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Saturday, March 06, 2010

Milking

WARNING: If talking about breasts makes you uncomfortable, do not continue reading this post.

There was a time when I was incredibly uncomfortable discussing breasts. Luckily, this didn't really hold me back much, as this is not a topic that comes up very often in everyday conversation. Until, that is, my friends started becoming mothers. Suddenly lactation became a topic for casual lunchtime conversation. I'll admit, I was freaked out by this.

Then Bryn came along. I felt like I lost all dignity while in the hospital. I needed a nurse to help me go to the bathroom. I bled all over the place and cried from pain in front of complete strangers. I wore those horrible hospital gowns that leave your butt hanging out (in mesh panties, while wearing a pad the size of a phonebook, no less). But even in the midst of all this, I was especially freaked out by the lactation consultant.

She was a sweet yet professional older woman, but come on, she wanted to touch my breasts in order to help me achieve a proper latch? That was just weird. I should feel free to call her any time I had problems? Yeah, right, like that was a conversation I wanted to have.

Then I got home, and the reality of being a nursing mom kicked in. I leaked through nursing bras in public. I periodically locked myself in public bathroom stalls to feed Bryn, praying that no one else would need to use the restroom for the duration of our feeding session. Well-meaning friends kept asking me how nursing was going. I was not comfortable having these conversations.

But slowly, over time, all of this changed. I nursed Bryn for a little over a year. That's a lot of time for discussions. And even once I was done nursing, there were always war stories to share. This is a major bonding point for mommies. Now I can eat lunch with friends who nurse in public without batting an eye, and the state of my breasts is a fully acceptable topic for discussion at my various moms' groups.

Which is why it was funny to me when Ben came in to our room tonight, looking exceptionally freaked out and telling me that I needed to go talk to the girls. It seems that while they were in the bath together, Bryn leaned in toward Shay, made some slurping noises, and told Shay that she was eating out of her breasts. Ben told her that kids don't do that, and she informed him that she was just pretending. Without missing a beat, she then offered her own chest to Shay and asked if she wanted a drink from her breasts.

Yeah, so, the girls have been watching me nurse Liam. They comment on the difference between him drinking directly out of my breasts and when I pump to make bottles for him. I think it's healthy to let them see this and view it as not a big deal. They constantly want to "help" me feed him, although I'm rather hazy on what they think they could do to facilitate this process.

Last night, Bryn put my nipple shield on under her pajamas. She then came up to me, lifted her shirt, and offered me "sips." I was laughing too hard to answer.

In the hospital, Bryn wanted to know why my belly was "still a little big," even though I'd had the baby. When I told her that it would take a while to go away, she thought about it, then said, "Oh, because that is where you keep the milk for him!" So apparently he eats out of my breasts, but my bulging stomach is where I store my reserves. Nice.

So all in all, it seems that my children (or at least Bryn) have no qualms discussing this topic which was once so awkward to me. Which is good, since I feel like I spend the majority of my time producing milk these days. And yes, I have been nursing Liam while tying this.

8 comments:

Kathy said...

That's good! Nursing is so natural and it's good that your children will grow up with a positive view of it!

SuperSillyAunt said...

That's how my girls feed their baby dolls. Bryn and Shay are so cute and sweet. It sounds like they are adjusting really well.

Krysten said...

So funny! I'm quite certain that Sadie will be just as curious when the time arrives. But, alas, I must get through all of my surgeries first. :)

Carrie said...

Give me about 5 more months and we can share our war stories together again :).

Jill said...

Glad to hear so far it is going ok!! You are a great Mom Amy!

Cathy said...

It's funny how awkward it is with the first one, the lactation consultant freaked me out the first time too! But like you say, after the second, it's so much easier to just whip them out. I can imagine Ben's face on that Topic of conversation. Hysterical! Chris was nursing his doll while I'd nurse Sam in the early days. Now it's all old hat. And Congrats on doing a great job Mama Moo Cow!

Ashley said...

I love it! Hope you're doing great. I'm impressed you have time to blog sweetie! - With love (from another milk mama) Ashley :)

Andrea said...

I <3 you Amy - too funny! Hannah tried to nurse her dolls and it freaked out Rob too.

And just so you know, you were the first person to ever ask me about breastfeeding. You asked me while I was pregnant if I was going to breastfeed Hannah and I told you I guess so but I had never really thought about it. You then listed a bunch of good reasons to do it. That made me decide to go to a breastfeeding class, where I learned it was best to breastfeed for the first year. So, thanks to that one conversation with you, I fed Hannah for a year and Hailey is currently on month 11. :)