Considering how much time I spend breastfeeding every. single. day. (up to two hours at the mo). It took me by surprise that I only have this one grainy selfie of me mid-feed (representing in my Selfish Mother jumper obvs). And it’s from way back in December.
I dug this out as it’s National Breastfeeding Celebration Week but was surprised and a bit saddened that in my baby’s heavily documented early days we kind of overlooked this huge part in both of our lives. It’s not that I particularly want to see my boobs popping up in my picture feed *too* often, but the joy and struggle of feeding the baby has been very much part of my personal story these last few months. I’d planned to exclusively breastfeed (but I’d planned for a natural birth too – but that’s another story…) and I’m really happy that this is something I’ve (pretty much) been able to keep to.
I’m not a prude about getting my boobs out, but unfortunately it is true that Brits can be just a wee bit awkward about breastfeeding. Something which I must admit puts *me* on edge. And despite having an almost entirely positive experience (so far) there’s often a lurking uncomfortable feeling when I get my baps out to feed the baby that can be hard to ignore. This kind of experience could be part of the reason behind why these surprising statistics recently published show the low and falling numbers of British women who breastfeed with only 0.05% of women breastfeeding after a year (which is the lowest number in the world).
I’m extra proud I’ve been able to carry on through this far – and why not celebrate it?! There’s been days when he hasn’t stopped feeding, I’ve worried about undersupply, I’ve worried about oversupply (and ‘water boarding the baby’ I can’t even…), there have been feeds on the bus/tube/train, sitting on a log in the park in midwinter, many ill-advised feeding in public outfit choices (button up dresses are not your friend), the entire seven series of Gilmore Girls watched during night feeds, nipple slips, nipple blisters, that time when he would only feed from one boob, that time when he’d only feed while I was standing up, frantic hungry feeds, lazy sleepy feeds, two second feeds and that sweet little baby hand patting my face. Good bits, hard bits, very tired nights and special close moments.
I’m very happy and lucky that I’ve been able to breastfeed the baby as I wanted to. Always super proud when people comment on his size (‘I did that with my boobs’). In the last month I’ve begun to introduce food into the tiddler’s diet which is uncovering a whole new set of emotions. Not such a tiny baby any more. I’ve found breastfeeding such a raw emotional and physical experience that I know letting go will be hard. Not yet though, not quite yet.
An aside: I’m planning to rectify this lack of feeding pics and add them on here soon!