Twitter Page: https://twitter.com/MackandBobal
Twitter Page: https://twitter.com/MackandBobal
You tumbled into Daddy’s arms.
He placed you upon my chest.
Over my beating heart.
My heart beats for you.
Your eyes, unusually wide and black
Held our attention. Unwaveringly.
You are perfect.
We are now complete and
We want for nothing.
But one day you will.
One day you will want.
Want more than our choices for you.
And what’s more
We want you to want that.
Our love culminated in you.
You are our pretty, effectual bow.
We will forever more be bound
Faced with our last day
We’d want it that way.
Just us three.
For a while
Too short a while
You are most content in our arms.
We are the Earth you orbit
And you ours.
But not forever.
One day, our Little Moon, you will leave.
You will start your own family.
For your last days
It’s them you’ll crave.
We are only renting you.
We can’t keep you.
You must fly the nest.
Just us three will always be, our happy day.
But it can’t last.
which has already begun
will no doubt, be full of joy.
As we teach and you explore
We only hope you’ll make life your own.
And then Precious Daughter, You will go.
Go out there.
See the sights. Meet the people.
Conquer the challenges. Enjoy the ride.
We will be here
Happy for You.
Learning once more to be just us two.
We are only renting
Means it is all the more cherished.
Each chapter, whilst fleeting, is treasured.
We hope this means we won’t stifle.
We want only for your flame to burn
In its own fantastical way.
We don’t hope to buy you. You were never Ours.
Always your own.
Our privilege, is to guide and teach.
Arm you with that which you need to get on.
We’ll expose you to lots, recommend and advise.
But in the end
Your path’s your own.
As you once fell into Daddy’s arms
You’ll fall into a world of your own creation.
You’ll triumph. You’ll fail.
And that’s OK.
We’ll always be here to catch you.
After all, We’re only renting.
But you own us.
Every. Single. Brick.
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Hello, howdy, good day!
I appreciate we’ve been MIA over the past several… well months! But turns out a one year old keeps you more than busy!
Mush continues to brighten even the dullest of days with her quirky little traits. Such as when Mack or I are talking to someone, say a neighbour about the weather and mid conversation Mush’ll just shout “bye” and start waving. Or her extremely frustrating tendency to ask you to read book after book, listening attentively to each and every page until you reach the last page where she promptly jumps off your lap to fetch another book leaving you either feeling completely unsatisfied or shouting the last few lines of the story at a retreating baby butt. Or there’s her unparalleled love for emptying the dishwasher; how each of her plates, spoons and cups need to be licked before being put away in the cupboard and the last item she empties has to accompany her on her travels for the rest of the day. She’s a bundle of bizarre and we love it!
I could go on and on but I’ll leave you with this blog’s namesake story. Mush’s Aunty was visiting this week and volunteered to do bath time. Once Mush is settled in the bath, Aunty starts playing with her when Mush starts to trump.
“Bobal” Aunty shouts down the stairs “she’s pumping! She won’t poo will she?”
“Not likely” I assure her “she’ll squat if she’s going to anyway so just keep an eye on her.”
So Aunty and Mush happily get on with water fun. Rory laughing at her own bath farts and Aunty laughing at Mush’s inappropriate giggles. Only for Mush to suddenly Stand and Deliver… a poo!
Well panic stricken Aunty yells, “it’s happened.” I leg it up the stairs – kitchen towel and wet dish still in hand to survey the carnage. Bath toys, baby, poo bits and bath water are swirling around the bath, Aunty is dry heaving in the corner and Mush is laughing and splashing chaotically, seemingly having grown 8 more limbs and a sudden but single minded determination to drink the bathwater. Chaos ensues with me holding a naked and laughing Mush above the bath water yelling “do you want the baby or poo bits? Baby or poo?” Aunty opts for baby and sticks her on the potty whilst I futilely try and scoop poo out of the bath with another bath toy before all the toys are contaminated.
As Mush is now happily sat on the potty, Aunty also tries to rescue some of the toys, naively taking her eyes off daemon child. Well, sensing this is her big moment, Mush swiftly stands up, side steps 30 cms, squats and poos on the floor next to the potty. Aunty drops all the rescued toys back in the poo bath to their demise in an effort to put Mush back on to the potty and clean up the floor poo given that I am elbow deep in bath poo.
