I'm starting to refer to myself as MPM, or 'milk producing machine'. It's an apt term for someone like myself, a woman who pumps at least four times a day and feeds her child when her breasts are not attached to shields and tubes. Yes, this is the term that best fits my 24hr job, that of a human dairy cow.
When did breast feeding get so expensive? They lie when they tell you that it's cheaper than formula. The pump alone costs three hundred dollars and all the nursing pads, kleenex, and nipple lube thins out the wallet pretty fast. Our grocery bills have doubled. Alex has to cook all the time to satisfy my insatiable hunger, the little demon inside my belly that roars its ugly head anytime I release milk, is not content with the normal three-meals-a-couple-snacks regiment that the hospital proposed. My hand is constantly dipping into some bowl, holding a fork, picking up chopsticks, and rummaging through cupboards and the fridge. There are fingerprints on every single surface that contains or serves some function related to food.
Alex has found remnants of my food foraging on little Adelle. Coming home from work one night, he picks her up and scratches at her onesie. "What are you doing?" I ask, one eye barely opened as I lift my head up from the bed. "What is this?" he asks. "There's a dark spot on her onesie and it smells." Crap. I know exactly what it is...."Oh, sorry," I mumble, "it's pasta sauce." I suddenly recall trying to eat spaghetti with one hand while holding Adelle's rotund torso with the other. I guess I must have flicked some of the sauce on her outfit during my binge session. I look at my shirt. There is a mirror image of the same stain on me, underneath my bulging chest.
My bra has officially become a catch-all for my new full time job. It harbors everything from crumbs to chocolate chips (which melt into chocolate puddles) to blueberries to pasta shells. On occasion, I've even found a broken tortilla chip in there. The space between my boobs (Hereafter referred to as my spoob. 'Cleavage' has too many sexual connotations and my breasts are anything but sexual right now) is constantly getting caressed by pieces of food and food paraphernalia. (On occasion, I have used my spoon or chopsticks to fish something out).
I am thinking of getting a stool to place in front of our fridge. I am constantly there, opening the door, moving things around, and sometimes even partaking in an impromptu meal, pairing a few carrots with some deli meat or hot dog. It sounds bizarre, but trust me, to a lactating mama, anything can seem appealing when hungry enough.
Currently I'm eating almonds, salt and vinegar chips, seaweed strips, cereal, popcorn and soy ice cream (yes, it IS as gross as it sounds), all jumbled together, in a hodge podge mix, sitting in my gallon-sized bowl.
Most women gain weight during pregnancy and slowly but surely lose it while they breast feed. Not me. I lost all my pregnancy weight within a week of giving birth (don't hate me just yet) but gained all of it back within the next several months of breast feeding. I didn't know it was possible, but considering all the food I consume, it makes sense.
Curious to see if I was alone, I searched for forums about weight and breast feeding. I found one worth mentioning, a place where women moaned and groaned about how their waistlines were expanding with every month of lactating. Yes! Misery does love company and I exalted in the fact that I was not such a freak. There are others out there like me.
Needless to say, I can't diet. I've never been successful at limiting foods I love. If it weren't for the yeast infection and Adelle's extreme reactions to certain foods, I'd be dining on twinkies, dark chocolate and twizzlers. Now all my angst against being in a dietary prison is taken out on the helpless carbs I can indulge in....Those poor spelt crackers don't stand a chance against this mama!
I asked Alex if he notices how hungry breast feeding makes me....His response, "Uh, yeah. Considering you hover (I love that he used that word) around the snack bowl before, during, and after you feed her." Hm, honest Abe tells me the truth. My dad is also fairly honest when he talked to me the other night about this issue. "You haven't changed at all. You've always had a snack bowl. It's just gotten bigger, that's all." Thanks Dad. You really know how to make a girl feel good about herself.
I want to wring the necks of these lactating bitches online who say things like, "I lost all my weight with breast feeding." "It only took me a few months to get to my pre pregnancy weight." And my favorite, "My husband thinks I'm sexier than ever." I almost gagged reading the last one.
So, here it is; my verdict on breast feeding. Breast feeding is good for the baby. It is a bonding experience for sure. However, it is not cheap. It is not the cure all for getting post pregnancy figure back. At times, it makes you feel like you belong in a factory, bottling the milk that comes out of your engorged tattas. Though I must admit, if faced with the choice again, I'd still do it. Masochistic? Yes, but I'm also lazy. It's my only ammunition against getting a good night's sleep. There's nothing better than being able to stick the boob in her mouth when she wakes in the middle of the night, watching her suck hungrily and getting satisfaction out of my body, nestling her little self against my soft flesh and falling asleep.