On Instagram, Elle was doing the breastfeeding takeover a couple of weeks ago, where a famous model was sharing her breastfeeding life in such a glamorous, picturesque and even sexy fashion. The hashtag #normalizebreastfeeding was used to advocate breastfeeding. Elle was promoting a natural, most brilliantly designed way of feeding our children through this breastfeeding takeover, and I fully support their effort. But I wish that they had also included more realistic images that most mothers can relate.
I am a breastfeeding advocate and did so myself for both of my children. Back when I was breastfeeding, there was no FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM nor SELFIE. If there were, I would have taken different kind of images than Elle has portraited.
Breastfeeding is convenient, but also takes your freedom away, and require dedication. Because babies digest breast milk so much easier and faster than artificial milk, you have to feed them almost every other hour when the baby is still small. My oldest, Selene, started to sleep through the night around 1.5 months old but my son John was a colicky, big fella, and I felt and looked like a zombie for the first 9 months. If Walking Dead was on back then, I would have aced the audition without special makeup. It made my breasts so sore that I had to ice them sometimes, and apply special cream to prevent cracking on my nipples.
When I went back to work, I pumped my milk, froze them and bought them home, so the nursery could continue to feed him breastmilk. When I had to sit in a very long meeting and pass my usual pumping schedule, my milk sometimes almost leaked through my blouse, even with pads. Finding comfortable and well made breastfeeding bras was my kind of victory.
I believe, breastfeeding is one of the most beautiful and brilliant things in life. Mothers' milk continuously and progressively change its content to meet the unique, biological needs of their growing babies. It was ecstatic to be able to see the hungry baby's cry turned into satisfying expression in my arms, but glamour? Maybe not so much... but full of tiny moments of why it is worth all of the sleepless nights and sacrifice.