When it comes to newborns, I don’t think there is a more controversial topic than breast feeding. The pitbull La Leche League ladies come and visit you immediately after your baby has exited the vagina (or in my case the stomach – Bodie was a c-section baby) and they proceed to judge your “latch” and hammer-home that if you don’t boob-feed, you’re a piece of shit and you hate your baby. Now I’m exaggerating for dramatic effect BUT the pressure you feel is 100% REAL.
I LOVE my tiny-human and I’m fortunate to have both a great milk supply and Boden had a great latch. However!!!! The only good thing about breastfeeding is peanut butter!!! I say this because you burn about 20 calories per OZ of milk and Boden eats a TON!!! I get my extra 1,000 calories in by eating an obscene amount of my favorite thing… Peanut butter!!! Everything else is crap.
Our situation. I stopped feeding Boden from the boob (aka the tap) once he was done cluster-feeding. This was around the 4-week mark. The medical professionals in our circle don’t understand why I would transfer over to a pump/bottle situation. Here is my reasoning in bullet points.
- Boden would flail around like a wild animal (I find nipples are most useful when actually attached to a boob. He was ripping them off).
- I’m a big numbers person and I didn’t like not knowing exactly how much he was eating (pumping and bottle feeding allows me to be precise. Plus you have the added benefit of… anyone can feed the baby!).
- I’m not a prude but I’m 100% not comfortable boob feeding in front of my father/father(brother)-in-law.
- MOTHER F’ING MASTITIS!!!!! Only 10% of breastfeeding women get mastitis (a rather nasty breast infection, that if untreated… you die from). I was lucky enough to get mastits not once, but twice. Once in the right boob and then again on the left. Glorious!.
I totally get that tap-feeding can be a nice bonding experience… BUT HELLO!!! So is everything else (holding your baby, playing with your baby, changing your babies diaper, etc.)! Just because you don’t tap-feed doesn’t mean you’re missing out on some magical unicorn moment. The magic is being relaxed, calm and available for your growing baby. If tap-feeding is stressful, hectic and emotionally draining… A magical unicorn moment is not made and frankly your love-nugget won’t really know the difference. Babies are WAYYYYY smarter than we give them credit for and they give zero shits momma! They just want the milk!!! They’re hungry and want food – they aren’t judging and rating their dinning experience. There isn’t some baby Zagat where infants compare notes… boob vs bottle and breastmilk vs formula. You’re not getting a Michelin Star at the end of a feeding… You’re getting a diaper full of poop!!!
Now I am cheap and breastfeeding is FREE. THAT is why I do it. I can not wait to have my flat AA prepubescent boobs back. I’m a butt girl and these knockers are not my aesthetic. I’m holding out to the 6-month mark as a curtesy to our savings account and because it took me a while to find a formula I was comfortable with (I found one. It’s boujee. We haven’t tried it yet, so I’ll reserve my review for another time!).
This breastfeeding journey requires some gear! Here is what I learnt…
- Electric Pump: Yup. It’s a good item to have! BUT please check your insurance. You should get a free one. I went with something small that would hold a battery so I could throw it in the diaper bag or pump where there wasn’t an outlet (I didn’t bother buying the special bra that holds the pump in place). TIP: You don’t need to deep-clean the parts every time. This will drive you insane. Rise them and store them in the fridge. Also! The valves on this Ameda Mya pump are absolute crap, so when they stop working (if you go with this model) and you need to buy replacements, buy the Medela Breast Pump Valves + Membranes instead. They fit the Ameda Mya and are much better.
- Hand Pump: I wish I didn’t buy this. It was ok to take the edge off when my milk-supply was regulating itself in the beginning (I was engorged constantly) BUT I could have just as easily used my free electric pump. I envisioned myself using the hand pump if we were out… But I just pack my electric AmedaMya instead.
- Breast Pads: YUP!!! You will leak like mo-fo!!! Skip the disposable ones and go right to something bamboo and reusable. They usually come in multi packs, so you’ll always have clean ones. I bought these, they’ve worked great and the little bag is really handy to keep them organized.
- Ice Packs: You will need ice pack because those boobies are going to be raw!!!!! They sell ones specifically for boobs. I had a family member emergency gift them to me one night when I was writhing in pain. You could use regular icepacks too but these slip nicely into your bra.
- Let Down: If you are tap-feeding “let down” means one boob is feeding the baby while the other is making a mess of everything!!!! This is a MUST! BUT here is where I went wrong. I thought I was being so fancy and clever by purchasing a Haakaa Silicone Breast pump!! The idea is that you wear this on one boob while the other tap-feeding. Well!!! Boden is a wild man and he would kick the stupid thing off!! This was HELL’A stressful!!!! It wasn’t until after I had abandoned tap-feeding that I discovered the Haakaa brand makes a collector; this would have been WAY better! It’s small and could’ve stayed clear of Boden’s legs. Don’t make my mistake – buy this instead.
So. I’m going to miss the XL spoonfuls of peanut butter throughout the day. Like really really miss them but the tradeoff is feeling “normal” again. These breastfeeding hormones have been a roller coaster ride of ALLLLL the feels!!! I’m also looking forward to getting back into my cute collection of unsupportive Lululemon sports bras. They’ve been sidelined while the XXX milk makers do their thing!!! Maybe you’re thinking, this bit$h is selfish and shallow… And that’s cool! Just feed your baby. From a bottle, from the tap… You do you momma and I’ll do me. Peace!