The TED talk video I posted yesterday has really impacted my thinking. The day before I wrote about four things I love about breastfeeding. In the interests, then, of honesty about parenting, here are four things I don’t love about breastfeeding.
1) Leaking. My boobs leak. Not all the time, thankfully, but sometimes a lot. I can’t really sleep topless anymore because when Del sleeps long stretches of the night, at least one breast will get very full and begin to leak – especially if I happen to be lying on that side or on my stomach. I awaken in the wee hours in a little puddle of breast milk. So I have to sleep in a top of some kind all the time. And even then, when my milk lets down as Del begins to nurse, the breast he’s not eating from leaks. If I don’t have breast pads around, that means a wet pajama top or a damp bra. *sigh*
2) Nursing bras. Don’t get me wrong, mine are great. They are comfortable and open and close easily with one hand. They are absorbent. They are good colors – nude, black, hot pink. But they’re not exactly miracle bras. Support does not equal lift. And sexy they ain’t either. I really look forward to putting the girls back into a nice, low-cut push-up bra that shows off their non-nutritive attributes.
3) Sensitive nipples. The better books will tell you that breastfeeding should never be painful and if it is, something is usually wrong that can be corrected. This is really true. But even though breastfeeding isn’t painful, I still end up with nipples that I am just aware of. They usually feel a little like chapped lips, and a little overly warm. Pretty much all the time. I look forward to one day just not feeling them.
4) Having to pump. I am pretty sure that every breastfeeding mom hates pumping. If not hate, at least a tolerant annoyance. I am somewhere nearer annoyance than hate, since I really don’t have to do it all the time. Pumping now and then to build up milk supply is not a big deal to me. It’s the pumping when I’m out away from Del for more than a couple of hours – like, oh, photographing a party or a wedding, or having more than one or two sessions scheduled back to back. Remember #1: full boobs leak. Yeah, also full boobs hurt. And having to take breaks during a long photo shoot to pump milk from your swollen breasts is just a thing I don’t love.
I have it easy, I know. I have had no major challenges breastfeeding Del, and many many women do have challenges that they persevere through to successfully breastfeed for whatever length of time they can. And some women just can’t make it past the challenges and choose to give it up. I am grateful that Del and I have had an easy and satisfying breastfeeding experience. I know I will miss it whenever it comes to an end… but I won’t miss the things on this list. And look out, Victoria’s Secret, I’ll be beating down the door for your hottest double-Ds.