• J Mess

BREAST IS BEST

Apparently the only job I’m qualified for now is in a dairy


I had no preconceptions before I had a baby about whether I would breastfeed. I figured they’re attached to me and this is what they’re meant to do, why not at least give it a try. I had no idea how to do it or that I would need a ton of things to get the job done (pumps, pads, creams, bras. We’ll discuss this another time) Or all the intense pain, physical and emotional, that I would go through. Or how I would absolutely hate it and desperately want to quit. And then absolutely love it and desperately not want to be forced to quit.


“Nobody tells you the truth about it because then nobody would do it.”

That’s the one phrase that’s been repeated to me time and time again. About giving birth. About breastfeeding. About taking care of a baby. But why? It’s crazy that nobody talks about these things. I will tell you. BREASTFEEDING HURTS. A LOT. It’s like having a tiny velociraptor constantly attacking you. It’s raw, bloody, tender. It’s leaky, messy and wet. It makes your breasts huge and you can’t wear the right kind of bra to do anything about that. It makes you cry. It makes you smell like cheese. It’s definitely not for everyone.


I am the food, goo goo g’joob.

But then it’s great. It’s fast. It’s easy. It’s all in one. It’s less clean up. It’s special time with my baby. No bottles. No mixing. No ingredients. No dishes to clean. Just me. I am the food. Until I’m

not there.


Every time I complain about being tired or not having enough time in the day, everyone says “use formula!” As if not breastfeeding could cure all the world’s problems.

Pumping consumes my life. It makes me a prisoner. If I don’t do it every 2 to 3 hours there’s a chance my breasts might pop like 2 giant water balloons… and also my child will starve. I have a pump at home. A pump at work. A cord so I can pump in the car (and I have. Ask me about that later.) A manual pump so I can pump in the basement bathroom at a bar (and I have.) I am a milking machine. And yet when my baby first started daycare, there were a couple of days when I didn’t think I’d be able to make enough milk. And the pediatrician said, “he’s a bit on the skinny side,” and wrote these instructions on the sheet:


EAT MORE FOOD.


Inevitably the idea of formula comes up every time. I am not looking to start a mommy war. I’m not opposed to formula. Every mom makes her own choice about what she wants to feed her baby and it’s her decision. I don’t judge. I started breastfeeding and I wanted to finish. But think of all the time you’ll get back not pumping, they said. But think of all the places you’ll be able to go without having to be tied to the pump, they said. But think of all the stuff you won’t have to schlep around everyday, they said. Want to cure cancer? Use Formula! Want to broker peace in the middle east? Use Formula! Formula, formula, formula! Everybody now!


Nevertheless, she persisted…


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