I never planned on being THAT mom. You know, the one who always looks tired AF and has a 25-lb toddler hanging off her boob 24/7?! Yeah, that really wasn’t on my agenda. But life had other plans.. and by life, I mean Bub.
My son decided early on that he was a boob man. He’d barely take a bottle from me, formula wasn’t really his thing and the pacifier phase only lasted for a hot second. I was super enamored with the idea of being his breastaurant in the beginning. It felt very empowering to know that my body was solely responsible for giving my baby his nutrients. The day he was born I was so excited to breastfeed him right away. I whipped my boob out and plopped it in his mouth. When he didn’t immediately latch on, I panicked. His nurse must’ve seen the worried looked on my face because she gently stepped in and told me that I was holding him all wrong and that I should cradle him like a football to get the best results. So, I tucked his little body under my arm, nestled his head against my bosom and right away, he started feeding and my heart melted. Our bond was cemented, and I just knew that from that day on, every moment would be as picture perfect as that one.
..fast forward to 516 days later…
Long gone are the “football cradle” days. I am now the mommy of a ninja and the boy is a black belt. He nurses on demand and when in public; I’ve mastered the art of whipping my boob out and throwing a blanket over his head all in one swift hand motion. Most times, it goes unnoticed. There was that one time when I accidentally flashed a guy in the waiting room at the doctor’s office; but Bub was screaming, I was tired and honestly, the sight of my newly acquired double d’s probably made his day.
The reality is, breastfeeding is not always glamorous. Yes, sometimes it is literally a walk in the park. But not every day is a photo shoot. Most days it’s me sitting on the toilet with a 16-month-old toddler tugging at my boob. Other days it’s me standing in the checkout line at Target, desperately clinging to my shirt as my son claws violently at my chest like a cat in heat. It can be exhausting and at times I do feel trapped. But when its 4am and my son wakes up hungry and wanting to nurse, he really doesn’t give AF if I’m emotionally depleted or not.
Breastfeeding can also be embarrassing. I’ll never forget my first day back to work. I’d brought my breast pump with me because I had planned on pumping during my lunch break. Before I could even make it to noon my coworker kindly and discreetly pointed out that by boobs were leaking. I was mortified. I ran into the restroom and sure enough, I had two prominent wet spots shining through. That was the day I learned two important life lessons: always double up your breast pads and never leave the house without an extra cardigan.
I’ve also had to deal with the critics. If I was paid a dollar for every time someone made a slick comment along the lines of “your son is one and you’re STILL nursing him?” I’d be rich. I am by no means a breastfeeding Nazi or even an advocate. I know plenty of moms who use formula and have happy and healthy babies. We all have our own journey and I believe that moms should do whatever works best for their situation. I myself didn’t even have a solid plan going in to this thing. I was just excited to try it out and before I knew it, that newborn gently curled up in my lap became a toddler swinging from my tit. Now we are almost 17 months in and we haven’t found a reason to stop yet. It’s convenient as hell, it saves me money and my son loves it.
So yes, even though some days may be tough and these bags under my eyes are practically Chanel at this point; for me, it is worth it. I am thankful for the connection that my baby and I share and that I’ve been able to nourish him with milk from my own body. Breastfeeding may not be glamorous; but I’ll continue to bite the bullet, and pray that my son doesn’t bite my damn nipples off.