Breastfeeding · Feminism · Literature · Music

Celebrating boobs

National Breastfeeding Celebration Week (NBCW) 2017 started on 26th June in England, with the theme of breastfeeding support. During the week, mums have been sharing pictures of their ‘breastfeeding friends’, that is the people (partners, parents, friends, relatives, midwives, doctors, lactation consultants, health visitors, fellow mums, random kind strangers!) that supported them during their breastfeeding journeys with the hashtags: #bffriend17 and #celebratebreastfeeding 

As one might be able to tell, this is a topic very close to my heart. I remember how, long before I even started considering having a baby, any news item about people opposing breastfeeding in public used to make my blood boil. In the UK, with its shocking breastfeeding rates, one third of women feel embarrassed breastfeeding in public. I plan to write a much longer post about it soon, a post I’ve been writing in my mind for a very long time, possibly since the Little One first latched on my boob.

For now I’ll just post Jake Dypka x Hollie McNish‘s ‘Embarrassed’. I saw it for the first time when I was watching Noemi Weis’s film ‘Milk’. The first time brought tears to my eyes. Then I had to rewind the film and watch it again, and again. It encompassed all those feelings and all those fleeting thoughts I had during endless sleepless nights and awkward daytime outings, between burping muslin squares and hasted bra re-adjustments, heated discussions about nursing in public, feminism and capitalism and class struggle and the redefinition of public space. But anything I’ll ever write will never be as beautiful as this poem. I’ll never be able to post it enough. Happy NBCW — Go out and #celebratebreastfeeding x

Breastfeeding · Fashion & style · Feminism · Parenting · Shopping

10+1 things I wish I could have said to myself when I was 3 months pregnant

1.
I understand you are a textbook introvert and not the most maternal person in the world but those random women that smile at you and want to chat about your pregnancy on the bus usually mean well. You might perceive it as an intrusion but it’s just that you remind them of themselves when they went through the same thing. You’re a trigger of happy memories. So please try not to be a dick. Apart from the ones that try to give you any kind of unsolicited advice. Those ones just ignore.

2.
Yes, there are a lot of parents out there who can barely make ends meets and are on a tight budget. Yes, there’s a lot of useless crap the maternity industry will try to sell you. But this doesn’t mean that if you have some spare cash you should, like, spend it sensibly. You wake up a dozen times at night to pee, your back is killing you, and you’re already done with your male white middle aged colleagues’ pregnancy-themed sexist microagressions jokes every single time you venture to the kitchen for a cup of decaf tea that smells like an old ashtray. Don’t you think you deserve a treat? Please don’t buy those cheapo babygrows from Mothercare just because those blogs you read convinced you you shouldn’t overspend on the baby. Yes, the baby might only wear that babygrow twice but those hundred photos you took in the space of an hour with her in it looking uber cute will stay forever. TL;DR: HELL YEAH BABY BODEN.

3.
Despite what people might advise you, it’s ok to splurge on a buggy (if you can afford it). You’ll see it in front of you (literally) all the time for years. Don’t get one you hate the look of.

4.
You don’t need to buy a cot. In other words, you don’t need to buy into the westernised concept of babies sleeping alone in their own room. Even though you do not intend to right now, you will end up bedsharing, and you will [all] love it.

5.
I know you think you’re different. You won’t be a victim of marketing because you’ll be one of those cool pregnant women you see dancing at summer festivals in edgy clothes and flower hairbands, organic mocktail in hand. You don’t intend to buy ‘any special clothes’ as you believe you’ll get away with only a bunch of vintage numbers in large size from your local Traid and Oxfam. Nope. Every pregnancy is different but, in your case, after month 5 you’ll just need proper pregnancy clothes. I can’t quite explain how, but you will. Please don’t be miserable about it all. Just embrace it and start looking for some nice pregnancy outfits. And if you’re really really lucky, you might even find tops in patterns other than breton or polka dots, and dresses that don’t make you look like a Stepford housewife.

6.
Actually, just go out and spend a fortune in COS, they will do until about month 8. These are the only clothes you’ll continue wearing for a long time post-pregnancy because a) they’ll fit, b) you’ll still like them.

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7.
Ensure that some of the maternity clothing you buy also allows for nursing. You might have missed your plaid shirt but this means that the baby will have to wait for you to unbutton it every single time. Don’t test her patience.

8.
Speaking of breastfeeding, there’s a lot you can do to prepare for it. Do your research. I don’t mean spending hours studying a confusing diagram of the cradle-double-football-effing-cricket hold. You’ll only be able to figure this out when the baby arrives. For now, sort out a supply of boxsets and novels to keep yourself entertained during the upcoming marathon feeds. Give explicit guidance to BF for the frequency with which he needs to provide healthy snacks and water. Make a list of easy recipes and/or takeaway links. Inform everyone you know you’re off on your post-natal babymoon and switch off your phone for at least the first 3 months of your baby’s life.

9.
You may not quite know it yet, but you will truly like this baby.

10.
Stand in front of the mirror for a few minutes every day and practise a polite thanks-but-no-thanks smile for all the crap well-meaning and not so well-meaning advice you’re bound to receive. Right now you might think you are ‘not into babies’ and know fuck all about them but stick to your guts. As they say, you are the only real expert in your baby.

11.
Did I mention COS?

 

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Breastfeeding · Feminism · Parenting · Politics

7 people who won’t have a say on when we will stop breastfeeding

1.
My (otherwise lovely) friend and work colleague, who begged me to say that I won’t be ‘one of those Hackney / hippie / f****** creepy women’ who breastfeed their children once they start walking and talking, completely ignoring the potential health benefits of extended breastfeeding.

2.
Our (otherwise lovely) friend, who equates breastfeeding a toddler with being an off-grid, homeschooling, anti-vaxxer, attachment parenting extremist.

3.
My Mum, who helped me immensely with latch and sleep and everything else when the Little One was a newborn, but is now looking after the Little One in the daytime, and sometimes gets frustrated because the Little One won’t eat her pureed sweet potato, broccoli and spinach (between me and you, I wouldn’t either) and go for a breastfeed (or expressed milk bottle if I’m away at a work meeting) instead.

4.
My (otherwise lovely) Father-in-Law, who is very supportive of breastfeeding as it’s something natural as long as we are not ‘one of those people’ who go to extremes and breastfeed their 5-year-old.

5.
The (otherwise lovely) friendly mum I met at the local children’s centre, who asked me ‘how long I was planning to go on for’.

6.
The (seemingly lovely) headmaster whose nursery we visited last week, who kept talking about the importance of knowing the quantity of formula feeds, schedules, routines and regular nap times for 1-year-olds (guess who sent the application form straight into the recycling bin).

7.
My (almost always lovely) BF, well, because he’s been hugely supportive of me breastfeeding and, as long as we make informed decisions about the Little One’s health, I don’t think he gives a toss really.

Because the only person that gets a say in this is the Little One. She has been very assertive when it comes to her needs since she was born so I am sure she will let me know when the time comes. 🙂

Craig-7_ddw8fw

Image credits: May Burke

PS1 I remember coming across this article a little before or after we had the Little One (it’s all a blur now). I remember finding those photos weird the first time round. But like one of these music records that takes a few listens before it starts growing on you, I came to appreciate their beauty. Maybe that will be me and Little One one day. But only if she fancies it.

PS2 Starting writing this when the Little One fell asleep, finished writing while breastfeeding to sleep. 🙂

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