I have always had a thing with boobs. A nice natural set of breasts was a sign of womanhood, of strength and power, to me. They were like hidden weapons that a woman could use to her advantage should the need arise. I've never had a problem with the pair that I was born with, minus a desire to have them be a bit bigger when I was growing up - you know, always wanting what the other girls had. I wanted a nice chest so that Dustin could enjoy them (he's more of a butt guy, though), but my girls haven't really ever let me down. I often times found myself uncomfortable with any kind of exposure from other women. No, not because I didn't want Bubby to see other chick's boobs, but because boobs had only ever been a sexual thing to me. It made ME uncomfortable to see a woman feed her child in public. Not because a baby eating was gross, but because I might see a nipple, and if you've ever been around a 13 year old boy, it only counts as seeing a boob if you see the cherry on top. Seeing another woman's breast was akin to being sexual with her, in my mind.
After the birth of Roman, it all changed. There is something about having a baby that completely melted that notion off the page of my book. When my baby is hungry and needs to eat, my first instinct is to just offer myself. I'm not worried about it being "sexy" because my breasts just aren't about sex anymore. They're like a sandwich or an apple for my Squiddy.
I was talking to my friend Amber last night about being pregnant and breastfeeding, and I told her that breastfeeding is way more special to me than actually being pregnant. I was so scared the whole time that Squid was growing in my belly. I'm no good at the "blind faith" thing, and not being able to SEE that he was okay was so hard for me. Now that he's here, there is at least one moment each day where the whole world comes to a halt and it's just Squid and I - my feeding him with what God gave me and the two of us finding peace in us just being close to the other. It's so much more magical than being pregnant, to me. Breastfeeding is a miracle.
With that being said, it hasn't been easy for me. I have Hypothroidism, a condition where my thyroid is "under-active" and, among other things, can cause low milk supply for breastfeeding women. I do take medication for it, but I honestly don't have enough milk for my son. I usually have to supplement about 1 - 3 feedings a day with an organic formula. I hate that I have to do this. I wish so much that my breasts would just fill up every few hours and get achy and hard with generous amounts of milk. Reading about other women with new babies who are able to freeze extra milk or store bottles in the fridge for later, it just makes me ache. Seeing Squid suck frantically when my supply is low makes me bawl. Having to give my boy formula because I can't provide enough makes me feel like a failure. Now, don't you get me wrong, I am SO thankful that I can even produce anything for him, and when I hear about women who are in my exact shoes (minus the thyroid dysfunction thing, not many people have it), the LAST thing I think of them is failure. We're always the hardest on ourselves, right?
[Looking all hot and trying to choke down a yeasty beer in hopes of making more milk. I used a tortilla chip as a chaser. I also forgot that beer is made with wheat, and wheat hates me so not only did I gag on the beer, I had a terrible tummy ache the next day.]
I have seen an awesome Lactation Consultant, I pump a few times a day (most days), take Fenugreek tablets three times a day, I tried the beer thing (gag), have tried taking a tincture called More Milk Plus (it gives me a terrible, lingering headache when I take it though. Had to stop), eat oatmeal, drink water, and have tried the Mother's Milk tea. I'm trying to find an OB/GYN who will work with me about the Hypothyroidism thing and do more tests to see if my meds need adjusting. I am beginning to think, though, that I'm just not destined to be a milky momma - one of the ladies who is able to breastfeed until their baby is 2 years old. Having a baby makes you realize just how hard the women before you had it. Makes you really appreciate your own Mother, that's for sure. Could you imagine a time when, if you didn't make enough milk and there wasn't anyone around to "donate", your baby would die?
As hard as not having enough milk has been on me, I don't think it's had much of an effect on Roman. He still prefers to be breastfed over bottle fed. He still cuddles and coos when I breastfeed him. I'm sure that some breastmilk is better than none and I (most of the time) feel like I'm doing all that I can to facilitate milk making. When it comes down to it, and even though my heart hurts a little because I feel like it's yet another failure on my body's part, I have a healthy, beautiful, living child.
That's the goal, right?