Supply equals demand: Our first argument as parents

I am typing this one handed while Dominic sleeps on my left shoulder. About every twenty seconds he pops his head up and makes angry-koala-bear noises. I suspect that this is because he has so far stubbornly refused to burp after spending most of the last hour guzzling milk. I don’t understand. He burps quite nicely for Mike (who has been primary burper and diaper-changer during the daytime for the last ten days). Then Mike goes into town for an hour and a quarter (and counting) and what do I get? No burps, but a big baby vomit into my hair (the hair that I washed just this morning) and two pooey diapers. Two. In one feed. I mean, can we say excessive?

Yes, you can look forward to more of these aggrieved mini-rants after Mike returns to Laos next Friday for the month of September and I’m pseudo-single-parenting for a month. And that’s enough about that topic for now because every time I think about Mike leaving I feel like making some angry koala bear noises of my own.

So the last two weeks have been a bit of a blur – as life gets when you’re on a three-hour loop that repeats over and over again. Overall I think we’re all doing well, but there have been moments when fuses have been significantly shorter because of lack of sleep, not to mention certain challenges associated with breastfeeding.

Three days after we brought Dominic home from the hospital Mike and I had our first argument as parents. We were talking about breastfeeding and milk supply. The conversation went like this:

Mike: Supply equals demand

Me: You mean, demand equals supply.

Mike: No, the supply is there to meet the demand.

Me: But the demand comes first to determine the supply.

(Long pause)

Mike: Let’s not argue about this. Let’s argue about something more important. Any ideas?

Me: You pick, I’ve breastfed for the last hour and now I’m still sitting here attached to a pump. I’ll argue with you about anything at this point.

That's the demand, right there. When he's hungry he'll attack anything, even my nose, and latch on with the mouth of a famished oyster.


19 responses to “Supply equals demand: Our first argument as parents

  1. Totally understand that you need to make angry koala bear noises when you think of Mike returning to Laos, and that is perfectly OK, Lisa. Just do it!!

  2. Well, I confess that I’m quite pleased to see that motherhood has not diminished your sense of metaphor…

    Sending lots of hugs & love your way, friend!

    • Thanks… After I put it up there I thought maybe I should have said “with all the ferocity of a famished oyster”. That would also have fit :). Thanks for the love and hugs. Let’s see if we can skype in Sept.

  3. I think the angry koala bear noises help sometimes 🙂 Hang in there Lis, I know it seems like at the moment it’s a forever of 3 hour exhausted cycles (including 2 hrs of feeding/pumping!!) but it does get better, much much better. Once day soon you might even find yourself drinking an entire cup of tea without disruption and I hope you find that comforting, liberating even!
    I hope Dominic starts feeding more efficiently soon and for the record, I agree with you- demand equals supply (hence the reason for extra pumping!)
    big hugs, thinking of you.

    • Thanks Amy. Yeah, the last couple of days has felt a bit more manageable. It’s a total toss up what every day is going to be like at the moment though. Some are good, some are definitely “take it one hour at a time” type days. Hope you four are well. Sending love and hugs to you too.

  4. You’re right, Mike’s wrong. The end. Just don’t tell him that this tidbit if motherly wisdom comes from a woman who (much to her husband’s chagrin) can’t bear to cut off her 14 month old. That 4:30 a.m. feeding… If only someone would be willing to get up with him–someone without breasts. 😉

    • Yeah, this morning when I was so exhausted I couldn’t bear to get up out of bed so I bought him into bed and tried to feed lying down (which often seems like a better idea before I try it than afterwards) I was thinking the same thing. I was also thinking that as much as Mike might miss the two of us during Sept, I think I might miss him more when there’s no dawn-energized set of hands to hand him to at 6AM so that I can go straight back to sleep in those early morning hours.

  5. “…and latch on with the mouth of a famished oyster.” My friend, I have read most of what you have written since 2002 and that is the single best thing I think you’ve ever put out there. Thank you, thank you for giving me a good laugh and a hilarious mental image.

    • :). Thanks. Yes, I smiled when that image popped into my head. And that smiling went a small way towards making up for the pain that that little mouth has caused in the last three weeks. Hope you’re well and enjoying warm days of summer up there in AK. Sending hugs.

  6. Great post, Lisa, and such a cute photo. By the way, are you noticing that he’s more angry koala-like after you’ve eaten certain food? Might be worth getting a feel for whether there are certain things he would rather you didn’t get in his milk.

    • Thanks Clare… yeah, it’s a bit early to figure this out yet but definitely something we’ll need to watch. Gosh, so many things to keep track of! He’s been less angry this last day or two, possibly because we haven’t taken him out and about. Perhaps a little young for too much hustle and bustle so I’ll be sticking close to home for a while yet.

  7. Many congratulations with your new son! And wishing you much strength in your single parent month. Let’s hope days and nights of September will fly by…

    God bless you all!

  8. Do koala bears make angry noises? Naw, they’re too cutie-wootie-woo-woo to make such noises. Maybe you should record yourself making the angry koala bear noise, you know, just so I have a reference.

  9. smiling here afer the fun read! Seriously you do deserve to make koala bear noises when Mike leaves! ahhh…Hope he gets to return soon?
    All the best Lisa. Your humor and writing skills are truly totally intact still!
    🙂 hugs.
    I am trying to organize taking a few women to S. France this Fall if time still allows on a women’s tour. Absolutely does not compare with your experiences I realize…in fact is sounding a bit indulgent, but there is work in the planning and I need a couple of more fun, adventurous women to make it happen ~! So I put the url link below…thanks Lisa! Hang in there.
    My nephew and his wife had their baby two weeks ago today…hence the feedback on the preference for Pampers diapers over others from those in the know. Will share your blog with them! New parents clearly need to stick together on lots of topics.

    • Yes, I’ve found input from other new parents and pregnant women so helpful over the last nine months. Good luck with all the trip planning – sounds like great fun!!

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