So I used to consider my knowledge of breastfeeding to be somewhat advanced on the scale of clueless to haventthefoggiest. I’ve written essays on the subject, taken exams in ‘how to do it’ and demonstrated to countless women how simple it is.. (it’s pretty damn easy when you’re feeding a plastic, unmoving baby doll, on your soft, normal sized, knitted boob!). It turns out you can have all the theoretical knowledge in the world, and it won’t make it much easier! All those lectures and practical sessions definitely weren’t loud enough to resonate through the womb.. that or Otis just wasn’t listening!
1. ‘It shouldn’t hurt’. I have told so many women this and I’m sorry! Having anything sucking on any part of your body for 8 hours straight, in the middle of the night, no matter how perfectly latched it is, will eventually hurt! Thankfully you ‘toughen up’! And your body gets used to it! But at first, yes, it hurts!
2. Just as you think you have totally kicked butt and got the whole feeding thing under control.. your milk will come in, you will effectively drown your poor baby with the sudden waterfall of liquid pouring down his throat, and you both have to relearn the whole activity!
3. Babies suffer from amnesia. Well not really, but from time to time he seems to forget what the hell he’s doing and bob around like he’s never seen a boob before in his life. Am yet to work out what this means, watch this space.
4. If mummy’s boobs are not readily accessible, they will attempt to latch on to whatever is going. So far Otis has attempted to extract milk from Leon’s chest, my finger, his own hands, my nose and most other women’s boobs. He also had a good go at giving me a love bite in my neck whilst I was attempting to burp him.
5. Baby vomit is the most disheartening thing in the world. I’m talking all the milk up here, not just a bit of spit up. I imagine it’s a similar feeling to that of spending half an hour cooking dinner for a toddler, only to have them turn their nose up at it and scrape the whole lot into the bin! And then demand another dinner half an hour later because they’re still hungry! I should probably feel sorry for the poor babe that’s just been sick. I actually feel sorry for poor me who spent ages brewing up the tasty milk, and doubly as long having it sucked out of my body by said adorable babe! Woe is me.
6. Babies have a sixth sense. They hear the words ‘here’s your cup of tea’ or smell the roast dinner that’s just been served up in your dinner plate and decide that now, is in fact, exactly when they want to eat. And no they won’t wait. Even though they only fed 20 minutes ago. Even if they are asleep in room next door. I’m pretty sure I could be in a restaurant down the road and he would know.. They just know!
But if I’m honest, aside from the regular vomit, occasional amnesia and late night frenzy of it all, I’d say it’s going pretty well! God knows how I’d be coping if I hadn’t studied the encyclopaedia of baby booby feeding for the year before Otis arrived!