So this morning I watched Tamara Ecclestones interview on GMB which was about breastfeeding, always a slightly controversial subject.
I for one really admire Tamara – not just because of her lust worthy wardrobe and handbag collection, but for her loving and refreshing attitude to motherhood and in particular, breastfeeding. She handled herself brilliantly in that interview and I love that she is using her public image to normalise breastfeeding. I for one wasn’t offended by her recent photo shoot of her nursing her little girl. Sadly a lot of people were. Personally I thought that shoot was beautiful. I’m a big fan of a “brelfie”; it makes those mothers breastfeeding relate to each other, especially when you’re out and about trying to do work or every day things and fitting feeding in around it all. It’s not always easy to get things done when baby just wants to be on the boob all the time but seeing other Mums in the same boat can be just the reassurance you need on a hectic day.
I felt an unexpected emotion when I saw these photos, and it’s one I’ve felt a few times since I stopped nursing Josh and seen other Mums feeding their babies, and that was jealousy. Seeing it makes me miss that connection, that bond, that Josh and I had. Obviously we’ve still got a bond, I’m not saying we haven’t. But I do really miss that quiet time of feeding before bed and also the reassurance that Josh is getting all the nutrients he needs from milk. Now that he’s in teething hell and is fussing over food so much, I worry a lot more than I did when he was nursing because of the concern he’s missing out on goodness.
Don’t get me wrong there’s loads of pros to having stopped feeding; Josh and I now both sleep through (well, most of the time) and I can leave him with family and friends without having to worry about him not taking a bottle or me not being able to express. When I said to my husband last night that I quite miss it he said I’d definitely done the right thing because I’m now a different person now that I’m sleeping through the night. And I can’t say I envied Tamara when she admitted she’s not had a full nights sleep since her daughter was born, so over two years.
The purpose of this post is not a breast v bottle debate; we’ve all read a bloody million of these and let’s face it they’re annoying! Each of us is different; that goes for babies, Mums, pregnancy and breastfeeding. So there’s no debate here; it’s an individual choice. But my post is about that fact that as odd as it may sound, I really miss breastfeeding.
I think the reason I miss it is because I just personally find it a beautiful and natural thing. It was my way of being able to do my best for my baby; giving him something nourishing, helping build up immunity and giving him comfort. As a Mum it’s something I felt quite passionate about doing and I endured several weeks of nipple bleeding agony before we had it established. It’s not easy and it can drain the energy out of you, as well as leaving you feel like you’ve got a permanent hangover cause you’re constantly thirsty. But for me, and please remember this post is about me and my own experience, it was natural. I loved it and I felt so proud the first time I went out and fed Josh in public. It was utterly terrifying but I was subtle, calm and I did it. I don’t think I made anyone uncomfortable as I didn’t draw any attention to myself and used the old faithful two vests “one up, one down” solution.
I have to say although I really miss it, Josh certainly naturally weaned himself off the boob. No doubt about it. He just naturally cut down on feeds as he was on solids, and the night I went to give him his last feed he really wasn’t that interested but took it in the end half heartedly. I like to think when I have my next baby (yes, contemplating it at long last) I can do the same and he or she will just stop when they feel ready. There are so many stigmas around breastfeeding and one that seems to be a sticking point with Tamara’s followers is that they don’t quite understand why she’d still be nursing with Sophia is almost three. Pre child, I will admit, I’d have thought exactly the same! Now I totally understand. One thing I’ve learnt since becoming a mother is to be more open minded and I really am when it comes to nursing. I don’t know how my next child will take to feeding and they may well stop as naturally as Josh did at the age of one, but if I went up to two years I don’t personally see that as an issue. But I know many others do. It’s a shame really, and this is why I fully support Tamara’s determination to normalise something as natural as breastfeeding. I loved what she said in her recent Instagram post:
“Breastfeeding is a powerful demonstration of love and nurturing yet it has become so normal to hide. I want to take that normal and toss it.” I love this sentiment.
Since having Josh I’ve constantly been thinking about what I can do to help other Mum’s with feeding and offer support and, where appropriate, encouragement. I am not one for the breast is best brigade – I don’t want to force my own opinions on a new Mum. But if it was something she wanted to do and she was looking for support I’d love to be in a position where I could offer that. And I think normalising breastfeeding is a part of that.
As with all aspects of parenting, everyone has an opinion. Everyone has something to say about how you raise YOUR child. That includes fellow Mums and sometimes it can be negative and hurtful. I think all Mums should support each others choices, rather than judging one another. I don’t know what some of you will make of reading this and the reaction does make me nervous but I miss breastfeeding, and I am quite jealous that Tamara is still feeding (see, it’s not just her shoe collection I’m envious of). I don’t know what some of you may think of this, and I’ll be interested to hear what you say but in my little blog space I feel comfortable enough to write this, something that may be deemed controversial about the most natural of subjects….. and that’s a shame.