In California, hospitals are great about supporting breastfeeding mothers. A few days after you have your baby they have you come back for a lactation consultation. If you have never been to one of these let me just paint a picture of this experience.
The first thing I noticed when I walked into the consultation room was a large circle of chairs in the middle of the room. Apparently, lactation consultations are a group activity. Weird.
Then the Lactation Consultant (LC) has you strip your baby down and put them on the scale. After they weigh your baby, they tell you to have a seat. In the circle. And feed your baby. Boob exposed to the world all while trying to not make uncomfortable eye contact with the other mothers who feel just as awkward. And if that is not bad enough, the LC comes over and pokes at your boob to make sure your baby is latched correctly.
They have you feed on one boob then weigh your baby. Then the other and weigh again.I fed Winnie on my left boob. After they weighed her the LC told me that Winnie had consumed 3 whole ounces of milk. Babies her age only needed 1.5 oz per feeding. She then had me try and feed Winnie on my left boob. She ate another .5 oz and was done. The nurse told me that I would need to start doing block feeding to even out my supply.
I tried to follow the LC’s instructions and block feed. But if I didn’t feed Winnie on my left boob at every feeding I would end up engorged and eventually with clogged ducts. All the while my right boob was slacking. I ended up naming them Big Bertha and Little Lucy for this very reason.
Eventually I got fed up and let Lucy dry up completely. That’s right friends, I exclusively breastfeed my child on one boob, Big Bertha. We are 10 months in and still going strong.
But here’s the thing about letting Lucy dry up and continue nursing on Big Bertha. Lucy went back to being my normal boob size while Big Bertha remained about twice as big as my normal boob size. That means that for 8 months or so, I have been walking around with incredibly lopsided boobs. It’s ok to laugh about it. I think it is hysterical. It’s just a part of my motherhood journey.
I’m sharing this story with you because we all have different versions of motherhood. And that is ok. You just have to own it. Whether you are a stay-at-home-mom, a working mom, a breastfeeding mom (one or two boobs), a formula feeding mom, a co-sleeping mom, a crib-sleeping mom, a cry it out mom, a no tears mom – own your motherhood.
Here’s the thing, friends. Ultimately, you know what is best for your baby. Just because someone else chooses to raise their kids a certain way doesn’t mean you have to do the same.
At the end of that day what matters is that you show up for the mom gig every single day. There is no such thing as a perfect parent – just a present one. A present mama is one that has learned to own her motherhood. She doesn’t worry about what others are thinking. Her mind is focused on being present.
Be present. Be you. You’ve got this, mama.