You Breast Be Believing

I still know shitall about babies. I also hate going to classes. I am much more of a hands-on type learner – sitting and listening to someone spew information isn’t generally the best way for me to absorb facts. That’s why I opted to nap instead of going to class during the college years.

That being said, my mom was adamant that we take classes. Birthing, Childcare, Breastfeeding. I refused the birthing class, because it seemed to be geared toward natural birth, which I will have no part of. Childcare we probably could have used, but my husband refused to go, citing “HOW HARD CAN IT BE” plus it was like seven nights or an entire weekend and who has time for that shit. But mom was going to ignore my phone calls until I booked something.

I’m not fully comfortable with the idea of breastfeeding, but I figured I would attempt it, mainly for the health benefits. Also to save to $1300 a week formula apparently costs (which may be a slight exaggeration). I figured I would just wing it, like everything else in this adventure thus far, shove the boob in the kid’s face and watch TV while he had at it. That plan of action did not appease Grandma. So I registered for a class.

Breastfeeding 101. $20. Game on.

June 21, 2012

After circling the hospital, making sure I know where the ER entrance is so I know where to go on Dooms Day, telling the fetus that this is his birthplace and he better cooperate, then freaking out because HOLY SHIT I’VE NEVER ACTUALLY STAYED IN A HOSPITAL BEFORE AND NOW I AM STARING ONE DOWN IN THE FACE, I find the Medical Wellness building, park my gas guzzler crossover SUV in the hybrid row and head inside.

I’m about five minutes early, which never happens, so I panic.

I get told to “pick up the papers on the back table” and “grab the baby of your choice from the bucket”.

IS THAT HOW IT WORKS? GRAB A BABY FROM A BUCKET? Seems legit.

Bucket Baby

They live in buckets. They mostly come out at night. Mostly.

The woman who told me to do these things is the custodian who is finishing setting up the room.  A few additional people stream in, get told to grab a Bucket Baby and that will give the latecomers (not me for once!) a few more minutes. There end up being about 25 of us, five husbands, all of whom are squirmy and clearly not happy. Everyone is awkward, with their Bucket Babies laid out on the table. And crazy old custodian is just hanging out in the front of the room.

Maybe she ISN’T the custodian.

I have concerns.

Nothing against crazy looking ladies, but this woman was wearing black velcro Reeboks, navy blue Dickies work pants and a yellow t-shirt. Grey thin hair tied into the tightest, wormiest bun I’ve ever seen at the top of her head. Glasses. Hearing aids. Looks a little rough, nothing like the gentle, soft-spoken lactation consultant I had envisioned. More like a lunch lady.

She starts the class. Indeed, she is the lactation consultant. But she’s been teaching this shit for over 25 years, so I’ll give her a chance.

It was one thing when she started fondling the fabric boob. Which for some reason had a pull cord like those talking dolls used to have and I kept waiting for her to pull it to see what it did. A talking boob may have salvaged my night. But alas, no pull cord pulled. And I get that she HAD to fondle the fabric boob to show us how to do things correctly. But is was when she starting fondling her own boob, which was down around her belly button, that I started to lose my shit.

And it all went downhill from there. The “giggle loop” had begun. You know, those times where you start laughing at inappropriate moments and can’t stop and everything is exponentially MORE hilarious and you cannot. stop. laughing. Even if it’s not actually funny? Yeah. That was me. In the corner of the horseshoe of tables. Biting my lip, ducking my head, jotting down “notes” so as to not make eye contact, eyes tearing up, coughing, etc.

Everything was funny.

We were told to make baby open wide before latching. I started picturing large mouth bass. Being baited with boobs.

She passed around a book she recommended, but she “thought” there was more recent 3rd edition you could look for. The book jacket proudly proclaimed Fully updated for the 90’s!.

She said “consimated” instead of constipated.

One of the husbands (comfortably seating backwards in his chair, WHAT UP UNCLE JESSE) started a question crusade, at one point asking if they could “train the baby like Pavlov’s dog” to eat when certain music was played.

Everything was “as long as (event) is happening with baby, he should be “basically fine”. BASICALLY. FINE. Everything would be “basically fine”. AWESOME.

She demonstrated nipple shields. Over clothes, thankfully, but still necessitating a firm PICKING UP of herself.

IF THIS IS WHAT BREASTFEEDING DOES TO YOUR DIRTY PILLOWS I DON’T THINK I WANT TO PLAY.

That was when I had to excuse myself to use the restroom.

When I returned it was Bucket Baby time. We were shown how to properly do two of the 38 possible hold positions. Little A was not a fan of Bucket Baby and kicked him repeatedly, claiming his territory. Bucket Baby remained stoic. I did not need corrections on my holds. NAILED IT. You proud, mom?

We then got to watch a video that was produced around 1993. I’m talking Powerpoint-esque gradient title screen, crocheted vests with long skits, spiral perms, floral leggings when they were originally in style, Cosby sweaters. It was like Full House Goes to the Doctor with bonus boob footage.  Now, I’m sure the techniques and all are still the same, but it’s been 20+ years. This is a world-renowned medical organization. UPDATE YOUR SHIT. At least once a decade.

