Ask the mom of a newborn what it’s like to devote every minute of the day to nursing, pumping, bottling, burping, diapering, and soothing — and then repeating it all two hours later (from when you started, not when you finished) — and she will tell you: this is not a drill.
As if that’s not enough, the breast itself can be a pest, and lest you think that’s a statement in jest, just know you can get stressed, and even face arrest, if you’re seen outside the nest with a guest on your chest who needs to digest.
Feeding a baby is no joke, to the extent that sometimes you have to laugh. Because otherwise, you might break down and cry at how much work it is. Even if your baby latches on right away, even if you don’t get mastitis (lucky you!), even if your baby will go gently under a cover, or only takes a bottle from the outset — for some women, it’s a full-time job along with one of the hardest tasks they’ll ever have.
That’s why a new book chock full of breastfeeding and pumping humor is just about the best thing that’s happened to new moms since My Brest Friend. The Places You’ll Feed! is a hilarious and not-so-subtle nod to Dr. Seuss’ Oh, The Places You’ll Go!. From the Seuss-like illustrations to the Seussian rhythms and rhymes, it pays tribute to just how hard it can be to keep a tiny human alive with just your breast milk (or some formula).
Lauren Hirshfield Belden, the book’s author, is the mom to two kids under the age of four. Feeding her older child was a “daunting” task — and the book is a comedic attempt at acknowledging “what can be a very humbling” experience for so many moms.
“I was unprepared for dragging my pump to and from work, pumping on airport floors and the post office,” Belden told Yahoo Parenting. “Because my kids had a hard time nursing, I was pumping eight times a day. I got mastitis multiple times. I just thought, ‘Why hasn’t anyone written about this? Why doesn’t anyone talk about it?’”
Whether or not it’s a topic at your dinner table, Belden is spot-on in her assessment of where it happens:
On a train!
On a plane!
At a game in the rain!
Out to eat!
On the street!
With your dogs at your feet!
At a club!
In the tub!
While you’re cooking up grub!
She also gets how it feels when the spot to make it happen is less than ideal:
Many an office
just won’t have a spot
that’s not crowded
or dreadfully hot
or full of computers
to hook up your pump
and squeeze milk from your hooters
In all seriousness, though, helping new moms feel less alone can be a figurative and literal lifesaver. Like the best dramas can be funny and the biggest comedies sad, The Places You’ll Feed! lets new moms laugh while they cry, or cry from laughing so hard.
“My message is, if you’re at crisis zone with feeding and it’s preventing you from bonding with your baby, it’s OK to go to formula,” Belden said. “That can be frowned upon, and I think women need to take the pressure off themselves.”More On