, , ,

mamamonday* - let's talk about boobs

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Breastfeeding Nazis are alive and well in Halifax. At our local children's hospital, "breast is best" posters and literature plaster the halls and the rooms. Public health prenatal classes are heavy on the benefits of breastfeeding as well as the supposed disadvantages of feeding babies formula.  During one class we actually had the nurse tell us the story of one poor mother who spent the first six weeks of her baby's life trying in vain to breastfeed unsuccessfully to the point that she was awake pretty much 24/7, in tears all the time, exhausted and wiped out. "But she didn't give up!" the nurse crowed, like it was a good thing. I decided right then that I would try breastfeeding, but if it didn't work out, I'd have no problem switching to formula. No way were my child and I going to suffer for weeks, too stubborn to switch to formula or even to supplement with it. I know breastfeeding is hard for a lot of women and impossible for many and I made a vow to not get upset if it wasn't the right choice for us.

To be honest (and this is going to make me sound like the shittiest parent alive), I was mostly interested in breastfeeding because it's free. That's right. It wasn't about the bonding experience, the antibodies and nutrition Eli would be getting from my milk, the baby weight I'd supposedly lose much more quickly if I nursed - I was excited about the prospect of not having an addition to our grocery bill. Feel free to call child services.

I anticipated nursing to be painful, torturous, and unsuccessful. I fully expected us to be feeding our baby formula just a few short days in. In a pleasant (albeit slightly painful) turn of events, Eli took to it right away and as soon as my milk "came in" he's been nursing exclusively.

Add breastfeeding to the list of Things I Never Thought I'd Do In A Million Years. I have never pictured myself with a baby hanging off my boob. I've never really even thought they were functional, and I always thought the act itself was kind of gross and too hippie for me.

Breastfeeding isn't a picnic. It hurts - especially in the beginning as you're getting the hang of it. Even once you've got the technique down it still isn't super fun to have a small human attempting to suck all of your innards out through your nips. Add a few leaks and occasionally feeling like a dairy cow into the mix and that more or less sums it up.

But it's not terrible either. I like having some quiet time with Eli (you can't scream if your mouth's full of boob, after all.) He makes the most adorable faces when he's eating and I want to take pictures of him but, yanno, TIT. So I don't. I suppose I could edit over them with, like, Wal-Mart smiley faces, but I have better things to do with my 10 minutes of free time per day than crop my boobs out of photos.

This is definitely not meant to be a "breast is best" post. Whatever works for you is best. If your baby is thriving on formula, give 'er! A good formula experience is definitely better than a bad breast experience. If breastfeeding is a success, that's great too. If breastfeeding is a success but you hate doing it, there's no shame in switching to bottles. The most important thing is that baby's getting enough to eat and you are maintaining some level of sanity getting him there. I've already told Eli that as soon as he gets teeth, he can kiss these mammaries goodbye. (Yeah, I know, if they have a proper latch they don't bite you - this is not a chance I'm willing to take).

Seven paragraphs talking about my boobs. Internet, you're welcome. Here are some non-tata related pictures of the boy from today to make up for all the boob talk.  I'm sorry. Next Monday won't be so awkward.

*In an effort to not get too-too babylicious up in hurr, I'm going to be dedicating Monday's posts from now on to all things mamahood. Surely once a week isn't too much to brag about my handsome honey badger and wax poetic on being a new mama. And if it is, don't come around on Mondays! Piece of cake!

You Might Also Like


  1. Ha ha love it! I gave up in agony with my first child and then cried over the price of a tin of baby milk. I then managed it for 12 weeks of my second childs life before I broke my ankles and they fed me morphine. You are spot on about finding a way that keeps you sane. In the world of small babies and mega reduced sleep keeping sane is a priority. I look forward to your Monday mama blogs!

  2. Great post. My feelings toward breastfeeding are almost identical to yours -- it's wonderful if you can do it, but if you can't, or don't want to, that's fine too. I'm actually pretty bothered by the pressure women are put under to breastfeed, and by the lactivist attitude that formula-feeding is just like giving the baby cigarettes or something.

    I wrote on my blog about my stressful (and ultimately unsuccessful) attempt to breastfeed our now one-month-old, and I can't even tell you what a relief it was to throw in the towel with that. Honestly, my only regret is the money we have to spend on formula now, so you're hardly alone in that sentiment.

    PS. Your baby is ridiculously adorable. Love that little Batman outfit.

  3. Congrats on having it go so well! I wholeheartedly agree with you, people need to do what works for them. I have quite the opposite in my life. I have people telling me all the time to give up and formula feed. 6 months in and we're still going strong in boobland, and I don't plan to stop until next May (or she bites my boob...)!

  4. I thought I was going to be horrible at breastfeeding and I actually wasn't that great at it initially. My milk didn't come in for 7 days {TMI- yeah probably} so I basically had the baby attached to my boob all hours of the day to encourage production. I also had really sore nipples for about 6 weeks. Like you my big idea about breastfeeding was that it was free. I also liked the potential of weight loss but I found out from my doctor that I was one of the few who actually held on to extra fat while breastfeeding.(awesome!) Okay I'll stop rambling- the point I wanted to make was that I thought I would never make it breastfeeding. I also thought it would be super weird to have a baby hanging off my boob but it wasn't. After a few weeks it actually felt a lot more natural than giving her a bottle. I ended up breastfeeding for about 13 months.

  5. I might have to steal this mamahood Monday idea -- it's a great way to keep the bloggy balance.

    Everything you said matches my breastfeeding opinion. Jacob and I were very lucky to have a positive breastfeeding experience. I'm glad it's working for you, too!