I admit it.

January 22, 2008 at 12:31 pm | Posted in Pregnancy | 13 Comments

I obsess about my boobs – more than I’m sure you ever wanted to know.

So. You all won’t mind if we talk about my breasts for a minute, will you?

Wonderful.

So. For the past few months (yes, months even), after my shower, I look down at my boobs for some sort of sign that I will have some sort of ability to breastfeed when Squishy is here.

See, because I don’t have dreams about babies. Or childbirth. Or miscarriage.

Instead, I have vivid dreams of breastfeeding. The other night, for example – I dreamt that I got a brand new breast pump. In my dream, I was really excited and couldn’t wait to use it and see if it worked. Other dreams I am breastfeeding our baby (which, as a total aside, in the four times I’ve actually dreamt about our baby, Squishy is ALWAYS a girl) with a sense of “wow, I can’t believe this is actually working the way it’s supposed to.”

And always, my breasts ache for a good portion of the morning after those dreams.

Frankly, it’s like the baby dreams I had when we were in the midst of fertility treatments. It’s the game my subconscious is playing with me – Look, Serenity, here’s what you really want!!! Wouldn’t it be GREAT if you could actually do this?

Because when I wake up, and reason returns, I remember – oh yeah. Nice try. My surgeon told me 10 years ago that I had a 30% chance of breastfeeding. Those are the same odds our RE gave us those first couple of cycles too.

THAT would be smart, right? Put all my faith in a 30% chance. 30% ain’t so grand, really.

And of course I know that BFing isn’t the end all, be all. That is, logically, anyway, I DO know this. After all, me and all of my siblings were formula fed, and we do ok in the immune system department. But pick up any breastfeeding book? It’s all about how much better BFing is for your kid, how it gives them IQ points, immune system boosters, and will allow them to be so advanced that they’ll enter Harvard Medical School at the age of 15.

About the only BFing book I’ve found which DOESN’T try to guilt you into BFing exclusively is “Breastfeeding for Dummies.” Which I almost bought, just because it didn’t make me feel like shit when I thought about supplementing with formula.

So of course I can’t read those books. Because, well, I know that there’s more likely than not a chance that my breasts won’t work the way they’re supposed to. Since, you know, the surgeon TOLD me that my surgery would affect my chances of breastfeeding 1o years ago when I made the decision to have 4lbs taken off my chest.

But. Back to my obsessing about them. Every morning after my shower I look down at my nips to see any indication that perhaps something has changed, and amazingly I’ll have confirmation that I will unequivocally feed our baby from here on out. Not sure what I’m expecting, really. But for the past month or so, every once in a while I’ll see a yellowish sort of… well… crust inside the tip of my left nipple. And it’s not something I’ve ever noticed before.

Though. I do confess I’ve NEVER paid attention to my boobs quite like I have been since this desire to BF has sprung up. So it might be like those 2ww symptoms – I’m completely hypersensitive to ANY twinge, change, et cetera because I’m LOOKING for confirmation that they’ll work the way they’re supposed to.

So of course, I can’t really tell you that something is different. Could be that it’s because I’m focused on it. Could be that maybe something HAS changed, and I’ll be able to at least feed Squishy most of the time, with some supplementation of formula.

Either way, I won’t know for another couple of months. And, you know, if I can’t BF, then I’m sure Squishy will still be FINE. There’s more to being a mother than being able to feed my baby with my body.

I know this.

Yet, I have the sinking sense that, if I CAN’T breastfeed our baby, I’m going to have to work to accept that reality.

Sort of like how I had to work at accepting our infertility.

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13 Comments »

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  1. This sounds gross, but if you sort of squeeze your nipples, some colostrum might come out. Sorry if that sounds horrid. But then you’d know, sort of. I mean, if nothing comes out it that doesn’t mean you can’t bf. Just if something comes out then probably you can. Ugh this comment isn’t coming out right at all. Hope you get the general idea.

  2. How about deciding that you want the closeness of breastfeeding… that you’ll hold your baby with his or her cheek to your breast during feedings whenever it’s convenient? Then, if you are able to breastfeed, that will just be an added bonus.

    I think the warmth and closeness are at least as important as the milk itself…

  3. For what it’s worth, I’m obsessed with boobs too. I also think about them every day. Perhaps my obsession differs from your obsession.

    Not much for a guy to add here, not even a guy who tries to come across as someone who knows all sorts of things about stuff guys shouldn’t know much about.

    What I CAN share with you is my experience. The nurses at the hospital – let’s call them Nipple Nazis – will do their best to make you feel as though, if you are having trouble breastfeeding, that you are starving your child to death.

