Tits and chips

6 Dec
Rockcakes to Russia

Rockcakes to Russia

My baby’s pretty rude. He doesn’t smoke inbetween courses (that’s illegal now anyway) but up until very recently he liked to have breast milk and solid food on offer at every meal, leaving mere seconds between a mouthful of one before he moved onto the other. Flitting hungrily between my boob and a plate of food in a Brixton restaurant recently, he was approached by the owner. Stroking his head tenderly she said, “It’s all about tits and chips for you boy.” As she brought me the bill she squeezed his fat cheeks then looked to me. “You’ll have some job on your hands getting him off the titties mum.” She was right. I was trying with little luck to cut down on feeds, but baby was attacking me like a chimp, clawing at tops and screaching in anger until my weak will gave in to his demands. I felt a bit like the enabler, with my hungry baby the rabid addict.

I haven’t breastfed now for around 80 hours. I have gone cold turkey, perhaps unwisely at the same time as having a massive post-wedding celebration comedown. My boobs are like giant rock cakes: lumpy, hard and not very nice. I am walking around with a well structured barricade to protect my mountains, a self-constructed crude invention that consists of three bras. They shield my tender ledge from enthusiastic hugs, other people’s elbows, and the baby’s hearty head butts to the chest . I have done my fair share of screaming and necked the best part of a pack of Nurofen. I am not going to give up though, because to go back would be like having a major relapse.

Sometimes things just happen and there’s no real conscious decision making behind their happening. Like getting rather drunk at my sister’s wedding party. I didn’t mean to get so merry that I flashed my flesh coloured Spanx to the poor world and her lover, but the rum ‘n’ bass cocktails were dancing with me and asking to be downed at regular three song intervals. Everyone was having a ball and in my slightly warped mind my sister was Madonna and I was her fabulous sidekick. We were the stars of the dancefloor. In reality I moved like Ian Curtis in a dress. The night ended with me – miraculously less drunk than my sister – carrying bride into bed with the assistance of my brother-in-law. Tired as I was, I called a taxi because waking in the morning with the newlyweds would have been a little strange.

Somewhere between Stockwell and Brixton I remembered I had a baby. Luckily my husband was sober enough to know children need looking after, and he had returned at a reasonable hour to relieve the sitter.  Moments before the taxi pulled up in front of our house I knew that, despite the baby’s demands for boob (up to three times a night) I could not give him my toxic milk. I had not had my usual glass or two of wine. What I had in my breasts was most certainly more White Russian than infant nutrition, and not fit for human consumption. The decision had been made for me, and much like the getting drunk bit, giving up just happened. Something in my brain said that stopping for good, at 4am on a Sunday morning, was as fine a time as any.

After searching for a polo-neck (a tip from a friend) I climbed into bed. Much to my surprise when baby stirred, he did not seem to have an interest in me at all, let alone my boobs. Perhaps the strong whiff of booze was too much to bear, but he happily took a bottle of formula from my husband and went back to sleep, albeit between the two of us and in the crook of what must have been a rather ripe armpit.

So chips, yes (he had his first Pringle at six months), but tits, no longer. For now I’m the reluctant owner of a pair of heavy boulders, and over the course of the next few days I will just have to watch them wither and die. My husband – as I tearfully imagined the process of the pressure subsiding, then the slow puncture giving way to complete deflation – said last night, “It’s alright my love. It’ll only take a couple of years for them to come back to life.” I smiled because I knew he was trying to be sweet.  But truth is I know they won’t ever really spring back to their former glory because my skin is like crepe paper and it’s the third round of feeding as many children, and I’m six years older than the last time. And in all honesty, I don’t care one bit. My boobs have served me and my children well and they may not be all that pretty but there’s life in them yet.

“Now I know I’m prettybut I ain’t as pretty as a couple of titties…” (Gary Oldman, ‘True Romance.’)

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