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December 2006
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February 2007

I'll Breastfeed in Public if My Baby Needs Fed - So Get Over It!

I was chatting with a friend at the school gates this morning and we got around to discussing breastfeeding in public. Now this is one that will go on forever but it still shocks me just how blatantly unreasonable some womens opinions are.

My friend was debating the issue with a relation who had difficulty accepting her choice to breastfeed in the first place - but when the issue of breastfeeding in public came up, oh boy, what a response. When my friend pointed out that it was entirely natural to breastfeed her baby in public when he was hungry her relations response was, "Well so is sex natural, but you don't see people having sex in cafes..."

I couldn't help but laugh at the way people always equate breastfeeding in public to having sex in public! There is no comparison!

Yes, sex is natural and necessary for procreation but the majority of us don't attempt to procreate in public. There is a time and a place for sex and we don't suffer physical pain if we can't do it wherever we happen to be!

Breastfeeding in public, on the other hand, is necessary.

If your baby is hungry, he needs to be fed and so be it if that means breastfeeding in a public place. It is absolutely necessary - no mother would happily let her baby scream with hunger pains simply because some uneducated people deem it indecent to breastfeed in public. If you don't like it, don't look.

And don't voice your unacceptable opinions to a mother who is giving her baby the best possible nourishment.

And whatever you do, do not suggest she feed her baby formula when she's out. Why should she? If a mum has made a choice breastfeed her baby then it is not something she needs to debate or justify to anyone.

Breastfeeding mothers and babies have every right to breastfeed in public. So get over it!!

Mother and Child Breastfeeding

Mother and Child My husband has always been very interested in art and in fact, as a teenager, studied A level Art. As a result he likes to purchase works by local artists realising that many artists have to struggle to make a living from their creativity. And having an eye for what makes good art helps him with his choices!

Just a couple of nights ago, for obvious reasons, he asked me to have a look at this wonderful life-size sculpture of a breastfeeding mother and child.

The artist, Dublin born Paddy Campbell, has simply entitled this striking piece of work, "Mother and Child".

Now, priced at £19,ooo or €28,264, it is well beyond our means, but I couldn't help but ponder on what a talking point such a statue would be if placed as a centre-piece in our living room!

But never mind the living room, wouldn't this be a fabulous piece of art to grace any shopping centre or hotel wishing to boost its breastfeeding friendly status?

I was struck by the absolute tenderness conveyed in the mother's posture, gaze and the gentle placing of her hand on her baby's head. The obvious love the mother feels for her baby, that breastfeeding bond, is stunningly portrayed; her nakedness serving to emphasise the connection between mother and child. Her sense of awe and wonder is almost palpable and reminds me of how I felt in the first moments of breastfeeding each of my own little newborns!

I really hope whoever purchases Mother and Child buys it because they feel a real connection to it; and I would love to see it situated in a prominent place where passers-by can acknowledge and respect the special bond shared between a breastfeeding mother and her baby.

The First Cut...

The First Cut! Our little girl, Sarah, aged three, cut her brother's hair this evening!

I was working on the computer and Stan was upstairs in his office. I soon realised the house had gone very quiet which is never a good sign when you have three children. Now I knew Tara was fine as she was in the living room lying on the sofa. And I knew Jack and Sarah were upstairs playing in the girls' bedroom but it was the silence that was the worry!

Then Stan appeared with the announcement that the scissors, in Sarah's words, had done "a magic snip"!

Well, my immediate panic was whose hair he was holding in his hand as both children have identical hair colouring. And my next thought was where in the name of goodness had she found scissors! Next I hoped it wasn't her own hair she had cut as I had just had her at the hairdressers on Wednesday and her hair was looking particularly lovely since. But somewhat thankfully, she had cut Jack's hair and at least baby boys can get off with short hair. She is such a girly girl that I knew it would be awful for her if she ended up with short hair as it's not very Bratz at the moment! And with the influence of a big sister she is very much into Bratz right now!

