Now that I have your attention 😊 …......
‘boobies’ is a word that is said more often than not in our house thanks to breastfeeding. My partner and children are completely at ease and sometimes oblivious to me taking out a boob and feeding a demanding 7-month-old who could smell the milk a mile away.
However, there are people that are not. It is 2019 and breastfeeding still at times feels controversial. Just as formula feeding moms must defend their reason to bottle feed (this is an individual’s choice how to feed their little one and should not have to be explained or validated) Motherhood is an individual job, different for everyone and different for every baby.
A happy & healthy mom & child is all the matters.
Everything else is just background noise.
Lets take a step back to get the bigger picture
Before I begin to talk about my journey on the pursuit of normalizing breastfeeding, I want to provide you with some background. At the tender age of 19 I had my first little boy Sean; I was young , naïve and assumed I knew best . ( what 19 year old doesn’t eh ? ) I remember when he was born, the nurse asked me; bottle or breast? I was so against breastfeeding because I did not understand it, I was not educated enough on it & quite frankly I was never exposed to it.
So, I bottle fed him & it was a decision that suited me best at the time in my life.
Fast forward half a decade later and we give birth to Noah, this time around the nurse didn’t ask me that same question but instead asked me when I was ready to feed him, she would help me get him to latch. This time I was far more comfortable in my own skin, my ability to breastfeed and we successfully breastfed for 14 months. And here I am today 7 months into my second breastfeeding journey. this time the nurse didn't need to ask me anything as i already had the boob ready to be latched. :) This journey is different to my last and below I am going to explain some reasons why:
A trip down memory lane
When I had Noah, I was a what I believed a young confident mom who decided she would give breastfeeding a go . Completely oblivious to what I would encounter .
I remember I was given a present of a breastfeeding shawl so we could be discreet when feeding. I remember getting so anxious when he would get hungry & upset while out of the house. I would panic when he’d cry , instantly start to shhh him and pray he would stop before I would have to feed him.
'Shit not working' , I would frantically start unbuckling him from his buggy , voice at this point would begin to start choking as i'm fighting back tears.
Anxiety taking me hostage.
I could feel my body getting hot as I would struggle to put the shawl over my head. ‘just breath selina , its ok '. I could hear the deafening sound of my heart beating out of my chest, thump , thump as id fumble to get Noah to latch under the shawl.
With each second that would pass, I would find it harder and harder to breathe, no escape, a prison in my own body shackled to my baby.
Breathing becomes a little more difficult , I become a little bit hotter . im ready to pass out , I need to get out . People would begin to glare, mostly women as if what I was doing in public was wrong. Feeding my baby was wrong. I have been subjected to people getting awkward when I start feeding my baby or while in a conversation with someone, they can no longer look at me because I would begin to nurse.
I will never forget that shawl. That shawl, believe it or not, reminds me that breastfeeding is completely normal and natural. Not to be covered up or viewed negatively. The picture the public have derived at is that breastfeeding in public is ‘offensive ‘. It is assumed that moms are ‘trying to show off their boobs’ to the world. Almost as if a woman's breasts pose no other use. The sexualization of the female body and the way it's portrayed in the media continues to make any breastfeeding attempt, especially one in public, difficult.
Lets look at this from another angle
Let’s put ourselves in the baby’s onesie for a sec …
Can you imagine being told that each time you eat it has to be under a shawl?
Or that you have to eat in a bathroom?
Or that you can not simply sit outside and enjoy the breeze on your face or the warmth of the sun on your cheek while you have your lunch ?
I bet you would feel uncomfortable.
Maybe even disappointed that your mom feels that she needs to cover you up or even hide you from the world while she nourishes you at the most vulnerable and important time of your life. We as a society should be normalising breastfeeding, in public, in private, Everywhere. We should empower women each and every day and be accepting of others decisions .
As they are exactly that , others decisions , not our own.
Fast forward to today
At home ,We teach our boys that a woman's body isn't to be judged or shamed, especially when it's doing something it's designed to do. Our two little men are completely comfortable with me feeding their baby brother in front of them & talking about how nourishing breastfeeding is . My view is , teach the child to understand the beauty of breastfeeding so the adult can appreciate it.
I am a different mom to the one I was a mere 2 years ago , hell ever 7 years ago .
Breastfeeding in public associated anxiety ( not sure this is a medical diagnosis , its just what I have decided to call it ) no longer rares its ugly head anymore. If my baby needs feeding , I am a confident bad ass breastfeeding warrior mom able to nourish my baby when and where he needs it . Sometimes that’s in a waiting room or out a walk or even in the aisle of tesco’s while getting a carton of milk. I know longer let the thoughts of others affect our feeding journey . Nowadays the glares , the shifting in seats and comments are very rare .
Society is changing , for the better but we can still do better. We must be better.
A few words of Wisdom
The biggest piece of advice that I can give to any expectant mother is ‘you do you ‘.
Make the decision that best suits you and your family.
I have done it all , formula feeding, combination feeding and breastfeeding and each journey was the right journey for me and my baby at that moment in time. So if you are feeling insecure about your decision , just bring yourself back to your why . W|hy you choose that journey and remember you chose that journey for you and your baby . and everything else is just background noise .
From one mama to another ,