Breastfeeding

I find myself bombarded everyday with images of women breastfeeding. On social media, on the TV. Women claiming that they have the right to feed in public, that its the most wonderful thing in the world. That those who dont breastfeed are disadvantaging their children. Well folks. I wanted to tell you my own story. Because breastfeeding is the best thing for your child but frankly not everyone is able to feed and we shouldnt be made to feel inferior for it.

When Rue was born he went straight to the nursery due to a low temp and low blood sugar. I didnt get to see him for a full day. When i did he had been fitted with a nasal feeding tube because his nose had been compressed in the womb and he wasnt able to breath through it. This was a temporary problem that would right it self in a few days. Until then they had to start him on formula. Due to a traumatic labour i was bed bound for the first two days. Rue was brought to me on the evening of the first day and i tried to breastfeed him but he couldnt breathe and feed so wouldnt latch. I expressed into a syringe a few times a day which the nurses gave him before his formula.

On the third day i was aloud out of bed in a wheel chair so could only go and see him when my partner was in the hospital which was about 3 times a day. They gave me the use of their breastpump but i could only use it when i was in the nursery. I expressed about 10ml of colustrum each time. It was not much as due to my haemorrhage my body was busy trying to make blood rather than milk. The nurses said it was a really good effort to get that much in my condition. On the forth day he got his tube out and i tried him on the boob again. He could latch but wouldnt suck and quickly pulled away. On the sixth day we went home. I continued pumping with my home pump and got about 20-40mls each time in about an hour of pumping, It was time consuming and exhausting for my body which was still trying to heal. I tried to breastfeed him everyday but he now wouldnt latch and would scream every time i tried. After 2 weeks my supply had gone down to 20ml a day. I knew i couldnt keep it up. At three and a half weeks i packed the pump away. I felt terrible. I felt like i had failed my little man. Im nearly in tears now thinking about it. At one month i made one last effort and bought nipple shields thinking he might think it was his bottle. Nope. Hated them. So that was that.

My baby was happy, gaining weight and healthy. I had to accept that. Alot of women are in the same position as me. I have friends who were in tears daily because they couldnt breastfeed. They tried everything.  Some went to clinics for weeks to try get their babies to feed. They ate special diets, lactation cookies, went on medication to increase supply. They battle masatitis and thrush. All because we have it drilled into us that we have to breastfeed. Well you know what. I think thats a horrible thing to do to new mothers. Its hard enough without laying that much pressure on us. Sure breast is best but if you cant, if its affecting your mental or physical health then we need to be accepting of formula. As mothers we should not pressure other mothers to breastfeed. We should be 100% accepting of formula feeding babies. Dont shove breast is best campaigns in our faces. Dont look pityingly at us when we tell you we formula feed. Dont tell me that statistically my child will be dumber than breastfed babies, dont tell me that he will be sickly because he didnt get my immunities. My baby is healthy and happy and there is NO benefit to making us feel like crap about a decision that we did for the health of our selves and our babies. The decision is hard enough without shoving breastfeeding guilt trips in our face everyday. I guess you could say that breast is best campaigns have actually gone one step too far. In trying to get us all to breastfeed they have alienated those who cant. Much like the feminist movement that gave us so many options but now its considered a controversial decision to be a stay at home mum. We have to justify a decision that used to be the norm.

So stop and think before judging. Even if you didnt mean it your words and actions can cut. And dont worry if you read this and think im talking about you, none of my friends do this, its mostly a side affect to being a member of mothers groups where there are alot of opinions floating around.

Being a boy/girl

Gender steriotypes. This is a big one for me as i studyied it at uni and frankly i think our culture is just plain odd. You give a girl a baby doll but a boy a truck. Do women not drive, and do boys not grow up to be fathers? Here are a few examples i have found on the internet that have made me cheer.

  • A little girl wrote to a toy company and complained that the easy bake oven she wanted to buy her brother had a picture of a girl on it which she thought her brother wouldnt like. The company saw her point and the box now has a picture of a boy and girl playing together. Why is an oven a girl toy when some of the top chefs in the world are men?
  • A little boy got his mum to buy him some pink striped shoes and wore them to childcare. She was worried about him being teased about it. The only people who noticed were the other parents who asked why she had let him wear them. the other kids loved them and all wanted to try them on. When he got home he told her that he hadnt picked them because they were pink, he had picked them because they were stripy. Who is the nieve one now, the kids or their parents?
  • A man let some kids at his daycare center paint his nails. The little boys told him that thats what girls did. He told them that he liked it. A few minutes later all the boys were joining in.

So folks. From this you can clearly see that its the adults who have a pre concieved idea about what their kids can and cant do based on their gender and are the ones teaching it to their kids. They dont know that pink is a girl color, you told them that. They dont know that boys cant dress up as fairies they just like wearing costumes with glitter. Being pregnant everyone keeps telling me that i cant buy any clothes yet because i dont know if its a boy or a girl. I ask them why? Can girls not wear blue, or jeans? Can a boy not wear a shirt with yellow ducks on it? We are infulencing our children before they are even born! I saw a website that advertised girl and boy bibs, the only difference i could see was that the boy ones had blue trim on them…i mean honestly its a baby why would you only be able to dress girls in pink (which i hate by the way). And they tell me that oh all little girls love pink, yeah, because thats all they have been dressed in it since birth. All the girl characters on tv wear pink in kids programs. Boys are sat down to watch bob the builder which only has one female character, of course boys will like trucks after watching it, you sit a girl down to watch it and she will like trucks too! 

Growing up i guess i was a mix. I loved wearing dresses and skirts but i also loved climbing trees and playing at the farm with my brother while my sister sat inside. She often asked me why i wore polo shirts, jeans and sneakers to the farm, i didnt look very nice. Ah maybe because i dont want to get sheep crap on my nice shoes and my dice clothes all ripped. Why would i need to look good for sheep?? She of course always did her hair and put makeup on to go out and would just stay at the farm house all day then complain she was bored. But my point is, even though i was rolling around in the dirt i was still expected to look pritty…yet no one questioned my brother wearing the same thing.  

I will be encouraging my children to be who ever they want to be, boy or girl. BD has already said our kids will be playing in the mud (his neices hate dirt). And being as he is a truck driver im sure my kids will have toy trucks from a young age, as they should.