This week (24-30 June 2012) is national breastfeeding awareness week. To mark this, I thought I’d share some of my experiences of breastfeeding with you. I’m really aware that a lot of people struggle withbreastfeeding, for one reason or another, and I just have to look through some of my favourite blogs to see how this makes people feel.
I think perhaps there is a huge amount of pressure put on new mums to breastfeed. Certainly, I recall at my 8 week midwife appointment (the disastrous booking appointment I endured in Somerset) being asked what I planned to feed the baby. I responded somewhat facetiously “milk” and that I wouldn’t be giving it any further thought until we at least knew we had a viable foetus. In fact, all the way through pregnancy I attempted to have a relaxed attitude to feeding the baby; that I would attempt breastfeeding, that we would see how it went and if it didn’t work, well, baby would be fine.
With that in mind, this is simply what happened to us. Pip immediately attempted to suckle and she has continued being a good feeder. She has a strong suck, feeding doesn’t take hours and after the first week, has been by and large painless. I am adamant that her feeding will not get in the way of my need to continue living and leaving the house, particularly as I have struggled with baby blues until about 6 weeks. I therefore have been defiant about feeding in public, parties and any other social situation where the options are feed her or she will shout her protests loudly. And be damned if I am going to hide away in a bathroom or other ‘private’ space. Not for me will I feed in a parent room attached to a department store loo, when I can feed her in the cafe and have a cup of tea at the same time.
I realise, however, that not everyone feels like this. I am lucky to have not ever been hugely body conscious, and to have to the casual observer appeared to have lost most of my baby weight. I would say though that the more casually and defiantlyI have approached feeding in public, the easier it has been. The first time, I tried to hide under a scarf thing. It was annoying and irritating and made me really cross. I abandoned it and from then on things are easier. Dressing the part is harder work though, and perhaps a whole post in its own right later this week (if people are interested?).
What I can’t deny is this: I find it far more convenient.Its free, on tap, the right temperature. The downside however is that only I can do it unless I have time and energy to express; that I occasionally when in a bad mood or hungry myself feel I am little more than a cow and that I can’t bear the word ‘tit’ in relation to me.
One last observation. Once Istopped trying to create the perfect setting to feed in, I found it easier in public. Yes, a chair with arms is easier, but it is still possible to feed perched on a high stool, or stood up having a conversation at a party.