14.12.06

100 % Wool Breast Pads for Sale! Used Only Once.


The imminent arrival of a baby always merits purchasing, borrowing or resurrecting some essentials - cot, breast pump/bottles, nappies – that kind of thing. Then there are the other more location-specific baby items, advice on which must often be gleaned from locals. In Singapore, for example, no new mother would be without a mosquito net (or a sympathetic mother-in-law). In Norway, no new mother would be without a sheepskin car seat/pram liner, a duvet and wool breast pads. Yes 100 % wool breast pads are the in-thing here for preventing unsightly leaks and which, I have it from many experienced sources, are unbeatable for keeping one’s nipples warm.
I was skeptical about the need to thermally-regulate my nipples - I mean surely one’s clothes should keep one’s nipples and chest area warm – but if the locals considered wool breast pads the thing to wear then wear them I would. It’s not as if I planned, to make a habit of breast-feeding in the great winter outdoors, risking hypothermic boobs and blue nipples, but at least I’d being doing my bit for the environment by eschewing the disposable paper pads which served me so well previously. If in so doing I ended up smelling like a sheep who‘d been out in the rain well so be it.
It was a mistake to insert the sheep-sourced pads in my nursing bra the week junior was born. I turned the air blue when I removed one of them together with the top layer of skin from my left nipple. Wool breast pads and I were finished before we’d begun and I returned to my ever-reliable, far less adhesive disposable ones, putting the purchase of the wool articles down to yet another small retail mistake and wishing I’d listened to my inner voice of common sense and not the my wool-obsessed Nordic hosts. Cold nipples I could live with; cracked ones I couldn’t. Still, I wondered why keeping breasts warm was such a big deal; who in their right mind would allow their infant dine alfresco in seriously icy weather? I’d forgotten of course that the time and place for feeding isn’t usually within a mother’s control unless she remains housebound. And housebound, I am determined not to be.
When both my daughters were born in Singapore, I took great joy in getting out and about, pushing one or both of them from Orchard Road to the Botanic Gardens and back. Living in the city centre as we did, there was always a Starbucks, nursing room or park bench within easy access should a feeding or nappy emergency arise. Third time lucky and my environment is slightly different. We live on a hill off a busy, open road with nothing between here and the nearest shop but houses, a school and fields. After many weeks of daily rain, temperatures have dropped to nearer their seasonal norm i.e. zero and below, leaving a treacherous layer of ice on the hill. Still, I wasn’t planning anything ambitious; just a 15-minute walk/slide down to the shop and back.
As soon as I stepped through the shop door, the baby started hollering. He wasn’t due a feed, and as I scampered around the aisles picking up cookies to sustain my blood sugar level for the steep climb back, I figured that as soon as we started moving again, he, like most babies, would fall back asleep. He didn’t; perhaps sleeping in motion only happens to babies, my babies at least, in the heat of the Tropics.
As I laboured back up the hill, his screaming got more and more urgent; this was a child who didn’t care that there was nothing but houses, none of which we had access to, for several miles and who obviously was not willing to wait for the warmth of home for his next meal.
I found a damp wall, sat on it and reluctantly gave in to his demands. And as my bum numbed and I displayed an indecent amount of goose-pimpled décolletage to passing children (who didn’t bat an eyelid), mostly-male asylum seekers from the local refugee transit centre (who looked, for the most part, appalled) and the traffic that passed, I had ample time to consider the merits of those damn wool pads I’d left at home. Wouldn’t they have been useful to plonk on my bare chest to ward off the cold and prying eyes? How cosy they might have been on my now hardier nipples as I walked up the hill, baby temporarily sated and sleeping once more.
I even wondered if the local council might be convinced of the merits of a heated seat - a sort of breast shelter if you like - along the roadside for perambulating mothers and weary pensioners. After all the authorities heat the pavement in Oslo city centre in winter so pedestrians won’t come a cropper.
But what struck me most, as I finally neared home, was that if I was to continue to pursue regular walks with the baby throughout winter, I’d need to add another item to the list of essentials for mothers of newborns in Norway – wool buttock pads to prevent soreness, numbing and hypothermia of one’s posterior for those times when impromptu feeding outdoors can’t be avoided. Now why didn’t any of the locals tell me about that?

1 comment:

aroengbinang said...

Greetings, it's always interesting to learn how people live on the other side of the world.