The other day, I was talking to a fellow mom and we got to chatting about that ever-unifying and yet polarizing topic of breastfeeding.
“It’s so weird,” I said. “I start out every pregnancy thinking that I will be OK with giving my baby formula once in a while but then once I start breastfeeding, I can’t do it. Breastfeeding messes with my mind.”
“Yes!” she exclaimed, “That’s exactly it!”
It may not be that way for all mothers, of course, but for me, breastfeeding has definitely not just been the physical act of feeding my child. It’s a literal pouring out of self, mentally, physically, and emotionally. I admit that there are some pretty strange ways that breastfeeding can affect you, such as …
1. It makes you hoard milk like you’re secretly a squirrel.
Sometimes, I open our freezer door just to stare at my goods — those white pouches and bottles lined up like trusty warriors, a physical representation of the lifeline that connects me to my baby no matter what. I feel such a strange sense of pride when I see those little milk badges of honor. My husband makes fun of me and calls them my “acorns” and I can’t help but admit that he’s totally right.
2. You panic when your stash runs low.
The other day, I came home from my weekly four-hour stint at the coffee shop where I whip out literary masterpieces such as this one and found that — horror of horrors — the babysitter had taken it upon herself to feed the baby a bottle.
“I just took one out of the freezer,” she said breezily while I tried to rearrange my facial features to something that didn’t resemble pure horror. Doesn’t she know that those things are precious?!
3. You scout out every location for the prime nursing spot.
Dark corners for the win.
4. You have a constant mental clock running in your head.
OK, I just fed the baby and laid her down, so that gives me two hours to grocery shop. Start the time NOW.
5. You think nothing of constantly touching your boobs.
Apparently, I do this without even realizing that I’m doing it, but when it’s time to feed the baby, I automatically grope myself to feel which boob is more full. The one that has the more milk is the chosen one.
6. Crying babies in public scare you.
You’re like a scared rabbit, jerking your head up, craning one ear to hear, freezing, and waiting to assess the situation. Must retreat quickly before my milk lets down!
7. You can’t get dressed without mentally undressing yourself.
Only outfit criteria: Will I or will I not be able to get my boob out of my shirt successfully without damaging myself in the process? Zippers have never looked so attractive.
8. Spilled milk = definitely tear worthy.
I still have nightmares about the one business trip I took when I forgot to pack my freezer bag and had to dump all of my milk down the drain. I washed away that liquid gold with my tears, I did.
9. The smell of breast milk is kind of comforting.
Your own, that is. Or maybe I’m just a weirdo.
10. You feel like flexing when your baby gets weighed at the doctor’s office.
Yeah! Look what I did! Milk power, baby! Cue cheering in your own head as you leap onto an imaginary pedestal and accept your gold medal for most powerful breast milk ever.
11. You compare letdown times with other moms.
I know this one mom whose baby could empty an entire breast in less than two minutes, flat. True story.
12. Sleeping in the wet spot takes on an entirely different meaning.
Calm down, people. It’s just a little milk we’re talking about here, ok?
13. You secretly love that little sad whimper the baby does when she’s hungry.
Sometimes, it’s nice to be so needed and loved.
14. You think of breast milk as magic.
Is your baby crying, fussy, whimpering, angry, tired, or otherwise not acting like his normal happy self? Time to nurse! Boom —whole new baby.
15. You look forward to feeding the baby as much as the baby.
Sweet relief. And can you say guilt-free Instagram time?