Initially, I was not going to breastfeed. My reluctance stemmed from the notion that formula feeding is much less work and I wasn’t savvy on the idea of sharing my body with the baby beyond pregnancy. My husband wanted me to breastfeed because, yes, it’s better for the baby, but also cheaper and less work for dad…haha! Brandon and I compromised and I agreed to try to breastfeed as long as he kept a realistic approach. I didn’t want to feel pressured or completely defeated if it didn’t work out and I needed Brandon to be as understanding and supportive as possible.
As soon as Beau was born and placed on my chest, he started sucking on my neck. I joked in front of the doctors and said, “oh, he’s trying to give me kisses,” when I knew that he was really just looking for a boobie. This made my first attempt at breastfeeding a much easier process. Beau latched on without any issues and apparently that’s a huge win in the breastfeeding world. From then on, it was really up to me to find a comfortable feeding position and to provide the goods. Beau and I connected very quickly and by the time I left the hospital we were successfully breastfeeding.
The first few nights were devoid of sleep, but at least Beau was eating well. That was until one of my breasts became so engorged he couldn’t get any milk out of it. I knew the best way to address this problem was to express the milk, but I was intimidated by my breast pump and hadn’t even washed the parts yet. It wasn’t until my boob began to throb in pain, that I woke Brandon up and asked him to assemble my pump, because god knows I had no idea how to do it. Brandon put the pump together and I sat there with the directions trying to properly insert boob. I turned the pump on and within moments milk started filling up the bottle. Brandon sat there holding Beau with the dog at his feet and we all stared in fascination. I think Max’s jaw was on the floor. None of us could believe that milk was actually coming out of my boob. We all thought it was a myth. Eventually, Brandon and Beau went back to bed as I sat there feeling like a cow. Max remained with his jaw still on the floor.
Despite a few minor obstacles, I have continued to breast feed successfully. Although, our outings always seem to be confined to two to three hours because I know I have to get home to feed Beau and I am not quite ready to nurse in public. That’s for the experts. It literally feels like we travel with a ticking time bomb. It wasn’t until I discovered a manual breast pump that I felt some relief about taking Beau out for longer spans of time. The manual breast pump is great because you don’t need an outlet. I can pump in the truck and on the toilet, both of which I have done, don’t judge me. So, now we can pack bottles for Beau and I can pump on the go and avoid having to feed my baby on the toilet because that’s worse! Pumping in public is a little awkward though. Because chances are you’re doing it in a bathroom stall and there’s a line of women waiting to use the toilet and you’re holding up one of the stalls and for some reason the sound of your milk being expressed into a plastic bottle sounds extra loud. I’d rather be pooping.
Although, I haven’t whipped a boob out in public quite yet, I have breast fed in front of family and friends. Depending on the audience, I will use a cover. I was with family the other day and I was nursing Beau with the cover on. After my grandfather asked my grandma where Beau was, he asked me with sincere concern in his voice whether the baby could breathe under there or not. I assured my grandfather that Beau was fine so then he asked, “well, how much milk does one of those things hold anyway?” You want to talk about normalizing breastfeeding? Try having a conversation about it with your grandfather!
Despite my reluctance, I have grown to love breast feeding. Instead of collecting leggings or lipstick, I like to stockpile breast milk. Lately, my self worth is measured by the ounces of milk I have stored. Sometimes I like to open the freezer just to admire the pouches of neatly organized and labeled breast milk I have accrued. I think I enjoy breast feeding so much because it is a challenge and at first it was something I feared. Now I feel that every day my boy gets breastfed is a victory. I am proud of myself for giving it a chance and I never thought that I would love it never mind be writing a lengthy blog about it.