Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Truth About Breastfeeding

Before you’re pregnant mothers tell you all about the joys of pregnancy and motherhood. Things like how wonderful they felt about the new life growing inside them, the miracle of that little body emerging from within them, and the instinctive way they care for them afterwards.

But, here’s the thing, when you’re pregnant you also have morning sickness, heartburn, an inability to sleep through the night, the inability to control when you pee (if only an eentsy bit), and hemorrhoids.

Labour. Well, labour hurts. Like a bitch on speed. And often women come out of it swollen and puffy, with stitches and incisions, with parts of their body stretched much more than it seems those parts should stretch, and well, even bigger hemorrhoids.

Somehow, mothers “forget” to mention these things to non-mothers still in their child bearing years. This is what I like to call The Deception. Before going through the experience myself, I was sure they held your baby hostage until you signed a binding legal document swearing that you’d never tell a young woman about the painful and embarrassing (like not being able to control when you pass gas) parts of pregnancy, labour, and motherhood.

Part of The Deception lies in the joys and wonders of breast feeding. Now, don’t get me wrong here, I’m a believer that breast feeding can be the right choice for a parent and their baby. I know all of the advantages yadda yadda yadda... and this isn’t an anti-breastfeeding post. I just don’t believe it’s the bestest most wonderfulest way to spend time with your new guy or gal. Because when you start out, boy is it a pain in the tit. Or, both.

You get home from the hospital tired, sore, sleep deprived and this little life that you’ve managed to keep safe and growing inside of you for the last nine or ten months again turns to you as his or her sole source of life-sustaining nutrition.

But, you know, no pressure or anything.

And if you’re like us, you have to set your alarm for every 2 to 3 hours to wake up and offer your baby the all-you-can eat buffet known as mom’s boobs. Now, this doesn’t apply to all babies, but if yours is small like our guy was (5 lbs, 10 oz) then you have to do this cheerful exercise or your little one might just keep sleeping and sleeping more and more and not want to wake up to eat at all.

So there you are, sleep deprived and holding a brand-new tired baby who’s head is equally bobbing and flopping. His head is bouncing around trying to find your nipple. Your nipple is so sore that if your spouse makes direct eye contact with it you will threaten them with grievous bodily harm. Your boob is now larger than your new kid’s entire head and you need to fit said giant boob into their teeny-tiny mouth. Your nipples are chapped if not bleeding. Your hormones are sending you on more ups and downs than a sugared up kindergarten class on a school yard-sized trampoline. At this point your baby is probably latching and falling off. Or not latching properly. Or getting those uncontrollable tiny hands aligned directly on your nipple and grasping it as if her very existence depends on her ability to grab that sucker and squeeze it as hard as those newborn reflexes will allow. At this point, the baby is hungry, famished even, to the point where that little head starts flailing and your cute new tot starts to make the smacking and snorting noises that prior to this very event you thought only pigs in heat could make.

And then, somehow the universe aligns, the mouth opens, the boob goes in, the baby gets several really good sucks...and then falls asleep.

But, somehow, you make it through the feeding.

It has taken an hour, but you’ve done it.

And you get to start all over again in one more hour.

Allison says it wasn't that bad.

I say it was close.


  1. Oh man do I ever remember those times! How about trying to keep the baby awake to eat? We used a cold washcloth on the feet, loud noises, everything we could think of. Now my guy is 16 months and still nursing like a newborn. Craziness.

  2. So, so true. We pretty much hated breastfeeding.

  3. so, so much truth in this post! those early weeks of breastfeeding are HARD! harder than anyone *ever* tells you.

  4. Kinda nice to know that other have been in the same boat. Now I'm biting my nails waiting for teething to begin!

  5. appreciate your honesty:)