, lady physique, libido, and ability to get anything done. I want to say that no matter what it is worth the work involved and that I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world, but that is only half true for me. I adore my little Linus, but I do miss my boobs.

What did you learn from breastfeeding?

Related post: 10 (Mildly Shallow) Reasons To Breastfeed

The 5 Most Awkward Moments as a Nursing Mother

222 Comments

breastfeeding

1. Your boobs are center stage… and not in a good way. The first days and weeks after your baby is born,  you will find that the only thing you talk about more than poop is your breasts— and not in a sexy way. Cracked nipples, clogged ducts, engorgement and leakiness will become main topics of discussion. And while your partner may enjoy your new DDD bust size, your boobs will have never felt less sexy. In fact, between the midwife, the lactation consultant and your baby… everyone BUT your husband will be fondling you.

2. Your milk lets down at the most unfortunate times. In the early days of engorged, milk-filled boobs, I couldn’t even predict when my milk would let down and subsequently soak through my breast pads, bra and shirt. The most awkward times that come to mind are: in the middle of a graduate school class, during a job interview and while knocking boots with my husband.

3. You will end up having to nurse in front of someone you never thought would see your breasts. Even if you are totally comfortable nursing in public without a cover, there are those unexpected moments when you are caught boob-out and mortified. I was working on the weekend with my newborn at my empty office and my boss walked in during a nursing session. My daughter turned to look and milk sprayed all down my side. Other awkward instances for me have included male family members (brother, dad, grandpa) and skeevy strangers.

4. Your baby thinks your nipples are a toy. There will come a day when you baby will notice your nipples. They have always been aware of them, but their instincts kicked in and they just latched on and didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about what the vehicle for milk distribution actually was. When this day comes, your baby will be in the middle of nursing and pull away, furrow his brow and just stare. Then ever-so-slowly he will bring his hand up and (here’s the real awkward moment) he will tweak, pinch or flick your nipple, and then, just to add insult to injury, he’ll giggle. Because obviously you’ve realized by now that your nipples are hilarious, right?

5. Your baby becomes verbal and knows how to gain access. Eventually your baby will learn to say, and in my case sign, when he wants a drink. He will start demanding “milk” by yelling, signing with his hand (regretfully the sign for milk looks like you’re milking a cow udder) and burrowing his face in your cleavage. Beware of low-cut shirts, because you can count on your baby flashing the cashier at the supermarket when looking for a snack. Also, be sure to choose the word you use for nursing wisely, I’d much rather hear “milk” screamed in public than “boobies!”

10 (Mildly Shallow) Reasons To Breastfeed

363 Comments

Reasons To Breastfeed

I breastfeed my kids. I’m passionate about it. I’m righteous about it. But I’m not entirely honest about it.

I advertise that I do it for the heartfelt and health-related reasons we’ve all heard from other moms and pediatricians a bazillion times. But come on. If there weren’t also some hardcore mama-centric reasons to let my kid nibble on my nips for a year, I’d never be able to endure the insane commitment. These are the reasons that see me through the worst breastfeeding days and get me to hang in there when I want to bail. They’re pretty damn shallow, but whatever. They get the job done. Need some reasons to breastfeed, too?

1. Milk boobs are awesome. Have you seen milk boobs? The new-mom, my-milk-just-came-in(!!) boobs? They’re glorious. They’re porn star glorious except they’re REAL. They’ll make even the staunchest feminist reconsider her rabid stance on breast augmentation. These fabulous tits were a fabulous surprise after my first child, and a highly anticipated perk (for both my husband and me) after my second.

2. I don’t have to work out. My baby weight lost itself because breastfeeding burns 500-800 calories A DAY. Even my best workout when I was in my twenties and maintaining a hot college body to bring the boys to the yard didn’t burn 800 calories. How crazy would I be to opt out of something that burns a shitload of calories while I sit on my ass, snuggling my baby, in my thirties?

3. I don’t feel remotely guilty about what I eat. I need to replace the calories nursing burns otherwise my milk production decreases dramatically. So heeeelllllloooo, Smashburger. Thank you for contributing to the cause of better infantile nutrition. And yes, I would like a salted-caramel shake with that. It’s all in the name of milk production.

4. I can’t forget my breasts when I leave the house. I’ve forgotten diapers, clothes, blankets, binkies, the stroller, the entire diaper bag after spending 20 minutes packing it, and even the friggen baby, but I’ve never forgotten milk. If you don’t have kids, having one less thing to remember as you herd your family out the door may not seem significant. If you do have kids, you know how significant it is.

