Monday, April 04, 2011

I suppose Monday's as good a day as any to talk about nipples

I had this brief thought of, "Hmm, maybe a nipple post isn't really appropriate on a Monday." But then I was all, "Seriously? Because nipples are more of a Thursday thing?"

I don't know.

So. One of my colleagues recently returned from maternity leave.

Actually, I should stop here with a warning: if you're a woman who has never breastfed, but is considering it, you might want to skip this post. In fact, if you're anyone who is particularly fond of nipples, same goes.

So the colleague came back to work, and on her first day back, another colleague and I ran into her on her way to the new lactation room to pump.

Prior to that you could do it in our small library. You had to wait until nobody was in there and then lock the door. I never put a sign up, because I wasn't sure what to say. (Pumping? Office motherhood in action? This fucking sucks?)

The library, however, was a much better situation than several years prior, where I've been told you had to hook your boobs up in the bathroom and kind of hover near the sink, since that's where the plug was. Also, the library has Internet.

And if you have ever pumped (or expressed, if you prefer) milk, you know that it super sucks.

Hahaha! Punny!

Except that it does. It really really does. It's dreadful all around.

If you've never done this and you're still reading, let me tell you. You put these clear plastic things that look sort of like funnels on your boobs, and they're hooked by tubes to a machine that provides suction.

So you can watch in horror as your nipple is stretched an inconceivable distance away from your torso. Seriously. You would never imagine that your boob could be so squozen or that it would stretch so far.

Unless, of course, you've had a mammogram or are one of those women in rural Africa who roll up their boobs.

With the pumping, you also get to see how much comes out with ever squeeze. And you get more if you're relaxed. So sitting there going, "I have a meeting in half an hour and my boobs are so full and godfuckingdammit WHY isn't any milk coming out?" does not help.

No. What you need to do is sit there and take deep breaths and be all serene. You could see, through the clear plastic, the direct correlation between your level of relaxation and your production.

I kind of expected my success rate to go up when I looked at shoes or celebrity gossip online, but it didn't. Reading blogs was variable, depending on the topic. Reading work email shot it all to hell.

So mostly I'd sit there all deep breathing and mantra-ing about milk production and serenity and la la la.

But what I am getting to is this. And this is the bad part.

We wound up talking about the horror of looking down while pumping. And how you just cannot believe this is happening to these very important pieces of your body.

"The worst part, though," I said, "is that they never go back to the way they were before."

Her eyes widened. "Never?"

I shook my head in lamentation. I looked at another colleague, also a mother.

She shook her head slowly and sadly. "Nope."


  1. The visual of rolling up one's boobs is causing my nipples to spontaneously become innies.

    Two of my best girlfriends had boob jobs after having the last of their children. Can't say that I blame them.

  2. It has been 9 months since I last pumped, and they still don't look the same. Just another of the things we do for motherhood, I suppose. Talk about a shock to me though...Boobs I expected. But nipples? They don't tell you about that in the books...

  3. In our heavily-scheduled office, where you can't talk to anyone with out requesting a meeting first, one of my colleagues reserved pumping time on her calendar with the title "Pump up the Jam."

    Unfortunately for her, she forgot to make that appointment private. We got a good old laugh, and she has a good sense of humor. :-)

  4. Nooooo, stoppppp! Ouch ouch ouch. This post is the most painful for me - I've been breastfeeding for 6 weeks, and my nipples still look in tact, but I've seen the stretching you talk about.

    My aunt loves to tell a story (yeah our whole family is TMI) about how her nipples got so stretched that once when she was swimming in a lake a fish latched on and wouldn't let go. And then she had surgery to shorten them.

  5. I was kind of bummed when I couldn't breastfeed, but then I read stuff like this and I (and my intact nipples) don't mind it so much.

  6. The guys I work with typically don't shy away from pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding talk. So even they have been like "Dude! The pumping thing is crazy! Your nipples!"

    I think my nipples are the same. My boobs however? Shriveled raisins. Deflated mini balloons.

  7. Babymomma - Exactly! It wouldn't have kept me from nursing, but I'd like to have known beforehand.

    Keenie Beanie - That is hilarious! Good for her and her great sense of humor!

    frugalveganmom - I do not know what the cutoff point is. And maybe if you're younger, they're more likely to bounce back?

    Your aunt's story horrifies me. It's not true, is it? Say it's not true.

    Wendy - I miss my old nipples. Like so many things, I just took them for granted.

  8. So true! Funniest part about this post is that I read it while pumping at work! That's the upside, I typically use the time to catch up on my blog-reading.

  9. I am 95% convinced your honesty about child-rearing has made me decide I never want children. We're on the fence, but leaning more and more towards no lately!

  10. It's true, my aunt and mom both swear. My aunt was pushing my mom on a floatie with her chest in the water and had taken her top down because she didn't want tan lines. She felt a fish grab on "like it was putting up a fight" and then she jumped out and it was gone, but her nipple was bleeding.

    Just found out this was BEFORE she had kids though, I guess her nipples were already freakishly long.

    Sorry to have ruined skinny dipping now for anyone!

  11. You know the weird thing? I cannot for the life of me remember what they used to look like - so I have no idea if I agree.

  12. Ok the boobs, sooo many say how they shrivelled up afterwards..bloody wish mine had, I was a lovely 14C when I got preggers, they grew to DD and then some and now they are still DD,E 18 years later. Mine never shrunk or shrivelled my nipples however once complete innies did become marginal outties which is kinda ok if only they werent perched on the end of the ginormous melons and I do remember them being out front on top not at the bottom wtf how'd they slip down hill? *sigh* I wish I could afford a boob reduction.

  13. Jodie's went back to the way they were before. With 2 pumped babies. I like boobs. So you can consider this a reputable source.

  14. Lisa - That's how mine are too. And they're small enough that I thought they'd be fine.

    Anonymous - That IS funny!

    Tia - Honestly, Jordan is the best thing that's ever happened to me. He's just so great. There are just all kinds of other things that go along with having a kid that aren't ideal.

    frugalveganmom - Yikes! I believe you. I have a hard time thinking about this. It gives me goosebumps.

    KLZ - I don't remember exactly what they looked like, but I do remember liking mine before.

    Go-Betty - You and I are at opposite ends of the spectrum. Re: the slipping downhill, though, I think that's kind of inevitable. Sigh is right.

    texpatriate - Lucky! Lucky! I do consider you a reputable source.

  15. I wish I would've appreciated what I had back then...I wish I would have.

    But nobody tells you these little bitty details...

  16. It would have been nice to know that my areola would become the sign of coffee saucers.

  17. I didn't notice anything odd about my nips. But maybe that's because I got pregnant again the month after I stopped breastfeeding... Hmmm...


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