Aunty skilfully manages to encase most of the poo in a wet wipe and put it in the toilet. That is most of the poo save for an undigested poo raison. Mush calculating, observes that I am busy navigating poo bath and Aunty is navigating floor poo so she lunges for the poo raison. Aunty and I both lurch for her arm, bath toys forgotten and manage to stop it reaching her mouth and then we prise open her chubby little fist to retrieve said poo raison. Bad idea. Mush’s only wish on Earth is to eat the poo raison and she immediately stiffens her body, throws her head back and let’s out an almighty paddy. The biggest and loudest tantrum she has ever had. That poo raison was the most important thing in the world and nasty Mummy wouldn’t let her eat it.
Suffice to say once we’d finally got the little monkey in bed, the salvageable toys in the dishwasher, the bathroom scrubbed and ourselves washed; Aunty was significantly less enthusiastic about the prospect of doing another bath time and I haven’t eaten a raison since.
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Today, you turned one and for some reason that makes me both really happy and really sad.
This year has just whizzed by too quickly.
And I really did spend time drinking it in like everybody said to. I spent days where I did nothing but nurse and cuddle you. I watched you sleep. I took the whole year off work. But none of it seems to have slowed down time.
This year has been the quickest and most momentous of our lives. And because so much has happened I find myself forgetting details. Like your new-born smell or how teeny you felt in my arms when I nursed you in the middle of the night or even how floppy you were when you were first learning to sit. I know it happened but I can’t feel it anymore.
When I close my eyes I see your today-face with your blondey brown hair sticking out in all directions, your little button nose that wrinkles when you giggle, your perfect teeny mouth that so often forms a comically perfect ‘O’ when you yawn. But tomorrow you won’t look like that and it breaks my heart. It’s like enduring little bereavements every day; my baby is slipping away and being replaced by this beautiful and perfect little girl. And so I try and soak it up but it’s like trying to hold onto water.
Yet, the maddening thing is, that nothing makes me prouder than watching you grow every single day. I live for the new things you do. Crawling and walking, roaring and kissing. It’s incredible watching you develop. When you first crawled I remember swelling with pride and
Your Daddy was more than disappointed to miss the first time.
You’re developing into this precocious and funny little madam. A fiercely independent little lady who wants to do everything on her own and despite being unable to talk uses her funny faces and little quirks to tell us exactly what she wants, when and how. For instance opening and closing your podgy little fist in the direction of your water/food/toy and shaking your head until we pick up the right one.
I keep on zooming forward to when you’ll be talking; excited to hear your words and thoughts, to your first day at school, will you love it? Or your wedding day; will your daddy cry as he walks you down the aisle (of course he will – he’s a big softy!) I can’t wait for every single milestone. In some respects it can’t come quickly enough.
Between mummy blubbers at how quickly it’s all going, and feelings of trepidation at the thought of our year off together soon coming to a close; I cant help but compare my present self to my pre-Mush self.
Without a doubt, you have irrevocably altered me. And I can never go back. You have given me a purpose I never needed that spans beyond any promotion, a joy that was never lacking before but some how now exists in earth shattering proportions. You have given me a new found reverence for the fragility of life and wonderment at the miracle of it.
Impossibilities of impossibilities I even love your daddy more. Seeing him fall so hard for you and worry about whether you have enough sun cream on, or enough bath toys or spending literally hours teaching you words and sounds, it fills me with the warm and fuzzies. I just love him so much.
In truth you’ve both turned me into a big old ball of vulnerable love! But oh what a double edged sword that is. It means that I am a bag of worry and nerves, spending my time researching whether the tiniest bit of unnoticed mildew in a both toy that touched your bath water for a fraction of a second could kill you or whether the spot of eczema under your chin is actually early onset meningitis or insisting on getting life insurance; just in case.
It’s funny how new life makes you worry constantly about death. It’s crazy also how it makes you lose first hand fear of your own mortality. Indeed, I fear for myself in the sense of how awful for you not to have a mother but not in the sense of I don’t want to die. Of course I don’t (now more than ever) but keeping you alive and well and happy has taken priority over all else.
Both Daddy and I have been consumed with this innate need to protect you from all hurt. Though we realise we cant, we’re still determined to try. Even at the tender age of one, we’ve already had the odd occasion when we have had to reassure each other that unfortunately yet inevitably you will hurt and we can’t always stop it but, thank goodness, we can always be there to kiss it better.
