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Breastfeeding

As a breastfeeding peer supporter, the question “Which breastpump?” comes up fairly often. I usually try to find out a bit more about why a mother is thinking of pumping (sometimes she doesn’t actually need or want to). If this question is posed to a group, brand suggestions get thrown around and people get surprisingly passionate in defence of their milk machines. I suppose the more time you’ve spent with your pump, the more likely you are to form an emotional attachment of some sort. But is it just a

The Big Bristol Breastfeed. How’s that for a nice, strong, alliterative name? This Saturday (7th September 2013) a whole load of breastfeeding mothers, peer supporters, counsellors and their families are heading over to College Green in Bristol to celebrate breastfeeding together. To together celebrate breastfeeding, I mean. Though some of us probably will be breastfeeding, together. Probably not me as it doesn’t happen much anymore *trembly lip*. Truth be told, I’m not 100 per cent sure I can make it since it’s our anniversary weekend and the timing might conflict

When I wrote about breastfeeding through the first trimester, I kind of thought it might eventually be followed by second and third trimester sequels – or at least the former. I guess I knew that chances were Talitha would wean before the new baby comes. At 26 months, she’s that bit older and her need to breastfeed is not as strong as it was. It doesn’t outbalance her distaste for the changes pregnancy has brought. So, it looks like we’re weaning. I’ve been totally cool with the prospect of continuing.

I’m not sure how we got on to the topic but at some point in the midwife’s office, I mentioned that I was still breastfeeding. I didn’t look at faces for visible reactions because I was already clear on what I thought of the matter and slightly anticipated some ill-concealed negativity. I needn’t have worried. Without missing a beat, the midwife congratulated me, “Good for you!” and sounded genuine. She even offered to hand out leaflets for the breastfeeding group I’m a peer supporter at when I mentioned it. It’s

My darling, you are two and still breastfed – the child I prayed to God I’d manage to nurse for six dear months, never sure we’d make it. Your long, lean limbs sprawl out, growing surer. Your body, mind and voice are strong. I look at you and admire your growing independence, always ready with a “No” and surprisingly fast when you run away. Every day you do one hundred things I’d never imagine doing, such is your creativity, your confidence, your separateness from me. So when you come to

The first time I breastfed Talitha in public she was days old. We were at Cribbs Causeway, a large shopping centre in Bristol. Somehow Talitha and I had got separated from both Laurence and my parents. I was on my own in Boots when she started crying in her pram. I felt as helpless as she seemed. I awkwardly manoeuvred my way out of the store. Flustered, I didn’t think to find a feeding room. I just found a bench. Careful that no one saw anything I breastfed her. Two

It started happening around six months, the weaning from the breast. It started with comments like: “I don’t know how you can keep doing that” and “Haven’t you had enough?” There were phrases that practically echoed formula ads and that skewed NHS guidelines. I suppose it started earlier. In the past year only 47.2 per cent of women were found still breastfeeding when their babies were six to eight weeks old. And yes there may be a cultural aversion to breastfeeding, depending on where they live, but I’m sure many

I had a love-hate relationship with the phrase “This too shall pass” when I was doing the new baby thing with Talitha. Sometimes it was my mantra. I would declare it and draw great strength from it. We would live to see another day. She would not be thirteen and waking me up hourly (or, I really hope she won’t be!). All these biologically normal newborn things that did not fit with my industrialised, isolated lifestyle would settle down, would be survived. Other times, a more experienced mother would tell

I went to a breastfeeding conference on Saturday. It was absolutely the last thing I felt like after a week of moving house and just before second birthday celebrations but oh how I’m glad I went. I’ve come away re-inspired and challenged. It’s made me love women more. Actually it’s made me love men and children too. Perhaps I’m still awash in all that oxytocin from the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers (ABM) Conference. Baby led feeding First, we got to hear from Gill Rapley, the Baby Led Weaning champion. My

While I was breastfeeding 22-month-old Talitha to sleep last night, she lifted my other breast and offered it to me. Without unlatching, her expressive brows said: “Mummy, you have some.” Of course, I was – shall we say – less than keen. I explained to her that this was something she didn’t have to share. She has a real thing at the moment about making sure “Talitha has one and mummy has one” of anything she’s enjoying. So, while it was killing that she wanted me to have a suckle

I cleared the last couple of baby bottles out of my kitchen cupboard today. My supplemental nursing system (SNS) went to the breastfeeding group some weeks ago as a demo aid for mothers struggling with milk production. These pieces of kit powerfully remind me that I cannot claim to have exclusively breastfed my daughter. Big deal, you might say, especially since I’m still breastfeeding her now at 22 months. How dare I feel any regret when so many don’t manage to breastfeed at all? Well, OK. I’m being real here.

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