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.