Today kicks off World Breastfeeding Week (1 – 7 August 2018). I want to tell you a little about my breastfeeding experience in support of this week. I am delighted to see so many women on social media posting a photo of them breastfeeding and telling their story!
Without sharing and talking, nothing gets changed! So if you have a picture or story, consider sharing it this week, on your social media or talk to family or friends about it. Talking opens up communication and acceptance.
I have 3 kids and breastfed them all. I wrote about the difficulty I had feeding my first child and the lack of breastfeeding support there was in 2007. Since then I’ve seen a lot more support and so many women speaking out about their right to feed their babies in public without having looks or comments made.
When I fed my first baby, I never did it in front of people and if I did, I could tell how uncomfortable it made them. They didn’t know where to look or if they should leave the room so I often just left the room myself to breastfeed. I had countless feeding sessions in bathrooms and public toilets – certainly not the ideal place for a meal.
I don’t blame anyone for this, myself included – breastfeeding just wasn’t the done thing. And I didn’t feel comfortable as a trailblazer so I sat in rooms by myself or toilets to feed.
When I went to have our second child I was a different person. I knew how I wanted the birth experience to go, and what I didn’t want. I also had stopped worrying about other people and breastfeeding. I fed wherever I was and that was that.
Thankfully I never had a bad thing said to me. I had silenced the room on a few occasions by starting to breastfeed as people didn’t know what to think or say but in my own little way, I was helping the movement to normalize breastfeeding. I didn’t think of it like that at the time but looking back that’s what it was. People get used to what they see around them and accept it.
By the time our third baby came along, our little lady, everyone in my life and everyone I met on a regular basis were so used to me feeding no one took any notice of it anymore. It was normal!
I only have one photo of me breastfeeding! My sister in law took it of me at the dinner following our daughter’s christening. I remember when she took it wondering what I actually look like feeding and hoping nothing was sticking out. lol
Now I cherish this photo and I wish I had more of them but it never occurred to me to take a photo or to share it. It wasn’t the done thing then! That’s why I think it’s so wonderful that women are sharing their photos and stories now because it is helping others to become comfortable and used to seeing breastfeeding happening. Plus, they have these gorgeous photos to look back on.
For me, breastfeeding was a lovely bonding time with my babies and also providing them with nutrition and comfort. It came in handy so many times if they weren’t feeling well or were unsettled. Breastfeeding my kids are some of my happiest memories as a mum and it’s one of the best things I think I’ve done for them.
That’s why I want to share my photo and thoughts with you today. I want to support any women who want to breastfeed but don’t feel comfortable or who need some more support. Here are some resources for Ireland & the UK that explain about Breastfeeding week and also ones that offer support to breastfeeding mums…
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