Anyhow, I suppose it must be one of those abiding childhood experiences that many parents endure; I can clearly recall chopping off every single one of my own little sister's curls when I was around the same age, before turning the scissors on myself!

At least Stan caught the children in time... My poor mum came down to find a bucket full of pretty curls and two baldied daughters. So it certainly could have been worse!

Beware the Bookstore Buddhist!

I overheard the strangest conversation in my local bookstore yesterday. After suffering yet another sleepless night with Jack, the never-satisfied breastfed boy, I had decided to take Stan and the children out for lunch and then for a browse around the bookshop. And guess who slept soundly throughout!!

Anyway, as I flicked through some photography books I heard a man nearby announce in a loud voice for all to hear, "Oh, I'm a Buddhist." A lady's voice then replied excitedly, "Are you really? Oh how interesting!" and the two of them got into animated conversation.

Now, I didn't pass much heed until I was standing waiting to pay for my books at the counter. But, as seconds turned to minutes and no-one made any appearance to serve me, I looked around and quickly realised that the man in conversation was supposed to be behind the counter.

Naturally handsome and dressed in expensive but casual clothes, at that point he was busy inviting the girl to allow him to look deeply into her eyes for some reason -and for some reason she obliged! Then he asked her if she was aware of the meaning of the word tantric!

By now I was having trouble controlling the urge to suggest he look into my eyes and say the words ,"That'll be £27.99, please." as the children were beginning to wander off and I felt uncomfortable calling them back in such a quiet shop! (It would be like shouting in a library!)

Eventually, I heard him say he would have to serve the customer (me) - and promptly proceeded to shout to another shop assistant (who just happened to appear) to take my payment as he stated to his new friend that he was due a lunch break and would like to continue discussing the meaning of Buddhism over coffee!

He then took off out the door like his heels were on fire, leaving the other assistant looking slightly cross - as if it wasn't the first time he had done a runner with a potential cutomer!

Now I confess I know very little about Buddhism. However, although obviously not all Buddhists are monks, my impression of Buddhists has always been one of monks praying, dressed in flowing robes and with their heads shaved. I was always under the impression it was a very pure, simple and peaceful religion with personal spiritual development at its core.

But none of this applied to the Buddhist in the bookstore! From what I witnessed he was well practised in using his beliefs to get the girl and I really don't think personal spiritual development was the reason why he ran off to have coffee with her at 2pm in the afternoon. After all, don't Buddhists refrain from meals after noon? And don't they also refrain from drugs - but maybe decaff was what my Buddhist was after!

However, having heard quite a few chat up lines in my time, I feel this "Buddhist" certainly had his off to a fine art!

I wonder did it work out for him - and I wonder who his next victim will be! Beware the Bookstore Buddhist is my advice...

At Long Last - An Underwired Breastfeeding Bra!


Anita Maternity Microfibre Underwired Nursing Bra 
Yay! It looks like one of my prayers has been answered. During a recent breastfeeding carnival I mentioned that I would love a nursing bra that was underwired. Well... today I discovered here that Condessa is just about to launch their new collection of nursing bras that offer underwired support.

And I've also discovered that it's not just Condessa who now offer underwired nursing bras. I have found a wonderful collection of them at Figleaves! Which makes me wonder when this all happened; I searched high and low during both my first and second breastfeeding experiences and no-one could tell me where to get such a thing. So I didn't really bother much this time around as I just believed I would end up disappointed. Typical really - as soon as I stopped looking they started to become available!

Now all that remains is for me to join the queue and get the chance to try one out! Form an orderly line, ladies!

My Dental Phobia!

I've just returned from the dentist! I had to get a filling replaced.

Now, in the past I just used to accept that dental appointments were a necessary evil, something that had to be done every six months or so. I went, sat in the waitng room, worried a little, got my teeth seen to, returned home and that was the end of it until next time.

Now it's very different...

