Social media is weird. You never know what snapshot of your life will get everyone into a spin.
I posted this picture of Fox and I…
This is us 3 times a day. He is 14 months and still breastfeeds. I am neither proud or ashamed. It just is. He still wants it so he gets it.
I’ve had friends and even family say to me, when are you going to wean?
It actually gives me a little anxiety. I don’t know? I don’t even know what that means? Do I go cold turkey, drop one a day? Take a 2 week holiday away from Fox (I would die from separation anxiety) so my milk dries up and hope he forgets.
I can’t even fathom “weaning” at this point so why bother? We are both happy and he is super healthy.
I am going to be honest. I kinda did judge mums that fed their children that were walking or talking. Society had skewed my perception that breastfeeding was just for little babies. I had thought I was going to stop feeding at 6 months. But we were both thriving so why would I stop?
Loads of people have asked me questions about breast feeding; some were technical about latching and feed times etc. I am just a mum not a lactation specialist but Pinky Mckay is, she is an awesome consultant who has books and online resources if you need them.
So most of you wanted to know a bit about how I started, how I managed pumping, if it was hard and if it caused much pain.
I want to start by saying I watched the most incredible video at the she births work shop that showed baby led attachment. It was a 20 minute old newborn on the chest of its mum bobbing its head up and down making its way to the breast naturally. Here’s a youtube video showing a compilation but you will get the idea from the first part. I wanted that experience more than anything in the world. I told my birthing team that when Fox was born I didn’t want anyone touching him. I wanted to have him on me and I wanted to experience this little miracle without any nurses interfering. I wanted my baby and my body to do what was natural.
I waited and waited and then he did it. His little head bobbed unsteadily around and he nuzzled onto my nipple and latched and sucked. It was one of the most incredible moments of my life.
So in saying that I know people are hating me through their screens. I know it’s not easy for so many. I watched my best friend in agony, nipples shredded trying for up to 6 weeks to feed her baby. Many tears from her and her child meant it just wasn’t going to happen. I have seen first hand how hard it can be for women. And the guilt that accompanies that is so unfair and can really be a struggle for some women.
So I was lucky. I was determined. I fed and fed and fed, my boobs blew up to the size of my head, the pressure was crazy , but I massaged them every day in the shower and was lucky to not experience mastitis. I used ice body women packs to get rid of the swelling and the nursicare pads to help my nipples when they were sore.
I was a lucky one. I didn’t have issues with feeding, I did start work early and needed to pump. This was a hassle but necessary if I wanted to continue to feed. I didn’t care if it took 45 minutes or if it made people uncomfortable I just did it for my baby. I even had to rush from one job to the next and attached my pump with this great pumping bra and would pump and drive!
I got really good at doing it. I just hated washing all the pieces. So now I don’t need a pump. I feed 3 times a day and can even skip a feed so I can go to lunch. I supplement his feeds with a top up bottle of formula before bed so he is extra full. A full baby is a sleepy baby. That’s a great tip too. Start them on a bottle even if its your milk from as early as 4 weeks so they will take a bottle and you aren’t trapped.
It is a sacrifice. You need to be physically around a lot. But I am ok with that. It’s short term and I love it.
I have never had anyone say anything to me in public. But I have had people stare as I don’t cover up. And I shouldn’t have to. Nor should I have to feed in a toilet. I have an attitude that if you have a problem that’s your problem! My baby needs to eat and has a right to just as much as you or I.
This piece was originally posted on ZoeMarshall.com and has been reprinted here with permission.