“It hurt like fire in my tits”

Do you watch the HBO show GIRLS? I did and I loved it and was very emosh when the series came to an end. Hannah, the main character pictured here with her son Grover, was having issues with breastfeeding.

“It hurts like fire in my tits!” She exclaims “All these women in my circle were judgemental….”

When I found myself with child, I just assumed that breastfeeding was a doddle as I had seen my older sister not even do it, but claim to enjoy it! She told me that its great as it forces you to be still and watch some crappy TV. Anything that encourages crappy TV watching is ok by me.

Enter the baby.

Now I am a large chested woman and people would think it was very funny and appropriate to tell me “Your baby will be so well fed!” which made me want to tell them to go fuck themselves. Turns out, large boobs doesn’t necessarily equate to large volumes of breast milk. But wanting to do what was “best for my child” I told all the mid-wives we were good to go.

What also went out the window was every ounce of dignity that I had left, but at this point, I was beyond caring. Baby screamed to be fed, mid-wife would bring him over and with the moves of a great rugby forward, would man-handle my boob to shove it halfway down the baby’s mouth. Then, by boobs would set on fire and burn the hospital down.

Things got even worse once I got home.

I would get so tense when it was feeding time. I would set myself up in a comfy chair with the all important glass of water and spend up to two hours trying to feed Horatio. He would scream, I would cry and try to do the rugby shove. I tried each position that the baby book told be was possible. I would very helpfully call Mr. Woog who was at work and wail.

I occasionally got my shit together enough to go to Mothers Group at the local Community Centre and would watch the other new Mums breastfeed with ease.  The Baby Nurse would again, try the shove shove shove and occasionally there would be success. BUT MY TITS CONTINUED TO BE ON FIRE. And then there was the wonderful occasions when by boobs would behave like a high pressure hose that if left un-attended, would spray all and sundry within a two metre radius.

One time I was feeding Horatio on the couch. He had latched on HUZZAH! and all was going well.

An hour later I woke up to find that my baby had lost his way and had sucked me a large, new third nipple which took days to subside.

Things did not get easier. In fact it got more stressful which in turn made me have supply issues. One day, six weeks into my new job, my breast-feeding advocate sister turned up with a tin of formula, whacked it on the kitchen table and fired me from breastfeeding.

There is a lot of stigma about formula feeding and I take my hats off to those who choose formula from the outset, as I know the looks you must get from midwives in hospital, but your reasons are your own. Whatever. They say Breast is Best, but these days, slowly that is being changed to Fed is Best.

Everyone thrived after that. Of course, it was a hassle compared to just whipping out your norks on demand. All that washing and soaking in sanitiser and steaming. Pain. In. The. Ass.

By the time Jack came along, I knew what I was in for. I was confident and prepared and it was a successful six months before we mutually decided to pull the pin.

What was your experience with breastfeeding?