The other day I hung out a load of washing with one arm while breastfeeding the peanut in the other. There has to be a medal somewhere in the world for that. Seriously. It required great skill and dexterity, wit, (to outwit the wind) patience, (never my strong suit, but greatly improved since the arrival of the peanut) and a very bendy left arm.
It also required a lowered clothes line since I couldn’t stretch and a sturdy elbow for holding down clothes while the hand of the same arm twisted and reached for a peg to secure the item. I can’t guarantee my husband’s jeans were completely dry (one leg was hung at the knee, the other at the hip pocket) and since I couldn’t do a preemptive shake, all the wrinkles formed during the wash are now cemented into the clothes and as I am vehemently opposed to ironing, there they shall stay until next we wash them.
This is atypical in the land of breastfeeding I have discovered. You see the greatest benefit of breastfeeding is a total shonk-off of all household chores.
Making the bed is impossible – try doing hospital corners with one hand. Instead I just wait till the peanut is out of it, (don’t tell the midwives she sleeps with us) pull up the quilt and call it a day.
Washing up is ridiculous and just ends in a broken wine glass - not that I’m drinking of course…
Taking out the garbage is off the cards – would you like to eat your dinner with one hand and hold a bag of day-old prawn shells in the other?
Sweeping - same deal, it’s hardly hygienic.
Mopping, dusting, folding laundry…they’re all nigh on impossible when one of your appendages is taken up by a small human that is stuck like a leech to your nipple.
I have tried eating with some success – so long as it’s my left hand that’s free to feed myself. My right hand isn’t so great with fine motor tasks like that and the peanut wore more of the Weetbix than made it to my mouth.
And I’ve now managed to make this whole breastfeeding gig even more luxurious by having to lie down while I do it. It’s not my fault. My milk flows so fast that if I don’t the peanut drowns – choking and flailing her arms about in a violent, turbulent and desperate pantomime. It doesn’t look good in public people, (people tend to frown at mothers choking their own babies) so I’ve developed a weird sort of faux-lie position to prevent me being entirely housebound and strangers from calling child welfare services.
So there I lie, shanghai-ing passersby into getting me glasses of water, grabbing a book or switching on the computer, even my brothers who would fall about feigning broken legs and other defective body parts if ever I previously needed them will jump to my every request so their precious niece can be sustained. I am charged with a most important duty after all. Raising the next generation is to be taken most seriously. Mothers of such should be treasured indeed. Treasured, adored and praised for their excellent work.
In my defence, this breastfeeding gig takes up A LOT OF TIME. The peanut usually takes the better part of an hour to feed and she likes to do that every two hours, so by the time you burp, change and play with her you’re back to the beginning again. Tonight she fed for nearly three hours. THREE HOURS PEOPLE. She completely drained both boobs, (so I tried to replace them with a hefty serve of ice cream and chocolate topping) and slurped and gulped her way through The Prince Of Persia, a so-so film that kept me company while I was devoured.
I am led to believe by that esteemed journal, The Sydney Morning Herald, that breastfeeding mothers make 1.7 litres of breast milk a day. Seven weeks ago I might have questioned that. In fact, had I read that statistic before the peanut became a human I might have tried to find a way to back out of the whole deal, but now I can tell you that the statistic is most definitely true and what’s more, the little humans need every last drop.
Lying down should be the least us breastfeeding ladies get. Simultaneous foot and head massages followed by a hot spa and a full body rub down would be more like it. But that would take longer than an hour and that’s more timeout than my little peanut will allow.