I spent the whole day yesterday fretting about it and this morning I was visibly shaking as the time approached to leave the house. My foot was tapping violently in the waiting room and when my name was called and I made my way funerally upstairs to his room, I almost lost my footing on the stairs - and I sort of wished I had as no doubt if I had fallen down I wouldn't have had to go through with the treatment!

Now, my dentist is a lovely man and he always tries to put me at ease. He usually has some music playing in the background and indulges in some lively banter with his nurse during the treatment. So really there is no reason why I am so scared.

Usually my dentist doesn't even ask if I require some gas; it's always glaringly obvious! But today he overlooked it momentarily! Now I don't get the knocked- out sort of gas, just some light stuff that takes the edge off the fear. But you can only imagine my terror when he asked me to open my mouth and I saw his hand approaching my mouth with a full syringe. So I did something I have never done before. I spontaneously, albeit gently, pushed his hand aside and exclaimed, "Oh Noooo, I need the gas!"

Well, he burst out laughing, apologised and got me the gas! But, as I sat there deeply inhaling and trembling all over, I began to think about when I became so frightened of the dentist.

And it hit me... it's only since undergoing a particularly traumatic childbirth with Jack that my phobia has dramatically increased. Although I had gas and air and pethidine, the fact that I still felt so much pain makes me realise that the likelihood of feeling some pain at the dentist is quite real.

What I really need is to be knocked out cold for about 24 hours prior to a visit and for the time it takes to administer the pain-relieving injection!

But somehow I don't think any dentist will agree to that, no matter how jovial he is!

Right now I am fully recovered, although a bit numb still and I'll forget all about it and get on with my life - until my next appointment in April, when another filling has to be replaced...

The Breastfeeding Bond

My Breastfeeding Baby I've just read the loveliest description of the bond between a nursing mother and her baby by Jennifer over at The Lactivist Breastfeeding Blog.

It's well documented how breastfeeding helps mothers bond more quickly with their babies but I think Jennifer has it spot on when she explains what this really means. It's not that formula feeding mothers don't bond with their babies, but the intensity of the breastfeeding bond is something so special that breastfeeding mothers can't help but want all mums to feel it too!

It's the innocence, the beauty, the tenderness, the contentment shared between a nursing mother and her baby that make the breastfeeding bond so special. Check out Jennifer's post and you'll get it!

The Bug Sticks Around for a Little Longer!

It just gets worse!

After making an emergency appointment with our GP and bringing Jack in to see her, she gave him a good check over and decided he was safe to bring back home. Although he was still vomiting, her advice to give him flat cola and to cut out dairy foods and stick to a very plain diet appeared to be working. Yesterday he was fine, although very clingy and breastfeeding more than ever - the GP advised me to cut out a few breastfeeds as he was vomiting so much but stressed that the usual advice is to continue with breastfeeding since breastmilk is very light and doesn't lie in the child's tummy for long.

(By the way, just whilst I am on the topic of breastmilk, Tanya over at the Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog posted today about some daycare centres charging extra to feed babies in their care with breastmilk. She's looking for your comments and stories - so do please check it out!)

Well, all went really well until last night. But Jack wasn't the problen - it was Sarah! She woke up crying at around 10pm after having been sick all over herself and her bed...

What a night we went through. Between Jack breastfeeding off me all night and Sarah vomiting every couple of hours, no-one got much sleep! Plus I felt so guilty that whereas when Jack was sick I was able to breastfeed him, Sarah, at 31/2 was weaned at 16 months so I didn't dare offer her breastmilk!

Anyway, we just about made it through the night...

And, when morning eventually arrived, I sat Sarah on the sofa and went to make myself some breakfast. I didn't fancy watching kids tv in the living room and I deliberately avoided sitting beside Jack at the kitchen table as he was attempting to feed himself cereal; I knew if I went anywhere near him he would skip the cereal and go straight for another breastfeed!

So wearily I plonked myself on the kitchen floor... whereupon Jack disembarked from his chair, toddled over to me and promptly threw up all over himself, the floor, me my hair and even into my glass of orange juice!!! AAARGH. I'm not sure how much more of this I can take.

