Wednesday 22 May 2013

The formula for success.

I went to visit my family today which is always eventful, if only for packing my Gibraltar sized bag for a three hour visit and a one hour car journey. I swore before I had children that I would keep things simple, but this is keeping it simple. If I didn't take this monstrosity of a hold-all I would have to walk around covered in baby vomit all day, not to mention what having no nappies would add to general appearance and smell. No feeding cushion would mean a bad back; no moses basket - no opportunity of peace and quiet, no emergency milk - a day of crying... you catch my drift. So we basically drove an hour up the M1 as though we were jetting off on a holiday (I wish), or maybe more of an expedition. If you forget even one essential item the expedition would be far from a success.

As soon as we walked in the room everyone wanted to hold the baby of course. Grandma nearly dropped him which left me half in a panic and half chuckling to myself, watching everyone else gasp and leap up to catch him. Then all my friends came over - about 8 of them which meant that every space of the minuscule lounge was filled with bodies, passing Albie round like some sort of weird pass-the-parcel for adults. And you probably don't want to get to the prize, it doesn't smell so good.

Then came the point where he needed feeding and I started to panic that I would have to get my boobs out in front of all my friends and their partners (you all know Albie's feeding habits by now!!) but I don't want to leave the room because I know he will take an hour to feed and all my friends will have to leave. I coyly grabbed my bottle of pre-squeezed breast milk and gave it to Albie as the room fell silent and watched. I felt everyone thinking things about my feeding choices. One friend piped up with 'is that breast milk in there?' And I thought, 'phew, I'm off the hook'.

My Grans noticed the feeding bottle later on and asked if I were still giving Albie 'a bit of breast', which made me jump to my own defence: 'It is breast milk!' Then ensued a full conversation about mathematical formulas for how much expressed milk you need per weight of child and so on, leaving me wishing I'd stuck to formula in the first place so I didn't have to do any maths.

Thursday 9 May 2013

Two to town please.

Based on diary extract 10/4/11 (Albie 1.5 months)

Albie had two 'nightmare' feeds again this morning meaning I couldn't nap or get anything done. I seem to cope in the morning though - Mornings mean hope; they mean that the afternoon may be different. I try to calm him as best I can: I pace the floors, I wind him, I rub his tummy, I try to feed him but he tugs and pulls and scratches me with his nails. I persevere until he takes a feed for 5 minutes and then this process repeats over and over again. For hours.
Thankfully I managed to leave the house today which generally does us both good: Albie, because the outdoors seem to relax him, and me, because I feel like a normal person by talking to other humans, like bus drivers. Sometimes saying 'one to town please' makes me feel like I'm a free person again, just for a second.
I decided to take a trip into my work. This is a godsend, mainly because it takes no arranging and I don't have to apologise for turning up an hour late due to an explosive sick incident. I just rock up whenever and I generally always get a cup of tea made for me. Amazing.
I chat away for a while and then leave just at the point where I find myself turning into a martyr (or sobbing uncontrollably). They must think he's a little angel because he always sleeps the whole time I'm there. I feel like I'm going crazy.
True to form, as I reached my road his little beady eyes open like he senses home. He waits till we're just inside the door and then screams.
I tried expressing for his next feed but I couldn't get anything. Apparently you always have enough though, right midwives?! I've just prepared a bottle of formula. I feel incredibly guilty, but it's now the afternoon and I can't cope.

Wednesday 1 May 2013

Harry Potter and the Health Visitor

Based on Diary Extract 7.3.11, Albie 9 wks old.

I had the health visitor round today. She brought with her a trainee nurse; a lad who resembled Harry Potter, except with more acne. "Do you mind if Steve observes this session?" she asked, stood on my doorstep. "Erm, yes actually, I would rather not have a young boy look at my c-section wounds and watch me breastfeed," was the answer I gave in my head. What I actually said was; "Yeh that's fine," maybe in the hope that he would perform some sort of spell to stop Albie crying.
The health visitor proceeded to ask me all those personal questions I dreaded, leaving me wishing for a rather large hole to hide in: whether I had stopped bleeding and how tender my breasts were (Steve's eyes nearly popped out of his head).
While I tried to stammer my way out of the answers, Albie started one of his crying fits. The health visitor asked me if I'd fed him. "Yes," I said. I'm not sure what it is about babies crying that makes everyone assume that they're hungry, like that's the only thing that could possibly be wrong with your child. Surely if you didn't have a voice you would have a lot more to ask for than a drink of milk. Alas, no, a mother with a baby that cries is obviously not feeding him enough, right?!
The health visitor started to tell me things I could do to help with the crying. After suggesting a large list of things that I had already tried, she proceeded to tell me to invest in a grandfather clock. She said that the loud ticking would stop him crying. I started to check for film cameras incase they were in fact filming a scene from Harry Potter. A grandfather clock?! I told her that I didn't need one because I have an 'app for that' - and I do. It's called 'white noise' and it has been a life-saver for calming Albie to sleep. The setting that sounds like a hairdryer is the best and, no word of a lie, it is like magic. Unfortunately this only works when the crying is due to him being tired and not when he decides that nothing will appease him.
The Health Visitor looked a little agitated that I was not convinced with replacing my pocket-sized iphone with a 6ft wooden clock but I was not buying it. 30 minutes later and Albie had still not stopped crying. "Is he like this all the time?" She asked. "Yes," I said. "Have you tried feeding him?" She asked again, as though 30 minutes later her memory had been erased by Voldemort. "Yes," I said. After 10 more minutes of telling me where to buy a new clock, she persuaded me to try breastfeeding again (Steve's eyes had now fallen out). Albie fussed as usual but eventually quietened down and the health visitor said "There you are you see, he just needed a feed." And off her and Harry flew on their broom, leaving me scouring the internet for grandfather clocks.