Ali Jones is a teacher, and writer, living in Oxford, England. She holds an MA in English, focused on poetry in domestic spaces and has written poetry in a variety of forms for many years. She is a mother of three. Her work has appeared in Fire, Poetry Rivals Spoken Word Anthology, Strange Poetry, Ink Sweat and Tears, Snakeskin Poetry, Atrium, Picaroon Poetry, Mother’s Milk Books, The Lake Magazine, Breastfeeding Matters, Breastfeeding Today and Green Parent magazine. She writes a regular column for Breastfeeding Matters Magazine, and blogs for The Motherload. She was the winner of the Green Parent Writing Prize in 2016, the runner up for the Mother’s Milk prize for prose in 2016, and has also written for The Guardian. Her poetry pamphlets, Heartwood and Omega are forthcoming with Indigo Dreams press in 2018.
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I’m coming soon, to be with you, and there are some things I wish you knew,
about feeding me, and how we can be together.
I come hard-wired to feed, and usually, you won’t need to do very much
but follow my cues, you’ll need to learn those,
watch and see my rose-budded lips searching, my hands
touching my face looking for the place they could rest on your breast,
just follow me, forget the clock, just take stock of my nappies,
poos and wees showing you that what goes in must come out,
if in doubt, ask someone skilled, with up to date knowledge,
who will be thrilled to help; ask the right people, Baby Café, LLL,
don’t dwell on anecdotal advice from family members who only tried it twice,
or have no history of feeding this way and say things to solve
problems that may not be there, beware of experts in arm chairs!
Feeding a lot at first is normal, it doesn’t mean I’m too hungry,
or that you don’t have enough, I just want the good stuff,
and bodies are clever to lead each other in demand and supply,
so try to relax, set up a nursing station with water and snacks
so we can sit and be together, frequently.
Only worry if I don’t gain weight, or settle comfortably
after a feed, check it out and go and see a medical professional,
but know your facts too, the skilled helpers I’ve mentioned can give you research
to show and share with those who seek to care.
I’ll feed a lot a night too, it’s just something babies do,
I don’t yet know night from day, and the long sleep patterns
you’ve come to expect are a new thing, in history, so if I wake repeatedly,
it’s because I want to know I’m safe, with you close to me,
I might be teething, or needing you in another way, so please stay with me
let me be at your breast, don’t leave me to cry like some kind of test,
a battle of wills. please help me to be calm and still,
if I do cry alone, my stress levels can be high and I might think
a predator is near and I don’t want them to hear,
so I mimic death until I think danger has passed and I am
sure that’s not what you want me to do ~ I should be with you.
Even if I can’t settle or be consoled, being in your arms
I will know you are there and that you care for me
and will help me though whatever is upsetting me.
If I’m fussy in the evening, that’s normal too,
and the best you can do is to feed me lots of times
in little clusters on the sofa, or in bed, or in a sling instead,
you can feed in them too and get on with what you want to do.
Try all the positions to make feeding work, with a wide mouth
and a tilted head, laid back nurturing, or side lying in bed,
and if people offer help, ask for cooking and cleaning,
a mother and baby feeding need time to constellate
in their new state of being, as a family, from two to three.
With love from your baby, who is dreaming the way to you.