Reflections on motherhood...


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Strange conversation #1: Advice well meant

When you're pregnant, all sorts of people give you well meaning advice.  As I mentioned in my last post, I think it's probably a taboo of the secret society of parenthood for older males to give unsolicited advice about breastfeeding to the uninitiated (and especially if you're a stranger - or just strange).

I was browsing the pregnancy books in an op-shop in a small town, when I noticed a short, older man browsing the books near me.  He sidled up to me and started asking the usual questions (when are you due? do you know what you're having? etc).  He then started talking about breastfeeding, saying that it was obviously the most healthy and natural way to feed a baby.  I nodded and smiled, agreeing that yes I was planning to breastfeed.  This is where the conversation should have ended, and I could have gotten back to browsing the preggy books.  But no, the man launched into graphically describing how best to get a baby to latch, his hands fondling the breasts of his jacket while he talked.  

Old guy: "before a feed, you express a bit of milk, then rub it around the areola [picture his hands demonstrating that action], and maybe even put a little bit of milk on baby's lips - baby will be able to smell the milk and will be really interested in feeding.  Then when baby's mouth is wide open, you just pop baby onto your nipple."  [more demonstrating]

Me: "uh-huh" [red-faced and wildly looking around the shop for my husband].

Old guy: "I bet you're wondering how I know so much about breastfeeding."

Me: "erm, yes I guess I am actually"

Old guy: "I am a student of medicine, among other things, and I've learnt all about breastfeeding"

Me: "Really?  Well, thanks very much for that information - very useful.  I'd better go - oh there's my husband - it looks like he's wanting to get going."  [finally spotted DH - here that stands for Damn Husband - engrossed in checking out the kitchenware, oblivious to my need for rescue and not looking at all interested in leaving the shop]

I took my leave of the man with a friendly smile.  There are just some things you shouldn't talk to strangers about, even if you're a student of medicine and are very learned in such matters.

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