Why we should encourage public nursing

Monday, October 14, 2019

It's been a long time since I wrote on this blog. I've been in two minds as to whether I should even continue blogging in all honesty. I love it but it's finding time at the moment and I guess life just got in the way, though it has been a much needed break which i'm thankful for.

I decided to write this blog because there seems so be so many positive comments lately from the older generation whilst I've been out and about nursing Esland. Comments such as "Good on you for nursing, I breastfed all my children." or "It's lovely to see youngsters feeding in public, you don't see it very often." and one I have heard twice in the last week alone, "Well done for not following the norm for this generation." 

I guess the latter means formula feeding as a lot find it more convenient if they need family/partners to help bottle feed. As a breastfeeding mama I can completely understand both views. I breastfed Rhun (who is now 4 and a half!) for just under 3 months and towards the end it was only nights that I actually breastfed. Through the day I would pump and feed him expressed in a bottle as I was so embarrassed to breastfeed him in public. Why was I embarrassed you may ask? Well, as lucky as I am, I have an oversupply of milk which causes the biggest and most powerful let downs each feeding session and I just did not know how on earth I could manage them whilst out in public. Rhun was premature and only had a teeny stomach so it didn't take him much to fill up, I had masses of milk though and it just would not stop flowing once the tap was on! I remember when I would pump during the day I had to catch the let downs from the opposite side in a bottle and I would easily catch 5-6oz without even pumping, that was just from a let down! You could see my struggle! Muslins would be absolutely saturated. Rhun also had underdeveloped muscles and struggled to understand how to suck, swallow and breathe simultaneously, instead he would let the milk pool in the back of his mouth, choke and then stop breathing afterwards. This was a situation on it's own and because of this, it was easier for me to bottle feed and I could focus my energy on assisting Rhun when he needed it, rather than worrying about flooding the people who surrounded me, soaking through my tops, and my breast sprinklers putting on a milk show for everyone. I guess it's been such a nice learning curve though, I have now formula fed, combi fed, pumped AND exclusively breastfed so I've learned a lot. I am still exclusively feeding Esland, we are coming up to our 9th month feeding and I'm so proud of myself for persevering.

I'm glad I pushed myself to go to the breastfeeding support group locally too as they were incredible in those early days whilst I was waiting for my supply to regulate. It was nice to be able to comfortably feed in public amongst them too as it just seemed so normal. Going there and joining the breastfeeding support groups on Facebook made me realise exactly how normal and beautiful breastfeeding is. I love seeing breastfeeding memes, videos, quotes, facts and even statistics in my news feed because I feel like such a part of a new family. It's strange because looking back my breastfeeding journey with Rhun seemed so hard, tiring and daunting. He was my first born and I didn't get any real breastfeeding support. The problem with that journey is that I was completely uneducated but also had nobody offering advice and support. The only support I got was that of my GP and that was a well done for all the perseverance as I had mastitis 7 times in those 3 short months! 

I am so confident about feeding in public now I don't even think twice about it. I don't wait for anyone's approval, I don't ask where I can or can't feed, just as those who formula feed don't ask for approval when they need to feed their baby. I decided I would make these cards to give to others when I see other mamas nursing in public. I wish I'd have been given one very early on with Esland, it would have definitely given me that confidence boost rather than trying to hide the fact that I was nursing, which in turn made her fussy as she hated been covered up. I know a lot of mamas also feel they need to cover up and can completely relate to this. Some like to cover up, some don't bother. I don't bother because our feeding sessions are literally just a few minutes, thankfully my little lady is such an efficient feeder!

If I'd have had more people compliment me whilst feeding in the early days it would have made me feel so much more confident and it would have definitely made me smile knowing I'm on such a beautiful journey that can be admired by everyone.

This is what I decided to have on the breastfeeding cards;

Thank you for Breastfeeding!
I wanted to give you this card to let you know that you're setting an amazing example & helping to instil confidence in others who may hide away to nurse. By nursing in public you're helping to normalise breastfeeding for the next generation, so thank you for nursing in public, you may change someones view on an important issue in this country or encourage a new mama to nurse confidently and embrace the beautiful journey they're on.
Nurse on mama!

Hopefully they'll give a few people a confidence boost or maybe just a little smile from receiving one of these!

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