(Not me, although I'm a fan of Wonder Woman AND breastfeeding, so...)
I searched the internet for euphemisms for 'breasts' and I got the results listed below, and then some.
Angel cakes - Bonbons - Coffee creamers - Dumplings - Eggplants - Flesh melons - Grapefruits - Honeydews - Jawbreakers - Kumquats - Love muffins - Mangos - Niblets - Oranges - Papayas - Rangoons - Sugar Plums - Tamales - Whoppers - Yams - Zingers
The ones I chose to list were all references to food and there was one for nearly every letter of the alphabet. Interesting, since my boobs ARE food. I've been using MY angel cakes to feed my baby for nearly three months, and I'm having a hard time thinking of stopping.
It's not like I haven't been down this road before. When we had our first child, I said I'd try it out because I knew it was better for the baby. But I was raised on formula and felt there was nothing wrong with that, either. There are not many situations in life where the cheaper option is also the higher quality option, and so with breastfeeding - it's a win, win. You do learn quickly that life revolves around the pumping/nursing schedule and that lesson can be painful. When my first daughter was 3 months old, my husband and I were going out one night with friends in Minneapolis, which is about an hour away. I forgot to pump before we left, and ended up bent over a public toilet, squeezing my boobs to relieve the pain and in the hopes I wouldn't lose my milk from sheer stupidity. So, with all that I learned and put those things through, I thought 6 months was pretty dang good, and stopping didn't seem like a big deal.
I didn't nurse my second daughter nearly as long - only for three weeks. This was mainly because they were so close in age (15 months) and most days I felt close to a breakdown just getting through the day. My older daughter wasn't able to understand that I needed to do this for the baby and that I couldn't always give her the attention she craved. Because it was so chaotic, I couldn't pump enough for a full day at daycare, and frankly it was just too hard and I was tired of crying and stressing about it. We also had a tragic death in the family at the time and the grief added another layer that really made me need to make this one thing in our life more simple. In retrospect, I would've done that differently, since another lesson I learned is that letting your milk go makes hundreds of grief-filled hugs even more painful.
5 1/2 years later, here's another mouth to feed. This time, it's different because my daughters are old enough to take notice. At first, they giggled and stared and asked lots of questions, but now it's 'normal.' Since I'm not one to flop them out anywhere, no matter who is around (although I support the RIGHT to), it leads to some awkward situations and quick cover-ups when we get unexpected company. Usually, it's a neighbor kid coming over to play with my daughters, and I'm never sure if they're getting more education than their parents would like! And, my husband is enjoying his 'party tricks' again. When we are in public or have friends over, he'll cry like a baby until they swell up and it looks like I'm suddenly sweating -- through my nipple.
Though nursing has been going well, and my son is growing like crazy, I have felt for awhile that he is not quite getting enough from me. He sleeps less and feeds more often when I'm with him than he does when cared for by others. He does drink formula also, so it's nice that he'll be able to transition. But, will he? He's a smart little guy, and what we've found is that he won't take formula from ME without a strong protest. He won't even take a bottle of pumped breast milk from me without kicking up a sputtering fuss. Packaging matters. It's like if I gave my husband beer in a juice box.
So, why stop? We are going on vacation and leaving the baby home. I could take my pump and do that a few times a day and dump it out so that I keep my milk for when I return and start back where I left off. That is an option. But as I said, I don't think he's getting enough and since he'll be three months old, I think it's just fine to stop. That's the cut-and-dried fact-based decision. Enter, my emotions. They are messing everything logical up. I already had a hard time deciding to leave him behind for this vacation, but that's the subject of another post. When he was in my belly, I recalled the not-so-convenient things about breastfeeding and pumping and told myself I would give it another shot, but if it didn't work with this busy life - so be it. I did not expect the decision to stop to be so emotional.
The thing is, this is my last baby. Every 'next step' is going to be more difficult to take. I kept him in newborn clothes as long as they'd stretch over him. I know that getting up with him in the middle of the night is short-term in the grand scheme of life. It's so sweet and quiet, and it's time I get to spend with just him. He holds my hand or rests his hand on my breast and we are as close as we will ever be. We both sigh when he latches on, as if this is just what we've been been waiting for. It's beautiful and it's natural and it's wonderful. How soon is too soon to stop? How long is too long to go? It's subjective. But I do have to break it off at some point. I don't think this will be appropriate at his first junior high school dance.
The irony is not lost on me that this is also Breast Cancer Awareness month, and that fact plays on my emotions as well. I have two healthy breasts. Shouldn't I use them to their full capacity? We are very involved with this cause at work, and for the past several years I have been recording the stories of local breast cancer survivors in order to create awareness and raise donations to the local breast center. The other day, I met and talked with a woman who is in Stage 4 Breast Cancer. This is her second round. This time, it has metastasized to her liver, kidney, bones, and brain. She still has hope, but she is dying. Her breasts are killing her, at the same time mine are giving life. I'm worried about the convenience of feedings, and she wonders if she'll live to see her kids walk down the aisle and witness the birth of a grandchild. After nurturing my three children with my breasts, I can understand - as much as someone who hasn't had breast cancer can - how women are emotionally attached and have a hard time making the decision to remove theirs to save their own life, when that's an option. By the way, if you're reading this and have boobs of your own, DO YOUR SELF EXAM AND GET A MAMMOGRAM, DAMNIT! People love you!
I hope I never have to learn the painful lesson that it's not my breasts that make me a good mother, daughter, wife, and friend. If I couldn't use them or didn't have them, I know I would still be all of those things. Fortunately, so far, I have not had a health reason make this far less drastic, but still big, decision for me. I have to make it myself and be okay with it. Should I choose not to nurse my son anymore, I have to tell myself that I am still a good mom.
I think I just talked myself into finding room in my suitcase for my pump. Even if I don't use it, at least the option is there. I don't want to spend my whole vacation crying that I'm not only missing my baby, but that I'm also depriving him of nature's goodness!
So, I guess it's TTFN - Ta-Tas For Now! Soon enough, I will let go of the real purpose for these things on my chest, know they have done their duty, and let them have a nice retirement. They can devote themselves to their leisure activities: getting me out of traffic tickets and making my husband forget I just spent another $100 at Kohls.