I’ll be honest. Breastfeeding didn’t come easily to me, in no small part due to the enormity of my breasts. At 42HH it wasn’t like I could just drop a silky camisole strap while chatting over a latte, no my breastfeeding experience was far less social and a whole lot more Bad Boy Bubby.
To give you an idea of what 42HH looks like – sure you could Google it (be warned that breast size seems to appear alongside a lot of people who have had concrete ass implants for some reason), or you could imagine two 4 kilo twins dangling from your neck as they punch you repeatedly in the lungs, screaming the whole time as their heads graze your lap. Aroused?
In an attempt not to smother bub I was given a bunch of handy tips from everyone from maternal health nurses to complete strangers. Some were amusing – heave your boobs up onto a level table and pull baby towards you. It’s best to do this while wearing a house smock, compression tights and not near anyone who might want to have sex with you again in the future.
Others were functional – use a funnel. Yep. A. Funnel. Otherwise known as a ‘Nipple Shield’ To be attached to my nipple so bub could actually find it hidden amongst my cascading flesh. Kinda like cave diving.
Do it in a bath – boobs float, babies float. They’ll float towards each other and BANG! Nutritional bliss. This does not work. Because first and foremost you need to fit into the bath and if you do manage to squeeze your recently expanded girth into that ceramic suction tube, the matter then becomes how to retrieve said boobs from their new hiding place – your armpits.
Naturally not being able to breastfeed with convenience (which to be honest is what they sell the whole breastfeeding thing on) – when the need for convenience did arise, all my inhibitions would have to fall by the wayside because when baby needed to feed well he made the point of letting me and anyone within screeching distance know.
That brings me to the gazebo incident. Whilst visiting my in-law’s I went for a walk with bub. Down rolling hills, up steep roads (we were in Sydney) past assholes in cars winding down their windows and telling me to lose weight, to a nice, pretty park, with a gazebo covered in bird shit and some council workers loitering nearby.
It was as if bub was fated to want to feed at that exact moment, you know just as I’d stopped crying after being called ‘fat’ by a couple of teenage boys. And of course, as luck would have it, I was wearing a dress that could only be pulled up at the waist to reveal my boobs, I didn’t have my funnel and he wouldn’t latch without it. It was a mess. I was a mess. But I had to push on. My fiancé hastily constructed a tent out of a scarf but it barely covered me. That was ok I thought. Get over yourself, Lou. You’re a mother now. Pull yourself together. So I pulled the scarf down and there in my undies in a shit covered gazebo I tried to breastfeed.
And for 30 blissfully non-screaming minutes it worked but then he came off, milk squirted everywhere and my nipple kept slipping out of my hand like a well-oiled melon. The audience of male council workers offered little in the way of support, instead choosing to leer at my half naked form under the guise of needing to check the stability of the gazebo railings. Their seedy concern – nauseous.
I decided to call it quits. Bub screamed all the way home before I was able to thrust him up onto a table, with a funnel and sate his appetite. This was fucked. Short of committing to a life as a hermit breastfeeding in public was always going to involve me getting a council permit of some sort.
As luck would have it thought, bub decided on his own he didn’t want to breastfeed anymore. Maybe he was over the funnel or the threat of constant suffocation by boob that hung over his day-to-day existence. He just quit.
I Googled what that meant and was not surprised to find very little support in the way of what to do when a bub suddenly decides to wean. Nup, everything I came across told me I had given up too soon, too easily. It takes 12 months to wean. I must have done something wrong – had I considered lavender? I needed to get him back on the horse or he might never live up to his true potential.
But he was having none of it. He wanted to feed himself. In fact in terms of supporting my decision to not pursue breastfeeding any further bub was my most ardent supporter. He did the break up for me.
And as for the funnel? It comes in handy whenever I need to fill up my thermos with coffee so I think I’ll be keeping it…