As if breastfeeding isn’t challenging in and of itself, there is a surprisingly high number of cruel things that could be done to breastfeeding woman to complicate the entire situation, even further. I know, I know, we don’t normally think of breastfeeding women as deserving of cruelty (because, you know, they're literally giving of themselves in order to sustain another human life), but facts are facts.
There are so many specific needs and wants that breastfeeding women can have, so to interfere with any of them is to throw her off in a number of ways. When I was breastfeeding, I had many, many feelings about the fact that I was breastfeeding. There was a long list of things that I relied on for comfort, general function, and to manage both physical and emotional needs for those two years. These things were as important to me as elastic-waist pants, coffee, and oxygen. They were necessities and, as such, I had serious doubts that I could handle breastfeeding without them.
Thankfully, none of my loved ones made any attempts to disrupt the routine my son and I had, but they could have. In fact, looking back I've realized that it would have been so easy for them to completely derail my breastfeeding efforts. So, I present this list today for merely educational purposes and for our reading pleasure, and not as suggestions for how to mess with any enemies who also happen to be lactating.
Take Part Of The Breast Pump, Including Accessories, Power Cords, Batteries, And The Like
Basically, do not touch her breast pump. Pretend like it’s the sleeping infant she just fed, and gently walk away. Slowly. Oh, and quietly.
Hide Her Nursing Pillow
Technically, I was able to nurse without the pillow, but it was awkward and it made me feel off; like writing with my opposite hand, or missing an episode of The Bachelor. It’s just better not to touch the nursing pillow, so the breastfeeding mom knows where it is at all times.
Fail To Mention The Leaks On Her Shirt (Depending On Your Relationship, Of Course)
I mean, if she’s a total stranger at the grocery story, you may want to just let the leaks go. However, if she’s your partner? Your best friend? Someone you know even slightly well? Yeah, if that's the case you shouldn't let her go out in public like that. She’ll thank you, trust me.
Downplay The Effort She’s Putting In
You’re allowed to think whatever you want to think about breastfeeding, I’m not going to police your thoughts, dear reader. Having said that, I highly recommend you don’t roll your eyes at the whole process (especially if it's a process you've never personally experienced before).
Like most things you can do from bed or from your couch, it may not look that hard, but it certainly can be (and usually is).
Drink All Her Water
The exception, of course, is if you immediately go refill her glass. If not, then you are the absolute worst person that has ever existed.
Tell Her You Need To See Her Phone, And Then Refuse To Give It Back
A breastfeeding mom’s phone is her one connection to the outside world. She gets her questions answered, she entertains herself, and she communicates with loved ones who aren't in her general vicinity. If you take that away from her, you should just start running now.
Throw Out Pumped Milk Because You “Need Fridge Space”
Repeat after me: it’s liquid gold. We do not throw away gold. Besides, that’s what your freezer’s for.
Cancel Her Streaming Service Of Choice
Unless you’re only threatening to cancel to see if you can get some sort of upgrade. Otherwise, I don’t recommend it.
Tell Her You’ll Help Wash The Breast Pump, And Then “Forget”
Among the worst things about being a new mom, is reaching for the thing you need at some ungodly hour in the morning, only to realize it's not there. No one should be awake and washing pump parts in the wee hours of the morning, unless you’re the person who said you were going to do it earlier in the day but then forgot.
Offer Her A Delicious Mixed Drink When You Know She’s About To Nurse
To be fair, alcohol isn’t totally off limits to a breastfeeding mom, but it does require careful timing, monitoring, and some planning. If her baby’s with her and an immediate feeding is clearly in the cards, I recommend waiting until after they’re done.