Monday 12 August 2013

Octopus Smuggling, Toast Juggling and David Attenborough

It's funny how, despite years of women producing offspring, you only feel like a select few mothers know exactly what you're going through - namely the ones who are going through it at the same time as you. One such friend came round today with her baby in tow and we off-loaded our parenting queries and revelations to one another with great relief that we weren't the only ones.
I hate to admit it but I thoroughly enjoyed our time together until her little one needed feeding and she proceeded to place her baby under her top and carry on chatting. Hang on a minute, chatting?! She carried on as though nothing had actually happened - nothing. Feeding Albie, however, more accurately resembles that of someone trying to smuggle a wriggling, squealing octopus down their bra. Seriously, I'm like some kind of circus act. I don't know why I haven't actually joined one and then I could at least make some money out of the whole experience - I could even perform my 'juggling baby' trick which I'm pretty good at now: baby, toast, toothbrush, you name it, I can juggle it (although I may look slightly unkempt but it's certainly entertaining!)
As I watched my friend feeding quietly I suddenly became overwhelmed with the feeling of utter jealousy. She was taking the whole feeding thing in her stride; she liked it even. This was exactly how I imagined feeding would be; that you would just pop them under your jumper when the need arose and carry on with your day; that it would be a time to bond with your baby and have some relaxation in front of the telly. What am I doing wrong? Is it because I'm not one with nature; have I not watched enough David Attenborough programmes?
I looked at my clock anxiously as I knew that Albie would be due a feed any minute and I did not want to have to a) let the octopus out of his lair, or b) resort to a bottle of formula in front of a potential breast feeding fanatic. You have to be careful you know, the fanatical ones always seem to be those who have found breast feeding quite pleasant and if word gets out that you find it hard or that you 'top up' with formula, they look at you like you've just fed your baby David Attenborough himself. I'm not sure even he could satisfy Albie's appetite - I have created some sort of 'super feeder': survival of the fittest gone horribly wrong.
Of course my friend is not a fanatic and she was, in fact, quite sympathetic when I told her how hard I was finding it. I'm going to persevere but I do feel as though Albie is a totally different species to that of most other babies I meet, although I could just be entirely pathetic. I'm certainly not a survival of the fittest, I'm not quite sure how I slipped through the net.


  1. This is such a true and honest experience Lisa, I am certainly in the same club as you...i often wonder if it will be different next time (if there is a next time...!) i often wonder if my chance will come to 'do it properly' and than maybe 'i will i have succeeded' what ever that means or feels like. Breast feeding is an expected thing, a mum may be able to do it, but the baby may not, but we 'mums' always reflect it upon ourselves. Perfectly written x

  2. Thanks so much for your comments! Just know that for every one who finds it easy, there are probably hundreds that don't! It seems to be a taboo subject to admit it but it's perfectly normal to find it hard and you've just got to do what is best for you and your baby. You are a success because your baby is being loved and fed - and it doesn't matter how! xx

  3. At the end of the day, your baby needs feeding and if he likes to be an octopus while he's doing it, then as long as he's getting what he needs it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. Not everyone wants to or is able to breastfeed, but for those who can, it's a lovely thing that only Mummies can do. It doesn't last for long, so enjoy those octopus moments while you can! x