Oats. Oats and beer. And brewer’s yeast. And grilled chicken. And boiled eggs. And green leafy vegetables. And pulses. And almonds. Plus some naturopathic drops which taste suspiciously like Fernet Branca.  Then there’s fenugreek tea, which leaves you smelling like you stumbled out of a Brick Lane curry house late on a Saturday night.  And some small white pills. Lots of small white pills.

The lengths we will go to to be able to nourish another small person off our own flesh.

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It took ten  sad and scratchy days in which I doubted my body’s ability to do anything properly before my capacity to feed the smallest hungry one dribbled back. I can’t tell you exactly why my milk left the building and bought a metaphoric plane ticket to Mexico for a holiday. Sure, there was Will’s wee tongue tie. Then I got sick. He got sick. And we dropped the ball. But perhaps it was never really there in the first place. It’s hard to remember much about those early weeks. These days, I can’t say much for certain.

It seems everyone has advice on what to do about a dwindling supply (oh, you have to love these purposely vague terms for being bone dry). Some say it’s about what you eat. Others insist it’s a simple equation of demand and response. If you try and feed them and feed them, it will come.  To others the magic is in rest; sleep more and it will replenish itself. And then there’s the technology; you could always just keep attaching yourself to a double headed, mean, yellow quacking duck of a pump for 15 minutes at the end of every feed attempt in an effort to trick your body into believing it needs to notch itself up a gear. And if your body decides it doesn’t like the mean yellow duck, you then need to engage in a little bit of meditation and learn to love it. And when that fails, apparently licking your upper gum, as though you were  trying to awkwardly french kiss yourself can work. Too much information?  Possibly.

All of these things are fine- except that none are mutually compatible. It’s hard to sleep more while you’ve stumbled into a google-hole trying to source fenugreek tablets in Sydney. It’s difficult to find the time to pump while you’re stocking up on slow carb suppers to sustain you. And, from someone who’s tried- it’s particularly difficult to comp a baby with formula he needs to keep him north of a ‘failure to thrive’ list at the same time as you’re attached to a double headed milking device- particularly in the week when he’s discovered just how much fun it is to kick his bandy legs and flail his limpid wrists about (see earlier post about the situations in which it might, just be reasonable to cry over spilled milk).

And so we turned to the drugs. It feels somewhat right to be taking small white pills each day – largely because I feel like I’m in a drug-stained haze anyway. When I do get the occasion to sleep, I’ll tumble down into a navy abyss so deep that I couldn’t tell you if what I saw was real or fake. And some of the ideas that are tracking across my head in the inky light of 4.28 am are pretty wild. It’s good that there’s still a small faint voice of reason in my head that can check me. For instance; ‘no Tori, it’s a terrible idea to try and weigh your baby in your brand new kitchen toy’. Yes. Yes, good point. The thermomix (saintly device that it is- and never fear, you’re going to hear much more about this as time passes) may have in built scales that will be able to accurately render his weight and see if we’re making good progress. But it also has BLADES AT THE BOTTOM THAT ARE SHARP ENOUGH TO MILL GRAIN. The fact that the thought even tinkled through my head, frankly terrifies me.

What I need to maintain energy and sanity is a steady supply of  low GI, oat-based, one handed snacks. They stop the wobbles from descending. A few almonds don’t go astray. And using natural sugars in fruit is also probably not a bad idea. These cookies were something I stashed in the freezer before Will arrived, a mad mash of everything that was dwindling in the cupboard.And they’re ones that I’ve made again, and again and again. They’re an excellent way to use up the bananas that you bought, but forgot to put to use. They’re mildly sweet and have a good rustic chew. They’re easy enough to make when you’re so sleep deprived, you might as well be completely smashed.  And the nuggets of dark chocolate hiding inside will help remind you of all that is good in the world. They’ve been a Peter Pan Happy Place during some grim attempts at feeding, while we waited for the drugs to kick in and return an ability to sustain my child- not exclusively, but enough.

Now that the pills have started to work (and they certainly took their time…), now that Will no longer thumps at my clavicle with his itty fists in frustration and gnashes his head like a bellowing bear, I don’t need these cookies so much.

Except, I love them. So much so that on the day when The Hungry One accidentally took a tupperware in the fridge with ten of them in it to work instead of the lentil meatballs that were in the adjacent container, well, let’s just say it wasn’t a great day in a marriage.

Not that he was complaining. He then ate a score of cookies for lunch. And apparently had a terrific afternoon.  So take my advice. Make these in a double batch. Freeze half. Or at the very least, label the tupperware well ‘EMERGENCY HAPPY MAKING FODDER-DO NOT TOUCH’. Or hide them so you can sleep knowing they’re waiting there, just for you. When supply is low, it’s amazing what you’ll do so you can keep on keeping on.

Banana, Oat, Choc-Nut Cookies

Makes around 16 cookies

Shopping/foraging

3 ripe bananas mashed (the browner and sadder the better)- around 1.5 cups of banana mush
1/4 cup of neutral tasting oil (vegetable, canola, sunflower), or 50 g butter melted, or 50 g coconut oil
200 g/ 2 cups of oats (or rolled quinoa flakes)
100 g/ 1 cup of almond or hazelnut meal (or 50 g desiccated coconut and 50 g ground flax if need to be nut free)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
100 grams of dark chocolate, roughly chopped into small chips, or 1 cup of sultanas/raisins
1 egg, beaten
pinch of salt

Here’s how we roll

1) Preheat the oven to 180C/350 F and line one or two baking trays with baking paper.

2) Muddle together the banana, oil or butter and the egg into a slurry. It will look curdled and unpleasant. Don’t fear.

3) Combine the oats with the other dry ingredients.

4) Fold in the dry ingredients into the wet, and then rumple through the chocolate chips or sultanas.

5) Use a tablespoon to portion out the cookies into craggy domes. Bake for 15 minutes, until the tops are golden and they are firm to touch. Allow to cool on baking tray

6) Eat warm, or store in a tupperware that’s clearly labelled with what they are until you need to scoff one while feeding another human. Or freeze them. They perk up remarkably well after some time spent in the frosty depths at the bottom of a Westinghouse.