Breastfeeding didn’t come easy for me until my second child. Priming the pump wasn’t working during my first child’s infancy, my body seemed genuinely perplexed by this request for food to spill forth from my boobs. So, we missed out on the miracle of milk and the fun experiences of wet tee-shirts and sore nipples, and this question,.
We also never pondered the question: Is it weird if we taste breast milk?
But now we’re on baby number three and to date, I have pumped, manually expressed, and nursed out gallons of this liquid gold. My husband and I finally got to ask that question about how weird it would be to taste breast milk. It started one morning when we were out of milk for coffee. I simply poured some boob milk from a bottle in the fridge into my coffee and sat down and took a sip.
It was delicious. I didn’t realise that human milk is sweet. Very sweet! I didn’t need to add sugar to my coffee. Feeling especially curious since I crossed that bridge of is-this-weird-or-not, I took a sip of milk directly from the bottle. It was just plain sweet milk. I didn’t immediately grow a mustache or die.
When my husband came into the kitchen he was distressed to find that we were out of regular milk for coffee. He was visibly perturbed. I can go to the supermarket with a list a mile long and forget to pick up exactly half of what’s scribbled down on the scrap piece of paper, but if forget milk for coffee or toilet paper then all hell breaks loose at my house.
Before my husband could say anything — I mean, really, his scowled face said it all, I offered some advice. While cradling my newborn daughter in one had, I raised my cup of coffee with the other hand and told my husband that breast milk tastes pretty darn good with the coffee.
I swear I could hear a record scratch in my husband’s brain. I’m not sure what he thought I said, but the look on his face is what I imagine a bank robbery hostage to look like when being told to sit down, shut up, and nobody gets hurt. He was all wide-eyed and flabbergasted.
I tried to plead my case that human breast milk isn’t weird to taste, partly because I didn’t want to drive to the store to buy a carton of regular milk and partly because I didn’t want my husband to think I’d done something disgusting, because really, sipping my own milk is not disgusting. It’s actually quite good.
Standing in front of the fridge, swaying back and forth to get our baby back to sleep, I lowered my voice and asked my husband to think about how weird it is that we drink milk from cows. Seriously. How weird is it that we gleefully chug down milk from an animal that smells like a barnyard and chews its own cud? We live in a rural area where cow pastures surround our property so we have the luxury of seeing nature up close and personal, and let me tell you, watching a cow gnaw on the contents of one of its four stomachs as if its Bubbalicious is frigging gross. Not only that, but cows will drop a deuce where ever they happen to be standing…and then walk in it.
But it’s weird to drink milk from a human breast.
Maybe the weirdness is that breasts are supposed to be seen as sexy objects to play with. Or maybe it is because we associate anything coming out of the human body as a miracle (babies) or gross (other stuff that is not babies). But my breasts are not sex objects, at least not anymore, they are fountains from which my tiny baby feeds in order to grow. And, not to brag or anything, but I soak enough tee-shirts to know that I am not running out of the lovely coffee creamer anytime soon.
So, after saying all of this, I looked at my husband to see that he was holding the bottle of breast milk in one hand and a cup of black coffee that was getting cooler and cooler by the minute in his other.
“Just try it, already,” I told him. “Go on, I won’t tell anyone!”
And with that, he tried it. And you know what? He didn’t die. In fact, he agreed with me that it is delicious. We’re not swigging 4-ounce bottles of the stuff, but we’re also not above shooting a squirt in the morning coffee when we’re in a pinch either.
Breast milk does not taste weird. I swear.