Please Note: This post may contain sponsor, affiliate, and/or referral links. Read my full disclosure statement. 

Disclaimer: The information in this post is for educational purposes only. I am not a doctor. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. None of the opinions are meant to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. You should always consult your healthcare provider.

Tales of a Booby Monster: The Unglamorous Truth About Breastfeeding

Tales of a Booby Monster The Unglamorous Truth about BreastfeedingI remember when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. I was scared and nervous. At the time, I was planning my wedding. Quickly, I went from reading The Knot magazines to What to Expect When You Are Expecting books. I planned. And I don’t mean I just sat down and thought, “I am going to have a natural birth, it will be beautiful, and I will breastfeed, and it will be glorious.” I mean, I sat down, wrote lists, weighed options—and I planned. I am pretty sure I had a list and a plan for every little detail of my pregnancy, birth, and hospital stay. My plans even included what books I was going to bring to read while I was recovering.

The instructor at my Bradley Method birthing class suggested we read up on breastfeeding prior to giving birth. You know, so we would learn how to do it. My birthing instructor told stories about how glamorous and beautiful and empowering breastfeeding was. She said to gain full knowledge we needed to read The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. It was “incredible,” she said. It was “informative,” she promised. And all this is probably true.

I will admit, however, I never actually read it. But I did pick it up and buy it. When I went home, I flipped through it with every intention of reading it. But I read the first part of the book and the story of the girl who said when she was two, her mom brought home two babies, one real baby and one doll baby, and how when she gave birth, all those memories came flooding back to her…blah blah blah. I lost interest. Not saying it wasn’t beautiful or wonderful, but I needed something real. I needed a book, a person—something—that would ground me and tell me how it really was.

truth about breastfeeding

Looking for down-to-earth advice

See, my mom breastfed us for, like, a minute. My grandmothers did straight formula. My friends, my sister-in-law—they all did formula. The only person I knew that breastfed was my mother-in-law and, no offense, but it had been something like 24 years since she had given a baby a boob. I needed real life, not a beautiful rendition of how it was supposed to be. I wanted truth. So I took the book back. Then I went back to the baby section of the bookstore, desperate to find something I could relate to. I searched and skimmed.

And then I found the best baby book I have ever picked up: Breastfeeding Sucks: What to do when your mammaries make you miserable, by Joanne Kimes.

Now it’s been years since I read this book, but I remember the comfort I got from it. It’s a short book, and I finished it in just a couple of days. But I remember picking up that book and reading the first page where she mentions pooping on the delivery table, and I knew it was the book for me. Because here is the thing: while pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and being a mom is awesome and beautiful and glorious, it is most definitely not glamorous. At least not all the time.

So please sit back and relax, maybe grab some popcorn, while I tell you some real life info on real life breastfeeding.

It hurts.

Well, not all the time. But pretty much every day for the first three weeks, I felt like someone was burning my nipples off with a branding iron. I have never had my nipples burned off by a branding iron before, so I can’t tell you for sure that the feeling is exactly like that, but hey, I like analogies.

I had an emergency cesarean with my daughter, so we were in the hospital for three days, and I remember on day two, I picked up my beautiful little baby, stared lovingly at her, stroked her hair, smiled and then helped her in the most gentle way to latch. Once she was on, she attacked me much like a rabid bear attacking a picnic basket full of honey. I gasped in pain so loudly, my husband jumped out of bed and rushed over because he thought I had dropped her.

Time went on and we both got the hang of it.  Soon, my nipples didn’t care anymore that I had given birth to a rabid milk baby. On the 22nd day of breast feeding (yes I remember the exact day), the pain went away, and we were smooth sailing.

It’s messy.

Everything about babies is messy, and breastfeeding is one of those things. You leak, you drip, you sometimes will look like a mini fire hose putting out the world’s largest fire. Sometimes, your baby will pull off because there is something far more interesting to look at than your boob, and you will squirt milk all over her face, hair, and clothes. Sometimes, if you are lucky, you can use your milk squirting abilities to wake your husband up to help at night. Just blame it on the baby. “I’m sorry honey, I was feeding her and she pulled off and your face was right there. Here can you take her? I need to pee.”

It’s frustrating.

Imagine going to a restaurant. It’s been weeks since you and your husband have eaten out. You have planned and dreamed of the “perfect” meal for days. The waiter comes out and sits your piping hot plate in front of you. You pick up your fork to take a bite, and the baby starts to cry, because now she is hungry too. So you pull out your nursing cover and latch on the rabid baby. Then, if you are anything like me, you still attempt to eat. All I can say, is thank goodness for the nursing cover because it ends up doubling as a bib.

The truth about breastfeeding: I love it

Now, you probably are thinking, “What does this lady have against breastfeeding, this doesn’t sound like fun.” But you are wrong. I love breastfeeding. Barring any complications and latch issues, it’s pretty easy once you get it down. I even have my favorite parts of breastfeeding. Want to hear them?  Still have your popcorn?

The quiet times. You get some quiet alone time whenever you want. At an event that you just want to escape from? Well, the baby needs to eat so you can excuse yourself and sit in a quiet room. That has always been my favorite part. I am a pretty social person, but it was nice to always have that “out” if I needed it.

You are always prepared. I am pretty forgetful. People know me for forgetting diapers, wipes, snacks, etc. Fortunately, there is no way that I could forget my boobs.

The moments. Every now and then with my toddler, he will just lay there quietly and we look at each other that I am reminded of that original paragraph fromThe Womanly Art of Breastfeeding where time seems to stop and it’s just him and me. Those times are far and few between these days because he is more interested in climbing on every surface in our house and destructing everything in sight, but I will always have those moments.

There are times in my motherly exhaustion daze, that I look at my kids and think, “I did that. I helped grow them into these little people.” It’s sad thinking that just four years ago I was sitting in a chair similar to the one I am in now, holding my daughter, stroking her hair while she nursed. Now she is going to be starting kindergarten this fall and is talking about getting married. My son, who used to be this sweet little ginger baby that always wanted to be in my arms, is growing into this little spitfire of a boy that runs now and is a hurricane of toddler destruction.

I am so thankful that I had those moments.

Now I want to leave you with this. I know that breastfeeding doesn’t work out for everyone. In addition, I understand that not everyone wants to breastfeed, and there is nothing wrong with that. I fully believe that a happy mommy is a happy baby. If breastfeeding is making your life miserable, there is nothing wrong with formula. It doesn’t bother me how you feed your baby, as long as you are feeding him.

Randi blogs in a blue recliner from the wet city of Seattle where she and her family live.  She blogs about her crafting adventures and parenting trials, because if you can’t find humor in your own life, then who will?


  1. “I am pretty forgetful. I am known for forgetting diapers, wipes, snacks, etc., but there is no way that I could forget my boobs.” This made my day!

Speak Your Mind