Thursday, November 19, 2009

What everyone should know about breastfeeding

Try the following experiment:
  1. Set an alarm clock to ring every 2-4 hours around the clock.
  2. If you are at home when your alarm clock rings, stop what you are doing and a sit down for 15-30 minutes, pretending to have a small human being attached to your bosom.
  3. If you are not at home, find somewhere private where you can sit down for 15-30 minutes, pretending to have a whirring plastic contraption attached to your bosom (which you keep with you at all times outside of the house.)
  4. Repeat for about a year or so …
Hanna Rosin's The Case Against Breastfeeding in last April's Atlantic raised a lot of hackles. I read it and cried.

As I've alluded to in prior posts, the biggest shock for me about motherhood was how much I HATED breastfeeding … and, most of all, pumping. And how long I stuck with it anyway. Formula seems like a paltry substitute (physically and emotionally) for the real thing, but I wish that someone had given me the heads up that if you are planning to leave the house before your child's first birthday - breastfeeding is an incredible pain in the ass. It just is. Rosin's article captured my mixed feelings perfectly.

So if you are ever planning to bear babies, work with someone who bears babies or marry someone who bears babies, here is what you should know:
  • Lactation consultants (yes, I too snickered at first), use them soon and use them often!
  • Mothers are not milk on tap. This means, sans baby, often milk will not come out when you want it to and milk will come out when you don't want it to.
  • Milk supply may plummet unexpectedly.
  • Lactating breasts do not sleep.
  • God forbid you leave the house and forget your breast pump. Do. Not. Let. This. Happen. … Ever.
  • Breastpads! Keep 'em handy but Kleenex can work in a pinch.
  • Milk is perishable and bulky. Your pump is bulky and may require electricity. Logistics matter!
  • (As someone who spent virtually all her pumping life standing around in bathroom stalls) "Mother's Rooms" are not a luxury, they are the humane way to treat employees!
  • Working and breastfeeding is easiest done by the organized and informed. You are now informed.

1 comment:

Baby Carrier said...

This post is so funny! And true! How many times have people told you that breastfeeding is the greatest thing ever and you *must* love it? I can't say I hated it, but it was not fun. However, I did for the love of my son until he was almost 2.

In some ways it was convenient (fastest meal I ever made), but if we weren't home, it could definitely be a hassle.