Boobs leaking, eyes sagging, tears pricking: early motherhood is ripe for great big rows with your partner, especially when they helpfully suggest that perhaps you can vacuum while breastfeeding the baby in a sling. What?
Of course Willy Wonka, who is the most housework-sharing, hands-on Dad in the world, was trying to be helpful, wanting me to feel I could still go about ordinary life during those early, frustrating, wonderful, chaotic days when you are almost constantly feeding and each feed runs into the next, and your house is a tip and you can’t find the remote control let alone your marbles, but…perhaps he picked the wrong example activity.
But as time went on and I got used to wearing the baby in a carrier (Baby Bjorn and Hug-a-Bub early on, Ergo later) I found I could feed him as I did other things with my hands – not necessarily much bending, but things at eye level could be attended to or I could sit at the desk and type.
Not in the first few weeks when baby is a bit floppy, but as soon as he had a bit of substance, this was a really useful trick. Most sling and carrier manufacturers offer online tips and instructions on how to do this and it’s worth mastering if feeding is going well. Seriously, no one need every know you are doing it. Trying to maintain eye contact while you do it can be a bit tricky mind you.
I regularly laugh about my initial horror, particularly when standing in the queue for the self-service checkouts at the supermarket with baby having his lunch as I rummage around for my carrier bags.