Confessions of an 'extreme boober'
Written by guest-blogger 'NYCMom' (N16)
I remember the first time I extreme-boobed. I was cocky: my breasts were big, my latch was good, and I was convinced it was a one-time only affair. Our baby, let's call her Super Sleep Aversion Child (SSAC), would. not. settle. in. her. cot. You know the type: sleep, sleep, sleep in your arms; scream, scream, scream the moment she is put down. She was so tired. We were so tired. So I bent down, slid myself into the gap between co-sleeper and mobile, positioned two hands on the side of the crib, legs splayed on the bed, and, like a giant orb was descending from the sky, lowered my boob onto her face.
It was painful to keep up the contortion, but by god it was good. She fell asleep, and hey presto, there was no lifting and moving, no transferring to do. She was already in bed. Over the next few weeks I did it again and again, and then in the car, when she wouldn't stop crying as we were stuck in Easter traffic heading up the A1. A bus rolled by and commuters looked down at my boob, squashed sideways into my baby's mouth. I pretended not to notice.
But then as time went on I realised why they don't suggest this technique in any of the baby books. We never left her to settle herself after being put down. I developed back ache from craning my spine to the side in the car. I swore I'd only do it in front of my husband; I've done it with friends, male and female, and then taxi drivers, of all nationalities, faiths and tolerances of women's breasts, driving in front of me. On holiday in New York, I wheeled the pram into a public toilet and extreme-boobed while standing over her, one hand propped against the wall and the other on the sink. I discovered muscles years of yoga and pilates never let me know I had. We gave up the co-sleeper, brought her straight into bed. We built forts around her when she learned to crawl. Even when we moved her to her own cot, I climbed in the cot and fed her to sleep in there, my husband coming to help lift me out without waking her. When he fell asleep and left me stuck in there, I trawled the internet for hours on end. Did you know the Ford Focus is the best-selling car in the UK? Did you know the Spanish national anthem has no words? I know this. I know all this and more.
But what we and sad little SSAC didn't know was how to get to sleep without boob. And I wracked my brains and ordered all the sleep books, and went into a deep, deep nine month sleep regression. And then one day, without warning, I lay her down in the cot, she cried for five minutes, and then sat down and had a little play with her toys. A few moments later, she lay down and, just like that, put herself to sleep. So you see, the thing with babies is: they all get there in the end, no matter what misdemeanours you've been doing.