Sunday 27 November 2011

Hippy Hippy Milkshake

From August 1st to August 7th people, mama’s everywhere, are celebrating and paying homage to World Breastfeeding WeekThis year’s theme is Breastfeeding Support: Close to Mothers and the Irish Parenting Bloggers have organised a blog march to show our support of this and to help raise awareness. 

During World Breastfeeding Week, there will be two posts published every day documenting our own experiences of breastfeeding. 

I have, once or twice, been in very close proximity to trees but as I am the mother of four small boys, the need to pee outdoors can arise.  Trees have come in pretty handy on these occasions and I can quite honestly say I never had the urge to hug one of them.  The trees that is, not my boys.

I also like to smell nice, sometimes even wear the odd bit of make-up and, on occasion, my bathroom stinks with hair removal cream.  On a first impression basis, you definitely would not call me a hippy.  But, I breastfeed my children.  

It is every parents decision how their baby is to be fed and I accept breastfeeding may not be for everybody but it angers me when people are of the opinion formula is just as good as breast milk “these days.” 

It is not.  It never has been and it simply can never be due to its very method of production.

Formula has its place and we are lucky we have a choice, but not so lucky that there is a definite lack of support out there for those who wish to breastfeed.  Those who do choose to breastfeed and encounter difficulties, discover at best, they are confused by conflicting advice.  

Unfortunately though, some advice is just incorrect, thus leading to a premature end to what could have been a very happy and enduring breastfeeding experience for many a parent.

I am quite passionate about breastfeeding but it is not who I am, it is just what I do.  It’s unfortunate that these, my beliefs, can label me, and others, a tree hugging hippy. 

I attend a weekly breastfeeding group where a couple of women are still nursing their two and three year olds.    Some of us encountered few problems but one or two had supply issues, latching difficulties after a traumatic birth or needed a question answered about their baby’s weight.   

As it is a breastfeeding group, the main topic of conversation is, naturally, breastfeeding.  But on a broader scale it is a wonderful chance for a lot of us, me included, to be in the company of like minded parents.  Breastfeeding groups all over the country, indeed the world, serve a dual purpose.

Like the rural transport scheme, they give people the opportunity to be social and prevent them from remaining too long in the confines of their home with a small baby, day in, day out.  

For first time mothers in particular, having a baby is a real planetary shift.  Seismic in its meaning.   

People who, up until now, had been working all of their adult lives, suddenly find their normal routine goes out the window as they are at the beck and call of a teeny tiny person.  

Duty calls like never before as they deal with the aftermath this little hand grenade has created.  Family and friends are not on maternity leave.  Their lives continue as normal. Their social lives continue as normal.   

This is not the case for new parents. 

It can be isolating, lonely, frightening and depressing.   

Attending a mother and toddler group, a breastfeeding group, be it La Leche League, or Cuidiu, can be a life line for many.  It is a chance to have a chat over a much needed cup of coffee and a biscuit at the very least.  

Although you may be a new, sleep deprived and stressed parent, you still care about your appearance so it is a welcome chance to put on a bit of make-up, fix your hair and wear matching shoes once a week.  Because every other day it’s dressing gowns and tied up, unbrushed hair till midday.

Now, anyone for a nice lentil stew????? 

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