I also strongly suspect Tara will be next. And hard as it is coping with two sick children, I dread to think how it will be caring for three!!! Every time the phone rang today  I was sure it would be her school to tell us to come and collect her. The sooner this tummy bug moves on the better, for everyone concerned!

Feeding a Breastfeeding Mother!

Well, it looks like I spoke too soon. Jack is still very ill and has been up vomiting again all night. His nappies are dreadful and he has also gone very quiet and pale again. I don't really know what to do though, as he has no temperature and doesn't appear to be uncomfortable.

At the moment he is sleeping soundly in his pram beside me but if he doesn't pick up when he wakens I think I'll take him to the GP - just in case... I do think it's probably just a bad virus, as the doctors in the hospital doctors suggested, but it doesn't stop me worrying. He is breastfeeding regularly and I know he is getting milk as his nappies are wet although he is not eating. But what still worries me is that he has been vomiting every couple of hours since 2am and he just looks ill. Hopefully, he won't end up in hospital again as I would rather care for him at home but if that's what has to happen then I'm fine with that.

I was speaking to another mum at the hospital on Thursday and her 11 month old daughter had just been re-admitted with similar symptoms to Jack. They got out the following day as the baby improved. I also found out that a lot of children in the area have been suffering with vomiting and diarrhoea which has come on suddenly - in fact my sister's little boy also had it just a couple of days ago and was sent home from nursery. However, it seems to be more serious when babies get it. I suppose because they lose so much fluid so quickly it hits them harder, whereas an older child has a stronger immune response.

Which reminds me - my experience of breastfeeding a sick baby. Well, firstly a member of my family on hearing Jack was so sick stated quite innocently, "Well so much for the protective powers of breastfeeding - maybe you should just give him formula..." Grrr.

Also, when we were in hospital it was obvious that they don't see many mums still breastfeeding their 17 month old babies (which in itself speaks volumes about the benefits of breastfeeding!) as the staff were quite surprised, although very supportive, by my choice. However, as a breastfeeding mother, I was told by a nurse that I was entitled to my meals.

But, guess what - they forgot about me most of the time...

On the two occasions that I did get a meal I was given the extra meal that was a spare one. Not an appetising meal, the first consisted of two dried out sausages, dried out mashed potato and dried out beans! The second meal was cold potato, overcooked vegetables and a slice of roast beef.

Now I don't eat red meat and haven't since I was sixteen years old. The meat was drowning in dark brown gravy and when I enquired if it was beef I was assured it was pork. I asked Stan to taste it and, as he took a mouthful, the lady who was distributing the meals walked back in and told him off for eating my dinner! I explained that I had asked him to as I still thought the meat looked like beef. She laughed and jokingly accused me of being a doubting Thomas and again assured me it was pork. So, as Stan wasn't sure, I took a mouthful and almost gagged - it was beef! Needless to say the aforementioned lady never returned to collect the plate; I suspect someone corrected her when she no doubt told them all about the doubting Thomas on the ward!

Anyway, you may think I should have complained but I was just so relieved that Jack was receiving such excellent medical care from the doctors and nurses that I couldn't possibly have done so. After all, unlike the first time Jack was in hospital (when he was nine weeks old with bronchiolitis), I was able to slip home to get changed and, as he wasn't breastfeeding as regularly as a tiny baby does, I was able to grab a quick snack at home before rushing back. Although, it wasn't ideal and if I had been a single mother or Stan hadn't been able to take time off work I would literally have been starving. But I really don't like complaining and at the end of the day the most important thing was that Jack was well cared for and I didn't actually starve!

All that remains now is for me to keep a close eye on my little boy and if we do end up back in hospital I'll make sure Stan brings me in some take-away meals to keep me going and I'll make sure to tell everyone in a very loud voice that I am a breastfeeding mother and that I regularly get very hungry!