Custodian Breast Expert moved on after to the video and started discussing pumping and returning to work – which actually did provide some answers I was seeking – she rambled about correctly sizing the pump to your nipple. Some women have ginormous nipples, according to the size of some of those hole diameters. And it took everything in me not to look down my dress and examine my own set. I know so little about my chest, evidently.

I even asked a question! Of course, it was about alcohol.

Was it a waste of time? Not totally, though I did get home past my bedtime. I was amused, so there is that. And I went in knowing nothing and at least I feel like I know SOMETHING now. But will I be requesting that my mom reimburse me that $2o fee?

You bet your sweet boobies.

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Parenting According to Big A

So I’m a little hopped up on (approved) cold meds and fruit juice and was just energetically ranting and raving to Big A about all the stuff we have to do and learn in a short time. Having never really dealt with babies and hearing a lot of semi-horror stories, I was not buying into his tale of all-they-do-is-eat-sleep-and-poop. BUT WHAT IF I DROP HIM OR MESS HIM UP SOME HOW?

His cool-headed response?

“You know how many idiots raise babies? All we have to do is keep it alive. He won’t be a douche because we aren’t douchebags.”

Words to parent by. Thanks, honey. I feel better already.

Registering the Fear

Before Big A left, we hit up the local baby superstore to register for all the baby crap that apparently people want to buy us. Let me tell you – that was one eye-opening experience. For real.

There is an extreme mental block I have with the thing. I think it’ll all be over at the due date. Like things are going to go back to normal the first week of July when in fact that’s when things just get started. Possibly get out of control.

So looking at cribs and high chairs and bedding and car seats and strollers and diapers and clothes and shit made that mental block sort of explode and I was totally overwhelmed. Heart racing, ready to pee my pants, deep breaths necessary overwhelmed. We have zero idea what we’re doing here. Does it need this shit? What the hell is that thing for? I’m not going to cut its damn fingernails, what if I hack the creepy finger off?! You’re supposed to brush its gums?

Wow.

Did I ever want to hightail it out of that place.

I don’t know the difference between necessities and frivolousities, good and bad, safe or unsafe. If it looked good, we scanned it. If it cracked us up (hello, Andy Bernard baby outfits) we scanned it. If we saw someone else scan it, WE F^&#ING SCANNED IT. But it got all kinds of crazy up in there. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone who heard us in-store followed us out to the parking lot, wrote down our license plate and called up CPS to warn them in advance.

and you're going to be responsible for me?!

WHY ARE THERE 47 DIFFERENT KINDS OF BOTTLES?! HOW THE HELL ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO KNOW WHICH ONES TO BUY??

YOU’RE NOT GOING TO REGISTER FOR THE SERTA MATTRESS?? MIGHT AS WELL LET HIM SLEEP ON A ROCK.

WHAT THE HELL DO YOU DO WITH 23 DIFFERENT TYPES OF BLANKETS?!

DO THEY WEAR SOCKS??

IF THE CHANGING TABLE IS TOO CLOSE TO THE CRIB IS HE GOING TO SHOOT THE PEE INTO IT LIKE TARGET PRACTICE?? IT’S A VALID QUESTION.

YEAH, LET’S BUY HIM THE NEWBORN CUPCAKE TOY THAT WEIGHS A POUND AND WATCH HIM SMACK HIMSELF IN THE FACE WITH IT. WHY DOES THIS EXIST??

WHAT THE F@$% IS A BUMBO?!

HELL YEAH, REGISTER FOR THE BUTT PASTE!!

And holy shit, don’t even get me started on the breast pump section. I straight up sprinted into another aisle like I was racing Usain Bolt.

Oh shit, I’m hyperventilating again.

We totally registered for Jorts diapers, though. I mean, seriously. How could we deprive him of those?

oh boy! oh boy! oh boy?

Dear vitamin sucking fetus.

You should be a boy. It is in your best interest to be a boy. For the love of god, please be a boy.

We need a practice child. An easy first try. A down and dirty, dog water slobber drinking first rounder that we can’t mess up too much. Boys don’t hold as many grudges. Boys aren’t nearly as dramatic. I find they are less likely to be scarred for life from three or sixteen parental mishaps.

But shit. Girls on the other hand? Especially ones containing MY genes? No. Bad idea for a first round draft choice. We would never hear the end of how tragic her childhood was. And man. Help me if she’s prissy in the slightest.

...and kitty cat tails...

Not only that, we’re stumped on naming and decorating and all that shit if it’s female. Boy name? EASY. Done. Already mapped out. Room decor? DONE. Vision solid in my noggin. After school activity? DONE. No complaining, you’re going to play baseball. HE CAN PICK UP THE DOG CRAP IN SEVEN YEARS!! MOW THE LAWN IN ELEVEN!!

I didn’t mow a lawn until last year. I was 29.

So. Child One. Be male. Besides, it’ll be way better for you this way. Someday, you could have a little sister to pick on. And that seems to be the highlight of male childhood. Trust me. I know from experience. She’ll haaaate it. And you’ll find joy in every one of her little tears.

Don’t disobey your mother, little one.