10 IRL struggles only breastfeeding mums will be able to relate to
First things first.
Breastfeeding my babies when they were babies were two of the truly loveliest experiences of my life, and is something I 100 per cent will be doing again should another baby come our way.
One of my most favourite things about breastfeeding was how, once we got going, utterly convenient it was. I mean, you have your baby's food right there with you, all the time. It is always ready, always at the perfect temperature and there is no need for bottles or bottle warmers or sterilisers – it is flat out truly awesome.
Even in the middle of the night, when the baby wanted some food, I never even had to leave the comfort of my own bed. I simply just lifted her into bed with me, showed my nipple in her mouth and fell back asleep. Can you say easy way out or what?!
But convenient as it was, that doesn't mean it was always smooth sailing or that there weren't a few challenges along the way. Here are 10 scenarios that I am sure every mama who has ever breastfed can relate to by the bucket load:
1. When The Milk Comes In And Your Boobs Grow Three Cup-Sizes Overnight
Even if you have spent most of your adult life wishing you were more well-endowed in the chest department, this one will almost be too much of good thing. Seriously. I woke up on Day #3 of Motherhood and was Jessica Rabbit. (And had to dispatch my mother out to buy me bras that would fit my now GINORMOUS boobs.
2. Milk Anxiety
I have always been a bit of a worrier (and have major hypochondriac tendencies), but if anyone told me just how much time I would spend fretting over milk (When is it coming?! Is she getting enough?! Too much!), I would not have believed it was possible.
3. Trying To Remember What Boob Is Up Next
When it comes to breastfeeding, my health station nurse in Oslo told me (after a bout of mastitis) that it is extremely important to let the baby drain both boobs, and so that it is a good idea to alternate which boob you feed the baby from each time. Also, babies funny enough sometimes will favour one boob over the other, and you might end up with boobs being completely different cup-sizes, due to the one being "used" more producing more milk.
Anyway, in those hazy days of new motherhood, it can be hard to remember which boob you did feed the baby with last, and so there is a lot of squeezing (sometimes in full view of other people) involved in trying to determine which boob has more milk in it than the other and needs to go next.
I ended up having a hair tie around my wrist that I kept moving from wrist to wrist to remind myself which boob I had just used.
4. When You Can't Sleep On Your Front – Because Boobs
I have always been a front sleeper, but my enormous, milk-inflated boobs made this impossible.
5. Leaky Boobs When Your Baby Cries
Our bodies are wonderful things, mamas, and my boobs ended up being so finely tuned into my babies that the minute they started crying – even if someone else was holding them or they were in the back of the car, my boobs would start leaking milk, obviously understanding that milk would soothe those screams.
6. Leaky Boobs When Other People's Babies Cry
Not only did my boobs leak milk when my own babies cried, they also leaked when random stranger's babies cried in my presence! This baffled me, but, clearly, nature has designed us to recognise the very best way to calm crying babies.
7. When Your Baby Won't Wake Up And Your Boobs Are About To Explode
I actually ended up waking my babies in the morning and at nap time just because my boobs could not wait a minute longer!
8. When Your Baby So Obviously Starts Fondling With Your Boobs In Public Because They Love Them So Much
As my babies got that little bit bigger, they would not so much cry when they wanted to be fed, but literally start groping at my boobs and pulling at my clothes as if to say "GET THOSE BOOBS OUT, MUM!" (And this wasn't just when they were hungry, but also when they were tired, cranky or just generally needed a little cuddle – my boobs were pretty much their favourite thing in the world.)
9. When You Have To Pump In Really Weird Places
If you have ever pumped and dumped – or just pumped for any reasons, really, you will be relating so hard right now.
10. When You Stop
Much as I was ready in many ways to give up breastfeeding when I did (at around 11 months each time), it was also one of the hardest things I have ever done. Just the thought of not having these quiet moments with my babies was enough to send me into floods of tears, and I still get a lump in my throat every time I look at pictures where I am feeding them.
I honestly can't remember the exact last feed on any of them as we were involved in very stretched out weaning-off processes, but I know I for those last few weeks would look down on them and will myself to always remember that exact feeling of feeding my babies from my own body.
Pure mum magic.