5. I get guaranteed breaks during crappy social functions. It is completely acceptable to excuse yourself from a party to nurse your child in private. Even though I don’t really care about privacy, I sometimes take advantage of this understanding to avoid awkward acquaintances and annoying relatives and go play Angry Birds or check Facebook for awhile.

6. Aunt Flo goes on sabbatical. Thanks to breastfeeding, I made it 50 weeks sans Aunt Flo after my daughter was born. My son just turned one and I’m still waiting for her return. If you count her absence during my pregnancy, I haven’t seen her in nearly 2 years. TWO YEARS. I don’t miss that bitch at all.

7. I can instantly comfort my screaming baby without having to troubleshoot the actual problem. Sometimes I’m too tired or busy to try to figure out what the baby is crying about, so I just nurse him. Nine times out of 10, shoving a boob in his mouth calms him down immediately. Note: This also works with his father.

8. I can have unprotected sex for 6 months. When done correctly, breastfeeding is an effective form of birth control up to the baby’s 6-month birthday. So no hormones for me, and no condoms for my husband, for 6 months. Like I said though, you have to do it right or you end up with Irish twins. Like my parents did. D’oh.

9. Breast milk poop smells a hell of a lot better than formula poop. I have to change a lot of disgusting poopy diapers, so if anything can make them less disgusting, I’m in. Breast milk poop smells, but it doesn’t stink. Not like formula shit. I found this out firsthand when changing a friend’s formula-fed baby. I thought something died in her diaper. I almost called Animal Control.

10. When my kids have kids, I can hold it over their heads that when they were babies, I did everything right and know everything. The extreme commitment and effort of breastfeeding lends a lot of credibility to the future backseat parenting of my grandchildren.

What’s Hard About Covering Up To Breastfeed?

822 Comments

breastfeeding

Anytime a breastfeeding story comes up in the news, especially one in which a breastfeeding mom is asked to leave an area to feed her baby, I break my own rule about not reading online comments out of sheer, morbid curiosity. In real life, I’m surrounded by people who are very supportive of breastfeeding, so it interests me to read comments and questions about the appropriateness of breastfeeding in public.

Of course, there are always some unnecessarily mean people, but some sentiments that come up frequently are legitimately well-meaning. As a mom who nursed three kids in all kinds of situations, I thought I’d address a few of these:

“I totally support breastfeeding, but what’s so hard about covering up to breastfeed in public?”

That’s great that you support breastfeeding. I actually would love to get to the stage when we stop calling it breastfeeding, and just call it feeding. That’s all it is. You’re not feeding a breast, you’re feeding a baby. It’s babyfeeding. Should women have to cover their babies to feed them in public? That sounds a little silly, doesn’t it?

But to answer your question, there are several reasons why moms might not cover up in public:

1. It actually is hard to cover up and feed a baby at the same time. Especially when you’re a new mom, and you’re trying to wrangle a squishy baby into a comfortable position where they can latch on correctly. Even with my third baby, keeping a cover over my shoulder while latching on wasn’t easy. And really, the only time one would “need” to cover up due to possible nipple exposure (if that’s the reason you think moms should cover up) is during the latch-on. And balancing a blanket on your shoulder while trying to see what you’re doing to get the baby latched is a big pain in the butt. Truly.

2. Some babies hate being covered. Most of the time, my babies would try to pull the cover off. I wouldn’t want to eat with a blanket over my head, would you? Especially when it’s hot. Ugh, it makes me claustrophobic just thinking about it.

3. One of the benefits of breastfeeding is the eye contact between mom and baby. The location of the breast is designed to put the baby within the vision range of mom’s face. Yes, you can have the same eye contact when you’re bottle feeding, which begs the question – would you cover up your baby’s face while cradling and bottle feeding, rather than looking at your baby and smiling at him/her at regular intervals? That would be silly.

4. When I was nursing, I actually felt like using a cover drew more attention to what I was doing. Uncovered, most of the time, it just looked like I had a baby cradled in my arms, sleeping. No breast could be seen once baby was latched. Nothing screams, “Hey, I’m breastfeeding over here!” like a draping a blanket over your shoulder while awkwardly trying to get your baby into a comfortable breastfeeding position.

5. Covering up implies that there’s something inappropriate about feeding a baby. There’s not. It’s feeding a baby. That’s it.

“I breastfed all my babies, but I never did it in public. Why don’t women just pump if they’re going out?”

