Before giving birth, I was afraid I would not be able to breastfeed successfully. After giving birth, I was astounded to discover that I had enough milk to nourish a small village in Somalia. At the same time, I learned that my baby actually had the appetite of a small village in Somalia.
I do not dispute that breastfeeding works great wonders for a child. Because of it, my six-month old is a superbly healthy miniature Hercules who does not flinch when injected by his disbelieving pediatrician and can cause a black eye with one wayward swipe of his power-packed arm. And since my little man is in a constant excellent state of physical well-being and feels no bodily discomfort, he has come to possess an enviably happy disposition that charms the pants out of anybody who sees him. So really, breastfeeding is highly beneficial for infants and any mother who can, should.
However, I fervently wish those books and internet articles I nerdily perused to prepare me for nursing had at least warned me about two inevitable consequences; namely, forced nipple elasticity and unwarranted leakages.
First, I did not expect for my nipples to be battered beyond belief. My babe has turned out to be one hell of a determined sucker. Thus, my tits have been unceremoniously and incessantly twisted, pulled, pinched, pumped, tweaked, stretched and bitten. My nipples have in fact willingly suffered so much so often that they should be canonized. The worst occurs when, during a feeding session, someone enters the room and my son suddenly whips his head around to see who it is while his mouth is still latched on to my breast. At such a torturous moment, my nipple is distended like a rubber band from here to eternity and I cannot help but scream bloody murder. The sight is enough to make Mr. Fantastic hang his head down in shame at his inferior prowess.
Second, I did not imagine that I would leak like a cow with a dysfunctional bladder. I do not even drink milk so I honestly cannot fathom how my mammary glands can continuously pump out such amazing quantities. I was in the mall pushing my baby in his stroller when I noticed plenty of people intently staring at me as we passed by. I happily thought, “Wow, I must look stunning today!” and added an extra sexy swing to my stride. Then I felt it: a strange drip trickling down my tummy. I glanced down and was aghast to find the front of my white shirt so wet with milk that it was almost transparent. I wanted to evaporate (milk pun intended) from the face of the earth. I immediately snatched up my kid and hurriedly left the mall with him propped against me like a human shield. After that incident, you can bet I never left the house again without wearing breast pads.
Yet, despite the hardship and craziness, I still go on allowing myself to be used, abused, milked. I choose to bravely persevere simply because I want my child to have the best I can possibly offer.
When it comes down to it, Nazareth was right on the dot. Love does hurt.