I have issues with breast pads.
They are, for me at least, a necessary evil. But they drive me mad and I also feel strangely awkward about them ever being on show when I am anywhere other than home alone. Considering I am not fazed by feeding in public, you might think this last admission odd. I’ll happily whip a boob out in public (in a tasteful manner, of course) but don’t want anyone to get so much as a glimpse of breast pad. It just feels like a little too much information.
I usually deal with public situations by trapping my pad under my bra strap in the manner of one of those dodgy 1980’s removable shoulder pads.
You can imagine, therefore, my horror last weekend when I realised my toddler had made off with my casually discarded breast pad as I fed while sitting on the sofa at home. But that’s fine, you may think, within the privacy of your own home? Alas, I was expecting visitors imminently, good friends who would (quite rightly) think nothing of letting themselves in through the unlocked front door.
My mind immediately switched into damage limitation mode. But toddler was not about to play the same game. After holding the breast pad up against her chest for a little while, as if checking it for size, my dearest first-born was now happily using it to clean down her chalk board. Despite a fleeting thought that this was actually quite a useful tool for cleaning the board (the jay cloth I had set aside for this purpose not really fully meeting its needs) I now realised with mounting alarm that the breast pad was not only out there for all to see, but now covered in a weird greenish-blue substance which might not initially look like chalk to the untrained eye.
Baby has been in the midst of a growth spurt for the last few days so has been feeding very fussily. This time, typically when I was desperate to whip up out of my seat and end the reign of the breast pad once and for all, she was settled into a long satisfying feed which I was loathe to interrupt.
Meanwhile, toddler had gone one step further with the role playing, having now stuffed the breast pad down her top and was busy looking for a dolly or teddy to use as her baby.
It was at this point that I heard the knock at the door and wondered whether I might actually manage to avoid the breast pad being discovered. This feint glimmer of hope faded quickly: as toddler trotted towards the front door, the pad slipped down through her top and stuck to her foot, enjoying pole position as she reached the hallway and our guests. The irony of the sudden magnificent adhesive qualities of the breast pad (which seems never, ever to stick to the inside of my bra) was not lost on me. Luckily, the attraction of a cute, new baby served as sufficient distraction for me to quickly relieve toddler of her new-found accessory and finally consign it to the bin.