By the Bloodhound Gang, probably my favourite song intro… ever.
Breasts, boobies, baps, chesticles, bazoomas, norks (maybe it’s gnorks?! Love a silent ‘g’)… what ever you call them… I think they’re incredible.
Whether a woman has tiny, petite, ample, large or gigantuan mammaries, she is born with two, which she will hopefully carry with her for the duration of her life. These wonderful chest adornments get carried around inside decorative hulsters (some more structurally robust than others,) minding their own business until the very moment a woman has her baby.
As soon as the placenta is delivered and her body can no longer nourish her baby from the inside, a mother’s magnificent boobies take one for the team and selflessly volunteer to do the job. Just like magic, the glands; stimulated by a sea of hormones, get their ninja on and begin to make milk.
Just to clarify:
ACTUAL MILK… comes out of your boobs!!!
I don’t know if you’ve heard comedian Micky Flanagan talk about the difference between going out and going OUT out (if you haven’t; you must YouTube- Hilarious!) Well, I think I always knew that breasts made milk but I don’t think I actually KNEW knew this until I had a baby. In fact, it feels very similar to the way the fact that; ‘having sex creates life’… seems a lot like a rumour… until it happens to you.
Now, I’m aware that as my blog ventures into the topic of ‘breastfeeding’ it needs to tread with a similar gait to that of a bomb disposal expert. Whatever I write next; I would just like to clarify that I am NOT in anyway speaking badly of mums who choose not to or are unable to breastfeed their babies. I do not think I am superior to any other mother because I choose to breastfeed my babies that’s just not how I roll. The truth is, that at this point in my life, making milk come out of my boobs is as close as I think I’ll ever get to having a super power. In short, my own breasts amaze me.
Pre-children I never really over-thought about how I would feed any future babies. I assumed I would breastfeed because for me, choosing not to breastfeed would be a lot like having a pen strapped to my person at all times, yet when it came to actually writing- I got up and went and found an alternative to use.
Human beings are weird. I am definitely no exception. We love to make alternatives to things and make extraordinary technological advances to try and improve absolutely everything… including nature. I tend to see the Breastmilk Vs Formula debate, in a very similar light to a battle between Chicken and Quorn.
If you like, you can make the choice to not eat chicken and substitute your chicken with Quorn. Quorn looks a bit like chicken, it tastes a bit like chicken, but at the end of the day… it is not chicken. Unfortunately, Quorn can never contain all the good stuff that chicken meat contains, no matter how hard the manufacturers try. Choosing Quorn doesn’t make you a bad person, it’s a great alternative, it’s healthy and people shouldn’t sneer at you for eating it. Some people like to mix it up; eating both chicken and Quorn. For me it’s all about the chicken. For my babies it’s all about the breastmilk.
My passion for breastfeeding started shortly after the birth of my first child. Caring for a premature baby in the early days involves an awful lot of watching, waiting, hoping and praying. I couldn’t hold him and make everything o.k, but there was one thing I could do for him, that nobody else could…give him my milk. He was too small, too weak and unable to physically breastfeed, so for the first 6 weeks I exclusively expressed milk… freezing and saving it in little plastic pots. He was fed a tiny amount from a little syringe via a tube that went down his nose and into his tummy. I sat and I watched and I waited. Over the coming weeks I physically witnessed my milk fix him. He grew, he learned to breathe by himself and he learned to breastfeed. I breastfed him until he was 2 years old, when he self weaned a few weeks before his sister’s birth.
My little diva was breastfed from minutes after birth, an entirely new and wonderful experience although in it’s own way difficult and tiring.. it’s natural but it is not easy to establish. (Maybe I’ll blog about that sometime?) She continues to feed beautifully as we embark on the messy journey of eating solids, and I hope to feed her until she no longer needs or wants to. A natural, gradual and gentle process.
To be honest, breastfeeding feels a bit of a taboo subject to talk about. If I am in a public place and I need to feed my baby, I am careful to be discreet; not because I personally feel uncomfortable, (after pretty much 2.5 years of breastfeeding I am as self conscious of my boob as I am of my elbow) but to avoid embarrassing or offending people around us. I try to face away from people, use a scarf to cover any exposed flesh, my baby’s head covers my actual nipple so there is literally nothing to see.
Despite this, people often behave in one of three ways.
- Catch sight of what I’m doing and ‘overly’ look away (just like sales people do when they ask you to put in your pin number)
- Either a) or b) combined with a remark, facial contortion or tut.
Don’t get me wrong, there are the smilers and the people who genuinely don’t notice or if they do- don’t care… but they are definitely in the minority. I appreciate that given how men quite like breasts, it might be difficult for them to gauge what to do when they see a woman using a boob to feed a baby. A man might worry that if he smiled he might look a bit of a perv. Unless you do a creepy smile, dribble, or make a joke about ‘bitty’ this is quite unlikely. But in my book, even if you do deliver a bit of a frightening grin… better to appear a pervert than a total douche.
At some point in the evolution of man it became socially awkward for a woman to breastfeed her baby in public. At what point did this happen? Something seriously embarrassing and rude must have occured in order for it to have such a long lasting effect on society?! Yes, breasts are probably over sexualised, but is there any hope of that ever changing?
In Victorian Britain if a woman displayed her ankles she was being a right little hussy. Today, if I wore a knee length skirt with my ridiculously skinny ankles protuding graphically from the top of my flip-flops… no one would notice. I bet I could jiggle them around and lick my lips suggestively and not a single person would batt an eyelid. Something, somewhere along the line, changed. So, maybe for our great, great great granddaughters (love a spot o’Busted) there is hope. Perhaps they’ll be able to freely wap out their magnificent bosoms for the only purpose they actually have and feed their babies in public with out anyone giving two hoots.
For now, I’m going to use my breast-friendly little space ont’internet to pay homage to boobies everywhere. Magnificent mammaries, beautiful bazoomas; thank you for being there when we need you and for feeding our babies with such tremendous attention to detail. You are all truly awesome.
To my own boobies; I’m eternally grateful for all your hard work and I promise to treat you well in your retirement even if I am tucking you into an elasticated waist band.
Please feel free to share and comment, maybe you just want to write another name for boobs… I’m cool with that…
We can be breast friends.