Possibly the most mock-worthy habit: my extreme devotion to my iPhone Nursing app. I even paid for it eight bucks! But dude, I love it. It tracks how often and how long I nurse the baby. It doesn’t set an alarm I have the freakin’ baby for that, and don’t you forget it but if the baby’s hollering, I can take a look and see how long it’s been since she’s eaten.
Of course, as my lactivist friends point out, it doesn’t matter how long it’s been. She’s hungry. So feed her. If she doesn’t take the boob, it’s something else, so change her diaper, swaddle her up, or give her a snuggle. Or some Mylicon. Feed on demand, and quit overanalyzing everything!
Well, sure. But there’s something comforting about knowing that she eats, like her sister, at exactly 3 hour intervals. “The little pot roast is ready again,” my husband likes to say as he peers at the pink screen. I can also track her habits throughout the day. Ferinstance, when does she take her “long sleep?” Lemme check. Ah! Abby starts a six-hour snooze around 7 or 8pm. If I can get to bed right after putting Penny down, I can get a solid 5-hour chunk of rest and thereby save my husband the ordeal of answering questions like “am I wearing my pants?” and “how do you make toast again?” I also know, and can therefore prepare myself, that after that six-hour nap, she might spend the early-morning hours asking to eat every hour and a half. More easily survivable if I know it’s coming and have arranged to nap later in the morning. See?
But let’s talk about the flip side of why I want to know: I can’t be the only woman convinced that underneath it all, she’s not cut out for this. What if, under my earth-momma exterior, there lies the gin-soaked heart of a Betty Draper? I fret, in darker moments, that I’ll forget to feed her. The app reassures me that I didn’t. Actually, it confirms that I’m a bit more absent-minded about it, and more than once I’ve been bouncing her frantically on my hip, singing like an idiot, when the app kindly refrains from calling me an idiot while telling me it’s been four fucking hours since my child last suckled at my teat. Fantastic.
And yeah: probably, if I didn’t have the fallback, I’d be more in tune with my child, and I would just KNOW when she was hungry. And yeah: it’s true that regardless of what the app says, she’s hungry when she’s hungry, so telling her “but it hasn’t been three hours!” isn’t much use. And yeah: I generally forget to hit the “stop” button when she finishes, so it mostly looks like she nurses for an hour each time, which is when it automatically shuts off.
But one thing the app does do is tell me which side the baby ate from last time. True, my mom accomplished the same thing with a safety pin. But the app has a picture of a safety pin. Awesome.