My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard…

 

WARNING:  This is a post about breasts and contains various terms that describe the female chest region. Should you be offended by such words as titty… you may wish to log off Cyclone Cindy now. However – if you have breasts, or know someone that does, or once drank from a pair yourself… you might find this post informative, slightly amusing, and most of all preposterous.

~~~

Once when I was about 13, I ate some dodgy Chinese and came out covered in hives. They were itchy and sore. I remember telling my big brother and his friend that night (almost in tears as I scratched) “Look, I’m covered in lumps – I have lumps”

To which my brother’s friend who I also had a MASSIVE crush on replied whilst looking directly at my chest, “Cundy, You don’t hiv inee lumps.. not yit!”

He was from New Zealand, and I was devastated. It was the first time I became aware of my breasts. Or at that time – lack of.

Oh, if he could see my lovely lady lumps now!

Actually they’re not lumps. They’re Twin Peaks. Big jugs of milk. They should probably have their own postcode. I have no idea what they weigh but every morning when I’m pulling the girls out of my eyes, I wonder… you know?

And as I sit here, typing…

One handed…

One of those jug-o-nauts is hooked up to an apparatus that is pulsing and buzzing with a low electrical hum which is extracting milk. Human milk. The technical term is called ‘expressing’ but I call it ‘juicing the boobs.’

I am a jersey cow.  With nips of steel.  A fem-bot.

It’s not uncommon for women to try expressing breast milk after having a baby for various reasons. For me it’s about comfort and control. Sticking a baby’s mouth on your titty ‘correctly’ involves more technique than a Grand Jeté en Avant** and if you don’t get the technique right, you end up with blisters, blood, and toe curling, teeth clenching pain every time they get on board for a drink.

And – even if you get the technique right; you still have no idea how much the baby is drinking… so how do you know if afterwards, when they’re crying – they’re still hungry, or they have wind, or even just feel like a ‘comfort suck??’

Anyway so here I am, having the milk sucked out of my left booz from a big round plastic pressurised cup, wishing there was an easier way to nourish my child with the antibodies that breast milk contains. So much dairy goodness in fact, that when my new baby got conjunctivitis at only a few days old, the midwives told me to ‘squirt some breast milk into his eye.’

I apologise now for the imagery, but it totally worked! His eye was cleared up within hours.

BUT…

Knowing how beneficial breast milk is to babies and how the ingredient it contains: immunoglobulin IgA, which can cure infections and fight disease can’t be reproduced synthetically…

What if you can’t.
Or don’t.
Or won’t.

My first baby was breastfed for 8 months and I’m proud of that. Probably because it WAS hard and I persevered.

I currently have a five week old. This time it’s much harder.

Maddy and Mo (despite their size) aren’t making enough milk to feed him and so 5 days ago, I started replacing a few feeds with formula. And I feel like the devil. I feel neglectful and mean and selfish and cruel, and that I must be the most incapable mother alive.

Which makes me wonder… Why is there such a social stigma on women who formula feed?

Why do women who breast feed think they’re better? Why are they all “My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard and they’re like, it’s better than yours. Damn right it’s better than yours.”

Why do women who can’t breast feed feel like failures. Why do the midwives push ‘breast is best’ on every new mother?

WHY DO I feel like I’m doing my baby boy a disservice, when in actual fact, I’m probably doing him MORE of a disservice by being a run-down, psychotic, emotionally unstable wreck – which is what I am when I breastfeed and express.

Because instead of sitting here with this ridiculous apparatus attached to me, I COULD be sleeping. Or at least typing faster.

I WANT to breastfeed, but I’m so frickin’ annoyed that I hate it so much. I HATE IT!

HATE HATE HATE. And just typing that makes me feel nasty, and about as maternal as Courtney Love. If Miranda can do it why can’t I? And with red lipstick on for that matter? I mean look at her? Bitch! I want to go to her house and burn her at the stake!

So anyway, left with this dilemma combined with a physical inability to make enough milk at the moment, I decided to conduct various tests.

TEST 1 – THE TASTSE TEST

Sample A: Karricare formula.
Powdered milk gone sour? Something they give you in Thailand to go in your coffee?

Sample B:  Breastmilk.  Mine.
(BOOM! Cindy tasted her own milk. I swallow my own snot too sometimes when I have a cold and don’t have a tissue on me, so comparatively, I don’t think this information is totally shocking.)
It tasted like Skim Milk that had had about half a kilo of sugar mixed in. Actually it was more like sugar syrup.

Test Results: If eating sugar is fun, go right ahead and call them fun bags. Boobies are the clear winner here.
Breasts 1: Formula: 0

TEST 2 – THE TITTY TEST
The test goes as follows:

Stand in front of a mirror and strip to the waist.
Take a pencil.

Stick the pencil under the breast. Lower the breast over the pencil.
If the pencil falls to the floor, go ahead – continue to nourish your child with boob milk, and celebrate by going bra-less and sticking your nipples to the wind.
But if that pencil stays for a fraction of a second, there has already been remarkable damage. DO NOT even go to the fridge without MAJOR support, and do what you can now to reverse the damage by discontinuing all suction to the area. Unless you want to wind up with sandbags in the wind; Two old socks with a couple of golf balls someone stuffed inside.

Test results: Let’s just say pencil case not required.
Breasts 1: Formula 1

TEST 3 – THE SLEEP TEST
There’s an argument for and against over which babies sleep better, breast fed or formula fed. Incidentally, whoever coined the phrase ‘sleeping like a baby’ to imply ‘good sleep’ should be punched in the face and forecd to spend a night at my house.

