I say this as someone who really enjoyed breastfeeding: breastfeeding is a mindf*ck. Sorry, but there really isn't a more delicate way to put it. And do you know what I think? I think your breastfed babies know that, because there are absolutely moments when your breastfeeding baby will make you think you're losing your mind. At least, mine certainly did.
There's nothing I've been through that I can adequately compare to breastfeeding. It stands unique among the other physical, emotional, and psychological experiences I've had in my life. In so many ways, especially when you're first starting out, nursing a tiny human who is totally reliant on you for sustenance completely overtakes your life. I'm convinced babies understand this, duplicitously tent their little baby fingers, twirl their villainous little baby mustaches, and say, "This is a weakness than can be exploited. Mwa ha ha ha ha!"
I guess it makes sense. I mean, what else are babies going to do if not slowly and subtly drive their mother to madness via necessary tasks? Seriously, being a baby seems like it would be really, really boring if I'm being honest. I'd probably start trolling, and trolling hard, too.
"You're talking crazy," you may say. "Babies aren't doing all of that! They're sweet innocent little babies." Oh yeah? Well, to all my breastfeeding comrades, consider the following and tell me, in truth, that you don't think your baby is sitting there laughing at you.
When Their Special Cry Makes Your Boobs Leak
It's true! Sometimes, just the sound of your baby crying (or any baby crying) is enough to trigger letdown. (This phenomenon was even referenced in an episode-long running joke on The Office, ultimately culminating in Kelly's whining triggering Pam to start leaking during a night out with co-workers.)
Nature? Can I talk to you over here for a second? This is very poor design. Why does it make sense to start spraying milk everywhere before the baby is attached? It's ridiculous, and I am sending you my dry cleaning bill. I have to believe babies are aware of this little design flaw and exploit it in an attempt to be hilarious.
When They Have No Idea What They're Doing & Blame You For It
Babies may be well adapted to successfully breastfeed, but they really have no idea WTF is going on. (I mean, they're basically little bundles of reflexes at this point and they don't know anything.) This doesn't prevent them from screaming at you when things don't work out exactly the way they want, though. I swear to God, when I was getting the hang of breastfeeding with my son, he would regularly scream at me like a pissed off taxi driver in a traffic jam.
"MA! WHAT THE HELL?! WHERE'S MY MILK?!"
"Dude! You're not latching! What do you want from me?!"
When They're Constantly Changing Their Minds
If I had a dollar for every time one of my children popped of my nipple only to squirm back on a minute later, or for every time they switched up which breast they wanted to nurse from, I could pay tuition, room, and board at the elite college of their choice and have enough left over for them to pursue doctorates.
And I know it's not because they're indecisive, guys. I know it. They're f***ing with me.
When They Gaze Lovingly In Your Eyes As They Claw The Hell Out Of Your Boobs
There is nothing more magical than gazing down at your sweet baby, happily suckling in a moment of contented quiet. It's so magical that you can somehow manage to ignore the fact that your poor booby feels like it's being rubbed against a cheese grater.
This is a test. A wicked little baby test. "Oh, do you love me? Really? Let's examine the limits of your love. You'd do anything for me? Prove it, mom, by enduring death by a thousand baby nails!"
When They Claim They Need To Eat At 3 A.M.
Doctors and lactation professionals be damned, because I refuse to believe that anyone wakes up at 3:00 a.m. without a spiteful agenda afoot. (Exception: you're a dad who wants to make sure you get to the airport by noon so you head out nine hours early. Why do all dads leave for the airport so damn early, you guys? Can we get someone to look into that?)
When They Act Like It's No Big Deal When They Latch On To The Wrong Spot
Side of the boob, top of the boob, or, this one time, my elbow. Babies just kind of hook on to the first thing that brushes against their cheek. But, like, they have to immediately understand they're off, right? Maybe they're too embarrassed to admit they've made a serious error. But I think it's far more likely that they're doing this to subtly gaslight you. Like, "What do you mean, mom? This is totally where the milk comes out. Why are you looking at me like that?"
When Their Poop Smells Like Freshly Baked Bread
What's up with that?! It's so yeasty and off-putting because it would almost smell good if not for the fact that you knew it was human fecal matter! I started to Google it one day after my child was first born and I have never been more thankful for autofill because, "Oh thank God, my child's ass isn't the location of some sort of demonic poop-filled bakery."
When They Make More Poop Than A Tiny Human Should Be Capable Of Making
Eight pound child, 27 metric tons of crap a day. Even accounting for the food they eat, this makes no sense whatsoever. Especially when you also consider they're still somehow gaining weight. Someone is trolling me, and I think I know who.
If I pooped as much as my newborn (or should I say "pooped" because I'm pretty sure they order most of it on Amazon and just shove it in their diaper when no one is looking because there's no way they can make all of that on their own), I would have shat myself into oblivion by now. I wouldn't have died or anything, I just would have slowly diminished until I ceased to exist, probably sometime around 2012.
When They Make Your Boobs Different Sizes
I nursed my kids for a long time, and in that collective 38 months or so it never stopped being weird that my boobs would noticeably expand and shrink in the span of hours. It was especially pronounced in the early days of nursing, when your body is still getting used to it. On days when my child only wanted to eat off one side, leaving one boob a basketball-looking F cup and the other a C, they knew exactly what they were doing and no one can tell me otherwise.
When They Unapologetically Motorboat You
You know what I'm talking about, right? Immediately before they start to nurse they just shake their head back and forth over your breasts and make little grunting noises. "Oh, that's just them letting you know they're hungry!" lactation consultants and experts will say.
Nah, dude. That's your baby messing with you. Mark my words: they are diabolical little pranksters.