That’s great that you breastfed all your babies. That’s also great if you were able to pump and that your baby took a bottle. Not all moms can pump successfully. Not all babies will take a bottle. After working at it for a while, I could pump, but my babies never took a bottle. That wasn’t for lack of trying – they just wouldn’t. I’m sure if their lives depended on it, and if I wasn’t around for a long time, they would eventually take one, but having a baby is hard enough. I wasn’t about to go through that much unnecessary effort so that I could bottle feed in public.

I’ve known some women who couldn’t get anything from pumping. Some women can’t relax enough with a machine hooked up to their body to get a letdown. Totally understandable.

But the real answer to this question is, they shouldn’t have to. Think about what you’re suggesting: that a mother skip a feeding to pump, or pump regularly enough to have the extra milk to pump outside of a feeding, then find a way to keep the milk cold in transport, then find a way to warm up the milk once she is where she’s going, then feed the baby with the bottled milk, then deal with the leakage or discomfort of the full breasts she has from feeding with the bottle instead of the breast for that feeding, and then wash and sterilize the bottle afterward–all instead of just taking her baby with her and feeding the ready-to-go milk she has on hand in her own body?

Doesn’t that seem a little ridiculous?

Most women who successfully pump have a system and a routine for it, and usually it’s because they’re away from their babies for a certain amount of time on a regular basis. More power to them. I’ve known lot of working, pumping moms, and I think they’re amazing.

But the idea of pumping just to go out in public with your baby, when your breasts are right there with you, is goofy to me. How long have breast pumps been around? How long have humans been feeding babies? When did we get to the mindset that feeding babies in public is better done with machinery and accessories than with mom?

“I don’t mind if moms breastfeed in public, as long as they do it modestly. Especially if there are kids or teens around.”

That’s great that you don’t mind if moms breastfeed in public. But let’s discuss the modesty idea. I hope you have the same feelings about modesty when you see a woman in a bathing suit, or a low-cut top, because 99% of the time, that’s all you can see of a woman’s breast when she breastfeeds.

Granted, there might be a couple of seconds of nipple showing. If you really don’t want to see that, pay close attention to moms with babies. Here are the cues that a mom is getting ready to breastfeed:

1. She starts to lift her shirt or adjust her bra. There you go. As soon as you see that starting to happen, look away. If you’re really concerned about your children seeing a woman breastfeeding, take that cue to show them something in the other direction.

But really, if kids are going to have any exposure to breasts (and they already have, if you have ever taken them to the grocery store and waited at the checkout stand where they keep the magazines), isn’t that the kind of exposure they should have? Don’t you want your children to see what breasts are primarily for? They’re getting plenty of messages on billboards, television, and other media that breasts are sexual. Seeing them used in a decidedly and awesomely unsexual way can only be good, in my opinion.

“Can’t you just go to the bathroom to breastfeed?”

1. Bathrooms are gross. Would you want to eat in there?

2. Many bathrooms don’t have a chair to sit in.  This leaves Mom with the option of sitting on the floor (yuck) or on the toilet (double yuck).

3. If a mom wants privacy to nurse because she feels more comfortable that way, that’s great. I’m a big fan of having lounge areas for nursing moms. But it should be for her comfort, not for yours. When I was nursing, I occasionally removed myself to nurse because it was too loud or I wanted a little space, but the times I removed myself because of my worries about other people, I felt exiled. When a mom feels that she needs to hide to breastfeed, the message is that there’s something shameful or wrong with what she’s doing. And that’s not right.

Along with the presumably well-meaning comments, I’ve also seen a few more, ahem, “strongly-worded” sentiments I’d like to address:

“Breastfeeding is totally natural, but so is going to the bathroom / having sex, and people don’t do that in public.”

Going to the bathroom is gross, stinky, and unsanitary to do in public, which is why we don’t do it. Feeding a baby is none of those things. Sex is an incredibly private, intimate act. Feeding a baby can be intimate in that it’s a bonding experience between baby and mom, but it’s more of a holding hands kind of intimacy–not something that needs to be confined to the privacy of a bedroom or home. The comparisons are apples and oranges.

“If you want to breastfeed, that’s fine, but I don’t want to / shouldn’t have to see it.”

Then don’t look. And I don’t mean that in a snarky way. You really don’t have to watch a mom breastfeed. (See cues in third question above.) Just look the other way and move on.

“Women who breastfeed in public are just trying to get attention / make a statement.”

