Baby E gave up breastfeeding a few months back. I no longer have to wear tops that can pull up or down. Sadly, my membership in the itty-bitty-titty committee has also been reinstated. I haven’t quite said good-bye to my comfy (and now very roomy) nursing singlets. There may still be the odd maternity bra or two in my rotation. But, on the whole, I am glad to be out on the other side.
Here’s why the months I dressed for breastfeeding reminded me of being 14 years old.
You are completely style clueless. When I was a teenager, I was completely lost as to style and fashion. I once wore a head to toe white linen and lace pantsuit (with matching floppy hat) and thought I was the bees knees. It wasn’t until my early twenties that I established anything resembling personal style. Having to create outfits that accommodated breastfeeding, spit-ups and disguising a still rounded belly all on three hours sleep led to a similar style confusion. I wanted to look as amazing as the yummy mummies around me, but I am pretty sure most of the time I was just one hot mess.
You are very concerned about leakage. You know those TV ads for sanitary products that feature young girls in black pants, backs to the wall shuffling along for fear that they have (hushed voice) leaked? I was terrified of that as a teenager. Whenever Aunt Flo came to visit, I was sure that I was going to embarrass myself with a tell-tale stain on my butt. Eventually, I got over that, only to face a similar problem after giving birth. I was blessed with a lot of milk when I was breastfeeding. Loads. Milk trucks fill. I am bragging now. I also sported two wet patches with embarrassing regularity. In related news, those hideously large maternity pads looked very similar to the ones I sported as teenager.
You are self-conscious about your body. Is there anyone more self-conscious about her body than a teenage girl? Curves appearing where flat planes once lived. Hair sprouting and learning how to tame it. Boys noticing and girls noticing and both potentially unkind. More than one girl has reached for baggy clothes to get through it all. And more than one new mumma has reached for yoga pants and a huge shirt (with two tell-tale marks on it) to disguise a body that she is not familiar or happy with. Sometimes, it’s just like puberty all over again.
You wear exactly the same thing as your friends. I am not sure if it was an Annie Hall moment or channelling Shania Twain, but my friends and I sported a very particular look during the later high school years. Mens’ shirts and ties featured heavily. It’s such a teenage thing – dressing exactly like your friends to express just how different you are from everyone else. When I was breast-feeding and catching up with my other new mother friends who were doing the same thing, we all wore a variation of the same outfit. In winter, jeans (still maternity) and a Target nursing top. It wasn’t uncommon to be wearing exactly the same Target nursing top. In summer, maxi dresses with low necklines. We were the new mummy tribe and it was obvious.
All outfits are rated by their ability to easily access boobs. The last time I gave so much thought to whether the girls were easy to get to I was fifteen and had my first serious boyfriend. Enough said.