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Breastfeeding definitely didn’t come naturally to me. I never imagined that I would enjoy it and the whole idea of it really freaked me out.
The fact that I would be producing milk from these two fatty lumps that had been almost completely useless, other than to give my clothing shape, was absurd to me.
Also, shape was a strong word, as I had the breasts of a prepubescent, slightly chubby boy. I mean honestly, I was pushing it to fill a B cup. I tended to wear bralettes, because why not? I enjoyed my flat chest, but to be the only source of food and drink for a baby? Absolutely ludicrous.
So then it happened, I gave birth. So, on Day 1 the baby drinks around 1mL of colostrum, it’s nothing to write home about. The biggest news was that the entire hospital staff had touched my ever expanding nipples.
I left the hospital after three days and nothing much had changed, my nipples were now sore from this little pipsqueak’s hoover suction cups, aka lips, tearing my poor delicate areolas. Then, Day 4 something magical happened… I awoke to the sight of the breast implants I’d never wanted! Huge, augmented breasts filled with what seemed like gallons of milk!
Without the prying eyes of the midwives and nurses we found our flow and with no more discussion of ‘latching’ and ‘attachment’ she eased into feeding, positioning herself without too much guidance.
I held my daughter close to feed and as she stared up at me with her shiny, happy blue eyes I was grateful that these once useless fatty lumps had found their purpose. With a full tummy she fell asleep on my lap, tiny hands curled around my arm, my heart filled with joy.
I found myself enjoying, so much, the time that we spent together feeding. Her little face looking up at me, often smiling and spilling sticky milk on my clothing. We cuddled a lot and I felt a sense of security strengthening within her, it was a safe place for her to be. At times she would just want to drink to be close and cuddle, overwhelmed in a world that was so big, new and strange.
Feeding in public in Northern Australia, in the summer, was a challenge for me. I felt uncomfortable exposing myself and I felt a sense of judgement. Thankfully over the next two months we travelled to Italy, where I felt the freedom of feeding in the most beautiful piazzas in the world, under the safety of winter’s loose shirts and scarves.
Sitting under the Duomo in Florence, with my hungry baby being fed was a great experience. At first it was daunting, but after walking for hours and offering only chamomile tea I knew that it was necessary. One of the busiest places in Italy, definitely the busiest in Tuscany, perched on an old stone bench I fed her… and nobody cared. The feeling of anonymity and acceptance at the same time was freeing.
From that point on I felt empowered to feed wherever I needed to. Once, in a restaurant after lunch, once at the beach, but everywhere without fear and with pride of doing what was best for my little love.
Now, almost six months later, I feel so content that I can be free from any feeling of shame or guilt, knowing that if she is hungry she should eat, as everyone else would. I feel so overwhelmed with the bond that we have created through feeding and so grateful that I can be both her source of nourishment and security, by doing just what nature intended.
So, to those B-cup, useless lumps: I applaud you. You were so useful after all!