Actually, 99% of women who feed their babies in public are just trying to feed their babies. Having been around hundreds of women who breastfeed, including dozens at a recent La Leche League conference, I can attest to the fact that most women are very matter-of-fact about feeding their babies.

I’ve known one mom who exposed much more breast for much longer than any other moms I’ve known, but she was raised in Africa, so that explains it. I’ve known of one other mom (don’t know her personally) who sounds like she has some exhibition issues and takes the opportunity to show more breast than necessary any old time she can. That’s by far an exception, and not the norm. Most breastfeeding mothers don’t “let it all hang out.” They do what they need to do to feed their babies, no more, no less.

“This isn’t a village in Africa. It’s culturally inappropriate to bare your breasts in public here.”

I’m curious about what this says about villages in Africa, or other places where breasts are common sights. Why is it culturally inappropriate here? I don’t necessarily think it should be, I just want to walk through the reasoning for our cultural views of breasts. Is it because our society views breasts as primarily sexual in nature? Are African breasts not sexual in nature as well? Would you shield your eyes from a National Geographic magazine showing bare-breasted women in Africa? Would you hide that from your children? If so, why? Are African women inappropriate? Is there some kind of fear that if we start accepting breastfeeding in public without freaking out about covering up, women will eventually start walking around bare-breasted all the time? Lots of questions pop up from this statement that are worth examining.

I personally think it should be culturally appropriate for women to bare a breast for a brief second in order to latch a baby on, no matter where in the world they are. There’s nothing sexual or inappropriate in that act. I think it should be way more culturally appropriate than, say, going to Hooters. Our priorities are a tad bit skewed when it comes to what’s culturally appropriate regarding breasts. If we want to get all righteous about the appropriateness of breast exposure, let’s direct our energies at movies, music videos, billboards, magazines, and other popular media. Leave moms who are trying to feed their babies out of it.

And if you really don’t want to see a woman feed her baby in public, don’t look. Don’t make her feel ashamed, don’t exile her to the bathroom, don’t make erroneous assumptions about her motives, don’t compare feeding her baby to defecating, don’t make hypocritical cultural statements, don’t make it harder to do than it already is. Just don’t look. It really is that simple.

The Joys of Weaning

20 Comments

happy baby

My baby is 12 months old. He’s eating more food (and more food and more food…he’s like a starving teenage runaway) and nursing less. Thus, our breastfeeding relationship will soon come to an end. It’s a happy/sad time. I like breastfeeding, but I also like a lot of things that I give up or regulate to do it. Like being alone for more than 4 hours at a time, and not having to plan my vices around the baby’s eating schedule. So, I shall celebrate his weaning day by indulging in some of the things I’ve missed. Huzzah! I will:

1. Sleep past 6am. Even if the baby lets me sleep in, my boobs don’t. When the clock strikes 6am, the girls let me know. Sleeping over. Must relieve pressure immediately. Must feed baby, pump, or suffer in bed as I pretend I’ll fall back to sleep. Sometimes I do all three. I can’t wait to do none.

2. Jump my husband’s bones. Remember how in 10 (Mildly Shallow) Reasons to Breastfeed I bragged about having unprotected sex for baby’s first 6 months ? (Side note: tons of people called out my claim that exclusive breastfeeding can be a reliable form of birth control. Google “lactational amenorrhea” and you’ll see I’m not full of it). I could’ve, but most days I didn’t want to. Even the thrilling and naughty prospect of unprotected sex wasn’t generally enough to get me going. Still now, in baby’s second 6 months, I’m seldom raring to go. Thanks largely to breastfeeding, I’m too tired from being at his beck and call night and day, my estrogen levels are pathetically low thus so is my libido, and after having the boy attached to my boobs all day, I’m not often in the mood for his father to take his place there. Or anywhere. In other words, breastfeeding is my sex life’s assassin. But after my daughter was weaned, it was like Spring Break in my bedroom for a month. In other words, weaning is the assassin’s assassin.

3. Put my pump in the dustiest, darkest corner of the attic. I have a love-hate relationship with my pump. Mostly hate. So I’ll banish it to the attic and forget about it until I either have a third child and begrudgingly dig it back out, or admit to myself that I’m not having a third child and gleefully give it away.

4. Have coffee and margaritas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Because I finally won’t have to plan excessive caffeine and cocktail consumption around when the baby needs to nurse.

5. Buy all new bras. Milk boobs are glorious but post-milk boobs are not. I haven’t been lingerie shopping in ages, so I’ll perk up my ta-tas and myself by buying all new, super-flattering, inappropriately sexy MILF bras.

