Not only is my youngest baby turning two a cause for celebration in it's own right, but it will also mark two years of breastfeeding. I breastfed Logan for only 4 weeks, and I was too busy worrying and stressing about it, that I didn't get the chance to enjoy it and marvel in how miraculous it is.
Breastfeeding has been an interesting journey to say the least. There are things that NOONE tells you about breastfeeding. As an avid supporter of breastfeeding in general, especially in extended breastfeeding and normalising breastfeeding, here's a little list of five things I never thought would happen when breastfeeding.
You literally become Floozie in the Jacuzzi
Fellow Birmingham dwellers will know what I'm talking about. For those of you who haven't been lucky enough to visit Brum, Floozie in the Jacuzzi is a huge water fountain in the middle of the city centre by the museum. A big brass statue of a woman laid back in the water. Ok, so she doesn't have water squirting from her bosom, but you kinda get what I mean.
In those early days of breastfeeding, your let down is FIERCE. So fierce and powerful in fact that if your sweet babe should decide mid feed to unlatch and have a little look around, milk will squirt forth from your nipple with an incredulous force. Nobody in a 6 foot radius is safe. Milk will rain down on all innocent by-standers should they choose to be close by at that particular moment. Having to apologise for squirting somebody with your milk, is never fun and possibly the worst thing you'll ever
have to do.
You become a healer.
Literally, breast milk is MAGICAL! once you discover that the best medicine for your baby's nappy rash is breast milk, you'll literally start dousing everything in the stuff. I remember when Logan and Rori both got taken down with conjunctivitis and I had to try and squirt milk in their eyes. It was hilarious. Rori kept trying to catch the milk in her mouth.
Got a burn from a pan? Breast milk. Sunburn? Breast milk. Ear infection? Breast milk. You get the picture.
Your breasts become a hot topic of debate.
From strangers berating or applauding you to stuffy extended family members asking you, rather red-faced, to put your boob away and 'when are you gonna give that up?'. Literally everyone decides they have the right to have an opinion on what you do with your milk and your baby. It took me a while to gain the confidence to breastfeed Rori in public. I remember one of the first times really clearly. I sat at a table at a coffee bar in the middle of a busy shopping centre. Back then I would wear one of those covers in public, just incase I flashed a boob. I didn't have one that day much to my dismay, but I sat and fed her anyway. When I got up to leave, two elderly ladies who must have been about 70 and were sat a couple of tables away, stopped me to tell me how discreet I had been feeding my baby and that they thought I had done a wonderful job and had two beautiful children. Not gonna lie, I did a little ugly cry as I thanked them for saying something so kind to me.
You may need to be milked like a cow.
Imagine this: Your wedding anniversary is approaching. Your baby just turned 1. You arrange a romantic getaway complete with an overnight stay, and ask Nanny and Grandad to babysit. You imagine all the wonderful things you can do whilst childless for a whole day and night. Top of the list being a great nights sleep, undisturbed. No routine. Peace and quite! You pack your breast pump and away you go.
Nothing's that easy though is it? Your boobies are magical things. Mine are so magical in fact that I think they must be psychic. So psychic are my breasts that they can tell the difference between a breast pump and a baby.
There we were on our romantic getaway and like a stubborn toddler, my boobs were not cooperating. My milk would not let down with the breast pump that I had so considerately packed for myself. I tried and tried and all that happened was a little hickey appeared on the end of my nipple, turning it a rather strange shade of purple. Not wanting it to ruin our weekend escape, We carried on with the things we had planned anyway. When we headed back to our room to get ready for dinner, my breasts resembled watermelons in both size and weight. Now they were too sore and full to even get the pump on them. Bugger. So I did what any desperate and engorged woman would do, I asked my husband to milk me.
We don't talk about that weekend much...
I never thought breastfeeding would change my life.
For me, breastfeeding has been life-changing in more ways than one. Not only am I amazed frequently at the magic of breast milk and breastfeeding, but I've managed to turn it into a business. Finding all of the highstreet nursing bras I came across pretty boring, uncomfortable and uninspiring is what pushed me to design the first nursing bra for myself, and the rest is history. Now I've made hundreds of nursing bras and they've been sent all around the world. None of that would have happened if it wasn't for breastfeeding Rori. I've even had a picture of myself feeding Rori on a poster for a breastfeeding support group in Southend. That's pretty darn awesome.