A post about tits.

July 25, 2017

I’ve made no secret on this blog of the fact that I wasn’t particularly good at being pregnant. Speaking candidly, I was never the most maternal of women and I was terrified that I wouldn’t be any good at mothering a human. 

 

I knew all along that I wanted to breastfeed. I say ‘wanted’... I knew that I was going to breastfeed because I was all too aware of the ‘breast is best’ campaign. And I wanted the best.

 

That isn’t to say that I was looking forward to it – for me it just seemed like an extension of pregnancy and delaying all the more the return of my body to myself. I saw breastfeeding as a motherly duty that I wasn’t particularly looking forward to, but I knew had to be done.

 

And thank goodness I came to that decision on my own, because I sure as hell would have felt the pressure from the pros if I hadn’t.

 

At every check up, appointment or ‘friendly chat’ it was:

 

‘And are you breastfeeding?’, biro hovering over the paper. 

 

‘Erm, yes.’

 

‘Good.’ A satisfied nod, a ticked box and you're a good mother, a validated human being. 

 

Then the baby is born and your boobs are no longer bikini-stuffers, the reason dudes buy you Malibu & Cokes in bars or, in my case, a shelf for Doritos.

Whatever you’ve used them for up to this point, for the time that follows in hospital, you have an endless stream of people coming in to grope your tits. Half of Surrey has copped a feel of my rack at this stage and I didn’t get a single Malibu & Coke out of it.

 

Pabs and I have found our stride together now, and it’s a lovely little cocktail of Aimee Milk™ and Aptamil.

 

As a result of an emergency c-section and little daylight in our hospital room, Pablo developed jaundice when he was a couple of days old. To get rid of it, I had to feed, feed, feed, feed.

 

That was when Pablo decided that he only wanted to latch on one boob.
Sure, he had a go with the other one; he wiped his face across it, clawed at it with his sharp little fingernails before smooshing his face into my chest and refusing to eat until I moved him to the other side.

 

No matter what I tried, he’d only chow down from the right hand jug – and with a desperate need to fill him with milk as much as possible, I gave up and just let the poor little buggar feed on one side, in peace. One boob lactated with glowing pride; the other slowly deflated and accepted her fate as an eternal Dorito shelf.

 

I pumped on the neglected side, though not religiously and still managed to express a good 4-5oz from the working side as Pablo got older. Plenty for a 6lb baby who snacked on an ounce or two at a time. 

 

At one point, the fridge was stocked with bottles of milk, ready to go.
Pabs ate little and often and I was more than able to keep up. With pressure applied in just the right place, my boob went off like a Crazy Daisy; we called our house the Shalford Dairy Farm.

 

 

 

And then, as babies are won to do, he got older. He got hungrier, and my one white knight boob couldn’t keep up, try as I might.

 

As a mother, it isn't a particularly pleasant feeling to be unable to feed your baby to his heart’s content anymore; to hear him cry for more when you’ve sat for forty minutes while he feeds on and off. 

 

He got a little bit underweight.

 

So I started giving him formula.

 

Or arsenic, as my health visitor implied.

 

At first, I started out with little ready-made bottles, ‘just to top him up’.

 

Then I noticed after feeds that he’d lay back, almost drunk. He was milk-heavy and properly full.

 

I went straight out to Boots for a bigger pack. Though I still deliberately used a self-service check-out to avoid someone seeing me armed with Aptamil, because despite knowing that this glorious stuff was filling up my baby’s belly in a way that I couldn’t – I still felt guilty.

 

And mark my words, I didn’t give up easily.

 

My working boob is now red and stretched. It’s hardened; the Ray Winstone of tits.

And it’s seen some shit.

 

I didn’t swap to formula so that I could go back to drinking double gins and let everyone else feed him. I didn't give up because he woke me up every hour and a half to breastfeed during the night.

I didn’t give up because I ‘wasn’t the kind of person’ to breastfeed, as I’ve been told some women are. Frankly, I don’t know anyone who is the ‘kind of person’ to get her tits out in Costa without being dictated by a screaming baby.


I didn’t give up because it hurt – 24 hours of labour with just gas and air readjusts your perspective of pain.

 

I was taken back to hospital in an ambulance with searing agony a few weeks after my operation, and I still breastfed. I breastfed on A&E, with a cannula in the crook of my arm and Sam holding Pablo’s head above it. I breastfed with 7lbs of baby resting on a fresh caesarean wound and damaged nerves. 

 

And yet despite knowing all this, I stood in the kitchen staring at the new tubs of formula I’d just bought, and for some reason I still felt guilty. I still felt like I was giving up too easily, and I still felt like a failure.

 

Ridiculous, right? It's powdered milk, not sodding tequila. 

 

I decided not to use it. I carried on taking my breastfeeding supplements, I carried on pumping and I carried on trying to coax Pablo on to the other side; which now looked pretty tiny compared to its watermelon-esque twin.

 

We didn’t get too far, and he was still hungry after feeds. I cried at the drop of a hat, feeling more incompetent than ever. 

 

So now we’re doing both. Cherry picking.

 

I breastfeed him as much as I can, and sometimes he’s full up. Sometimes we need a little help from the Formula Fairy, and my kitchen looks like the aftermath of a coke party.

 

Breastfeeding isn’t a chore, like I thought it would be. It bloody hurts and it hasn’t been easy for us but once again, Pregnant Aimee was wrong. Breastfeeding is actually lovely, when it goes well. 

I’d really rather like to be one of those women with babies who feed greedily on each side and then flop back, satiated and happy.

It’s a kick in the teeth that I have to rely on man-made powder to do the job for me, but actually when I sit back and think, the guilt and anxiety comes from all the external pressure; from condescending health professionals and irate Mummy forums.

 

If you're using formula because you want to or because you have to, surely as long as your baby is fed and fed well, you’re still doing your job and no less of a mother than Mrs Ten-Gallon Tits over the road?

 

And to you amply-breasted goddesses; you're doing a wonderful job and if anyone stares a little bit too long at you for feeding in public, I hope you stare back even harder. Maybe even throw them the finger.
Because it's unlikely they've ever been held to ransom by a JoJo Maman Bebe clad tyrant in Cafe Nero. 

Hell, I walked around Zara Home with Pablo in one arm under my t-shirt while he fed; I'd scarcely been able to walk around or leave the house for six weeks and I wanted a fucking White Jasmine candle, screaming or no screaming. 

 

Whether you're sterilising a bottle teat that you forgot at 2am, surrounded by spilt formula powder and scalding your hand with boiling water to the soundtrack of Baby Rage Vol. 2 - The Hits (me) or standing with one arm folded over your leaking boobs in the Shell garage, willing the cashier to hurry the bloody hell up so you can get back in the car and squeeze milk out of your aching boob, whilst wondering what the hell happened to the your life, (me again) rest assured - you're doing a good job. 

 

Because soon they'll be throwing themselves down on the floor in the middle of Sainsbury's because we won't buy them Frosties, the Militant Mummy brigade will scowl at us for slipping our children a Kit Kat to shut them up in Wagamama and our kitchens will be spattered with so much food, it will look like Jamie Oliver had an epileptic fit next to the Aga. 

So let's just enjoy the Milk Months while they're here. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Please reload

Please reload

© 2023 by The Beauty Room. Proudly created with Wix.com

This site was designed with the
.com
website builder. Create your website today.
Start Now