Hello! Are you interested in hearing about my Worst Day Ever (to date) after having a baby? No? You’re in the wrong place – next time try not clicking on the link to My Worst Day Ever.
Oh.. you want to hear about the story of a steriliser you say? Roger that. My worst day ever is inexplicably and quite possibly tenuously linked to my steriliser. Mainly because on my worst day ever the steriliser took a punch to it’s smug plastic face but I’m getting ahead of myself.
(Warning: this story contains violence to inanimate objects).
First of all, can we just acknowledge the terrifying fact that when you have a newborn baby you need to purchase/borrow/inherit a steriliser (crap inheritance item btw, you totally wanted the lamp didn’t you? Don’t worry, they do light up).
You need a steriliser because your newborn can not put ordinary household items in their mouth without you fearing they might catch something horrendous from the contaminated world outside of the womb.
This. Is. Terrifying.
The baby – who you are already slightly scared of breaking – is so precious and new that they are not ready for the disgusting germs of this habitat that we reside in. And here’s a cheeky little fact for your filofax: I NEVER KNEW THIS PRE BABY. I’m not entirely sure how, possibly in the same way that the labour is going to hurt sitch escaped me, but I was not aware, until I purchased a dummy (so what/used a dummy/don’t care what you think/this is not about that etc etc) that I needed to sterilise shiz.
Which got me worried – I was breastfeeding at the time and watching that programme ‘How Clean is Your House?’ (not very FYI) – I started to think the following things:
1. How clean are my nipples?
2. Do I need to sterilise them? They don’t fit in the machine.. (like a couple of chocolate digestives after labour I tell ya)
3. Shall I pour boiling water on them? (DON’T)
4. Is that actually a programme ‘How Clean Are Your Nipples?’ Should it be? How do I pitch it?
5. And what about the use of nipple tassels, is that ok? (asking for a friend)
The steriliser and I got off to a rookie (but intimate) start.
And then I started bottle feeding my first baby (not immediately, after a lapse of time – about 10 weeks in, do keep up)
And actually what no one really says is that bottle feeding is rather complicated, there are teats and different bottles and various powders (just formula I’m afraid) and there are rules.
Rules about boiling water and heating and cooling and reheating and cartons and, of course, sterilising.
And there are no bottle feeding support groups. There should be. It’s hard work. It is rather complicated.
So I was feeling a toxic combination on My Worst Day Ever, of:
On the verge of tears tiredness;
Ears ringing from colicky baby crying at me for 10 weeks (you too? Hang in there girlpants, read this post);
Lonely-itis from husband working late;
Confusion central from starting to mix bottle feeding and breastfeeding, things like:
Which breast was next? – the right one was feeling pretty hefty but the left one was crying a little milk tear (I was tired, it was getting weird, bear with…)
Or was it supposed to be a bottle?
And then I made the ultimate wrong move – I asked my husband a question that he couldn’t get right…
It started with a statement – “I think I should just stop breastfeeding altogether.”
Husband (wisely although rather irritatingly) remained mute.
ADVICE TO PAST SELF – DO NOT ASK FOLLOW UP QUESTION
ADVICE TO HUSBAND OF THE PAST – BACK SLOWLY AND DISCREETLY AWAY FROM THE LADY WHOSE BREAST IS CRYING
My past self had unfortunately not actually been warned by my current self so ask the follow up question I did:
‘What do you think?’
Husband: (don’t hate him, he’s learnt a lot since The Worst Day Ever) ‘I think you should give it a bit longer’
Audience falls silent. One lady places hand over mouth. Another gasps. A baby starts to cry.
Oh sorry, there wasn’t actually an audience, or if there was it was a tiredness induced hallucination.
But the baby crying was real.
And I felt like a shitty mum. Because we all know some people struggle with breastfeeding, but here I was getting my maternity pad in a twist about bottlefeeding.
And suddenly I didn’t want any of it anymore.
I didn’t want the moses basket on the floor, or the muslin draped over my shoulder. I didn’t want the tiredness or the confusion. I didn’t want the ringing ears or the bottles lined up for washing.
And I DIDN’T WANT THE MASSIVE SMUG LOOKING UGLY STERILSER TAKING UP HALF OF MY KITCHEN COUNTER.
So I knocked over all the bottles and because they made a pathetically quiet sound I pulled my hand back and bopped the steriliser on it’s (literal) button (figurative) nose.
And then I turned round and rather robotically walked towards the front door, opened it, walked out of it, and slammed it behind me.
And then both my breasts burst into tears.
What preceded was the loneliest 10 minutes of my life …
I walked round the block cursing myself for not thinking things through – it was November, I had no car keys (prob a good thing since I also couldn’t drive) I had no purse and I was still wearing my slippers. I did, however, have my phone in my hand fresh from timing feeds, or playing white noise or Googling something baby related like ‘how do I know which boob I am supposed to feed from next?’
And as I held it in my hand (my phone, not my boob) it vibrated and stopped. And vibrated and stopped. And vibrated and stopped. My husband was trying to call me.
I sat down on a wall outside one of the terraced houses, closed my eyes and pretended I was somewhere else. Perhaps waiting for a bus as a teenager, puffing on a Marlborough light and looking forward to a night of getting turned away from nightclubs.
People did stare, mainly the one whose wall I was sat on to be fair. Let them stare I thought. Because that’s what happens on The Worst Day Ever. Something clicks and you don’t care what anyone thinks anymore. Let them stare some more, I’m too busy puffing on my imaginary cigarette and thinking up ways to persuade the bouncer that I am actually over 18, despite arriving on the bus and having a tamagotchi in my bag.
And then I realised I was over 18. I was a mother. I was sitting on someone else’s wall. I had a wet top on and my feet were cold. I answered my phone in that small voice you do when you’ve just done something slightly out of the blue (well you can’t very well answer with a chirpy ‘Oh hiiii’ after you’ve just punched the lights out (literally) of a plastic object can you?).
Well you’ll be pleased to know that I went home to my family, ironed out the confusion over the bottle regime and didn’t lay a hand on my steriliser again. And that’s doesn’t mean to say I didn’t want to sometimes. Particularly that time it went on the blink in the hotel at that wedding we went to in Winchester, but I even let that slide.
Fairly recently, for the first time in 6 years, our kitchen counter is steriliser free.
*Profound moment alert*
And I like to think that, for me, the steriliser symbolised all the confusion and panic that came into my home after bringing a new baby home.
And now it’s gone.
And so has the confusion and panic that enveloped me in those first few weeks (oh ok, months). And our house, even though it is messy, chaotic, at times stressful and occasionally (I’m looking at you yesterday afternoon) emotional, it is steriliser, and panic free.
*Me and husband smile at each other and then high five*
Audiences goes wild with applause.
I am still very bloody tired though.