    My wife was not able to breastfeed, it just never clicked. She cried and cried about it. Thought it meant she was a bad mother. Was got a “lactation consultant”. We got a “Nipple Shield”. I offered to buy my wife new boobs – great big ones (I thought that would help, she thought not).

    At the end of day we got a bottle. And we let the grief go. And we have a healthy, happy little girl who loves her mother with every fiber of her being.

    Don’t let the nipple nazis bring you down.

  4. If you check out the forums at mothering.com there are lots of moms nursing after reductions. They probably have more real info than any book. I agree though that if you want that closeness and aren’t able to nurse, holding your baby against your skin would be lovely.

  5. IF magnifies any and all negative feelings we have about our bodies – that we can’t rely on them to do what we need/want them to do. This may be why the fear of not being able to BF is especially intense for us. This is to say that I understand your feelings on this matter.

    But, you know what, when you got those 30% stats when you first saw an RE, there was much about your condition that was, as yet, undiscovered. And, remember, it is such an imperfect science. Breast reduction is MUCH more precise. And, I would be willing to bet that the odds are less euphemistic and more accurate. 30% is reason to hope that it WILL work…..

    BTW, my sister couldn’t make the BF thing work either. Her daughters are perfectly healthy. And she STILL says horrible things about the BF pushers at the hospital. She hates them.

    A friend of mine, who is about to stop breastfeeding her 11-month old, told me that women shouldn’t breast feed if doing so causes them so much stress that it gets in the way of bonding with their babies. This makes sense to me.

    XOXOXO

  6. I didn’t have surgery or anything, but I’m constantly checking to see if I’m leaking yet, too. Sounds like you’re doing better than me with the crust – though I know not everyone leaks or whatever before birth and even if you don’t, you can often BF. But still. The crust sounds promising.

    How do you feel about supplementing? From what i read in the recent BF book I’ve been reading reduction can limit your supply, so you might want to consider adding to your supply, but there is a good chance you’ll still be able to give Squishy some time on the boob.

  7. while i haven’t had a reduction, i too worry about breastfeeding a lot. i swear that i haven’t noticed ANY changes in my breasts during this pregnancy. even though a midwife assured me that this means little to nothing, i convince myself that it could mean that there will be problems.
    rachinbar has a great way of reframing it. i hope you are able to breastfeed too, and the crust sounds like a good sign. you will do what you can do and squishy will be strong, smart, and
    happy.

  8. That yellowish crust sounds like colostrum. Mine started leaking a wee, wee bit 3 weeks ago. If I give them a squeeze I can get a drop most of the time, but not all of the time. Something must be working a little bit in there if you are making colostrum…and if it only works a little in the end, and not enough, that’s OK too. Mother’s milk is great, but mother’s love is the most important.

  9. I know this is different, but I have a friend who got breast implants, and went on to breast-feed two subsequent children. I hope it works out for you!

  10. I just read about that “crust” a few minutes ago, actually! I’m glad I’m not the only one wondering what that goo is!

    According to my hospital’s newsletter it is definately the colostrum comming in – mine is more like the crust you describe vs. the beads mentioned below.

    Of course we all know that having the colostrum come in doesn’t mean you’ll be able to BF for sure, but it does mean your boobs are making the needed arrangements for you to give it a go!

    Here’s the newsletter quote:
    “You may have already noticed beads of deep yellow fluid on your nipples. This “liquid gold” is colostrum, your baby’s first food, and it usually appears sometime in the third trimester.”

    Hope that helps!

  11. This is the second breastfeeding post I’m reading today. I know that it is such a wonderful experience to breastfeed your baby. And there are a million benefits. But as someone who chose not to breastfeed once we found out we were having twins, it doesn’t take away from the amazing experience of being a mom. I felt/still feel beyond bonded with my children, even by just cuddling them and giving them a bottle. Just the feeling of them depending on me for everything, all those smiles (gas or not), all the coos, all the endless staring into my eyes. I would have loved to try and breastfeed if I had a singleton, but at the end of the day, it really isn’t the end of the world. You are going to be an amazing mom, whether your boobs dispatch the food, or a bottle. I hope that you get to experience breastfeeding, since I know that is important to you, but please be easy on yourself if your not able to. Don’t let it take away from the amazing experience you will be in the middle of! Hugs.

  12. I love racinbar’s suggestion. Go with that. : )

  13. Not fair that you should have potential BF troubles after IF.

    I am sure you already know, but the bfar.org site seems to have a bit of info, and as another commenter mentioned mothering.com has quite a few bfar ladies.

    Your best is all anyone can ask of you.


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