WARNING: This post contains graphic boobie-related content. If you don’t have boobs, I suggest you don’t read this. You may be traumatised.
As someone* once said:
“I don’t care about amazeballs, what about these amazeBOOBS?!”
As this week is apparently world breastfeeding week it seems opportune to celebrate the wondrous balls that are higher up, the boobies. I have always been amazed by boobs and I’ve never really had any of my own to speak of. Having Bébé FF allowed me to grow a pair. Literally.
Before I launch in, on a serious note I just want to say I know breastfeeding is a very sensitive and sometimes controversial topic. I can only speak from my own experience on this. I understand that every woman is different, every baby is different and each new family’s circumstances and birth experiences are different. All of those differences mean that every single woman has a different boob-related experience when they have a baby. The main thing is ensuring your baby is fed. How you do it is your concern only. You made a baby, you deserve a freaking gold medal. Nuff said.
So. Let’s talk about boobies. If you didn’t already know, the effect of having a baby on your boobs can yield some quite extreme and often hilarious(ish) consequences. I’m still using mine, but I have heard that things get worse, not better. Quelle surprise. This is really a post for the prospective and new mommas that have no clue what is around the corner, or have just recently shared some of the joys of being a milking machine.
As I said at the start, this is a very personal experience so I can only share what happened to me. BébéFF is extremely gourmand and as a result had located my nipple and started suckling before I even had chance to get my eyes back in focus after the minor trauma of getting him out. Pretty sure I was shouting ” Help! I can’t actually see anything! Have I had a baby?!” whilst he got down to business. I was lucky that he was a hungry baby.
I was also lucky to have a wonderful midwife who took the time to show me the ropes. I explained to her that I probably wouldn’t be able to breastfeed given my boobs are so small. She clarified to me that apparently “that is not a thing“. Accompanied by a withering look. Fair. In fact, small boobies really come into their own for this job. You have just got to get set up.
Side note: There is nothing more bizarre than having a random lady grab your new baby and your boob and try to connect the two, but I have to tell you, it worked. A few attempts at bouncing my boob against his unsuspecting mouth and he was latched. If you can get a midwife to give you some tuition, do it. The sooner you can get bébé on that boobie the better.
I was also very lucky to get home to a quiet, calm house quickly, and be waited on hand and foot. I fully appreciate this is not always possible, and certainly not when you are on bébé number 2+. Quick tip from our NCT classes: have a sports-capped bottle of water in every room. Once you sit down to feed, you are not gonna be able to move, and you will only have one hand free, at best. You will never know such thirst. It’s like bébé is drinking directement from you.
The next thing to note is that in the first days postpartum you will be repeatedly asked if “your milk has come in“. No, you’re not being asked if Monty the Milkman has been to visit (heaven knows you need the milk, but do milkmen even still exist?!). In fact, after a few days (3-5 usually) of violent suckling of the magical creamy colostrum you have produced, actual milk will start to fill your boobs. You will know when it happens. Believe me. I’ve mentioned “the Pamela” effect before. My babylons got so big I genuinely couldn’t put my arms down by my sides. It was funny for 5 minutes. Then I needed my arms back.
Unfortunately, I had to decline offers to be in the new Baywatch movie due to the rest of my body being used in Scream 9.
Another thing to note is that just because you are producing milk, you don’t actually need to drink milk. Can you believe that? Yes, a health visitor genuinely took her time to explain that one to me. Brilliant. Good job I’m here to tell you all this, eh?!
What you do need to do is drink plenty of liquids and you will likely find you are super hungry. This is where the cake comes in particularly useful. I was told to eat plenty. So I did. Don’t have to tell me twice! But seriously, it probably helps you to make the good milky stuff. 500 calories extra is just a rough indicator. I aimed for about 2 million extra and pretty much nailed it.
Be sure to get yourself measured once you are established, as the boobies are in their element and will require a new range of boulder-holders. When the assistant announced my new measurements, I had to hold myself back from asking them to announce it over the tannoy. I almost got a T-shirt made. They eventually neutralise but I was astonished by the sheer volume of material in some of my bras. Epic.
I’m sorry to say that you will likely be bitterly disappointed with the range of nursing clothing that is available. In part this is because you actually don’t need special clothes with hidden pockets and access areas. You just need bigger tops and ideally button-up or zip-up top layers, with a vest top underneath. I know, it’s annoying to hear, I’m not usually one to shy away from any opportunity to buy clothes you “need”, but like the maternity ranges available around here, you will mostly spend your time (and money) being disappointed by the poor quality “specially-designed” products, and resort to areas of your existing wardrobe you forgot you had. So buy a load of vest tops and some comfy tees in a couple of sizes up from your normal size. Gap, H&M and Toppers are always reliable.
(By the way, one of the most ridiculous things about maternity shopping is that most of the maternity ranges aren’t available to try in store. The one time you really blumming need to try the clothes on and you can’t. Seriously. What is that about?)
Some things you need to become familiar with if you are planning to breastfeed:
- nursing bras – think soft, non-wired, clippy and probably the ugliest bras you will ever own. I can recommend John Lewis for comfortable bras (satin crop tops are amaze) but if you have babylons the size of watermelons you probably need to just invest in two hammocks.
- breast pads – equally exciting as other types of female pads. You need these to prevent your boobs leaking. Yes, your boobs may leak. Like a tap. You can get the Lanisoh ones, but if you go through hundreds of these as you may well do at the start, look out for Boots mega boxes and similar supermarket versions. They are all have different levels of packaging, softness and stickyness on the back.
- nipple cream – Lanisoh Lanolin. Buy two tubes of it immediately. Apply it every time bébé goes anywhere near your nipples.
- breast pump – a contraption used to extract milk from ze boobies when you want to increase your supply / build up a freezer stock / escape for a mad night on the town (more likely to a yoga class or for a bit more sleep, but we can dream). These come in “manual” or “electric”. Both will make you feel a bit like a farmyard animal. Manuals are smaller, lighter, portable and cheaper. Electrics are more efficient, more pricey but don’t require an impromptu forearm workout. If you are planning to pump more than very occasionally, I recommend the electric variety. You get used to the terrible repetitive buzzing noise fairly quickly.
- bottles and pouches and freezing milk solutions. I only discovered this later on, thanks to my lovely NCT friend, but the Tommee Tippee Express and Go pouches are excellent. Highly recommend.
Now I said the consequences of breastfeeding can be hilarious. Well, I never thought I would be saying this, but I want this blog to be frank. So when your boobs squirt milk all over your bébé, couch, and often an unsuspecting family member (or worse) you have got to laugh. This really does happen. I’ve lost count of the number of times BébéFF started squirming around under my various protective layers, and as I pulled him out I could see why. Milk everywhere. When bébé pulls off your boob, your boob won’t just stop what it’s doing. Be warned. Always have a muslin to hand for those awkward moments. It’s funny and a bit embarrassing.
I haven’t really mentioned breastfeeding in public, that’s another of those mummy milestones and slightly controversial topics I don’t feel ready to face today. Suffice to say, my own view is you get on and feed your bébé wherever the heck you need to. If you are in a place you are legally entitled to be (i.e. a public place) then you are legally entitled to feed your bébé there too. Pretty sure that is the law.
I shall finish with this thought of the day.
When crumbs fall down your top (which happens often) technically they have been boobie trapped.
You are welcome. ❤