Today, on the eve of the rest of your life, I find myself wishing you good health and happiness (what parent doesn’t). But most of all, little baby Mush, I wish you your very own child because, quite plainly, I can’t see how it gets better than this.
All my love, now and forever,
Yes – if you’re fat and you bought cake; I’m judging, if you’re old and you bought condoms; I’m cringing and if you’re pregnant and you bought decaffeinated coffee; I’m sympathising. I accept that this is politically incorrect and judgmental but I never vocalise my inner meanness – they are my secret, nosy pleasures after all!
Being a keen cook I like to try and figure out the meals that the ‘just popping in for something for tea’ shoppers are buying ingredients for. Once I even found myself suppressing an urge to tell someone that thyme would go much better with their (assumed on my part) chicken risotto than the rosemary they had picked out.
I especially love trying to figure out the lives of these anonymous shoppers. A trolley full of milk, cereal and multipacks of crisps – Octomum? 5 boxes of cat food and treats and a microwave lasagne – crazy cat lady? Condoms, squirty cream and golden syrup – sexy time?
I actually saw the latter in someone’s basket at the checkout once and my first thought was to appreciate the brazenness of this guy; I’d have at least had to buy some other random items to cover up my agenda! My second thought was how sticky must that be? You know you’re a Nosy Parker when your mind wanders to the possible ripping off of a totally random person’s pubic hair in a golden syrup sex-capade!
2. Looking at people’s washing lines.
I think I may be alone in this but I find washing lines strangely interesting. You can figure out where people work, if they have kids, if they’re fat or skinny, young or old and whether they follow fashion.
For weeks after moving in to our new house, I was obsessed with our neighbour whose garden backs on to ours as every day they hung out lines and lines of towels. How were they using so many towels? Were they really dirty? Obsessive compulsive? Battling a flood problem? One day I asked Mack about what he thought their deal was and he smugly told me that it wasn’t a house but a hairdressers!
3. Facebook Stalking.
Now this is surely common place nosiness? You are scrolling down your newsfeed when you see a friend has liked someone’s birth announcement. You find yourself wondering how heavy the baby was, was it early or late? is it cute? So you click on their profile. You then scroll down this stranger’s wall and see that they recently went to a wedding so you wonder what the bride wore so you hop on that person’s page and before you know it; you’re twenty clicks away from where you started and are reading about Mr and Mrs smith in Zimbabwe who recently vacationed in Hawaii.
4. Perusing the Showbiz Pages on the Daily Mail App.
My ultimate guilty pleasure! Why stop at localised nosiness when obnoxious reporters can stick there lens into the house of the rich and famous and report back to the likes of little old me. I find myself getting emotionally invested in these media personas so much so that I was gutted when Ben Afleck and Jennifer Garner announced their divorce. I mean, they seemed like the perfect couple what with her girl next door looks and him always taking his kids to go get ice cream.
Then there’s the sport of judging the outfits on the red carpet. Yes, Lady Gaga you look ridiculous! Not forgetting the exciting news that is just sprung on you – I actually found myself wondering how it was the Tom Hardy had managed to keep his girlfriend’s pregnancy a secret from me for so long!
And then there are the occasions I find myself getting annoyed at celebrites. Like, seriously – Kanye West, get over yourself!
5. Listening to people’s music through their head-phones/cars.
This is the ultimate game you can play with yourself. Look at a person, make a snap judgment as to what they are like and therefore what they will be listening to and then lurk behind them to see if you were right.
It’s especially fun when you deem the Barbie walking on the treadmill with a full face of makeup at the gym and decide that she is clearly listening to the latest sickly boyband to spy and find out she got ACDC or the like blaring. I make a point of then giving her the nod of approval – of course she just thinks I’m a werido and doesn’t realise that she’s just surpassed my oh so low expectations of her.
And cars. The motorway is great for watching people sing their hearts outs to various tunes. It’s so much fun to stare at them from your lofty perch on the passenger side and see them catch your eye contact and stop mid-verse! Plus, chances are they are listening to the radio so I like to make a sport of skipping through the radio channels trying to guess which station they are rocking out to.
