The milky way

I wake up from a nightmare. I was in a room, panicking and surrounded by women and children. They were all looking at me angrily and asking for milk. I was blank: what milk were they talking about?Before I got to ask, my question’s answered. Your milk dummy. I had no idea why I was supposed to give my milk away but I was panicking. I don’t have so much milk! What was I supposed to do? Before I know it, I wake up, thankfully, only to find my daughter hungrily sucking her thumb. She’s got her i-need-my-sleep genes from me I think, as she doesn’t even wake up to ask for milk at night. She just sucks her thumb vigorously and mewls a bit. I am supposed to be alert at all times and even when I am asleep I have to keep my ears open for that chug chug sound. Constant vigilance-that’s my motto. I rub her feet, check her diaper, coo at her and extremely reluctantly she opens her eyes and stares at me. By the time I’ve got my feeding cushion on, she grunts angrily saying (I think), it’s been more than five minutes since you’ve been up, where’s my milk? I hurry as I don’t want her father to wake and neither do I want her to start screaming. She’s making that face, Mishka, hurry up now, I tell myself. I quickly pick her up before the scream leaves her throat, and start feeding her. Immediately she starts to cry as she has zero patience. She doesn’t even want to wait for a minute for the milk to come. I coo at her, she gives me the look which says, fine I’ll try to be more patient but the milk better come soon. She suckles for a minute then looks at me and howls. I look at her puzzled: ab kya hua? It’s the I-don’t-want-milk-from-this-side cry. So I quickly change side and offer her milk from her favourite side. She suckles for 10 minutes and then I hear a slight snore. I look down to see my baby’s gone off to sleep! I burp her, pat her cheeks, rub her feet, hands, nothing helps. There’s a saying in Bengali: ghoomiye kaadaa (literal translation: one who sleeps so deeply that he turns soft and mushy like mud) and that applies to her completely. There’s not much you can do to wake her up.I sigh. It’s going to be a long night. In two hours, she’s sucking her thumbs again. She was so good for several weeks, where she would have a proper feed at dinner time and wake up once straight at 5 am. And now she asks for milk every three hours even in the daytime. I am panicking, is my milk not enough for her? But if she wasn’t getting proper milk she wouldn’t be putting on weight so steadily, would she now? I just have a healthy, hungry baby in hand, who’s turned my milk supply into a nightmare for me.This is going to be a long week, methinks.


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