Thursday, 17 September 2009

Everybody needs a bosom for a pillow

Breastfeeding for the most part has gone really well. The first two weeks of course were hell. I imagine those first weeks are only fun to women who live in latex and nipple clamps with a list of favorite safety words. There's a lot of crying in the early days, and it's not just the raging hormones, it's having a small snorting newbie chomp on your nipples like her life depended on it, because, oh that's right, her life depends on it. But then the pain slowly goes away, and you don't dread the feedings as much. And now at two months of this feeding another human with liquid from your body, I can say that the sensation is not all together unpleasant. It even tickles at times. And oh the sophomoric joy at seeing how far I can squirt milk out of my boob. I figure if Eloise is going to spit up so much of it, I can waste some too. So when the pamphlets and the midwives and the doctors and the magazines and the websites all tell you that breastfeeding should not be painful, they are right. But they don't tell you that it takes weeks to get there.

However holding on to an ever growing bundle of joy for hours on end while she feeds is not the most comfortable. And sure, we use strategically placed pillows to ease the back ache, but sometimes mama needs to read the newspaper and sometimes she wants to read it at the kitchen table and not the giant arm chair she now spends the large slice of the pie chart in. Either way by the end of the day my arms and back are feeling the breastfeeding pain.

So after a few earlier failed attempts I decided to give breastfeeding lying down another try - look Ma! No Hands!. And it works a treat. My DreamGenii pillow underneath my shoulders and Eloise's head, we snuggle up together and she feeds. Not only do we both get to have a rest in this position, it gives Eloise a bit more freedom. I help her latch on at first, but then she comes off when she wants to, takes a moment to contemplate the meaning life and/or burp and can latch right back on again when she feels like it with no help from me. These feeds have a more of a all-you-can-eat buffet feel with no restrictions on helpings. Of course letting her fall asleep like this then sneaking her into her crib may not be the best in long run and I'm sure we'll pay for it when I have a 4 year old who can only fall asleep by spooning her mother, but we'll deal with that issue when we get to it.

My only problem with breastfeeding is doing it in public. Now I'm not uncomfortable popping my boob out in public and feeding my daughter, but I am uncomfortable with other people being uncomfortable. You hear these horror stories of evil stares or restaurant managers kicking you out on the grounds that you can't bring in your own food (WTF!!!). So when Eloise and I are out and about I get such horrible nerves when she starts crying, worrying about whether I'll have to feed her and what people's reactions will be if I do. I don't like the idea of blankets or hooter hiders to cover us up though. A) It feels like I'm ashamed of giving my child a good meal, which I am not. B) I sure as hell wouldn't want to eat a meal with a blanket over my head unless it's that sacred bird and I'm at some underground banquet with French VIPs so I don't see why my kid would.

At home I spend most of the day half topless. The ever sexy look of one tit dangling out of a milk stained low-cut T-Shirt. Ahh, motherhood is so hot. And my fear is that one day I will answer the door in this half dressed state. Hello Mr. Postman. Oh that? That's just my daughter's mid-morning snack, why - did you want some? Seriously. Motherhood. So hot.

It's a shame though that while at home I am terribly at ease with it all, I live in fear of having to whip out boob in public. Any suggestions on how to get over this fear or what to say to anyone who gives me hassle for daring to feed a hungry child in front of them? Have any of you ever had bad experiences breastfeeding in public? I mean part of me doesn't see too much of a problem staying inside for the next 6 months or so watching reruns of The Hills, but I don't think I'd like Eloise's first words to be"I hate Spiedi".


  1. I felt the same way. Seriously, I breastfed both my girls for the first year and I never got over that awkward out-in-public thing. Actually, it got worse as they got older. (I kept thinking things like "She's 9-months-old, what will people THINK???) Once in Switzerland I was nursing Penelope on a bench on a busy street (in the FREEZING cold so we were wrapped in layers of coats and blankets) and a group of Japanese tourists actually stopped to take a picture! Seriously, that whole year I felt like I was on a breastfeeding tour of Europe. I should have been paid by the La Leche League.

    Still, most people probably don't care as much as you think. I know, it sounds like feeble encouragment. But short of that, all I can say is "grin and bear it," and good luck!

  2. The picture is just beautiful. You look so beautiful and Eloise looks so peaceful. This picture is just, well, perfect.

    As for breastfeeding, I say f**k 'em. If I can divert my eyes and accept someone stuffing their face full of three double-decker hamburgers, then they can be just as understanding and accepting when I am providing a nutritious meal to my child. Granted, I'm still hung up on the "afraid to be naked in public" complex, so I will probably opt with blanket draping when my time comes, but that is purely a personal decision. I say, grab your boob, your beautiful child, and enjoy a nice day of nursing on a park bench; when someone passes your way, simply smile and nod- in LA such a gesture will cause them to look away immediately (b/c God forbid you make eye contact with another human being).

    I have to say I am surprised this is an issue in Europe. I just assumed everyone walked around with a child hanging from their boob.

    Love you babe!