Ante-natal #4

After the scissors and forceps horror of last week, this week’s class was all about breast milk, which was much calmer and relaxing.

Babies like warm milk; possibly that’s how Starbucks have made their billions, by pandering to the infantile tendencies in their customers. You never see babies with a doppio espresso and a unfiltered Gitane for breakfast, do you? They’re just too young to understand the more mature pleasures in life.

Anyway, what did we learn today? If a baby won’t feed, and you desperately need to get milk into it, it’s best not to uses bottle with a teat,because that will compromise the latching reflex and it won’t take to the breast later. Better to squirt the milk you’ve expressed into the baby’s mouth using a syringe. A syringe without a hypodermic needle attached, of course. I’m worried that I’ll ask for a syringe for my newborn child and people will think I’m the kind of dad who tries to reenact Trainspotting with his kids. So that’s something to prepare in advance, rather than wait until you’re bombed out of your mind with sleep deprivation. Or smack, if you’re a character in Trainspotting.

We got to watch a video of babies latching onto breasts. It is a sad sign of how jaded I’ve become that this was quite matter-of-fact for me, when a few decades ago the sight of a breast, any breast would have provoked great paroxysms of excitement. How quickly we get old.

(Come to think of it I must be old; I saw a police car drive past this morning and my very first thought was on how young the two coppers in it were. Time comes for all of us in the most clichéd ways.)

If baby doesn’t gobble voraciously immediately, seek help because otherwise bonding becomes harder work, and let’s face it, we’d prefer nice happy children to distressed sociopaths. That is to say, not all parents should expect their children to grow up into something like me. (Then again, I don’t remember how I was fed as an infant, so that may be a theory ripe for demolition…)

There wasn’t much else I remember, because we didn’t cover much traumatic stuff. Well, I say we didn’t, despite discussion of bloody nipples, but I was on the nod, inexplicably tired today and hardly capable of even a facsimile of sentience. The wife, too, is suddenly zonked from the steady advance of parenthood, so perhaps it was in sympathy. We’ll have an early night, I’ll read our unborn child some more inappropriate fiction, and we’ll be asleep long before midnight.

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