Breastfeeding has once again been hitting the headlines, but not for the right reasons! It began with the Sports Direct issue, where a staff member asked a Breastfeeding mum to leave the store. This story was followed by the subsequent outcry (quite rightly in my opinion) including a number of Breastfeeding sit ins at these stores. Then a few short weeks after, this controversial poster campaign in the States brought it back into the public domain.
It saddens me, that in this day and age where liberalism, democracy is the norm, something as natural as Breastfeeding can still cause such an uproar. Some of the comments that were in these articles were so frustrating especially those condemning all Breastfeeding mums to only be allowed to feed their children at home or away from the public eye. This ignorance is what often drives struggling Breastfeeding mums to either never leave the house or to use alternatives to Breastfeeding. If it’s the mums choice to not Breastfeed then I’m all for it, but if it’s due to concern of “what will people say” then it doesn’t sit well with me.
A little about me, I am the mum of three cheeky, little adventurers who are now aged 5,3 and 1. I have been Breastfeeding for the best part of the last 5 years…. I am currently a stay at home mum (was a solicitor in a former life) and have started my blog where I hope to document our adventures and inspire other families to have fun with their children.
Breastfeeding is hard work, anyone who tells you differently is lying! But perseverance and a little self belief and half the battle is won. Plus the end reward and all the fantastic benefits associated with Breastfeeding makes it worth the effort. Speaking from experience, the first night after having my daughter was THE longest night of my life. The constant need to be fed all night was almost soul destroying…. I was exhausted, frustrated and in pain. I remember weeping at the Breastfeeding advisor the following morning, through my barrage of tears asking if is this what it’s going to be like every night? Why isn’t she full? Am I doing something wrong?! Then you just learn that’s newborn babies for you. It’s their way or um their way!! The first few months are trying as a new mum and being the only source if babies meals can mean that you are pretty zombie like for the first few weeks! It does get better though… It can’t be too bad if I’m still doing it.
But I digress, back to Breastfeeding and the public. I am of South Asian descent and decency and decorum are all the rage. Breastfeeding in front of women, let alone men isn’t the norm. But slowly as women are becoming more confident, things are changing. For me Breastfeeding is all about the mother and her baby. Other people, whether they are strangers or friends and family shouldn’t affect your decision in relation to feeding your child. If the mother wishes to feed their baby in public, I wouldn’t bat an eyelid and the more people who do so, the less attention it will attract. But it should be what the mother feels comfortable with. Such confident Breastfeeding isn’t for everyone, so you should do whatever makes the whole Breastfeeding experience enjoyable for you.
For me personally, discretion was the key. I am from a large family and refused to have myself banished to another room to feed my babies. I bought a nursing cover (more to hide the baby fat then anything else) and as the days passed I was grew more confident. Over the next 5 years, I have fed my babies pretty much everywhere. Think of somewhere… The Petronus towers in Malaysia, in Debenhams, at my daughter’s christmas show, in hospital, during blood tests, by Keswick lake, been there and fed my baby there. In the words of my daughter sing and sign teacher, when you have a small baby and “if in doubt, whup it out!”. That’s our Breastfeeding mantra, especially when they are little. If all else fails, you have one fall back weapon which never ever fails to do the job.
I thought I would share some of My top tips for Breastfeeding:
Learn to text/go on the internet one handed. Breastfeeding can be a very long process and it can be time well utilised. Also helps pass the time as breastfeeding can be quite lonely.
Always sit down with your mobile phone, home phone and tv remote control (also baby monitor if second or subsequent baby) as you know Sod’s law, you will start feeding the baby and one of these things will be needed.
Always have lots of water/drink with you, it can be thirsty work and having it stop a feeding baby to get a drink can be annoying.
Take others advice with a pinch of salt, a big pinch, everyone is a self proclaimed expert on everything baby. Don’t get me wrong, there is good advice out there but what works for someone won’t necessarily work for you.
Ignore people who say Breastfeeding is not enough for your baby. Speak to a professional if you have concerns but simple things like getting your baby weighed can put your mind at ease.
If your worried about feeding in public, do it the first few times in children centres, other places that have the breastfeeding is welcome here signs. It may help calm your nerves, especially if it’s your first baby. Also, it helps the first few times you go out to go with a friend, you may find the company of someone makes it more relaxing for you and you won’t be so self conscious having some one else with you.
Most importantly, do whatever makes the whole experience of Breastfeeding enjoyable, workable and achievable for you and your baby. No one will judge you (well idiotic people will but their views don’t count) so Breastfeed however you feel comfortable!
I hope this helps someone, but if you have any Breastfeeding, traveling with children, days out ideas with family, drop us a line whether a tweet, Facebook message or a comment on the blog! Thanks for reading