Ok. I am beginning to sound like a creepy stalker. I’m not! Promise. I don’t mean sitting in the bushes, peering through your window; I mean that when I’m walking past, if their is a clear line of sight into your house; I like to have a glance. I like seeing the different décor people have opted for and at Christmas time it was pretty looking at everyone’s tree.
For instance in a street not so far from me; 3 houses in a row have the same red and pink flowery wallpaper. Isn’t that incredible? Not least of all because it’s horrible! Plus I like to infer how many of my neighbours are show-offs so deemed by me if they have windowsill decorations pointing out of their window for other people to look at instead of into the house for them to enjoy!
So there you have it – how many do you do?
P.S. You should note that I had a list of 10 nosy behaviours but Mack said I sounded way too creepy and that people would stop hanging out with me so I shortened it! I had no idea I was such a Nosy Rosie until I saw it in black and white!
We discussed children early on in our relationship and then several more times through the intervening years. We knew we wanted children but didn’t feel ready to give up our single lives for quite some time. We both stumbled into feeling that it was the ‘right’ time to start our family, independently but at the same time. It was not a decision we took lightly. Having discussed it many times before and having spent many lovely hours with our beautiful nieces, we knew how we wanted to parent and knew that we would want to centre our world around that little baby. We therefore knew that our lives were going to change. More than that, we couldn’t wait!
When we learned we were expecting, we were thrilled and pretty much immediately set about telling our nearest and dearest and they were all so happy for us. But once the hugs, kisses and tears were out the way, we were suddenly bombarded with friendly warnings and tips. ‘Get your sleep in now as once the baby is here, you’ll never sleep again,’ ‘that’s your party days behind you,’ and ‘you’ll never watch a grownup film again,’ to quote but a few.
We were further inundated when we went public with the news, 3 months into our pregnancy and the comments became increasingly more cynical. ‘Your body will never be the same again,’ ”say goodbye to your money,’ and the rather more colourful; ’18 years until they leave home – if you’re lucky. You’d get less for murder!’
We couldn’t believe it! We felt like we were diving into this decision with open eyes and open hearts but this negativity was so pervasive we thought that perhaps the ney-sayers knew something we didn’t. Would we really end up like that? Would our lives really be over once the baby arrived? Would we grow to resent the little life that we brought into the world? After the 200th time of hearing such comments, niggles of doubt about the life changing decision we had made started to creep in.
Thankfully however, since the arrival of our little mushy bundle of joy, we can honestly say, with no flicker of doubt that we feel sorry for those adults and their children and here’s why.
Upon Mush’s arrival we have ventured into a whole new enthralling chapter in our lives. Unlike any chapter before it. A chapter that we began intentionally and haven’t questioned since.
Don’t get us wrong, it isn’t easy. The long sleepless nights, endless nappy changing, relentless screaming (not just from Mush) and the constant worry that your baby is trying to commit suicide make it a trying time. But and it’s a big but, we can honestly say we have loved every sleep deprived minute and why? Because we choose to.
We have created a person! A person who is half Mack and half Bobal. A person who did not ask to be born and is completely at our mercy for her every need. We will be instrumental in guiding her through the rest of her life and equipping her with the perspective, skills and physicality she needs to make her life into something incredible. For us, the whole premise is terrifying and exciting in equal proportions. We cannot wait to see what she becomes and at the same time we don’t want her to grow up.
We would urge all would be, soon to be or existing parents to remember the feeling of when you first hold your child and strive to hold onto that feeling for as long as you can. We will most certainly try to.
Having children is a privilege, a pleasure and a great responsibility. We would all do well to remember that.
Mack and Bobal
I knew from even before I was pregnant that I wanted to try and breastfeed my baby. Once I was expecting, I undertook heaps of research into it so as to try and prepare myself for what to expect and I seemingly encountered only 3 different types of information. The judgemental ‘breast is best’ type article which lambasts any person who can’t/won’t breastfeed. The glamourous pieces which focus on getting your figure back and feature photographs of beautiful celebrities breastfeeding their children whilst having their faces made up (yes Giselle, I am talking about you)! Or, the fluffy, earth mother type post which focus on the bond with baby and depict naked ladies sitting in streams whilst breastfeeding their babies.