6.Run 5 hours of uninterrupted errands. I’ve nursed and pumped in plenty of parking lots because I was delusional and thought I could squeeze a week’s worth of errands in between feedings. It’s pretty awkward when security knocks on your car window to make sure you’re not casing the jewelry store you’ve been parked in front of for 30 minutes. It’s even more awkward when your breasts are out or there is a tiny, disembodied hand sticking out from beneath your shirt.

7. Take medicine for no good reason. Unless I’m at Death’s door and my doctor specifically approves, I do not take medicine when breastfeeding. But oh how I miss it when I have a headache or feel like crap on a stick. I will thus indulge in the analgesic bliss of modern medicine for even the most minor pain and tolerable physical discomforts.

8. Complain about missing breastfeeding. Awwww/groan. Yes, breastfeeding makes me tired and sexually apathetic, and it can be a total pain in the tush. But it’s also regularly scheduled bonding time with one of my favorite people on the planet. What’s not to miss about that?

10 Things to Savor About Breastfeeding

38 Comments

breastfeeding

I have been very lucky. I have had the choice to breastfeed all of my children. Not everyone has the choice; not everyone wants the choice. But, though I have had my own share of hurdles in the adventure that is motherhood, nursing is something that has been relatively easy and effortless for me. Not painless, mind you, but mostly free from the trials that some women face.

Some days, I need to remember why I choose to breastfeed at all. Those are the days when I feel like if another tiny human touches me again, I might scream. They are the days when my breasts are sore and cry out for a week without a bra on 24/7 or any sucking action whatsoever, whether by baby or pump. Some days, I would do anything in my power just to wear a normal Le Mystere instead of my saggy, uncomfortable nursing bra.

But I know that in another six months, when I am beginning to wean my very last baby, I won’t remember the gruesome details so much. The experience will already be part of my memories, and after four babies, my memory itself is unreliable. I have approximately two brain cells left now, I am convinced, and they are needed in their entirety to walk straight and drive the car. So before the Mommy Amnesia sets in, here are ten things I will miss about nursing my babies, though please note that these things are not breastfeeding-exclusive. They just happen to be the things I think of when I think about nursing…

1. The quiet moments of nursing, the forced time to sit and be still. As a parent, stillness is not only rare; it is luxurious. I savor the time I can claim just to sit or lie down with the baby and be together, focused on her. After four babies, I have mastered the art of walking while nursing, but I try not to practice that skill. The chance to hit the “pause” button — even now, when it is definitely complicated to do so in the midst of three other children and the rush of daily life — is too precious.

2. Lying beside the baby and feeling her little feet and tiny toes flex rhythmically against my stomach or leg while she nurses. I love those dainty toes connecting with me. Too soon, her body will be long and lanky, like her brothers’. She won’t be the chunky ball of wonderful rolls and curves that she is now. I bury my face in her sweet cheeks and scrumptious neck while I still can.

3. Bright eyes looking up at me, and the way she stops and stares at me quizzically all of a sudden, like she just noticed I was there too. It takes her so by surprise that she stops nursing for a moment and just looks at me, locking my eyes with hers. When she was tiny, she stared for a second, then continued to nurse, though slowly, like she was taking me all in or making sure that I was something she was okay with having right above her head. Now that she is older, she will stop, pause, and sometimes break into a big, milky, gummy smile. It is tough to hold a latch when smiling. Those gummy smiles are the sweetest.

4. The chance to stroke soft little cheeks and tufted wisps of baby hair, the smell of soap and milk together.

5. The baby sometimes balls her fists up and holds them so they are together, as if this act of nursing takes all her concentration and might.

6. When those teeny-tiny hands stroke and fidget while she nurses. She loves me, and she doesn’t even know what love is yet.

7. The way she bobs her head from side to side when she is preparing to latch, stretching her lips and wildly searching for her target like a baby animal. It’s a little scary seeing that coming for my breasts, but it’s also cute.

8. Dozing off beside a nursing baby, waking up to a baby asleep with her chin on my breast. In a few short years, will that little face really tell me in a fit of anger that I’m not her best friend anymore, like her brothers did? How will I ever send that face off to Kindergarten to be cared for someone else for the majority of her waking hours?

