Below are some tips I wrote out for a friend of mine when Betty was about one. You would think I might have learned from some of these experiences. However, in the last couple of months I have often donned t-shirts with at least one (if not two) wet patches on the front, have had breastpads wriggling their way up and out of my top at the most inopportune moments, and have had milk spraying out across the room in front a very bemused Betty and an embarrassed neighbour. However, that dreaded bloody breastpump is still safely packed away at the back of a cupboard somewhere, probably housing some mice.
• Always wear breast-pads in public, no matter what. The day you go commando and pop out to the shop to buy a loaf of bread, will be the day that you will happily be chatting away to the shop assistant about the marvels of parenthood when just the mere mention of your darling baby will cause two very large wet patches to appear through your t-shirt.
• When wearing your breast-pads, make sure they are inserted securely, avoiding them falling from your person at any given moment. Also ensure that if you take them out of your bra to feed, that you don’t forget to put them back in, and then realise half way down the street that you have left them on the arm of the sofa in Starbucks.
• Don’t go to the bother of putting together the millions of intricate and unfathomable pieces that make up a breast pump, then expressing the milk, dismantling the breast pump to wash and sterilise it, only to do it all over again a few hours later, if you are never actually going to use the aforementioned milk.
• If your baby bites down on your nipple with a new tooth whilst feeding and then looks up at you and smiles, make it known that this kind of behaviour is totally unacceptable, and do everything in your power to make sure that this never ever happens again.
• If a fellow mother at your baby yoga class offers to breastfeed your crying baby for you, allowing you five minutes to do your saluting the sun sequence, politely grab your baby and get the hell out of there. Don’t ever return.
• When your well-meaning midwife tells you that within weeks you will be so confident that you will be able to feed your baby at the same time as answering the door to the postman without him noticing, don’t believe her.
• If your baby is a noisy or erratic feeder try to avoid getting your boobs out in a public place such as a café or bus stop.
• Likewise, if your boobs tend to resemble over-inflated footballs just before a feed, avoid feeding in public, as you may end up showering anyone within a one-metre radius.
• One day you will shove your boobs in your baby’s face and she may sigh, roll her eyes and push you away while depositing some pureed carrot on your nipple. This is when you should probably start to think about weaning.