Working mum of three

Figuring it out as we go along. Blogging is cheaper than therapy.

Breast at its best

on June 7, 2014

Bottle or breast
We’re all doing our best
But here are some thoughts
To get off my chest (pun intended)

Oh breastfeeding, what a joy. What a personal, emotional, physical drain. I mean joy. You’ve made me feel special and given me closeness. You have made me cry. Tears of worry, pain, happiness. What a privilege it is to give your body for nine months. Then again for months more.

A funny kind of privilege, one that doesn’t let you out the door. Makes people feel awkward. And leaves your body sore. A privilege that teaches you about bra extenders, breast pads, nipple creams, front openers, flap fasteners. Torpedo nipples, leatherback breasts, heavy, full and leaky. Dried-on milk. Not sexy, but empowered. #NoMorePage3. Look what I can do: Panic stricken, ruddy faced baby, waling wildly. Silenced, soothed, satisfied. No packaging, no waste, no cost. Everything he needs. This is how powerful breasts can be.

I can do it in my sleep. His nose blocked and snotty. While breaking up a fight between older brothers. Debating global politics. Online shopping.

We’ve fed almost everywhere I can think of: Church during the nativity to keep baby quiet (I had to ask my mum if it were allowed). On a flight to stop ears from popping. Sainsbury’s car park, Nanny’s sofa, the park, the beach, the library, caf├ęs, doctors, museums.

I’ve missed weddings, parties, nights out. I’ve forfeited conversations. I’ve made people leave rooms. I got high fived once: ‘You go girl’. And I realised it was special.

Now I’ve hung up my hooter hider. Folded up my muslin wrap. I struggled under that blanket, blindly fumbling, wrangling boob out of bra, stretching top under udder, helping baby find breast. In fact I hadn’t bothered much with that, not since practicality took the place of dignity somewhere between baby one and baby three.

Magnificently milking. Belly laughing. Milk-shaking.

Long nights, early morning, crazy days. Is there enough milk? Too much? Baby preferred the left, but I never figured out why.

Baby looks up at me, fingers in my nostrils, nipple in his mouth and drifts into milky sleep.

Oh baby, I gave my body to him on the inside and the outs. It’s an overwhelming closeness that only I will remember.

He rejected the bottle for weeks: fast flow, sippy cup, most like mum, closer to breast. Long days without milk. Swollen breasts, heavy tears, mummy guilt, baby indifference.

And now, he happily flings mush all over the kitchen. Finger in my nostrils, draining bottle, eyes full of trust. Still perfect.

I already miss the breastfeed. As we wean to days now between. I miss those sweet orange sickly shitty nappies. That creamy milky sick in my hair. Wallowing together in our own goo. The dependence. The quiet. The power. The necessity. I savour our last feed (well, it could be the last), overwhelmed by the beauty of it, before reaching for my phone, and reading twitter again.

The final injustice; the return of period cramps. Bloated belly. Countdown to cycle, held off by milk production. A painful reminder of fertility again.

Well, it is such a privilege…


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