An ode to the breastfeeding nipple: in celebration of World Breastfeeding Week 2019
As we continue our celebration of the Met Gala equivalent of the breastfeeding scene, World Breastfeeding Week, we pause to highlight one of the incredible journeys we, as mothers, are privileged to take during motherhood. Cue uplifting music. You already know the benefits of feeding your baby the precious liquid gold: immunity superpowers, complete nutrition tailor-made for your wee person, convenient to boot and mad dance skills*!
But let’s be real, amidst the beautiful moments, there are a few things no one warned us about...
Hi hello, why did no one tell me my nipples would look like large brown bath plugs?
Ah yes, something you’re likely to notice even before your babe takes their first breath. Those cute pink little nipples you have? Bid them farewell, darling. These have been replaced with large, scary, dark areola which now take up 50% of your breast. Oh, and spoiler alert - the cute pink ones never come back.
Umm, so nipples bleed, that’s a thing.
If you’re unfortunate enough to have a baby with a tongue/lip tie or just a good old fashioned poor latch, there’s a good chance you have seen actual blood come from your nipple and lived to tell the tale. Quite possibly in a therapist's office, sure, but you survived nonetheless, which makes you a bonafide superhero.
Stretchier than your favourite pair of undies.
It’s truly unfathomable to the uninitiated just how far our (giant saucer) nipples are capable of stretching with a baby (or breast pump) attached to them. The first person who can fashion a pair of pants from a material as stretchy as a lactating mother’s nipples is going to make a motza!
You might squirt people with breast milk.
If you’re lucky, it will be someone you know. But it’s more likely to be a middle-aged man beside you on a plane or an unassuming university student in a cafe. Thankfully breast milk shoots out with a velocity matched only by Spider-Man’s webs so there’s a reasonably good chance the person will be far enough away that you can make a run for it before they commit your face to memory.
In spite of these things, your breastfeeding journey is likely to be one of the most rewarding parts of early motherhood, once your nipples stop bleeding, that is. One day you’ll simply remember the sweet way they put their hand on your face as they fed, the way their eyes lock onto yours while they gulp and watching their sweet chubby little faces drifting off into a slumber that rivals any Christmas Day food coma you’ve ever been in.
So here’s to the boobs, the ta-ta’s, the titties, the jugs. We salute you, we thank you, and we’re a little bit in awe of you.
*Mad dance skills possibly from breast milk but more likely from that other liquid gold given by lactating grapes.
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