The modern dad has a whole new reason to be thankful for pajamas.
The chances are that you almost certainly do not remember your first pair of pyjamas. Perhaps subsequent pairs, adorned with your favourite cartoon character or superhero, ignite a spark in your memory, but this is undoubtedly not the case with your very first set. It is most likely that your parents or grandparents purchased your first pyjamas and dressed you in them without you ever realising it. In all probability, you were not overly concerned at the time about the difference between sleeping attire and any other garments your parents saw fit to dress you in, let alone the pattern or character printed on them.
As I took the first steps towards manhood and started making my own way in the world, I began to make decisions based on my own thoughts and virtues. Concerning my sleeping outfit, this meant a downshift from the pyjamas my mother had bought me to boxer shorts. This choice remained nearly constant throughout my teenage and early adult years.
As a single bloke, if you were like me, you rarely wore pyjamas, and you viewed this attire as something your father or grandfather would wear during some hard-earned shut-eye, but you would not entertain the idea of wearing them yourself unless absolutely necessary. This belief probably held true even more firmly when you and your partner cohabited. Living together with a partner and sharing a bed, you were never likely to feel the need to don pyjamas except, perhaps, if a severe bout of the flu took hold. Therefore, you are now entirely unprepared for one of the fundamental requirements of bottle-feeding, should you and your loved one opt to do so with your new infant.
The problem began with your lack of attention at the hospital when the polite midwife explained the feeding requirements of your impending offspring—roughly, a feed every three hours with, unfortunately, no breaks for sleep. The same carelessness on your part applied during the antenatal classes you attended, where this minor detail got lost amid the group joviality and quickly departed the discussion, as the topic of conversation moved swiftly along. It is almost as if a primeval notion inside your head had already trained your ear to hear but not to listen to such instructions. For planted deep in the male psyche is the notion that it will be the mother who will be feeding the crying tot when the sounds of hunger fill the room, and not the all-macho father.
The problem occurs not because you ignore the advice given to you so diligently on numerous occasions, but rather due to your adherence to a perceived role of men, and in particular husbands and fathers, in the modern world. It is for this reason that you find yourself offering assistance whenever possible and are obliging to any request. This means that there comes a time in the middle of the night when, against your better judgement that you would never leave your warm bed for anything other than sport or alcohol, you offer to make a bottle or two.
Now, there is a perfectly good reason why God gave women milk glands and another why the milk they excrete is warm. If you are thinking ahead, then I imagine you are following me now on this one. Your house is a nice, cosy, warm place that you have generally arranged to meet all your needs. This includes the process of keeping it warm. As you soon discover to your peril, keeping your house warm applies most of the time, but not all hours of the day and night. At some uncivilised hour, your tired wife, fresh from the labours of childbirth, will gently tap you on your shoulder and awaken you from your comatose state of dreamland to ask you to fetch a bottle. Once you have left the confines of the comfortable bed, the realisation suddenly dawns on you that the house is not quite so warm. As if by magic, the house also manages to become a little bit colder with every step you take as you edge closer to the kitchen, ready to prepare a bottle.
To add to the woes of the cold chill that has already overcome your body is the realisation that you have to stand and wait for the kettle to boil, because, of course, your baby only has an appetite for warm milk and will stubbornly refuse to consume anything cold. You can now clearly see the necessity for a fine pair of pyjamas to sleep in, complete with patterns of your boyhood superhero. So it will come to pass that the next time you pull yourself out from under your warm, snug duvet at some ungodly hour you, dressed in a pair of your father’s finest, are now not quite so cold whilst waiting for the kettle to boil.