If there are any males who regularly read my blog (which I don't think there are), beware, I'm going to talk about some womanly things. I'm not saying you shouldn't read further for future reference, just prepare yourself.
OK, now that that is taken care of, I can continue. I have thought about this topic for a blog for a while, but I wasn't quite sure if I was bold enough to really open up about it yet. I've only been blogging for a couple weeks, so I haven't yet reached the "anything goes" mentality as far as sharing my personal thoughts. But, I do want to write about this stuff, because it's stuff I was too embarrassed to talk about face to face with anyone. So, I can avoid the redfacedness that I would have if I were to talk to you, by hiding behind the words on your screen now. What is this scandalous, personal topic? It's BOOBS ... well actually its really more about breastfeeding.
One of the most awkward changes that has come along with having a baby has been the whole milk production aspect. Every time I go to feed Chaselyn or pump while I'm at work, I'm totally amazed at what my body is doing. I actually produce milk...like a cow produces milk. It's very surreal and very weird, yet it feels like the most natural thing. I mean think about it, when you think of milk, do you not think of the a farmer in overalls and a straw hat sitting on that little stool with a bucket next to the big black and white cow? Obviously, that's what I think of, but now, I see the same picture, but think of that poor cows little teats. I also wonder if that cow has little embarrassing leaks when she hears a calf cry. Because to me, this is what breastfeeding has meant.
I have been very blessed, and do not have any chapped nipples or anything like that. In preparing to breastfeed, the books prepare you for the worst, and believe me, they come up with some scary situations, but better to know before you have the problem and feel all alone. Anyway my three biggest problems are 1) Chaselyn likes to look around and see what is going on while eating and 2) I have had a bra and breast pads on for 4 months straight with the exception of showers and 3) the planning and time dedication.
Concerning 1, any noise, motion or anything can make Chaselyn want to turn her head now. Which is great developmentally and we like to test her, but when it comes time for her to be suctioned on to one of the most sensitive parts of my body I really want her to be focused on the task at hand. And there has been more than one cross word yelled at Stanton when Chaselyn is slowly eating her way to a good nap and then he has the nerve to slam a cabinet door or throw another aluminum can into the recycling. Oh yeah, babies are born with the startle reflex, which again is very neat to see when she's not attached to me.
Now, as far as 2 goes, I will admit, most of this is probably my fault. I probably don't have to wear the breast pads EVERY day ALL day long, and while around the house, I could probably let the girls breathe a little. But while expressing milk does feel totally natural, randomly leaking milk is not natural at all. It's mainly just a big embarassing mess. I have forgotten my breastpads once while getting dressed for work. That resulted in me having a nice dark wet spot to highlight my right boob. I then substituted some TP in my bra for some containment, which then made me have lumpy mutated boobs. I hid in my office and didn't talk to many people that day. And God forbid I should ever forget to protect myself and go to the grocery store. A crying baby opens the flood gates almost every time.
With 3, I am more than happy to sacrifice for Chaselyn, but I do miss being able to go anywhere on a whim. Now everytime I even begin to entertain the idea of going somewhere, I have to think "She ate last at ____, and she ate about ____ ounces, so she's probably good for another ____ amount of time. I think it will take about _____ hours to go do _____, so I need to either take my Hooter Hider or pack a bottle. Is there somewhere to heat the bottle if I take that? Is there somewhere that I can discretely feed her if the bottle is a no go?" Oh it's exhausting. But on the plus side, when breastfeeding, you are always prepared if an unexpected hunger episode hits. You never leave your boobs at home, they're always there. In addition to planning, it takes time. And it's not something you can put off. I have to spend about 30 minutes 2 times a day while at work pumping. When I'm with Chaselyn it's usually 20 minutes per feeding, and this has to be done every 2-3 hours. Thats quite a bit of my time. I usually try to use that time to rest, but going back to 1, thats not always so easy. And, though she has a pretty regular eating schedule, you always have to be aware of it. Do we have time to play one more round of Wii tennis before she's hungry? Do I have time for a shower now? If I fix dinner now, will it be done in time for me to have time to eat it while its hot? If she's sleeping now, how quickly can I get to bed to optimize my sleep? She's pretty stable at sleeping for a 6 hour stint at night which is good, but oh how I long to sleep for a solid 10 hours like I used to do.
I have several friends who are preggers right now. I want you all to know that it is totally worth it. I'm sure you've seen all the lists of benefits from breastfeeding. And I can't imagine having it any other way. It does wear on you, but I'm sure using formula wears on you too. Aside from the health benefits, remember, you never have to worry about leaving food behind. As long as you're there with the baby, she'll have food. There is an indescribable bond that you make. I feel sorry for Stanton sometimes, because he can't comfort her like I can. I can give her food...and who isn't comforted by a nice warm meal? And the closeness spreads to more than just getting some food. Some of the more practical pluses: saved $$ on food, more entitlement to eat for two even after the baby is born (so maybe not so much $$ saved on food), an extended time of not worrying about your monthly womanly requirements, and your boobs generally get bigger, which most would consider a plus.
So I guess thats it. I'm really open to talk about this topic in a more personal setting. But I feel that most of my readers are women who will have to deal with this issue in the future, and I want you all to know that it is doable, but it does take commitment and discipline. But look at this face and tell me its not worth it...