9. The feeling of being her homebase. There is not much in a baby’s world that cannot be solved or soothed by nursing. In so much of parenting, I feel a little helpless. In contrast, nursing is like holding a superpower. I know that as time marches on, my baby’s little problems will become the bigger problems of bigger kids. I know too well. I’ll miss the ability to create world peace for her with just a simple gesture.

10. Most of all, the baby I am nursing. In no time at all, she’ll be running after her brothers and leaving me behind. I’ll get to wear my proper bra and drink a beer guilt-free, and my breasts will dry up and once again look like tube socks half-filled with uncooked rice. But I will never have my baby back again. And that will be all right and as it should be, but that does not mean I won’t miss her.

15 Things They Don’t Tell You About Breastfeeding

80 Comments

Ready for Sleep

Maybe you’ve attended a breastfeeding class, seen the pamphlets in your doctor’s office, or done your research online. Whatever the case may be, you’ve no doubt seen the nutritional superiority of breast milk, that you will lose post-baby pounds faster, and read about the blissful bonding experience with your soon-to-be baby. But here are 15 things they don’t tell you about breastfeeding…

1. It hurts. Like a thousand little knives twisting off your nipple every time your baby latches—and you’ll obsess endlessly over that tiny latch!

2. Your new baby will want to nurse 24/7. They said nursing burns calories? What they don’t tell you is that you really lose the weight because you won’t have time to eat!

3. Actually, she’ll keep nursing way past when you think the well has run dry and you’ll wonder if it’s her intention to suck your soul out of your nipples.

4. At some point, you’ll become jealous that your partner doesn’t have a set of boobs. Why did women get the biological short stick? Why does he get to keep drinking? If anyone deserves a stiff cocktail, it’s you!

5. You’ll feel short-changed. All that glowing literature didn’t adequately express how hard it is to be at the beck and call of the world’s tiniest and crankiest drill sergeant.

6. You bet women in Zimbabwe don’t sit around talking about how “bonded” breastfeeding makes them feel. They just feed the baby. Period. Formula is looking awfully good right about now.

7. Even after you supplement your baby with formula (which your mother claimed would help her sleep better), she’s rooting for you in less than 45 minutes.

8. You’ll cry when the pediatrician says that formula isn’t toxic and it’s not a bad alternative. Really you’d cry for anything right now; it’s been 72 hours since you last slept.

9. You’ll cry when baby takes to formula too much. Isn’t this your job as a woman, you failure?

10. When your partner asks you why you complain about breast feeding so much, you’ll be tempted to leap off the couch and twist his nipple off while screaming, “How you like that!?!” But you don’t, because you still haven’t been given clearance to exercise.

11. You’ll try pumping and despair when you only collect half an ounce on each side. That’s enough to keep your little monster quiet for ten minutes.

12. One day, you’ll wonder if you’ve showered and brushed your teeth yet. It’s 6:00 PM.

13. Nursing covers are a scam–a waste of money and fabric. Your baby screams and sweats under it making you feel like the worst mommy ever for trying to avoid flashing the entire mall.

14But you’re tough. And you’re stubborn. And you can do it.

15. And if you don’t, or can’t, the world will not come to an end. Even a little.

10 Reasons Weaning Really Sucks

8 Comments

10 Reasons Weaning Really Sucks

I literally worked my ta-tas off to earn my breastfeeding badge. There were times I thought I might cave under the pressure that comes with being the food, but this one woman dairy has managed to kept the factory in production for two babies, about a year and a half each. My mammaries stuck by me through mastitis, norovirus and the healing of a nipple, partially severed by bite. After paying dues like that, it’s hard to believe I’ll actually miss the whole thing. But I will. Because…

1. I don’t feel as important. Technically, any yahoo off the street can now do my job.

2. I can’t boob the baby back to sleep when she wakes up at o’dark thirty, thinking it’s morning.

3. The post-lactation moment of truth: arrival at ultimate breast shape, size and consistency. (Bye-bye, boobies.)

4. I have to give up chocolate chips as a food group, now that no one is sucking excess calories from my body.

5. The new clothes I bought for my post-baby body, don’t fit my post-nursing body. (See chocolate chips.)

6. No more excusing myself from a room I don’t want to be in, by claiming I have to nurse.

7. Now that I am no longer her personal milk fountain, the baby has noticed I’m not as cool as Daddy.

8. I have to prepare actual food for the kid.

9. I thought I was reclaiming all rights to my body, but my husband is standing by, ready to affix ‘Property Of’ stickers to what is left of my chest.

10. My baby is growing up. This was happening the whole time, but without breast milk to take the edge off, it stings a lot more.