If you are like me, you probably think that all hospital gowns are pretty much the same. That just goes to show how wrong it is to be like me. You should try very hard not to do it anymore.
In the maternity ward, they have a special gown, just for mom, with holes cut out over the breasts. I don’t remember seeing these on our first visit to the maternity ward, in 2008, but I suspect I just didn’t notice. After all, I was passed out much of the time, and overwhelmed by the prospect of a lifetime of parenthood when conscious.
The ostensible purpose of these special gowns is to allow mothers to breastfeed their babies without having to navigate all the way around to the open edge of the gown. While this is a noble cause, and a team of engineers probably dedicated the better part of their careers to calculating the optimal number of holes, I think it must be the most underutilized piece of medical technology in existence.
I almost missed knowing about these medical advancements on this last visit too, and with good reason. Though my wife breastfed from the get-go, she most often did so by throwing the bulk of her gown up over her shoulder with the same abandon with which a cavalier would manage his cape.
Only once, entangled in the gown, bed sheets, and other sundry cloaks of fresh motherhood, did my wife attempt to use these helpful slits in her apparel. She wriggled around, searching the folds of her peculiar garment. “Where are your boob holes when you need them?” she muttered in frustration.
This was my first indication that such a thing existed. “What are boob holes?” I asked, a little embarrassed that, in my position as a repeat father, I might have been ignorant of an entire undiscovered acre of female anatomy.
She pointed to a spare gown hanging on the bathroom door. Unlike the gown she wore, this one clearly showed a hole, by virtue of its being hung from it. Before I could note the difference between this hole and the short sleeves at either side, I said, “I thought that was an arm hole.”
“How many arms do you think I have?” she asked. Clearly, her frustration with her own gown was making her sarcastic.
Intrigued, I took down the extra gown and examined it. True enough, there were two spare arm holes cut right smack into the front of it. “Science!” I whistled to myself. I was just at the point of thinking that we might be able to use one of these at home, when a couple of quick impulses cooled my ardor.
First, my wife had given up and slung the bulk of her gown off to the side. She had finally located one of the holes, but it was awkwardly situated and she had no success using it to lasso anything useful to a baby. I’m no expert on hospital gowns, but it seems to me that they are difficult to keep on straight.
By the time a woman gets into bed and maneuvers breast and baby onto a collision course, the boob holes (pardon my continued use of technical terms) might as well be arm holes. A baby stands a better chance of finding milk by shoving his head up a sleeve.
Second, the material of the hospital gown seems flimsy and unattractive to me. I think I’ll wait until they start making these chic little outfits in leather.
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