Breast is best ….. but fek it is painful.

Connor was an easy baby – I did not realize how easy until I got to number three, who gives new meaning to the phrase “I am going to run away and join the circus and give you to the gypsies” but more on that later.

I felt quite a bit of pressure to breastfeed and get it right the first time round.  It really did look quite divine in the magazines – everyone was so happy and fulfilled when they were doing it.  I wanted to feel fulfilled and divine in soft lighting and chiffon shirts.

I have heard horror stories about what other moms have gone through trying to get their off- spring to latch and suck correctly, so in comparison mine was pretty much plain sailing with few tears of frustration – mine were more tears of pain.

I found that it was frikk’n sore – small point I felt was hidden from me prior to my experience.

I have always been immensely fond of the way pregnancy and birth books never refer to child birth and the related activities as scream-inducing-pain.  Soft non-scary words like uncomfortable, might keep you up at night, a little uneasy are used.  I really think it would be more beneficial to call it what it is.

Breastfeeding, once you have got past that first day or two in hospital, starts to get decidedly painful.

I am not going to comment about how suddenly your breasts are public property and nurses pop by and have a feel, and pull your shirt down and latch the baby.  Any sort of decency you might have exhibited while everyone was looking at your front-bottom while a baby was expelled from there, has long since evaporated as now your hoo-hoo bags are the prime focus of attention.

I am not against a bit of nipple tweaking myself, but not by strange woman in nurses uniforms.  It really is not my thing.

Possibly – I am just putting this out there – my nipples have not been trained in the art of violent sucking and adhesion – this may be a comment on my sex life, but let’s leave that for another day.

I will be the first to admit that I have not had an extensive dating history and maybe I spent too many evenings at home instead of out wildly partying, but the bottom line is my breasts prefer very mild activity – more soothing sort of stuff.

This may be the reason that I was caught quite unawares by the violent sucking-action a latched baby can administer.  You know when this happens once, one can drink a cup of tea or a glass of wine – time of the day dependent – and chuckle about what a surprise that was.

However two or three hours pass and it is time to expose your rather delicate but slightly bruised and now chaffed nipples to some more of that action.

Two or three weeks down the road, it is no longer a laughing matter – you are literally bleeding around your nipple area.  Your nipples are painful and any kind of contact is excruciating  – so the idea of this baby making hard sucking noises does absolute nothing for your sanity at this point.

[I don’t even want to open the door to the option of your partner ever going near them at this point … the idea of anyone ever viewing them as sexual objects really is an affront to my mind who has now converted them into baby-sustaining equipment.]

Damn it really is sore – contrary to popular belief.  I met one of those real earth mothers the other day – bless her – you know the one who wants to be with her baby ALL THE TIME – and breastfeeding was easy and “no it was not painful” and never touched alcohol in any shape or form the entire way through her pregnancy or during breastfeeding.

It did make me feel mildly guilty as I sipped my glass of wine while I was 8 months pregnant – only because she was looking at me in a critical manner.

But I digress, for her there was absolute no pain with breastfeeding ….. now, may be I am doing it wrong.

My baby sucks like an industrial vacuum cleaner and I will need to go home and feed in about two hours and my nipples are already battening down the hatches for the onslaught.

My friend decided to skip it as it made her feel like a lactating sow …. It does make me feel like livestock to a certain degree, but for me, I am sold on the convenience – only because I am so lazy that cleaning and filling bottles seems like really hard work at 2 in the morning.

I do feel it is very important to have some sort of a cut off for breastfeeding.  I think we have all seen the skit in Little Britain where the 40 year old man asks for some “bittie” from his mom … I must confess that when a child can walk up and lift your shirt to get the breast milk, it might be the sign that you should stop.

The thing about breastfeeding is another one of these social pressures where you are meant to be good at it and enjoy it.  There is a shame and embarrassment in “choosing” to formula feed.  <sigh>

I am breastfeeding now, but I have already snuck in a 11am formula feed to give my little boobies a break and also to allow me to skip off to work for some sane time.  I might introduce a 3pm Saturday formula feed too, so I can get an afternoon nap …. let’s see how this works out.

Breastfeeding Cartoon