When I imagined breastfeeding in the days before having my children, I sort of envisioned the experience being akin to Botticelli's "Birth of Venus" painting — my hair blowing, ever so slightly, in the wind with a lovely and serene glow about me as I gazed down at my precious child. I would exude all the ethereal Earth Mama vibes as I sustained human life with my very own body, and it would be pure magic.
Clearly, I was delusional. I mean, the part about sustaining life with food I made in my very own milkshake-makers is totally true and pretty badass if you ask me, and certainly breastfeeding does have its lovely moments. But sometimes, well ... let's just say, sometimes it's a lot less like what I had pictured in those childless fantasies of yesteryear.
Here are just a few times when the struggle was a little too real for those of us who are breastfeeding mamas:
1. Day 3 postpartum (or whenever the milk first comes in.) Holy porn star boobs.
2. When you hear a baby cry at the grocery store and start feeling your milk let down.
3. Realizing you forgot to wear nursing pads when you hear the aforementioned baby crying and end up (very obviously) leaking through your shirt.
4. The fact that all wardrobe choices revolve around the very important question: "Can I pull my boob out of this?"
5. Wearing a dress and having to go nurse in your car with the entire thing pulled up practically over your head.
6. When the baby falls asleep still attached to you and you really have to pee.
When the rhythmic sound of your breast pump haunts your dreams.
7. When a curious older sibling flips up your nursing cover while you're trying to be discreet, and a very public flashing situation commences.
8. When someone asks if you had pancakes for breakfast and the answer is no. Your sweat just smells like maple syrup from all the fenugreek you're taking.
9. Sweating. ALL. THE. TIME.
10. When your baby finally sleeps through the night, but you don't because you woke up in the wee hours of the morning with huge/painful boobs and are lying in a puddle of your own breast milk.
11. The awkwardness that is the pumping bra.
12. Missing out on that extra glass of wine, because you don't want to have to "pump and dump."
13. When you're trying to nurse on the downlow during church or at a library, or somewhere equally quiet, and your baby decides to loudly chug like a frat boy doing keg stands.
14. When you legitimately cry over spilled milk, because you spent so long pumping it.
15. When the rhythmic sound of your breast pump haunts your dreams.