I have a very hungry baby who drinks every single ounce of milk I feed him. So when I saw the reduction in the amount of milk after cutting back on my calories, I quickly realised I had to focus on weight loss after he wasn't solely reliant on milk. It wasn't fair on him. I now get why people formula feed their babies to get their bodies back.
Like a kid playing whack-a-mole at Time Zone, the nurse slammed Archie's newborn mouth at your nipple several times over, and that's when it first dawned on me that breastfeeding was not as easy as I'd imagined. But I learned about 'attachment' and that it was a matter of practice and felt we'd be high-fiving our way down milky street in no time.
I am a mum of two whose ethos, I would say, is pretty sympathetic to "attachment parenting". In my view, we are basically mammals, and natural birth, breastfeeding, co-sleeping and baby-wearing are all normal and natural things for mothers and babies. Here's the thing, I am also a qualified paediatric nurse.
I hope there never comes a time when my daughter suffers from self doubt due to her appearance or feels the need to surgically 'enhance' her incredibly perfect self. There is much more pressure in the world she's growing up in than I had to deal with, and I will do what I can to equip her to have confidence in herself, as she is
I'm extremely blessed to be the mother of a wonderful, exuberant and thriving two-year-old and (in common with mothers everywhere) I'm doing the best I can for my daughter to ensure she has a happy childhood, and a safe and secure future. Sometimes that's OK, but often the journalist will prod, looking for an angle, "How do you deal with the negative view of older parents?"
I wrote to Blackpool Council, incensed that I hadn't been simply moved on. The fact I was feeding at the time had magnified events and my humiliation. It's ironic, I thought, that Blackpool Council professes to encourage breastfeeding... While I waited for a response from the council (which I still haven't got directly) I became more indignant. The rude parking warden, his lack of sympathy and my own feelings of vulnerability and violation over the photos he took underlined how breastfeeding in public was a near impossible ask.
Pumping breast milk is a part-time job on top of the full-time job, not to mention that other little thing about going home and raising a baby. So it's no wonder that working, breastfeeding women are vertiable magicians when it comes to hacking their jobs, their breast pumps, and their surroundings to make it all work.
I'm ready to stop because I work full-time, which means I have to make time to pump breast milk during every single work day, and this is not easy. In the past year, I've been on a dozen business trips, which involve incredible planning and logistics to leave enough milk at home, and to pump and travel with dozens of ounces of milk.
I have spoken to women who wanted to nurse their babies but couldn't, or decided enough was enough after a few weeks. Many women have perfectly healthy infants and decided right at the start that breastfeeding just wasn't for them, and others are still feeding five-year-olds. I was lucky in that I decided to nurse and, with help, was able to.