Leaky and saggy, lopsided or empty, engorged, sore and deflated. And that’s just your boobs!
Any mama who’s whipped out the girls to breastfeed is also likely familiar with the finger-in-the-nose and the nipple cripple techniques. That’s when bub either pinches your boob with their free hand – or sinks the teeth in. Ouch!
You wouldn’t necessary KNOW that however because the publicised images of breastfeeding are often, well, MUCH nicer than the reality.
Where’s the three year old Bonds maternity singlet that WAS black, once upon a time, but is now a kind of mellow grey thanks to the constant ‘wear-cover in milk-wash’ cycle?
Is there another child somewhere off camera with a poo-filled nappy, merrily using a stool to access the biscuit tin, safe in the knowledge that you can’t move off the couch? Could there possibly be an iPhone stashed in Nicole’s coat pocket or behind Doutzen’s back that they’re using to pay the overdue invoice for Little Kickers because #mummymultitasking?
Let me clear. These photos are awesome. Anything that helps #normalisebreastfeeding can only be a good thing. I am going to go out on a limb here and say that BEING or at least LOOKING like a supermodel is helpful (surprising, I know!)
But what about what breastfeeding looks like for your AVERAGE mum on your AVERAGE day (and quite possibly for all the three women above because #mumlife happens to the best of us)? In honour of World Breastfeeding Week, come find out!
This Is What Breastfeeding REALLY Looks Like
It’s boobs out over the side of the cot while you attempt to settle a baby to sleep. It’s your husband’s hoodie (because easy access), mum buns and a groove in the couch the shape of your bum, thanks to the time logged sitting there. It’s hours spent in darkened bedrooms, sharing your body with your baby, regardless of whether you’re exhausted/touched out/due in the outside world in two minutes’ time.
For some mums, it’s having a toddler gnaw at your breast while you try and go to the toilet. Just ask mum-of-eight (yes EIGHT!) Elisha Wilson Beach, who shared this picture to mark World Breastfeeding Week with the brilliant caption ‘can Mommy get a minute???”.
Every woman who breastfeeds will have a different experience. I have fed three babies and while each time has been unique, there are a few things that have remained the same every time (and I suspect they may just be universal).
The realities of breastfeeding
You know you’re a breastfeeding mum when…
- You realise too late that you forgot breast pads. And you’re wearing white (rookie error, no mother with young children should ever wear white.)
- You’ve flooded a mattress with liquid gold, so many times that you now own multiple mattress protectors.
- Your wardrobe contains 99% clothes that offer boob access (and 1% ‘nice’ clothes that you wear maybe three times a year).
- You know exactly what a letdown is AND how it feels.
- You’ve cupped your boobs tightly due to prevent leakage … in public. Multiple times.
- You’ve popped a boob on a plane, on a train, in a car… you get the picture.
- You have at least one hundred #brelfies
- You know what a #brelfie is (breastfeeding selfie for the uninitiated)
- You’ve had a little cry over the fact that all you’ve done for 12 hours is breastfeed
- You understand all too well the smell (and consistency) of regurgitated breastmilk. Because you’ve worn it on your clothes (more times than you care to remember)
Breastfeeding can be the hardest, most thankless, exhausting task in the world. The realities of breastfeeding for any length of time means giving yourself completely to your baby. No easy task after a full nine months of pregnancy. Sharing ownership of your body with a tiny human who feels well within their rights to bite, scratch, punch and grapple with your chest whenever they damn well feel like it is not easy.
Is it worth it? One hundred per cent.
And sometimes you can even look almost glam doing it.
Breastfeeding mum? We bet you’ve had at least ONE of these 101 thoughts we have while breastfeeding.