My adventures into Motherhood
Today I ventured out to Wandsworth Southside Shopping Centre. I think it’s going to become a favourite place to hang out because it was surprisingly easy to get to and had a decent amount of shops, high street chains and…..Mothercare! As soon as I wheeled Sofia into the store, I spotted a very helpful sign advising me where the ‘Feeding and changing room’ was. I’ve never been in one of these special rooms before, so Mum and I popped our heads in to see what it was all about.
The room was kitted out with bottle warmers, bench seats with discretion dividers for nursing, changing mats, hand basins and nappy bins. It was also quite spacious for prams and shopping et al. What a fantastic room! I felt like I’d stumbled upon Aladdin’s cave except instead of treasures, there were facilities! The room was empty while we were looking around, and as Sofia was still asleep in her pram – I didn’t need to test it out there and then. We continued shopping and had lunch and then as we were leaving the mall, Mum suggested that I change and feed Sofia so she would be good on the bus ride home. Here was my golden opportunity to try out the Mothercare room!
Upon re-entry though, the room was occupied by two other Mothers already. Uh oh…. they’ll get to see first hand how Sofia screams through her entire nappy change (you’d think she’d be used to it by now, considering I change her about 8 times a day) and then I’ll be silently judged on my level of competence…or incompetence as the case may be. I parked, then I prepared with wipes, nappy, bomb disposal bag and lastly unclipped Sofia from her pram harness. Mercifully, Sofia chose not to embarrass me today and stayed quietly content while I changed her stinky butt. The other two Mothers had been conversing behind me, but I’d been concentrating too hard on the nappy change to join in. Seeing that I was about to feed my baby, the Mother with the baby on solids scooted over for me on the bench so that I could sit down and get my boob out.
Now that I was settled down on the bench, it seemed that I was fair game for questions and comments from the other Mothers. Topics for discussion included baby stats; name, age, on-time or late, weight. Then onto pram specifications; ease of use, capacity, fold-down mechanism, weight. The Mum that was nursing in the far corner then finished, excused herself and left. Leaving me with Czechoslovakia, who was very chatty and welcoming, telling me about her two kids and the teething stage she was at. Then Mum walked in and said she’d come back to get me in about 10mins. That was a turning point in the conversation – with Czechoslovakia proceeding to tell me how lucky I was that I had my Mum to help me as her Mum chose to go to Greece with her boyfriend instead of helping her with her new baby. As I listened and nodded appropriately, I could see her eyes misting over as she explained how difficult it was, and how much she wanted her Mum to help her, just this once to be a Mother to her and a Grandmother to her new baby.
For me, awkward moments…. I just came in here to change and feed my kid, plus – I just met this lady! Wanting Mum to come back and rescue me from this situation, and for Sofia to hurry up and finish sucking, I really ran out of niceties to say. (empathy is not my strong point) Huge relief when Mum turned up again and took over conversation with Grandma customer service-like reassurances to bolster Czecholovakia’s self-esteem. Then two more Mum’s came in to change their babies and we were full to capacity with prams and shopping and people-pleasing comments about each other’s beautiful babies. Cue cooing and cutesy face-pulling and more pram specs noted around the room. Then, finally, I was burping Sofia and could put her back in the pram and get ready to roll outta there.
What I learnt from 40 mins in the Mothercare feeding and changing room:
And lastly, it is never ok to stare at the other Mother’s boobs when they’re breastfeeding.