Mack and I also attended the NHS Breasfeeding workshop which took us through the biology of breastfeeding, the dos and don’ts for breastfeeding, what support the NHS could offer for breastfeeding mothers and how partners could get involved (Mack was keen to support in any way he could but I suspect the thing that most stuck in his mind from this class was the knitted boobs)! I found the class fairly helpful although it was still given with a hint of judgment of formula feeding mothers and, if you are a google-aholic like me, the subject matter was all stuff you will have already found out in your own research. In hindsight, none of these sources came close to advising me or preparing me on how I would feel, once Mush arrived. I therefore hope that this blog can bridge that gap or atleast serve to remind me should I become pregnant again.
I was really fortunate in my labour and birth. I got the natural birth I wanted and Mush was born a healthy 8lb 5.5ozs and was awake and alert straight away. This meant she latched onto my nipple as soon as she was put on my chest. Ofcourse, I was that weak from labour that I couldn’t support her weight but a helpful midwife held her in place and then Mack took over so that Mush could take her first feed. Now, from my research, I can tell you that that first feed is not milk (this comes in later) but rather colostrum – concentrated goodness as I like to call it. I felt so proud that Mush had latched straight away and it felt so lovely (and dare I say ‘natural’ without sounding like a total hippy) to hold her and feed her for that first time.
From class I knew that Mush’s tummy was tiny so I expected to feed little and often. I did not expect that Mush would stay, quite happily, latched onto my nipple for sometimes an hour at a time. I also did not expect her little suck to be so bloody powerful; akin to holding the hoover attachment to your leg (we all did that as kids right?). We were fortunate to be released (from hospital, not jail) the same day as Mush’s arrival which was lovely. It was also nerve-wracking as we found we didn’t actually have a clue what we were doing (no amount of research can keep this feeling at bay) especially with breastfeeding. Here’s the lowdown on my experience with breastfeeding and the methods I employed to survive.
Mack and I aimed to feed Mush at least every 3 hours through the day (waking her up if necessary) and every 4 through the night but Mush wanted to feed much more than that. Mush just liked being on boob (as her feeding soon became known in the Mack-Bobal household). She would stay put for 40 minutes a time and fall asleep in my arms. She would (and often still does) feed every hour. This epic feeding caused me all kinds of problems.
(TMI WARNING) Sore, cracked and bleeding nipples caused pain I was not prepared for, never mind when your breasts becomes so engorged, heavy and beyond sore as your milk comes in. I mean, I didn’t have the easiest pregnancy as I suffered from severe symphysis pubis dysfunction resulting in me being on crutches, labour itself is no walk in the park but the pain I felt in those first few days of breastfeeding was so much worse to me as there’s no getting away from it – your baby needs to be fed. As Mush spent so much time feeding, I never felt like I had time to heal and I starting dreading the next feed. And I blamed myself for this. My latch must be wrong or my milk supply must be poor or maybe my body can’t do this. All I kept hearing in my head was the words an instructor had said at the breastfeeding class, ‘if breastfeeding hurts, you’re not doing it right.’ I would have quit there and then was it not for my 4 saviours: good support, time, lanolin cream and hot baths.
I found support to be so crucial in those first few days when you’re tired, don’t know which end of the baby is up and you can only sit down when it’s on a donut pillow. And boy was I lucky with the support group I had. My mum and mother-in-law were priceless and picked up the slack so that I could focus on nothing more than nursing Mush. Mack, was incredible and he ran around making sure that wherever I was breastfeeding I had water (you feel so thirsty when breastfeeding), food and entertainment plus he took all the nappy changes etc so that I could make the most of the time Mush was not on my boob (usually with such luxuries as a shower, nipping to the loo or putting some washing on).
My local NHS brestfeeding support network were great in that they checked in regularly and came round to check my latch and tell me what a good job I was doing (hearing this from a stranger truly bolsters you when you just want to quit)! But perhaps my biggest source of comfort were my 2 cousins who had had babies a few months before me and an old college friend that I re-connected with at an anti-natal class whose baby is 12 days older than Mush. Having people to turn to for advice or reassurance, to ask those stupid questions of and to moan to at 3 in the morning who are going or who have recently gone through the same thing is so key. It reminds you that you are not alone, that it is often the same for everyone and – this bit is important – once you hit 7 days post partum EVERYTHING will hurt much less.
