Just before Christmas, Mr. S told me about a conversation he had shared with one of his co-workers, a young married man and the father of a breastfed baby, who just happens to be a little more frugal with finances than his wife. Incidentally, this conversation just happened to take place by the coffee station, and Mr. S noticed that his co-worker seemed to be a bit disgruntled by the selection of seemingly un-offensive dairy creamers placed by the coffee makers.
“This stuff,” he grumbled, pointing to one of the bottles marked HAZELNUT, “is a waste of money. My wife spends a fortune on this. I told her if she wants cream in her coffee, she should use what she has on tap.”
When I first heard this, my initial thought was that someone is maybe just a little crabby before he’s had his first cup of morning coffee, but then I laughed, because somehow, it seems when men think of breast milk, many of them automatically equate it with dairy creamer.
Not that it is a bad thing. After all, breast milk certainly serves its valuable purpose. Along with being economical, it is delicious, and absolutely full of vitamins, minerals, natural antibodies, and other fantastic nutrients. It is truly nature’s finest super food: always the perfect temperature, the right consistency, and, as long as it remains in its beautiful natural packaging, requires no refrigeration.
When our oldest child was born, Mr. S was fascinated with the idea of what breast milk could do. He indulged in his curiosity one afternoon by putting expressed milk in his coffee, and once (confession time), when we were out of “regular” milk, he used breast milk in his morning oatmeal. (He says it’s excellent with brown sugar and cinnamon, by the way ;))
The dairy cream comparison also reminded me of something that happened about eight years ago, following the birth of my youngest child.
Apparently under the assumption that I needed a little more excitement in my life, my little lady decided to arrive early–while we were on leave, visiting family over the holidays, 600 miles away from home…and my obstetrician. She then decided that natural childbirth was much too easy, and opted to mix things up a bit by giving me enough of a difficult time to require surgery immediately following her grand appearance on a blustery winter night.
Because of this, I was not able to immediately travel, so the children and I stayed with my parents while I recovered, and Mr. S reluctantly returned to North Carolina.
Just as it had done when my boys were little, my body responded beautifully to breastfeeding and lactation, and I had more milk than one tiny six-pound princess could consume in one day, so I spent a lot of time expressing a lot of milk. One afternoon, right after I had expressed, the baby began to fuss. Since I didn’t have time to fill storage bags, I poured my milk into a pitcher, set it in the refrigerator, and went to take care of the baby.
That was the same afternoon my brother came to visit.
(As a side note, he is a fantastic uncle, even if he does give the children Play-Doh…and finger paints…and toys that make noise…and marshmallow shooters…come to think of it, we may have to have a talk…)
The baby was sound asleep and I had just gotten out of the shower. I heard my brother’s voice from the kitchen. I could smell coffee. When I stepped into the room, my eyes immediately went to the counter. There was the pitcher with the blue lid conveniently turned to expose its pour spout. And it was placed right next to a steaming mug of coffee.
My brother picked up his cup.
Being his sister, and thinking of this as a perfect time to execute a bit of sweet revenge stemming from the times he had teased and tormented me during childhood, I smiled inwardly.
Should I or shouldn’t I?
The adult in me won out.
“Umm…that’s not cream,” I said, pointing to the pitcher.
“What?” he replied.
“That’s. Not. Cream.” Slower this time so he could easily process what I was saying.
Our mother was laughing.
The look on his face was priceless as it dawned on him that he had put breast milk in his coffee. He glanced down at his cup, and said, “Oh,” before he, too, started to laugh. “Close call there.”
“You’re more than welcome to it,” I said. “There’s plenty.”
“I’ll pass,” he said, and promptly dumped his coffee down the drain.
Now that I think about it, he put his cup in the sink, too, and took a clean one from the cupboard.
Not that I really blame him, of course. Some people are just not that comfortable with breastfeeding–or the idea that breast milk is actually food. I forget that sometimes because Mr. S is so comfortable with both, and it’s a good thing he is because our ANR would certainly suffer otherwise, not to mention that his morning oatmeal of yesteryear would have been really dry. 🙂
We had a terrific laugh over what became known as “The Great Cream Debacle of ’09”, but through the duration of my recuperation, per my brother’s request, future breast milk was carefully labeled and our mother’s favorite pitcher with the blue lid was reserved for “real” milk…you know, the kind that comes from cows.
Happy New Year, everyone!