The craziest metamorphoses I've ever experienced (not counting that awful time called puberty) was the first week postpartum, when my body went from life-growing to life-nourishing in a matter of hours. My body's transformation was so profound and so fast, it nearly gave me whiplash. One of the craziest areas of change in my postpartum body – aside from my stomach – were my boobs, which went from a sensible pregnant woman size to four times the size, overnight. I think there were a lot of things my boobs would have said the first week of breastfeeding if they could talk, and I have no doubt their "words of wisdom" would have been nothing short of helpful.
For starters, breastfeeding is weird. Not weird in a bad way, of course. I mean, it is the most natural, normal thing in the world. However, it doesn't really feel "natural" or "normal" the first time you ever do it. The first time my newborn latched on to my breast I felt like I was the first and only person in the world who had discovered this novel way of feeding my child. I couldn't believe he knew how to do this, and that my body knew how to get milk into his mouth. It was astounding. It was amazing. It was new.
If my breasts could have said something at that moment, it would have been something along the lines of "Are you seeing this?" Of course, my response would have been, "Um, of course and this is the coolest thing ever you rock, boobs!" but that conversation never happened. So, I'm left to wonder what my boobs would have said that first week of breastfeeding, and I have to assume they wouldn't said the following:
"What Is Happening To Us?"
In the first day or so after I gave birth, my boobs probably felt like Violet Beauregard from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as she plumped up into a fat blueberry after eating the magic chewing gum. Within a 24 hour period, my breasts went from somewhat normal pregnancy size to "Whoa! Got milk?" Honestly, it was pretty alarming if not even a bit obscene.
I can only imagine how my boobs felt by their overnight change.
"Damn, Ma! We Look Good!"
Once my breasts reached their inflated-with-milk size, they were feeling quite smug. If I had had the ability to spend a significant amount of time gazing at myself in the full-length hospital mirror without running away in horror at my awful c-section wound, my breasts may have had the opportunity to give each other verbal high-fives.
As a woman who has been an A cup most of her life, with some brief flirtations with B's depending on weight fluctuation, my post-pregnancy nursing boobs were a welcome change. It was fun for all of us (meaning me and my girls) to experience life as a big-breasted woman and living life in the D-lane.
"OK. That's Enough. Can Someone Please Help Deflate Us Now?"
At one point in that first week postpartum, my boobs felt like two giant rocks had taken residence inside of them. Some mornings, I would wake up and they would be so inflated I swear they could touch my chin. My boobs didn't like this feeling very much, and they would practically be screaming for someone, anyone, to relieve them of their discomfort.
"Why Is This Nursing Thing Taking So Long?"
So finally, I would give my boobs what they so fiercely desired and get my newborn to latch in just the right way. He'd be happily nursing, and then those ungrateful b*tches would be like, "OK, we're good, can you leave us alone now?"
It's was honestly like, "Wham, bam, thank you Newborn Baby." Once they had been drained of milk, they really didn't see any use for my newborn continuing to nurse or lie there. The boobs would have liked a break. I know, because I speak "boob." We're close like that.
"Oh The Humanity! Get That Horrible Machine Away From Us."
At one point, someone suggested I start pumping during that first week, "just to get an idea of what it would feel like." So I hooked my ladies up to the mechanical milking machine and set it to a non-threatening, low-ish setting.
I could just tell my boobs were like, "Hell to the no." Want to know how? I sat there for what felt like forever and nothing happened. Total protest from the boobs and no milk came out. They just weren't ready, I guess.
"Who Can Make A Rainbow?"
Sometimes my boobs performed cool tricks for me, especially when company was over while I was breastfeeding. Like, I'd be nursing the baby on one boob, and the other boob would shoot milk straight across the room in an arc. It was like my boobs were trying to impress company, and show off all the neat things they could do now that they were nursing machines. "Guys, look what I can do!"
"So I See We Live In A Nudist Colony Now"
My newborn baby was nursing all the time in that first week, and when we were not nursing, we were trying to do the skin-to-skin thing. Since I never left the house, most of the time I was lucky if I'd put pants on. My home became a topless enclave, where I wandered about letting my boobs hang freely. I'd wear my nursing bra unhooked, so I resembled a strange take on a nursing cowboy gunslinger.
"Ouch! We Are Not A Chew Toy!"
My baby was working on his latch during the first weeks, obviously. The two of us still had not perfected the steps to this particular dance and, as a result, my boobs were a little worse for the wear in the beginning. There was some chaffing, some biting, and all kinds of uncomfortable indignities being done to my breasts.
"We Haven't Seen This Much Action Since Middle School"
Between my doctors, my relatives who were helping me find the right latch, my best friend who had done this before, and the hospital lactation consultant; there were a lot of people up in my grill that first week. My boobs had not been fondled this much since sleep-away camp in the 9th grade. They probably didn't want to admit it, but I think they liked the attention.
"Remember When You Used To Dress Us All Pretty?"
I used to take my breasts out shopping for pretty lace things and maybe the occasional boudoir-type body suit. Since my son's arrival, it was all about the nursing pads and ugly nursing bras with super thick straps. My breasts mourned the good old days when I used to lavish them in feminine underthings.
At the end of my first week of nursing, the three of us shared a good cry, and I promised that when this was all over, even when they, inevitably, were a couple of chewed up and shriveled post-nursing boobs that resembled deflated balloons, I would make it up to them. I'd get them something real nice and totally impractical, with frills, padding, and maybe even a push up. They were hard workers, my boobs. They were working round the clock, overtime, performing the business of feeding my baby. It would be the least I could do to repay them.