This leads me nicely on to time. That 7 days is horrible but (again TMI warning) once my nipples scabbed over (I bet Giselle’s nipples didn’t scab over) and my milk settled down I truly felt better. I didn’t feel completely back to normal but I started to. So if Mack and I have another baby, I will be focussing on that 7 day mark as I can endure anything for 7 days. Given that the worst of it for me (I’ve been lucky so far and haven’t had an infection) was that short period and coincided with the usual post partum complaints, I found paracetamol to be a great relief and would take a couple when the pain was particularly bad half an hour before a feed (this is my ‘batteries not included’ bit – all medication should be taken in accordance with the instructions and doctor advice). Breastfeeding has become easier and easier in the weeks since Mush was born and it doesn’t hurt at all now. The only exceptions being when both Mush and I got a cold meaning she wanted to feed more and my supply was down a little thus increasing ‘on the boob’ time and when Mush forgets that my nipple is in fact attached to my breast and she pulls at it or generally messes around instead of peacefully eating.
In those early days of feeding, I was overcome with a massive love for my newborn daughter and a more intense love for my husband when watching him hold our little baby girl but my third love at that time was definitely Lanolin Cream. Using this on my poor nipples helped so much and soothed so much – I nearly used a tube in my first week. It isn’t the cheapest thing to buy but worth every penny as it is safe to use when breastfeeding and doesn’t have to be washed off before feeding again. I also used it lightly on Mush if her lips became chapped from feeding. Buy it in time to put in your hospital bag and re-stock way before you actually need it (you don’t want to be without it). In fact, I had 2 tubes on the go – one for upstairs and one for downstairs/changing bag as tackling the stairs at that point can sometimes take a herculean effort.
You had time to take a bath, I hear you ask? Yes because my lovely husband worked it out that way and what a difference they made. Apart from the loveliness of having that 40 minutes to yourself, I found hot baths to be wonderfully relieving for my sore boobs (more on the engorgement side of things as opposed to nipples). Steam and heat do relieve full boobs and encourage let down and when I couldn’t have a bath I would sometime lay a hot, wet flannel over my boobs for 5 minutes pre and post feed which also offered a degree of relief. For maximum healing potential, throw some Epsom Salts into your bath – good for upstairs and downstairs! I did, to air on the side of caution, rinse my nipples with clean water after such baths though to ensure that there was no salt residue on my nipples before the next feed.
On a side note and speaking of downstairs, I found baths to be a much better way of cleaning the carnage than showers plus, if you are struggling to wee after birth, my midwife gave me the oh so glamourous tip that you should wee in the bath (perhaps at the end and not the beginning) which should be a much more comfortable experience!
Dismfort aside, the other thing I wanted to address is supply. I don’t know a breasfeeding mum who doesn’t at some point (usually in those early days when the Health Visitor tells you that our baby has lost weight) question their supply. Biologically, there is only a tiny percentage of women that actually have supply problems that cannot be bolstered. For the rest there are several things you can do, as follows:
Feed on Demand:
Breasfeeding is like Pringles, the more you pop, the more you can’t stop. The more you feed the more milk your body will create. In the first few weeks I used boob as the first port of call. Eerytime Mush cried or fussed I would see if she was hungry/wanted that comfort. Some days this would result in days where Mush was on my boob the entire day but gradually as my milk supply was established, we settled into a routine. When I’m ill or she is though, we still have the odd easy day on the sofa feeding and sleeping to make sure that the milk is there.
You can buy actualy breasfeeding tea filled with Fennel and other milk boosting goodness and they actually work. I found that when I was struggling to express, a couple of mugs of tea through the day would mean I could express much more milk.
Attend feeding groups/meet with other mummies
As above, that support will reassure you that you are doing a good job, that there’s nothing wrong with your milk and that your baby is thriving becase of it. I had several moments of self doubt when Mush had put on barely any weight between weigh-ins but other mums reassured me that growth spurts, sickness, vacciantions are all much more likely to have affected Mush’s weight and that my milk was fine. So long as your baby is consistenly putting on some weight I was reassured that everything was ok.
I hope my account reassures and helps. Every day you breastfeed is another day in the bank and another day you can pat yourself on the back. You’re doing a great job. And the day you decide to move to formula/if you do then you can continue to pat yourself on the back because despite my pro-breastfeeding leaning so long as your baby is happy and healthy; you’re doing a great job!