I find that being a parent lets you have very small wins, that feel amazing and then something else will bring you back to earth with a crash.
I was asked to help out at the reopening of a local pub last weekend. I had from Monday night to start to prepare (express off as much milk as possible).
I had a problem in that my tiny person completely refuses to drink out of anything that is not a breast and that during the time I would be away he would have had two feeds.
So experimenting began. I tried breast milk in a bottle and a sippy cup as well as two different brands of formula. None of these options were acceptable to the mini food critic. Regardless of temperature, time of day or person offering (not me, lovely boyfriend, Nanny or Auntie K) were having any joy.
However on the plus side little spoonfuls of mashed up banana, sweet potato and baby porridge were being happily and greedily munched down.
I was given advice by everyone that has ever been near a baby about my predicament.
Some people telling me that I needed to breastfeed until he left home (ok slight exaggeration but not that far off in some peoples cases) others telling me to try tough love (when your hungry baby is screaming in your arms and you don’t feed him it makes your boobs turn into fire until you relent, I have not got it in me to sit there in pain and watch my baby suffer)
I tried mixing baby porridge with formula milk to get him used to the flavour. Day one, spitting, grumpy face, vomit. Day two, refusal of porridge, still happily eat mashed up fruit/veg. Day three (no formula, back to normal way of making it) Total refusal to eat anything that comes on a spoon. ANYTHING. Day four, total refusal, screaming, grabbing spoon and launching it across the room. Day five, didn’t even try due to extreme tiredness after having only slept for three hours after working and knowing I would be doing it all over again that night. Day six, he has mastered crying out of his nose and his jaw muscles are stronger than any safe in the world to ensure that not the tiniest speck of food pass his lips.
After a month of happily having little mealtimes, my nipples slowly starting to recover and not be abused every other hour, twenty four hours a day, lovely high chair giggles and mess. It has all stopped.
I feel like hitting my head on the high chair until he eats something. I know that he will continue to sit there, nose crying, lips clamped together in defiance regardless so I will save myself any additional head ache.
So I went out to be a barmaid. I love working a bar, I like the fast paced, upbeat tempo. I like the music and the laughs. I even don’t mind running up and down stairs to the cellar. It made me feel normal and like a grown up. It was great to not hear the music from the jumparoo for eight hours.
I knew that my tiny person was safe with Nanny and Granddad until Lovely boyfriend finished work and brought him home to bed. I knew that there was breast milk in everyone’s fridge, as well as formula milk. I was hoping that he would give in and just eat.
My son seems to have inherited my stubborn streak.
Thankfully he still slept at bed time and only sat up complaining for a bit at lovely boyfriend on one of the nights (Bob Dylan soothed him to sleep).
Now a week after my mistake of putting formula milk in his porridge he has just let me put a spoon back in his mouth and has started eating porridge again.
I have learned that I can leave him and go and be a grown up for the night, but I will have a huge feeling of guilt because he will go on a hunger strike until I return.
I have learned that formula milk is the devil.
I have learned that although I am still not quite back to my pre baby body, that I am still an attractive woman in the eyes of the bar punters (nearly punched a bloke for slapping my arse).
I have learned that although my child looks like the most adorable cherub to have ever donned a baby grow, that he is in fact an evil mastermind.
I have learned that I can do hectic work on three hours sleep.
And finally that I am pretty good at hand expressing milk off into a toilet without spraying it everywhere. I wonder if there is a milk squirting championship? I am confident that I could win some sort of prize.