So, let’s talk about boobs. Yesterday whilst Bella napped I decided I would clean out my underwear drawer (it was that or watch The Bachelor, which I know for a fact actively kills brain cells). After I had consigned to the bin an array of off-white, off-pink, off-cream granny pants I put on a normal bra for the first time in five months. Not for the whole day, not for keeps, but just for fun, because I was nostalgic for the simple pleasure of a Primarché, two-for-£8, fabric so synthetic you need to keep away from open flames, balcony bra.
Post birth, it’s not enough that your stomach turns into a ball sack, your boobs also turn on you. Three things happen. Firstly your size A’s (OK fine, AA’s) turn into veiny, lumpy barrage balloons, at times so bloated that actual sailors stranded at sea could use them to float home on.
Secondly they start doing their own leaky thing, sometimes at the most inopportune moments. Like a faulty faucet they constantly drip, forcing you to invest in breast pads (think Tampax for your bra), which I swear gave me the boob equivalent of nappy rash. I also did not realise that milk would squirt out of the breast like a jet powered shower head with no Off switch, leading to the constant risk of splashback.
Lastly, your boobs are no longer your own, as you effectively lease them out for as long as you breastfeed. And the start of that rental agreement can be a war of attrition, as your besieged nipples adjust. Mine were bleeding with every feed at one dark point, and nothing makes you feel worse than seeing your baby vomming up your own blood. So your boobs are there only to provide the all you can eat breast-buffet (customers of Chez Linds may complain about the lack of variety). If you aren’t actually breastfeeding, you are expressing breast milk, a process so damn farmyard it will put you off dairy for life. And when your boyfriend has seen your nipples stretched to over an inch long strapped to a pump, there is no longer any romance left in the world. Whatever sexual desire wasn’t killed by seeing a baby rudely ejected from your vagina will swiftly by extinguished by seeing the breast pump in action. Phil can’t watch as I express, for fear if he looks the pump in the eye it will turn him to stone.
Alongside changes to my boobs, I have also made changes to my wardrobe, changes that facilitate the seamless unveiling of a nip at any given moment. Gone is the plunge, the balconette, the push up, the strapless, the nipple tassels (no? me neither) and here to stay is the nursing bra. This tarp-like contraption is designed to give maximum coverage and is feed ready, with a handy flap that unstraps to reveal boob. It is the mum equivalent of the flasher mac. You could also use it to cover SW17 when it rains.
I also invested in a range of absolutely rank nursing tops; vests with straps that clip undone and T-shirts with flaps of loose fabric that I can stick Bella’s head under. All of these are just plain nasty and despite the breast pads, are constantly milk stained. I now smell like the underside of an udder. You could bottle my odour and sell it as ‘’eau de lait’. I have become one of those people that you avoid standing next to on buses.
So it was with great joy that for ten glorious minutes yesterday morning I was not a MILK-BOT, I was just a girl in a reasonably priced bra dancing round the bedroom to Trevor Nelson’s rhythm nation grooves. I will take that.