The pre-mum me could never have imagined that she would have kids young and she would’ve spat out her soy latte whilst choking on her gluten-free granola, if she’d seen the future of her breastfeeding… let alone breastfeeding live on national television.
Ok so here goes… I wasn’t born an earth mother, I was born into plastic fantastic city life and I thought I was a career girl who was going to change the world.
Until I got pregnant.
“If I breastfeed my baby, I’d only do it in the car or on my own at home.” Those were the words I uttered when I was up the duff for the first time.
Part of this preparation, or so I thought, was using my government-given milk and vegetable vouchers to stock up on formula milk. As well as purchasing a sterilizer, disposable nappies and bottles.
But as the story goes, when my first child arrived, there was nothing that felt more natural than to breastfeed her.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a case of my baby popping out and, my newborn lovingly latching on to my boob.
It took perseverance and, us both learning how best to latch.
I also had lots of help from breastfeeding peer support volunteers.
Nonetheless, it felt weird that my boobs which had been tied up in society’s belief that women’s breasts are just there to look good, were now beautifully functional and had a huge purpose.
Within weeks I became a breastfeeding advocate and I was bowled over by how much easier it had become.
But I still would only feed in private or completely covered up.
I wouldn’t like to eat my dinner with a blanket on my head, would you?
As the weeks passed by in a milky sleepy haze, I started to become more comfortable feeding my bearn in front of other people.
And I began feeding uncovered as my baby would tug the blanket covering her. (Wouldn’t you? You’re there trying to eat and your mum keeps covering you up so you can’t see anything!)
I went to breastfeeding groups where we could moan and drink coffee all whilst openly lactating.
I was settling into this whole mum-thing although I still would’nt have predicted that almost five years down the line I’d still be breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding isn’t the norm so people can’t comprehend breastfeeding an “older baby”
The older my child got the more often I would get people saying: “So when you stopping?”
“Give her some cow’s milk.”
“She needs a bottle.”
But I carried on boobing. Why?
Because it nourishes, it soothes, it bonds, it’s free and most of all it’s natural.
Although, society (including health professionals) dismissed it as “freakish.”
I was expected to steal another mammal’s milk because cow’s milk is the “norm.”
But what about the calves?
Talking about cows and how they feed, they are masters of tandem feeding. But again, if a human tandem feeds their kids it’s… “messed up.”
Within a day of giving birth to my second child, I found myself awkwardly trying to shove one boob into my newborn’s gob and the other boob into my 3-year-old’s gob.
Yes, ladies and gentleman I found myself “tandem feeding.”
I hadn’t planned for my boobs to become like telescopes but it kinda worked for us.
I say “kinda” because it was far from a smooth transition, with both of my daughters cradled in my arms, oh no, instead they’d both be doing acrobatics and sometimes fighting each other whilst they fed.
“But why? How?!”
It’s simples. I’ve two breasts and two babies that need feeding.
The second time around, I’d lost any feeding inhibitions, I had become an alumni of the breastfeeding academy and I’d stopped (mostly) caring what people think.
Boobing anywhere and everywhere
So it was only natural that I went full throttle and breastfed on national TV!
I’d been asked on to BBC Two’s Victoria Derbyshire Show to talk about how our family had overcome fussy eating habits, following research that indicated a lot of fussy eating is in the genes.
But my youngest daughter, aged 22 months, aka my side kick, had come with me.
And of course as the cameras turned to me… she pulled out my boob to get some milk.
Nobody in the TV studio blinked an eyelid either.
So the odds are great.
To watch the clip of the show on fussy eating, go to:
https://www.facebook.com/MamaMeiBlog/videos/1806065709607481/ There’s a link to iplayer too.