You know what's funny? Boobs. I mean really: they're sexy sacks of fat hanging off your chest. When you think about breasts in that way, they're pretty hysterical. But that's just a basic description of how they look. They also (or, you know, at least some of them) make food for babies. Yes, that's miraculous and awe-inspiring and beautiful but it's also something that just kinda makes me giggle. But even when it comes to breastfeeding and the hilarity that can ensue, there are some awful, downright exhausting moments facilitated by feeding your child from your breasts. In other words, deciding and successfully feeding your baby from your magical chest sacks can be nothing short of awful. Have no fear, though, because even some of the terrible things about breastfeeding are funny when you look back at them.
Truly, is there a more powerful combination that shapes how we view ourselves and our experiences than time, perspective, and the re-balancing of hormones? There's so much, so very much, that is exquisitely absurd about almost everything child related. Even the crappy stuff can often be worthy of a chuckle at some point down the road, when you've sufficiently recovered (emotionally, or otherwise). Like that time in the late 70s when my uncle pretended to be dead to make my grandfather feel bad while they were vacationing in Bermuda, and then my grandfather cried and my uncle instantly felt bad and revealed the ruse, and then his brother and sisters shunned him for the rest of the vacation for being so heartless. At the time it was not funny but now his ridiculous hijinks is an infamous, hysterical family story.
In the immediate stress of birthing a child, learning to breastfeed a child, and navigating your life with a child, it's incredibly easy to miss the exquisite absurdity of every aspect of your experience, including (and perhaps particularly) breastfeeding. So, with that in mind and in an attempt to remind all mothers that it's okay to laugh at the tough stuff, here are 10 terrible things about breastfeeding that are funny when you look back at them.
Niplash is defined as the moment a nursing baby decides to take a break and suddenly jerks his or her head to look around the room (all while still latched on to your breast). The instant, electric, searing pain that ensues is anything but laughable in the moment. Actually, it's kind of the absolute worst. But if you really think about it, especially after the pain has subsided and you're no longer semi-angry about it, it's funny. Sort of like the way it's funny when the Roadrunner drops an anvil on Wile E. Coyote's head.
Shirts Stained And/Or Drenched With Breast Milk
So embarrassing. So inconvenient. So annoying. Leaking through a shirt can instantly ruin your mood. One minute you're snuggling with your baby, the next thing you know there's two enormous wet circles on your chest and you're having to change your shirt for the seventh time that day. You can't even pretend it's something other than what it is. But looking back, you can titter (pun intended).
Your Child Constantly Wanting To Go Back And Forth Between Boobs
I know my kid can't be the only one who did this. Right? My darling daughter had this oh-so adorable habit of constant wanting to switch between breasts while nursing. She'd suckle on the left for about 10 seconds, pop off, then shove at it saying "Away, away," while simultaneously pulling on the right side of my shirt. And, yes, this cycle would repeat forever. Any attempts to put a stop to this routine of hers, resulted in a full blown tantrum (though, eventually, it got better). Even in the moment I recognized it was really funny, but when it's happening to you it's super hard to appreciate the humor.
The Baby Kicking Off Your Nursing Cover
While I eventually decided not to cover up while nursing, I was a little less confident about it with my firstborn, so I used a cover,which he would invariably and immediately kicked off, exposing me entirely. Not funny at the time, but in retrospect I like to giggle at the idea that my son was taking a principled, feminist stand against the male gaze.
When The Baby Decides To "Sip"
Tell me, breastfeeding friend: has your baby ever nursed for approximately four seconds, popped off your breast for five, only to pop back on for three seconds, and over and over again for approximately an hour? Of course they have. I imagine this is the baby version of standing in front of an open fridge, unsure of whether or not you're hungry let alone knowing what you want to eat. When you feel as though you spend 97% of your life breastfeeding as it is, this sort of dilly dallying is emotionally torturous for a nursing mother. But when you're no longer trapped under a hungry baby all day and can think back to their pensive little faces, comedy abounds.
Your Baby Pulling Off Your Clothes On The Regular, No Matter Where You Are
Seriously, baby: slow your damn roll! My God, they're so handsy. I mean, anyone pulling off your clothes in public (or just when you're not ready to have your clothes pulled off) sets off the that internal rage-o-meter. Yet, once they're not doing it anymore, their single-minded inappropriateness can take on an air of humor.
How Hungry And Thirsty You Are All The Time
Nothing is funny when you're really hungry, but being that hungry (and your adverse reaction to that insatiable hunger) is absolutely hysterical.
It can be the most painful thing ever, trust me, so it's not funny at the time but you've gotta admit that your boobs going from a B cup to a DD in the matter of an hour or so is literally cartoon-level funny.
People's Snide And Judgmental Comments
When you're just trying to get your head on straight, feed your baby, and live your life, listening to other people's nastiness is the last thing you want to deal with. But once you continue on your "breastfeeding journey," gain confidence, and learn more and more about breastfeeding and your body, the snipes of the uneducated, sexist, and/or judgmental are, frankly, pretty hilarious. I'm sorry, who are you even? WTF are you blathering on about? And why in the ever-loving world do you even care?
How Hard It Was To Successfully Breastfeed
Fun fact: river otters are not born knowing how to swim. Crazy, right? What could be more natural in the water than a river otter?! Well, the natural world doesn't always work like that. The adorable little pups are pretty much put through the wringer to become experts. Same with breastfeeding; it's natural, but it's a bit of a trial by fire for many of us. Sure, it is as a normal act as the day is long, but that doesn't mean it can't be super-crazy hard and mastered only though blood, sweat, and tears. And through those blood, sweat, and tears, we do and say crazy frustrated things. Heaven help anyone who laughs at it while it's happening, but with some distance, we can appreciate the laughter that lies within the levels of insane difficulty we had to break through in order to become seasoned breastfeeders.