I never thought I would have such bittersweet feelings about it…but I am actually lamenting over the fact that my breastfeeding days are almost over. It’s been a bit of a love/hate relationship, breastfeeding and me. A roller coaster ride of experiences. As this chapter of motherhood is coming to a close, I am here to reflect, share a few giggles and some insight.
It is at this point, I’m going to make it clear: I’m not one of those mothers who harp on about how breastfeeding makes them feel “empowered” (they’re just breasts, not secret weapons). Or worse yet, imitate Gisele Bundchen who recently, made ridiculous claims that: “There should be a worldwide law that mothers should breastfeed for six months” (Really, Gezza ??? Get a grip !!!). A mother’s choice to (or not to) breastfeed can be varied. Personal, medical, whatever. Each to their own.
The hospital where my boys were born is well-renowned for being “Baby Friendly”. As such, it is very much pro-breastfeeding. My charming husband would marvel in delight, “Check out all the boobie posters they have around here !”
The midwives were great advocates (dare I say, some were borderline Nazis) and encouraged all mothers to have their newborns in their rooms with them and to breastfeed as soon as physically possible. For mamas of premmie pumpkins, our arrangement was slightly different. We had to “learn” how to manually express our pre-term milk and transfer it to our bubs who were being looked after in the Newborn Care Centre ward, located downstairs. There, the expressed milk was tube fed to our little ones.
In aid of getting my milk flowing, there were indeed some interesting moments where midwives were poking and prodding my once precious puppies. One over-zealous nurse was so keen to have my 2 day old son started on breast feeding, that she grabbed a breast (yes, one of MINE) and started rubbing it against my little boy’s closed mouth, back and forth.
“Let’s try and get him used to it as soon as possible,” she said sternly. My son’s mouth stayed shut tight. Obviously, he wasn’t interested or ready. I lost all sense of dignity.
Those midwives gave it to me plain and simple: I had 2 mouths to feed and the best bet to ensure that happening was to start expressing diligently every 3 hours, around the clock.
“Right, ” I thought, “Better get cracking.” I was determined to tackle the task at hand with complete gusto.
So, there I am in my tiny hospital room. With my two “udders” popping out of my granny nightie, I prop myself up on the bed. Complete with snapshots of my newborn twins placed carefully in front of me, I began the tedious task of squeezing that “liquid gold” from my breasts into small plastic vials. (Not the romantic scenario I’m sure that supermodel/earth mother Gisele Bundchen would be accustomed to).
Beside me, was my hubby encouraging me as my coach for a marathon, “That’s it, Lovey…keep the momentum going…squeeze, squeeze…just a few more drops.”
It was at that precise moment I ceased being my husband’s sexual goddess. Instead, images of a milking cow would spring to mind.
As Ms Bundchen’s face is on the cover of millions of magazines and everyone is in awe over how quickly she has sprung back to the fashion world from giving birth, I actually question how realistic her breastfeeding or motherhood experiences have been so far. (I bet she hasn’t been man-handled by some highly strung midwife).
Far from being a glamorous covergirl, this milking cow has many more boob juice stories to share. Stay tuned.