One Absolutely Necessary Breastfeeding Requirement


We are living in strange times: at some point, breastfeeding moved from a generally private act to an almost political statement. As if trying to feed your baby from your own body wasn’t difficult enough — now we have to balance the expectations of others with the how, where, and why.

So it may be helpful to have a sense of humor about the whole thing. Because no one really told me that breastfeeding can get downright hysterical, once you’re past the toe-curling, constant feeding of the first few weeks, that is.

Here’s what you may personally experience in that first year and beyond:

Nursing Naps

Once your baby has mastered their latch, you can discover the unbridled bliss of a side-lying nursing nap. Barely mentioned in the one breastfeeding class I took, the side-lying position was simply glorious. Baby ate, I could sleep (sort of… at least more than I had been at that groggy point of life). Baby unlatched, we both would sleep. I was thrilled with this arrangement until my husband compared me to a suckling sow. But I did it anyway, because you know. Sleep.

More Leaks Than A Political Campaign

No one warned me I’d be able to shoot milk across the room at all angles. My milk could fly. The heavy letdown was just that — a MAJOR LETDOWN. And for a while, your baby is this passive recipient, unable to unlatch safely without spewing milk everywhere. You’ve probably anticipated lots of laundry, but you may not have believed that you’d generate half of it yourself. From your boobs.

Find Your Own Metaphor

Breastfeeding is different for everyone, and thus the way they describe their milk coming in is different, too. One of my friends felt like she was being stabbed with pins and needles. For me, it felt like this scene when the aliens arrive in Independence Day. My milk was this huge unstoppable force, and there would be no peace until the baby was fed.


But the fun doesn’t stop there.

Your child is growing and changing, developing a personality. This leads to any number of strange experiences:

The Not-So-Sweet Smile

You love that your baby is starting to interact and smile at you. You just wish they didn’t do it with a mouth full of milk, which quickly dribbles down your shirt and bra.

The Chuckle

At four months, my son started to chuckle softly when I unlatched my nursing bra. What should have been endearing was unquestionably creepy to me.

The Mic-Drop

If your child falls asleep while nursing, they may unlatch with unrivaled flair, flinging their arms back as if to say, “Top that, suckas!”

The Scold

Your little baby’s fingers will find your flab, I promise. It may be your chin or the back of your arm, but they will pinch it.

The Tease

The back-and-forth of whether or not they’re done may drive you insane. It always reminded me of this scene from Walk The Line.

The Deep-Sea Diver

This is the only way I could describe the way my son would come up for air sometimes. He was a little man on a mission.

The Interpreter

At some point, your child will discover his hands. And move them about and flail them around. I felt like I was nursing an ASL interpreter attempting to keep up with a fast talker.

The Shock-And-Awe

I never could learn how to blow my nose or sneeze quietly. So when I rudely disturbed my dear sweet child by sneezing without warning (because really, how do you warn a baby that a sneeze is coming?) the startle reflex was real. And so was the death look he could give me at 5 months old.

The Obsessive

I am in the process of weaning my 21-month old son, something I assumed I’d never have to do because no one in my family nursed past a year. But my son, the overachiever that he is, won’t quit. There’s nothing more awkward than a toddler trying to rip your shirt off in front of other people.

How about you? What funny things did you discover in your nursing journey?

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Kate is a Hoosier by birth but knew in her mid-teens that she’d live near the mountains. In college she spent a glorious summer in Colorado Springs volunteering at Glen Eyrie and vowed she’d come back somehow. She's now lived at the foot of Pikes Peak for more than a decade. She and her husband and two boys live downtown in a home almost as old as the city itself. Kate attempts to garden in her free time, making a commitment to grow something strange and new each year. So far luffa sponges, quinoa, and various pumpkins have fed nothing but the squirrels. Prior to staying home with her boys, Kate wrote and edited for a nonprofit that transformed the lives of children all over the world. She is passionate and nerdy and is continually surprised at the joy she has found in this season of motherhood.


  1. As my daughter got a bit older & hence more aware of what was going on around her, I realized i could no longer nurse her when someone was in the room. She would be safely latched on as usual, everything covered discreetly by a nursing blanket & her head & all was well until…. the visitor spoke, at which time baby whipped her head around to see the owner of the voice leaving me unexpectedly flapping in the wind. It happened so fast there was no time to take cover. Kind of awkward when the visitor is your pastor. Needless to say that’s when I began going to another room to nurse.

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