by MIKE TODD
“You’re going to drop the baby. Stop multitasking,” my wife Kara gently suggested last week.
I glanced up from Facebook to notice that, indeed, there was a baby in my lap. I had a vague recollection of stumbling into his room a few minutes earlier, prompted by his near-hourly hunger shrieks, but then my brain went into standby mode so that it could properly navigate the Internet.
It’s just as well that Kara prompted me to start paying more attention to giving our son a bottle and less to Facebook, since half of all Facebook posts these days talk about races that people are running for some reason, even though nobody is chasing them. There’s also a Nike app that keeps me abreast of the athletic activities of people I kind of knew in high school, saying, “I just finished my run! Distance: 3.17 miles. Pace: 9’16”/mi.”
I know these posts are meant to elicit supportive comments and keep people enthused about being healthy, but I think attacking the problem from the shame end of the spectrum might be more effective. What about a Krispy Kreme app that would announce to all your friends and acquaintances: “Mike just ingested 2,400 calories and 144 grams of fat. Dude, he ate the entire box!”
Giving my old tormentors from high school the chance to comment “Boom-babba! Boom-babba!” on my Facebook status would be a fantastic motivator, and I wouldn’t even need to buy running shoes.
“Sorry, I’ll pay more attention,” I said to Kara, putting my iPod back in my pocket and taking a swig of water. The great thing about having a newborn baby is that you can drink a gallon of water right before bed and there’s a zero-percent chance that the urge to urinate will be the thing that wakes you up. Parenthood means you can hydrate with impunity.
The three of us sat in Zack’s room at 3:30 a.m. with the sound of Kara’s breast pump pulsating in the background: WHACK-o. WHACK-o. WHACK-o. You may have visited the Grand Canyon or gone snorkeling off the Great Barrier Reef, but if you have never seen your wife hooked up to a breast pump, then you have NOT seen it all.
After a glorious week in which I could sleep through Zack’s middle-of-the-night feedings, I’ve been drafted back into service. He wasn’t gaining enough weight through breastfeeding, so we’re giving him bottles in the hopes that he’ll be strong enough to breastfeed on his own soon. The danger of giving him bottles is that Zack might never take up breastfeeding again, due to something called nipple confusion, which sounds like a condition your Congressman might suffer from while visiting a gentlemen’s club.
“I’m so sorry, I thought you were someone else. Must be the nipple confusion. I hope I haven’t lost your vote!”
The regular reader(s) of this column might have noticed that I haven’t been dispensing much breastfeeding advice lately, instead devoting space to topics I’m more qualified to discuss, like nuclear proliferation, string theory and various manifestations of household vomit. If you know anyone who might be more of an expert on that last topic, please offer them my sincere condolences. Something I’ve learned over the past several years is that, of all the adjectives that pop into mind when you think of your dog, perhaps the least desirable is “queasy.”
Until our first child was born, I thought a lactation consultant was the guy at Ben and Jerry’s who helps you decide whether to order Chunky Monkey or Chubby Hubby. But after watching Kara go through tough times with both of our children, and hearing from family and friends who have had similar or worse experiences, we’ve both learned more about breastfeeding than we thought possible. Hopefully, Zack will get the hang of it soon. If not, I look forward to much nocturnal reading about everyone’s jogging exploits for the next several months.