I can do man things for our baby. I can bath him, change his nappies, take him for a walk, burp him when he’s full, help him go to sleep, brush his hair with the cutest little brush. And other things less directly related, like shopping and, weirdly, the strange urge I have to make our bed – as if that is going to make any difference to him.
But there is one crucial thing I can’t do.
I can’t feed him.
Pip is exclusively breast-fed. Which means no matter how much I might be able to settle him, no matter how much I try and preserve D’s sanity by helping her get as much sleep as she can, when Pip is hungry the only person who can help him is his mother. I feel bad sometimes, when I have to wake her from her slumber because Pip is definitely hungry. And he get’s hungry a lot, he sure is growing.
I know we could express milk and I could in theory feed him in the middle of the night. This might save D from one episode of getting up. But he’s only three weeks old, so he hasn’t really got a routine yet. Sometimes he cluster feeds, which can start at midnight and go for some hours. So the blocks of sleep D gets are not very long, and feeding him expressed milk would only make a small difference.
I can support her as best I can, getting her drinks and so forth, burping Pip and the like. But in the end, he needs to be on her boob to get his dinner.
Breast feeding is the best. He’s thriving on it and D is producing enough milk to keep up with him. I does mean, however, that the one crucial thing he needs is the one thing I can’t actually do.