As a breastfeeding mum I am very passionate about breastfeeding, I wouldn't say I am a 'Lactivist' or 'Campaigner' just a normal breastfeeding mummy. I believe it is up to the mother to choose the right way for them as a family, whether that be breast or formula. There are so many circumstances that don't allow a woman to breastfeed or she may not want to go down that road at all. I myself was not breastfed as my mum didn't feel she wanted to, I on the other hand knew I wanted to breastfeed Dexter as soon as I fell pregnant. This post is to merely highlight the fact that breastfeeding should be encouraged and normalised once again, after all a mother feeding her baby this way is how nature intended.
I have always been body conscious as I imagine most people have at some point in their lives and I thought I would have an issue with breastfeeding, particularly in public. I was surprised at how normal it felt to breastfeed when Dexter was born - I remember on his initial feed feeling a sense of accomplishment and a closeness that I don't ever remember feeling with anybody. Those initial bonding moments I will remember for as long as I live. This moment could quite easily have been spoilt with the lack of support that was offered from the midwives at the hospital. Although my care up until Dexter was born was faultless I must say afterwards it was very poor indeed. He was handed to me, a midwife grabbed my boob and rammed it in his mouth - that was it. There was one midwife on the ward that wanted to make sure he was latching properly before we left on day two, but apart from that I was left to my own devices until we got home. The midwife that had been looking after me during the pregnancy to be fair did give me a few pointers but that was one visit.
The first few days were awful and as any new breastfeeding mum will tell you it is hard and not the natural experience you read about. I'd say the first 10 days are the hardest while you are waiting for your milk to come in, you can experience tenderness, cracked and even bleeding nipples not to mention the tiredness from "on demand" feeding. I was very lucky in that my milk came in on day three but I did have really sore nipples that thankfully were saved by Lansinoh HPA Lanolin Cream - this will become your new best friend! I'll admit I had thought about giving up, I don't think I would be human if the thought didn't cross my mind but the support from my husband was amazing, he truly is my rock. People around me kept reassuring me it was ok to quit but that's not what I wanted to hear. Should you really say that to someone who wants to carry on but is finding it difficult? I think you should encourage and be supportive.
I breastfed Dexter for 27 months and have every intention of breastfeeding number two. I had to overcome so many barriers that just shouldn't be there. when feeding Dex, I hope it is easier with little miss. I mentioned earlier that I have always had body issues and felt uncomfortable in my own skin, however when it came to feeding my son I had no issue at all in showing some flesh. This made a few of my friends and my dad uncomfortable, something which I don't want to happen. It did get better and they've had to accept that I'm going to be feeding my children in front of them whether they like it or not. A number of friends have tried breastfeeding and have given up, not because they wanted to but because they didn't have the support they needed to help them through the tough times. I am by no means an expert but I can offer an insight into my own experiences. If I can help one person that wants to carry on breastfeeding but is finding it too hard and they want to give up then I have succeeded. I have already opened the eyes of some friends to the benefits of breastfeeding and how normal it is. I think by being able to go out for lunch, shopping trips and strolls and feeding in public with such confidence I have shown there's nothing wrong with it - It's not a taboo subject. It should not be hidden and a baby should be able to feed from its mother the way nature intended.
Have you had any issues whilst breastfeeding in public? I'd love to hear your stories or if you would like to share your story on my blog please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org