Mom Stuff

Breastfeeding is a Joy Except When It Makes You Want to Tear Your Hair Out

Another contribution for Mothering.com’s breastfeeding week extravaganza! Yesterday I covered the sentimental side of breastfeeding, but this story needs to be told too.  That it’s not all milkshakes and mozzarella sticks when it comes to your milk.  Sometimes it’s a freaking headache and you’ll wail SIMILAC TAKE ME AWAY but even then– carry on, intrepid boobfeeders!

A non-exhaustive list of the annoying parts of breastfeeding…

Men Don’t Lactate. Oh, the joys of those first few weeks.  When you’re up every 68 minutes nursing a hungry newborn and quietly sobbing into the sleeve of your flannel PJs.  Your partner dreamily half rouses– “Aww, it’s OK.  You’re such a good mommy.  I love you.  What can I do to help?” DO YOU STILL HAVE THOSE STUPID PURPOSELESS DECORATIVE MAN NIPPLES? Then go back to bed I guess.

This Pattern:  You’re sitting down to nurse.  You push the baby’s fist away from his mouth.  Push your shirt out of the way.  Push your hair out of your face.  Now the fist is back at his mouth.  Now the hair is back in your face.  Now your boob went hiding under your shirt again.  Repeat repeatedly.

The Boppy Pillow.  Like every female, I registered for the Boppy because I just assumed it was, like, the law.  It markets itself as a nursing pillow but you should know that it sucks in that capacity.  It works if you’re in a chair with arms.  If you’re in bed? You know, like when you’re in the hospital or when your newborn is sleeping at your bedside? The times when a functional breastfeeding pillow would be most helpful to have? IT SUCKS.  Your elbows will float celestially above the Boppy and you will say OMFG YOU DUMB PILLOW, I’M NOT A FREAKING SEVEN FOOT TALL FEMALE MOOSE, GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER.  The Boppy will take the brunt of a lot of your pent-up anger.  It’s good for that I guess.

You Need to Wash Your Bras All the Time.  Bras were always kind of like jeans for me… on a pretty liberal laundering schedule.  Now they are snagging everything in the laundry, accidentally getting dried on high, hanging all over the house when the electrician comes over, etc.

Nursing in Public.  Lordy, enough said.  I actually wouldn’t mind this so much if my child would just EAT LIKE A NORMAL BABY.  Except the second I toss a blanket over him he writhes and squeals like some kind of crazed banshee infant and causes a big old scene.  See also: pumping outside the house.  Hell.

Nursing in Bed. You know what’s awesome? When both arms are holding a baby so you have to use your butt cheeks to scooch yourself up against the headboard of the bed.  Yea that feels terrific on your crotch 74 hours after you’ve birthed.

Also, Side Lying Nursing.  Side lying nursing is actually heavenly once you’ve mastered it.  The mastering process just takes 2 months.  It doesn’t sound difficult to lay down with your baby and line your boob up with their mouth, does it? IT IS. Whuh… OK… is my shoulder supposed to stick out like that? Maybe I can cross that leg over to counter-anchor my shoulder… hmm…. OK…. no.  Just going to lay here awake.  Looking like a freaking Pterodactyl fossil.

You Smell Like a Farm Animal For a Few Weeks.  Here’s something you should know if you have yet to begin your journey– newborns barf everything up, and it takes your boobs a couple of weeks to figure out how to retain milk without leaking it all over the joint.  I gave up on nursing pads when I grew to resent them as just another thing I had to fumble with and be frustrated by.  I resigned myself to just having a pleasant fragrance about me.  It was not attractive.

Speaking of Farm Animals… Pumping! Did you ever wonder what it was like to be a prize heifer on an industrial dairy farm? Me either.  Pump your breasts and live the dream.

“Breastfeeding Melts Away the Baby Weight” Breastfeeding melts away your ability to not eat a package of peppermint Milanos for dinner.

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12 thoughts on “Breastfeeding is a Joy Except When It Makes You Want to Tear Your Hair Out

  1. I sent this to all the mom friends I made through going to a Breast Feeding Support Group at the hospital and we can all relate to this post and the previous!

  2. God, thank you. I relate to this in every way. The laying down and breastfeeding. Why, why WHY did it take so long to figure that out. Glad I wasn’t the only confused one.

  3. YES! Also, I’d like to add the part where you think labor is the worst pain ever and then you start nursing. And it’s like PTSD every 2 hours.
    But like labor, thankfully still worth it 😉

    1. Ha I definitely thought that too… and without any benefit of adrenaline! Just straight up nipples-being-stabbed-with-knives crappitude…. tell me it’s not that bad with future babies?

  4. Oh my gosh this is spot on. My daughter is only 17 days old and I can relate to each of these. Oh The Pattern. Possibly just as frustrating as the latch issues because juuuuuust when I get up the courage to shove her face in my boob, her fist goes in her mouth and we have to begin the dance all over. between the two of us, our tears could fill a small lake.

    1. OMG…. what the heck kind of crazy supply do you have woman!? I’m kind of jealous of this.

      PS thank you for stopping by!! I am checking out your blog and relating heavily to your ‘about me’ section. I think this could be the start of a beautiful friendship. mwahaha.

  5. Oh my. Thanks for the great laugh. And thanks for the reality check on how breastfeeding can be a major PITA. When I see a woman breastfeeding, I typically think “that’s so BEAUTIFUL” – now I have a better appreciation for the misery….

  6. Totally love this and relate! My daughter is now 3, but I remember how hard it was to nurse, and wondered who those people are who say it’s so magical and amazing?!? Once I went back to work part time, I had pumped a full bottle and had it in my work bag and it spilled all over my students papers. That was not a great day for me!!

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