Boobs, Breast Milk, and Leprechauns
I absolutely love St. Patrick’s Day.
I know – not very revolutionary. Or shocking. But it’s not necessarily for the reasons that you think.
Celebrating this sacred day became a tradition with my friends when my daughter was about 8 months old. No, I didn’t take her to the bar, but I kind of wanted to.
In the weeks leading up to St. Patty’s day, I had decided that I needed/wanted to wean Olivia from breastfeeding. She was ready, and I was ready to have my life and my tits back. She wasn’t nursing on a regular schedule any longer, so my boobs didn’t know what to do. Sometimes they would literally be the size of milk jugs and she wouldn’t be interested; other times, she would want to nurse herself to sleep and I’d be so empty that it felt like she was going to suck my nipple right off. I had become a human pacifier and it was time.
The problem was willpower. Even though I wanted to wean her, I also loved nursing. There’s nothing like it. The bonding, the love, that comes from it is heaven. I’m not saying it wasn’t hard at times, but it let Olivia and I go into our own special bubble for a moment, and that was hard to let go of.
I needed a good, solid distraction to keep me from nursing for my own benefit. So, when my friends suggested we do a St. Patty’s Day marathon (not the running kind), I took it as a sign from the almighty leprechaun to finally free the nipple.
My naive, first-time-mom brain saw no problem with essentially going cold turkey. Yeah, I’d probably have to pump, maybe once, to avoid leaking through my shamrock shirt. But Olivia had already given up so many feedings, so it couldn’t be that bad. Plus, I was wrapping an ace bandage around my angry chest and only drinking beer, so my body wouldn’t want to produce as much milk, right??
Wrong. So. Fucking. Wrong.
By the time we got to the first green location, I was sore. And it was only 8 a.m. Hundreds of people crammed into a Columbus bar and none of them cared that their elbow brushing against my side-boob was torture. There was nothing I could do but drink and avoid as many flailing arms as possible.
As the day went on, it did get easier. Not only because of the large steins of green beer, but also because of who I was with. I would have waves of emotion and guilt, only to look up and see one of my girls chugging something on stage or finding leprechauns in kilts to take pictures with. It’s hard to live in that mom-guilt-I-suck-I-need-to-run-home-to-my-baby place for very long when you’re with your best friends getting ready to watch beautiful men playing the bag pipes while wearing a green wig.
In retrospect, it wasn’t the smartest way to wean. But what the fuck did I know? I wouldn’t change that experience for anything. It set us up for the last 15 years of, no matter what, stopping our lives and starting our day on March 17th with a cocktail and friends by 8 a.m.
We can’t all be together this year, but it’s still our holiday. It’s still a way that we connect and you can fucking bet there will be a continuous group text going on, starting TooEarly O’Clock in the morning. We’re all doing something fun, no one has given that up.
To the one best friend I will see in the morning, I apologize in advance for whatever may or may not happen.
And to Olivia, someday you’ll recognize how much I love you by sacrificing most of my holiday tomorrow to make sure you get to Denver in time for your concert.
Cheers to all