I listened to a particularly odious rant on my local radio station about breastfeeding the other day. Yes Radio Solent I’m looking at you.
Widely quoted across the press were the comments regarding the breastfeeding habits of two types of breastfeeding mothers: the ‘librarian types…earth mothers’ and the ‘classy…yummy mummies’.
This is obviously an extreme example but we can all be guilty of pigeonholing people. We can all sometimes forget that every person we meet is a complex, multifaceted individual.
So in a bid to remember my very own multi-facetedness (not a word), here are the ten types of breastfeeding mother I was:
1. The ‘I Hate It’ breastfeeder
I do, I hate it! Am I doing it right? It’s painful, it’s tiring, it’s stressful.
2. The Proud breastfeeder
My body can do THIS. Wow. I love it.
3. The One Position breastfeeder
Oh, this is harder than I thought. It would seem I can only successfully breastfeed my baby lying down .
Forget feeding in public, I’ll do well to feed in my living room.
4. The Going Out On The Town breastfeeder
Yes I’m going out!
Make up on, hair done. Heels ready by front door. LBD on after bedtime feed (learnt that the hard way).
Travel no more than 15 minutes away as slim chance baby will wake hungry, thirsty, sad.
5. The Self Conscious breastfeeder
I will tie this scarf around myself and my baby fourteen times if it means noone will see me. I am invisible now aren’t I?
No. The café clientele are puzzled about the bizarre acrobatics I am making my baby do, until my head emerges triumphantly from the scarf-den and I loudly declare ‘yes, he’s on!’.
Cue kindly congratulations from fellow café inhabitants.
Thank you, thank you very much.
6. The Confident breastfeeder
I’m on a train and the baby needs a feed? No problem.
What’s that? The train has arrived in London Victoria and we need to disembark? Umm… No problem…! Walking feeds are so me.
7. The Organic, Healthy Living breastfeeder
Cabbage leaves down my bra, oats on my breakfast. Vitamins, manuka honey, the works.
8. The Sod it I Need a Glass of Wine breastfeeder
Sod it, I need a glass of wine. Oh and a takeaway. And a gin and tonic.
9. The ‘Will My Baby Ever Stop Breastfeeding?’ breastfeeder
What!? My baby will still need breastfeeding after six months? After twelve months? I did not know this.
Will my baby/toddler ever stop breastfeeding?
10. The Ex-breastfeeder
Yes he will stop breastfeeding. They all stop eventually. He has stopped breastfeeding.
Bye bye breastfeeding.
Just happy memories of a hard, complicated, beautiful relationship left now.
So you see it’s never straightforward, I was never just one type of breastfeeder. In exactly the same way I’m not just one type of mother or one type of person. I’m lots, all at once sometimes. Like everyone else. Phew, think I need a lie down.
The radio programme that ‘inspired’ this post has received numerous complaints and the presenter is currently suspended. It was such incredibly irresponsible broadcasting and disappointing on so many levels, not least because Southampton (which is where Radio Solent reside) can be a great place to breastfeed:
Southampton is part of the nationwide Breastfeeding Welcome scheme:
Eastleigh have their own scheme:
Breastfeeding in Eastleigh Borough
There are also a number of free parent groups, drop-ins and helplines active in Southampton and surrounding areas. This document is useful as it brings some of the support available together in one place of reference. I wish I’d found it when I was still breastfeeding!:
Help & Support with Breastfeeding