When you become a mom for the first time, there’s plenty of new ground to navigate. How in the world are you ever going to sleep again? What’s up with this post-delivery diaper you have to wear? And how about the amazing amount of onesies a baby can mess up? Among the many huge, often confusing transitions, a big one is figuring out how to breastfeed. It’s not all about latching on and milk production, either. Dealing with other people’s reactions can also be a mess too. In honor of National Breastfeeding Awareness Month, we found the craziest — and ahem, funniest — stories from real mothers.
Is that your lunch?
“I have breastfed and pumped with two children while practicing law, and I always try to normalize breastfeeding. So I try to be open about the fact that I am pumping wherever I go, including with judges and co-counsel. I was once in an all-day mediation at the offices of the large law firm. We were going back and forth between conference rooms, and I was able to pump in a conference room several times throughout the day and use their kitchen to store the milk in the freezer. At the end of the mediation, I went into the kitchen where there was a huge birthday party. They had just finished singing ‘Happy Birthday,’ and they were cutting the cake. Everyone in the firm was there. They invited me to have a piece of cake, and I made my way to the freezer to grab my little cooler of breast milk to head home. In a moment of quiet, the mediator — who is a father and grandfather — said in front of everyone, ‘Wow Jessica, I am really impressed you even came packing your lunch today for this mediation’ and I said, ‘Actually, it’s breast milk!’ The whole firm had a good laugh, while his face turned a little red. Not embarrassing for me, but I think he did not expect the answer.” — Jessica Markham, attorney at law
I breastfed while playing a role-playing game
“As a mom of four, I’ve nursed in awkward and amazing places. in the stadium at a football game, in a pew at church on Christmas Eve, on the side of a hiking trail at Palouse Falls. The funniest breastfeeding encounter I’ve ever had was at a gaming convention in Seattle, though. I was running a table of gamers in a pen-and-paper role-playing game, and my friend who was playing nanny for me brought my baby to the game room for me when he was hungry, and I didn’t take my breast pump with me when I was traveling. Well, baby was hungry, I needed to nurse, and there was no one to step in and run the game. If I took a nursing break, my table wouldn’t get to complete their adventure and would miss out on the rewards. I pulled my nursing cover out of my backpack and just kept right on rolling the 20-sided die while I took care of the baby. A certain segment of men who play RPGs can barely look a woman in the eye, so imagine the look on their faces when I started breastfeeding while running the game! Mama’s got to multitask!” — Megan La Follett, author of The Practice of the Presence of God for Modern Day Moms
I was asked if I made white or chocolate milk
“I’ll never forget the first time I nursed my son in front of my best friend’s daughter. She was so fascinated and just kinda stared at me with her head to the side. Then she walks over to me and says, ‘I have a question.’ While pointing at my chest, she asked, ‘Does one make white milk and the other chocolate?’ My friend and I busted out laughing and still joke about it six years later.” — Kelly Gordon Kaufman, communications director
I thought the baby was always wet, but it was me
“My husband and I used to joke about how useless newborn diapers were. Our daughter was constantly having accidents that spilled out all over her, especially during breastfeeding. It wasn’t until she was 2 weeks old that we realized she wasn’t having accidents — I was! Every time I breastfed her, milk would let down from both sides simultaneously. My poor baby kept needing a change of clothes because I got breast milk all over her belly from the other breast while I fed her. Needless to say, we rigged up some bra pads to tuck into key places to prevent further wardrobe malfunctions. My daughter finally had breakfast without a simultaneous milk shower.” — Dr. Shruti Tannan, board-certified plastic surgeon
I nursed in a cornfield
“We took our then-3-month-old son to the Pennsylvania Dutch Country for a long weekend away from home. We were out and about and he was obviously hungry. Since there wasn’t a place to stop and the car was way too hot to nurse in, I walked into a cornfield and held him while nursing in the field. It certainly was private. My husband and I laughed a great deal, but the cornfield did the trick.” — Andrea P., mom
I breastfed after running a half-marathon
“My son Bodie has latched on everywhere. Literally. In the beginning, I used to try and cover up with one of those nursing covers, but I quickly came to the realization they were more of a hassle than it was worth for me, and it was so much easier to just embrace that every now and then, there would be a flash of skin or boob until Bodie latched. He has nursed in parking lots, on the side of NJ Turnpike driving from my parents’ house in PA back to our apartment in Jersey City. Also in the air, en route to and from Scottsdale, Arizona, which is a bonus since apparently it helps prevent their ears from popping. He’s nursed al fresco at restaurants and at the various seating areas of Short Hills Mall, which was practically our second home during my maternity leave. I’ve nursed him at the pool and at the beach. I nursed in Central Park as soon as I crossed the finish line for the Shape half-marathon this past April — my husband Howie passed off our son to me so I could get some relief and appease Bodie. Anytime, anywhere.” — Jaime Maser, founder of Maser Communications
I pumped through my clothes
“After six months of breastfeeding, I went on an day trip with my girlfriends to wine country in Napa, California. It was my first time to ‘pump and dump,’ and before we got together, I grabbed a manual pump at Target and went back to the car to try it out. I hadn’t realized that when you pump on one side, the other side leaks too! Well, it went through everything I was wearing and I had to buy another shirt to get through the day! Lesson learned!” — Sophia Eng, startup advisor