Wednesday, February 28, 2007

AlternaGirls guide to Lactation: Why Breast Feeding and Pierced Nipples Don't Mix.

Seventeen years ago, at the urging of a boyfriend, I got my left nipple pierced. He also had his pierced. Being that no one was doing piercings in Ann Arbor at the time, we flew to San Francisco to have this done. With address in hand, we found ourselves in the Castro District. We had no idea what to really expect. In the back of my mind, I imagined a back alley establishment, slightly seedy and well hidden from the public. Boy, was I wrong. When we entered the Gauntlet, I was shock to see the layout of a high end jewelry store. The only difference, was that the jewelry in the cases was meant specifically for any type of body piercing you can imagine, and the sales help were adorned in elaborate piercings and tattoos.

I chose a 16 guage ring which had a malachite ball on it. I stepped into the back, where the piercing rooms were. Elaine, the master piercer, was a cheerful woman. Petite in stature, she wore a halter top which revealed the most beautiful tattoo of elaborate angel wings stretching down her back and the backs of her arms. She chatted non-stop, telling me that she had been piercing for over 10 years, and the most famous person she stuck a needle into was Axel Rose. He had each of his nipples double pierced. Me, I went for the straight forward single horizontal variety. I am honest when I say that getting the piercing was fine. Very little pain, no blood, healing went well. In the 12 years I had it in, it became infected twice. Antibiotic were needed to clear it up. The best thing I did, was to change the original ring in for a curved dumbell. It was far more ergonomically designed for its usage.

I took the dumbell out 5 years ago in order to breast feed my son. It was too much of a pain taking it out and putting it back in after each feeding, so I made the decision to leave it out for good. Since it was in for 12 years, it never really sealed up, but I have stuck to my decision and have never tried to put the dumbell back into it. My first go at breast feeding was a disaster. There were many reasons. My inexperience in infant rearing, stress that I brought onto myself, the fact that my son wasn't into it, and, well, the remnants of the piercing. The milk flow had issues due to the unsealed holes and the damage to the milk ducts. I knew when I got the piercing that I would someday be a mother, but I hadn't even thought about breastfeeding. By 2 months of age, my son was consuming only formula and I will admit that it bummed me out. I was AlternaMom, I wanted the BEST for my son. My inability to provide human milk due to a stupid compulsive action bothered me for a long time.

This time around, with BabyVog, I told myself that I would once again try to breastfeed. I came to terms with the fact that I may fail again. I even bought a container of formula to have on hand. Within moments of her birth, I was breastfeeding her. It seemed to be working, even the damaged side. She ate often, she ate well. She still is. She has already met her original birth weight before the required two week time. I know that the pierced breast still has issues, that BabyVog has to linger a bit longer to get her fill. But this time, I don't have the inexperience, the added stress, and she is so much different in personality than her older brother in terms of feeding. I don't mind being the only one who can feed her. I mean, she has been exposed to a bottle, but clearly prefers hanging with mom. She doesn't even like pacifiers.

I don't totally regret getting the piercing. It served its purpose well for the time. I only wish that I would have truely thought things thru in regards to the true function of a female breast. I am glad that I only had one done, and not both. Speaking of feeding, sounds like BabyVog is in need of a refill. Gotta go. Oh, and child-free ladies who may be considering piercing those nipples outta fashion... get your tongue done instead!

13 comments:

cappy said...

he he! boobies and nipples!

any photos? (LOL)

and looky! first to comment!

Ron said...

What are breasts for? hmmm...

Well...Frank Bruni, food reviewer for the NYT, went to the Penthouse Steakhouse recently, and amazingly, cared more about the food than the "entertainment", because he's gay! (Who knew?) But he does get a remark about dessert...(from Gothamist)

We were waiting to see a slide of Bruni enjoying the "buttery nipple," a dessert that "involves one of the women straddling your lap, tilting your head back, pouring a combination of Baileys Irish Cream and butterscotch schnapps down your throat, and squirting Reddi-wip into your mouth." In the name of research, of course.

Someday genetic engineering will produce such a breast without the bother of having to buy Reddi-Wip...

Cynnie said...

I nursed my kids til they were 3..i was earth mama supreme.
Its a great feeling knowing you are able to feed your child ..


Good Job MsVog senior!

you are fabulous.

Second kids are so much easier arent they?
you feel so much more confident about your abilities.

ldbug said...

Wow! So true, I had never thought about that before. Well, no worries on this end, I'm not planning on getting my nipples/belly button/eyebrow/nose/toungue..etc done any time soon. Got a few in the ears, enough for me seeing as I have an unusual fear of needles!!!

Biddie said...

I only breast fed one of kids, Kayla. It was a nightmare for me. In the end, I spent most of my time pumping the milk, and I felt like a cow.
You rock, cuz you're not giving up.

her indoors said...

glad you have managed to breast feed baby vog, you know i had never thought that it would be an issue.

d34dpuppy said...

guess i wont do a prince albert then :p
mabe baby vog is just a better eater

* (asterisk) said...

Of course you should say "child-free ladies", since not all girls with no kids even want them or intend to have them. "Childless" has connotations of barrenness (not that there's anything wrong with that).

Other than that minor gripe, a very cool and interesting post, Ms Vog, as always.

On a similar-ish note, I had some concerns when getting my first (and only, so far) armpit tattoo. Would it damage the sweat glands, that sort of thing. I went ahead and did it anyway!

I think tattooing does have a negative impact on the body's ability to do its thing, and that seems to be borne out by the wives of bodysuited Japanese men, who says lying beside their man is like lying beside a fish!

FOUR DINNERS said...

Why am I feelin peckish now? Piercing nipples makes me shiver. No pain? Really?

The OP's send all the best and will dedicate their next victory to BV who will be around 14 at the time of that occurance...

Gardenia said...

I wish your post could be printed on billboards everywhere. Nursing a baby is supreme as you are finding out. I only got to nurse my 3rd (no piercings, just not enough perserverance & knowledge) until she was 2. The others, I missed that joy, and they missed the added boost emotionally and physically. I was proud of my girls for nursing - even though a couple of the babies had to struggle to learn for a few days, but once they learn - oh yeh.

My daughter's dentist, after she developed a cyst in her tongue, said tongue piercing not so good either in the longer run.

Angel wing tattoo? Oh, that is tempting! I bet it was awesome. I can now see it - CEO of company - always wears long sleeves - why? She has angel wings!

dilling said...

holy, (sorry bout that) there are so many problems with those piercings...my duct was pierced and then I got a blockage and a lump... it ended up being nothing...eventually, but it sure screwed with my mind until ALL test results came in...and I would never be able to breast feed...ever...

Pickled Olives said...

wow, this is certainly not a topic that the lactation consultant brougt up. I never considered this. No, I have no nipple piercing. I had concidered it back in 1990, but thankfully , I didn't do it. I had other nursing issues. I think I was a wet nurse in a past life. I went up to a 34H. I could have fed the world, but i was painfully self-concience of them and ended up nursing only 3-4 months each kid.

tideliar said...

No PAIN?! What The Fuck! You Lie Vog!!

:P