Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Breastfeeding... laid bare.


I stop and check for the whereabouts of my son.  He’s in the next room.


I’m breastfeeding and my daughter is latching on.  Her legs are kicking as if she’s taking a run up and she’s clamping down like someone getting started on some corn on the cob.   In short, it fucking hurts and it doesn’t feel either wholesome or lovely. 

My daughter is a week old and we’ve spent that time figuring out between us how she going to get the good shit from mama’s boobs.  And not for the first time I’m left staggered at how woefully inadequate the equipment for this task is.  Another black mark against the theory of intelligent design!

No one tells you how hard it is to get breastfeeding going, how it doesn’t happen overnight, how utterly painful it is and how neither you nor your baby really have a clue what you’re doing.  This time I’m ready to surrender to the process, to go into lock down in the bedroom, box-set ready with the iPlayer and Sky Go downloaded onto the iPad.  I'm surrounded by nipple cream and breast compresses as I watch films I haven’t seen in the years since my son was born like Twelve Years a Slave and Philomena (although given my hormone levels these might not have been the best choices).

Most of this has been happening in the small hours, when she cluster feeds between midnight and five in the morning.   I watched the entire first season of Enlightened in one twelve hour period trying not to give way to feeling trapped and resentful.

We’re getting there.  The worst of the soreness is healing and this time round I know it won’t last forever.  I repeat my mantra “this too shall pass” over and again.  And then I’m reminded that once it passes it will pass for good as we won’t be having any more children.  And I try even harder to let go of the pain and resentment I feel, pinned in my room, the jaws of doom clamped round my mammaries. She pulls away for a breather and I brace myself as her little legs kick again and she takes another bite of the sweetcorn.  As hard as it is, this is a privilege I won’t have again.