So – This morning I breast fed (direct from the source to make it fair) and the kid fell asleep mid feed. I have no idea how much he drank, but would assume that at the time he was full. I pulled him off, put him in bed, and he slept for half an hour, then woke up. I put him back to sleep again later, fighting him off my chest, where he slept for an hour.

Later I gave him 120mls of formula. He stayed awake for an hour and slept for 3.

Test results: Babies sleep better on a full stomach. I know his tummy was full after formula. Have no idea how much boob milk he drank – so assuming he fell asleep because he was in a state of bliss.
Breasts 1: Formula 2

TEST 4 – THE TIME TEST
Free time with 2 children. Forget about it. So of course the faster they drink, the better. This is about seeing which ‘feed’ takes longer.

Breast feed: 45 minutes. No idea how much he drank. Process complete when he comes off or falls alseep.

Formula feed: 120 mls took 12 minutes. Then had to wash and rinse bottles which took 10 minutes.

Test results: When your baby is just ‘comfort sucking’ on a bottle, you can tell because the milk level stays the same. But when they do it on your boob, you have no idea, so they spend longer on your boob sucking nothing than they do on a bottle.
Breasts 1: Formula 3

 

no time to feed yourself hey Salma?

 

 

TEST 5 – THE GOODNESS TEST
Got all this from Wikipedia.Not sure how reliable that is but anyway…

  • The exact chemical properties of breast milk are not fully understood.
  • A mother’s breast milk changes in response to the feeding habits of her baby and over time, thus adjusting to the infant’s individual growth and development.
  • Breast milk includes the mothers’ antibodies that help the babies avoid or fight off infections and give their immature immune systems the benefit of their mothers’ immune system that has many years of experience with the germs common in their environments.
  • Use of infant formula is cited in numerous health risks. Studies have found infants in developed countries who consume formula are at increased risk for non-specific gastroenteritis, severe lower respiratory tract infections, atopic dermatitis, asthma, obesity, type 1 and 2 diabetes, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), eczema, necrotizing enterocolitis and autism when compared to infants who are breastfed
  • It has been discovered that iron supplementation in baby formula is linked to lowered I.Q. and other neuro-developmental delays

Test results: Umm, why do they call it breast milk? These girls are carrying liquid gold!
Breasts 2: Formula 3

  

Back to being aged 13… I was flat and my bra was for show. My boobs were a novelty and I had no idea of their potential or ability.

By the time I was in my 20’s I discovered that shaking my milk makers DID bring all the boys to the yard. I learnt that my rack was actually a secret source of power over men, and that having the right kind of boobs can result in social and economic gain.

Then comes a time when you actually make milk with your milk makers and shaking them just hurts your eyes. You understand why Anna Nicole Smith took drugs for her back pain. Your breasts stop being sexual, although they’re still powerful. They take on a life of their own, obligated to another human being for nourishment which is a huge responsibility. It’s a job. My boobs should be getting paid for this.

Yes my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard. And I SHOULD charge! But they’re so massive that the boys in the yard go “Whoa!”

UPDATE: Bugger it. I’m putting this damn contraption in the bin. Gonna down a couple of cans of Red Bull or some other energy drink loaded with life-giving goodness, and take myself off to buy some cute little B-cup bras.

** A ballet step. A big leap forward whereby the dancer throws the foot forward, like a grand battement, at 90 degrees. The height of the jump depends on the strength of the thrust and the length of the jump depends on the strong push-off. The dancer strives to stay in the air to show a a definitely expressed attitude or arabesque.

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6 comments

  1. dan · March 18, 2011

    Good on ya’ Cinda!! Tell it like it really is. Breast isn’t always best… not if it is sending you insane and affecting your relationship with your baby, your other kids and yourself.

    Do what’s best for you. Breast Feeding Nazis and Smug Mother-breastfeeders can go **** themselves!!

    Love you. xoxo

  2. Pippa · March 18, 2011

    AMEN Dan!! Happy Mummy ( more sleep, less stress, more time, WAY less crazy) equals happy content baby. Do whatever makes you the happiest to be around your beautiful children 🙂

  3. Sian Bell · March 19, 2011

    You have to be comfortable and happy or, chances are your baby won’t be. As for the formula thing, years ago before Nestle and co, if a mother couldn’t breastfeed she had a wet-nurse. If she couldn’t afford a wet-nurse she got her sister or sister-in-law or friend/neighbour to feed her baby for her. Can you imagine! Forget the guilt and thank the gods for progression. And formula.

  4. Mel · March 19, 2011

    Line up 10 people & tell me who was breastfed & who was bottlefed. You can’t! I fed my first for 9 months Cindy & my second child for 3 months because I was over it & needed my body back for me. I have no regrets, both are super healthy (2 visits to doc for my 4 yr old his whole existence!) Whatever makes you feel best, is best for bub. And don’t even get me started on those mothers who are still breastfeeding when their child is at school!!!!!!

  5. Laura J Critchfield · March 22, 2011

    I totally agree with the fact that you have to do what’s best for YOU because that is what’s best for the baby in the end. I breast fed my first for 13 months and my second for 11months BUT I loved it. I loved the convenience of the whole thing and not having to wash bottles and make sure they were sterilized was so nice. I never gave Kobe a bottle he just went straight to the sippy cup. It was restrictive though and I felt like I always had to be around to feed and I never left him for longer than half an hour or so…and for some people that’s impossible so they have to use a bottle and often have formula handy. I certainly don’t look at anyone that is bottle feeding and feel like they should be breast feeding because it’s the same as how people discipline their kids or what they feed them – it’s so individual and no one has the right to judge because each child is different even if they do come from the same batch. I love your blog and love the fact that it makes me think about things…
    Thanks

  6. Pingback: My lovely lady lumps « Cyclone Cindy

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