having a baby, the only thing I knew about breastfeeding was that your boobs
get ginormous. As a former member of the
Itty Bitty Titty Committee, I was looking forward to that — and my D-cup milk
jugs did not disappoint. The rest,
however, came as a complete shock.
1. It Hurts. At least, it did for me, for the
first three weeks. The moments after
latching were excruciating, like razor blades to the nipple, so much so that I
couldn’t think or speak until the pain subsided. Miraculously, my nips eventually toughened up
and breastfeeding became a surprisingly pleasant experience.
2. You Become a Fembot. Until my supply leveled out, I could shoot a stream of milk across the
room, very much like the Fembots in Austin Powers ... except with more nutritious
3. Surprise, It’s Your Let-Down Reflex! The feeling of the milk letting down reminded me of
that uncomfortable tingling sensation you get when your foot’s asleep, only you
can’t hop up and down on your breast to
make it go away.
4. “On Demand” Is No Joke. Babies eat every three hours, except when they eat every
45 minutes, which was my experience during the newborn days. During one night of intense cluster feeding,
my husband had to shove pieces of pizza in my mouth so I wouldn’t starve. It
soon became obvious that if I “scheduled” my life around nursing, I would never
leave the house, so I learned to do it standing up — in the middle of Toys ‘R
5. Boobs Make Great Pacifiers. It took me a while to catch on to this, but sometimes my
baby would suck even when she clearly wasn’t hungry. My attempts to substitute with a binkie were
met with disdain — why take a Nuk when you can have a nipple?
6. Naked Feels Natural. I don’t know what’s in those hormones, but breastfeeding turned me
into a massive exhibitionist. In public
I covered up a little. At home, I pretty much went topless for the
first six months, and whoever stopped by (oh hello, UPS!) got a peep
7. Dad Gets Boob-Blocked. When fooling around with my husband, second base was off the table
completely. I just didn’t feel like
sharing. They should really make a
negligee with yellow caution tape across the top for nursing moms.
8. Some Babies Never Take a Bottle. We tried to introduce bottles of pumped breast milk so
that my husband could also feed our daughter. We failed. It was challenging being tethered to my
baby 24/7, but at least I would never run out of milk or feeding supplies.
Soothing for Mom Too. Once I got over the initial hurdles, I grew to love
breastfeeding. I treasured those calm, quiet moments in the
dark where I could just bond with my baby and know that there was no place more
important in the world. Very Zen.
10. Weaning Can Break Your Heart. When I weaned at 15 months, my daughter (who hated bottles
but loved straw cups) handled it like a champ. Meanwhile, I cried my eyes out, mourning the end of the baby phase. I made sure not just to replace breast milk
with the supermarket kind but also to replace our nursing sessions with a lot
of snuggle time. Here’s hoping she still
lets me snuggle her when she’s in college.