A manual to the mysteries of the unknown, from 32A to 46GG and beyond.
Here’s what to keep in mind when you’re mesmerized by the exponential chestiness of your partner once her milk comes in and her breastfeeding superpowers manifest.
- They may be bigger than beach balls and come in exotic sizes but they hurt like hell.
- They will probably get hard and heavy at some point but you will never be allowed to touch them to understand what that means.
- You will never see more boob that is not for you.
- You will hear all about the search for the elusive ‘perfect latch’ and realize that you know pretty much nothing about boob science.
- Breastfeeding is amazing, but it can also be painful and awkward until you get the hang of it. Encourage your partner, and call a lactation consultant if you need help. Which reminds me—
- You will never see more people grab, fondle, and squeeze your lady’s boobs or help them get into your kid’s mouth.
- You will still totally check out your wife’s boobs, you just won’t be sure if you’re supposed to or not.
- Nipple creams and ointments may take the place of massage oils for quite some time.
- DO NOT say things like ‘do you think they’ll stay after you finish nursing’ unless you want to be cuffed upside the head.
- Be supportive and use words like ‘beautiful’ and ‘superhero’ when your partner starts to feel like a farm animal hooked up to a milking machine (cluster-feeding and growth spurts can be really frustrating).
- Keep your partner hydrated, fuelled, and give her tons of bathroom breaks and as much time to sleep or just be by herself as humanly possible to reset between feedings.
- Encourage her to feed in public when she’s ready, because it can be nerve-wracking. I’d like to think that women are 99% sure to have good experiences breastfeeding anywhere they choose in North America, but we’ve all heard the stories, and the looming anticipation of the other 1% can be terrifying and make us freeze, hide away, or even switch to the bottle. That just plain sucks, so make sure you have her back.
- You might feel a jealous dash of ‘Hmph, those were MINE’, mixed with ‘I always knew they had a purpose, but DAMN’, and the looming fear of ‘Wait, I get to play with them at some point too, right?!’. This is totally normal.
- Do NOT stare while she’s pumping or ask her what it feels like unless she says it’s ok, because she might turn the suction up to level 10 and stick it on your forehead.
- Electric/automatic pumps make weird, grating, repetitive noises and after a while you start hearing them say things. No, really. My 4 year old thought mine was saying ‘That’s great. That’s great, that’s great…” and I heard the beginning of Herbie Hancock’s Rock It on repeat.
- You will feel a weird pride seeing ounces and ounces of milk come out of the boobs you know and love.
- While warming up a bottle, you will want to try the drop of breast milk on your wrist and while you may or may not, you will absolutely think of that Friend’s episode.
- Read the crowd before you say your wife’s boobs are looking good. Chances are she does want to hear it, but on a day after 5000 feeds and 20 pumping sessions she might stomp on you and unleash a verbal barrage about living in a hyper-sexualized society where women are objectified and encouraged to wear less until they are mothers where the functionality of the same breasts that made them ‘sexy’ translates to a dominant societal moral chorus of ‘covering up’ and showing less. You will ultimately be confused and unsure of what to say next and you will also likely have something flung at you.
- Remember during the pregnancy when you would be told countless times that you didn’t have a uterus and couldn’t possibly understand what she was going through? This is far from over. Just saying.
- You burn calories while breastfeeding. You do. And even if you see your partner inhaling thousands of calories of processed sugars and fats and want to ask if you can get her anything a little more healthy, well, don’t. Just back away slowly and make like Charlton Heston in the lion’s den. Of boobs.
- Do NOT say ‘Bitty’. Ever.