If you've been a parent for longer than eight minutes, you're well aware that, as important as you are in your child's life, the near-total level of control you fantasized about before your kids arrived is just that: a fantasy. There are many other factors in play when it comes to life with kids: what's happening in the rest of the society, the other people in your life, random chance, and of course, the parenting gods. These deities weigh in on everything, breastfeeding included. Every nursing mom should know the breastfeeding goddesses and pray to them regularly, as I can assure you they'll either make your life a lot easier, or give you total hell. I know which team I'd rather be on, just saying.
Since I’m already in trouble from the last time I talked about the parenting gods, I figured I might as well share what I know about the breastfeeding goddesses. (Who needs sleep, right?) Anyway, the breastfeeding goddesses are a little more mysterious than some of the other parenting gods most parents (especially new, first-time parents) usually and emphatically summon. The might not be on a first name basis with most parents, but they're generally pretty supportive once they've decided to be part of your life. (Except for the Goddess of Pumping. She is a piece of work.)
Here's hoping that all of your prayers to the nursing goddesses are answered — or if not, that at least the Goddesses of Intact Nipples and Confidence decides to make you a priority. You can survive a lot in this nursing journey as long as they've got your back, even if the others forsake you.
The Goddess Of Intact Nipples
Did a midwife spot your baby’s tongue-tie so you could quickly get it fixed before his shallow latch could ruin your life? Did a lactation consultant teach you a trick to help your baby get a deep latch every time? Did your BFF deliver you a new-to-breastfeeding survival kit as soon as humanly possible after you gave birth? Thank this goddess for putting those people in your path. She's amazing. (Pray to her when your baby starts teething, too.)
The Goddess Of That Nice, Deep Latch
Once you get this goddess on your side, she’ll usually stick with you for a while, or at least until your baby gets older and you both get a little complacent about positioning and all that. At that point, it'll probably be time to renegotiate.
The Goddess Of Cravings
You thought you were hungry during pregnancy? Nursing hunger laughs at your pregnancy hunger. (It's that condescending, fake-nice laugh, too. The worst.) The Goddess of Cravings is actually equal parts goddess and demon, and there's really nothing to be done about her except to give her whatever she wants, so you don't end up alienating your whole family with your hangry rage.
The Goddess Of Skin Elasticity
From pregnancy, to peak nursing (aka breastfeeding a newborn), to making less milk once baby starts solids, to ramping up extra production for a sick little one, plus all the little engorgements and feedings in between; boob size fluctuates a lot over this whole nursing journey. Get in good with this goddess so your skin can keep up, if you know what I mean. (She's kinda flaky, but she likes when you drink lots and lots of water. Good genes don't hurt, either.)
The Goddess Of Late Night Nursing
This goddess can be both a friend and a foe. If you co-sleep, then she can spare you (or at least take the edge off of) one of the biggest hassles of parenting a new child: middle of the night feedings. If you don't, though, pray she gives you one of those babies who doesn't eat much at night. (They’re rare, but I hear they exist.) Otherwise, you could be in for a lotta long nights.
The Goddess Of Pumping
Of all the breastfeeding goddesses, this one is the most fickle. She requires all sorts of sacrifices: constant vigilance about making sure even the tiniest parts of your pump are working just right, ritualistic water consumption, and adherence to an ever-changing menu of herbs and foods which may boost your milk supply. Even then, she's absolutely ruthless, challenging your dreams of pumping enough bottles for daycare, and laughing whenever you cry over spilt milk. If you don't absolutely have to mess with this one, don't.
The Goddess Of Witty Comebacks
It may not happen often, but if you ever encounter ignorance while nursing, you’ll want this goddess looking out for you. She’ll give you the perfect, withering rebuttal and the shadiest of shade, so you can stop anti-nursing haters right in their tracks.
The Goddess Of Multitasking
This goddess lives in baby slings, where she helps you do other things that matter to you while nursing a hungry (or sleepy, or sick, or teething) little one. She also likes to hang around conference calls.
The Goddess Of Convenience
You really, really want this goddess on your side, especially if you’ve got a young baby who nurses for a long time each time they latch. There’s nothing worse than being trapped under a nursing or sleeping baby when your phone/drink/favorite snack are just out of reach.
The Goddess Of Confidence
The Goddess of Confidence is essential for most of motherhood, but she comes in especially handy while breastfeeding. She’s the one who reassures you that you’ve totally got this, even if other people around you (or a mean-spirited breast pump) suggest otherwise.
Put no other goddesses above her, nursing mamas. She’ll always have your back, if you let her.