Tuesday, 27 November 2012

the myth of a good baby, part II: making it easier

If you've read my previous post around the ways we label babies, you'll know that I am suffused with discomfort when someone tells me how good my baby is (Read why here). When the Pea was a few months old, I was surprised to realise that I, too, had been buying into the idea that she was a good baby. When we went out, I didn't have problems with her. She was relaxed and happy; her needs were easily met. I began to venture out from the various outings I had discovered to be baby-friendly; our favourite cafe down the street, the shopping centres with wonderful parent rooms, the parks close to home.

It was all going swimmingly until one day I got a little too relaxed, or went with the inpromptu, or perhaps was particularly sleep-deprived and delirious. The English Husband, the Pea and I set off for a much-loved suburb. We hadn't meant to do so but the Pea fell asleep in the car and so we drove around until she had had a full nap. Anything for a rested baby! When we got there we scouted around for an appropriate lunch spot, and set up in a pub with the best breastfeeding corner we could find on short notice. Things got nasty when the Pea became hungry sooner than I'd expected. Long story short, I spent the next hour or more intermittently breastfeeding her while perched on a toilet seat, desperately trying to stop her touching any surroundings and trying not to breathe the noxious disinfectant (thank goodness that was the worst odour we had to deal with), making occasional dashes out to my lunch, returning to the toilets with a still hungry baby, while the Englishman ate his lunch alone and worried about how to help us. All in all, a gorgeous afternoon.

A 'good' baby is a baby whose needs have been met. If I can, amidst the sleeplessness and general chaos, listen for what the Pea is asking for and respond as much as I am able, we are both so much happier. As such, I am all for ignoring the washing up and just focussing on her when this is required, and as such I am also a fan of any item that makes it easier for me to meet her needs. Especially in public, where accoutrement help so much.

The purchases that have made my breastfeeding life run smoothly are as follow:

1. Great breastfeeding T's. My favourites are from Eve of Eden, boob and momzelle, though Kmart has fairly decent ones for just $10 (although they have done that thing where they make it 'suitable' for both pregnancy and breastfeeding, and it doesn't quite work in either case; who wants droopy make-your-belly-look-even-bigger extra fabric over their belly post-pregnancy, and who is breastfeeding while pregnant? Hmm.)

2. A gorgeous scarf. Jewellery became something for the Pea to bash her soft little head on when she was tiny, yoink on when she grew bigger and chew incessantly when teething. I have used a scarf to accessorise my simple breastfeeding T's, provides extra coverage when I am feeling self-conscious because of weird pervy people, act as a blanket/playmat/plaything for the Pea and cover any surface that seemed less than ideal for my precious one's use. In all seriousness I was disadvantaged when I left it at home.

3. A brilliant baby carrier. Soothes the Pea even when the Evil Teething Fairies are about. The Ergocarrier has changed my life. Baby Bjorn wrecked my back.

4. Comfortable walking shoes. Cute too, thanks, shoe manufacturers! (Any suggestions, people?) Run free, mamas! Get out there with your T's and your scarves and your carriers and carve it up!

Happy Shopping!

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