There is nothing as elemental as holding your sweet baby in your arms while they gaze trustingly up at you. Then there are the moments when they bite your nipple, pinch your arm, and attempt to pry open your mouth with their hands, before barrel-rolling out of your arms like a little tornado. Remembering the quiet moments spent rocking and nursing my babes to sleep still warms my heart. I can honestly say that it has been my favorite thing about parenthood. On the flip side, breastfeeding has been perhaps the most painful.
Why do babies feel the need to make breastfeeding a MMA match when all you are trying to do is feed and nurture them? The world may never know. Mastitis and clogged milk ducts have nothing on some of the freakish injuries you can get from attempting to nourish your baby on breastmilk. Let me take you through the top 23 breastfeeding injuries no one told you about (tag yourself: I'm all of them).
Cause: Your newborn baby nursing for 12 hours straight on her first day of life. Additional symptoms include bleeding and severe side-eye from lactation consultants.
Cause: Baby clamping down hard on the boob that feeds them, leaving behind four perfect teeth marks.
3Bit Nip, Stage Two
Cause: Baby clamping down and pulling on your nipple like they’re eating melted mozzarella. Has anyone lost a nipple this way?
Cause: A two-finger hard pull on the nipple that baby is not currently using.
Cause: A tweak with an aggressive turn, like baby is tuning a radio and can only find a cappella stations.
Cause: Baby rolls your tender nipple skin between his fingers like a pencil —musing on life perhaps?
Cause: Aggressive rubbing on your nipple that you are probably too tired to fight off.
Cause: Baby latches on before you’ve taken your shirt off. Experts still don’t know why this hurts as much as it does.
Cause: Baby attempts to nurse with her finger in her mouth, causing a horrible suction sensation, as if two vacuums are dueling for control of your areola.
Cause: Baby squashes both of your boobs together to try and nurse two at once. Ambitious and painful.
Cause: You’re peacefully nursing your baby. Then he slaps you in the face, trying out those cool hands he recently discovered on the ends of his arms.
12Pink Face, Stage Two
Cause: The open hand becomes a fist.
Upside: impressive fine motor control!
Cause: A filthy baby hand is thrust in your mouth before you can stop it. Hello, cold sores!
Cause: Baby discovers ponytails are perfect for yanking and now rips teeny-tiny handfuls of hair out.
Cause: Those look like monkey bars!
16Eyes Wide Shut
Cause: Baby learns to focus. Baby finds her fingers. Baby learns to use her fingers. Baby pokes fingers into your cornea.
17Eyes Wide Shut, Stage Two
Cause: You forgot to clip baby’s nails.
Cause: Long fingernails + soft boob skin = looks like your décolletage was attacked by a cat.
Cause: Baby misses the nipple and tries to nurse off the side of your boob instead leaving a hickey, which is not embarrassing at all.
Cause: You fell asleep on your side nursing your baby and woke up hours later, now without the use of your pinned arm.
Cause: Pre-walker uses your nipple as a handle to hoist herself up while nursing.
Cause: Boobs can also be handles. Feels like a sprain!
Cause: Toddler pulls your boob out by himself as you sing out to Karen from next door while unloading the car. Hi, Karen!
~Bonus injury for breastfeeding kids~
Cause: Your mom accidentally drops her iPhone on your face after making a particularly aggressive move in Candy Crush. Sorry, baby! Moms aren’t perfect either.
I love my kids with every ounce of my soul, so I have to forgive them both for the hair-ripping, the nipple tweaks, the boob scratches, and the vagina kicks. And that’s because one day they’ll be teenagers and I’ll be able to embarrass them in front of their friends whenever I want to.
And I will, kids. At least 23 different ways.