9 January 2014

10 things you're not allowed to say about breastfeeding


In a conversation this week a friend of mine lowered her voice to a hushed "secretive" whisper to admit that she didn't really like breastfeeding. Shock horror! Are you allowed to say things like that?! Of course you bloody well are... but my friend, a successful, confident, 30-something mother of two in the company of friends in her own home felt like she couldn't say it outloud.

Why is it there are certain things you're just not allowed to say about breastfeeding? Why do women feel like its taboo to even mention the downsides of breastfeeding? Why can't we say what we really feel about it?

It's such an emotive issue I even wrote a disclaimer paragraph to go here... 

But I deleted it because I shouldn't have to apologise for writing some of the things that I sometimes feel! 

Why is it ok to say the good bits but not ok to say the bad bits? 

Top tip: this is way more fun to read if you imagine SuperNanny is reading it. (She pronounces acceptable "asseptable")



Acceptable: Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world.

Unacceptable: Breastfeeding is the most boring thing in the world.

Acceptable: It's so convenient because you can breastfeed in a park, on a train, on the beach, in a supermarket. 

Unacceptable: Breastfeeding on benches  or the floor or in the plastic chairs at toddler groups is bloody uncomfortable and gives you neck ache. And cold boob.. 

Acceptable: Breastfeeding is the healthiest start for your baby.

Unacceptable: Yeah but it's not really THAT much healthier. Formula fed babies are fine too.  

Acceptable: It strengthens a baby's immune system.

Unacceptable: They will still have a river of snot running from their nose for 80% of their childhood. It is not a get out of illness free card. 

Acceptable: One of the many benefits is that you don't have to wash or sterilise bottles.

Unacceptable: The main reason you're sticking with it is your hatred of washing up. 

Acceptable: You can get some really lovely breastfeeding clothes and underwear. 

Unacceptable: You have to pay double the price of normal clothes and underwear. You'll never feel as good as you do in an underwired bra and even the sexiest of (extortionate) breastfeeding outfits lose their appeal with two soggy boob patches. 

Acceptable: You will get thin because breastfeeding burns loads of calories.

Unacceptable: You will get fat because breastfeeding is exhausting and draining and will make you crave cake and chocolate.

Acceptable: It's great for bonding with your baby.

Unacceptable: Actually, bonding happens when you have time to look at, talk to and play with your baby, not when its face is buried under your jumper. 

Acceptable: Women should feel empowered to breastfeed wherever they like. They shouldn't have to hide.

Unacceptable: Sometimes it's not 'society' but the woman who wants a bit of privacy. I never use a shawl or build a tent around myself to feed. I'm very much an out and proud breastfeeder, but sometimes even I feel a bit weird if a stranger strikes up a convo if I'm starting or finishing a feed. . 

Acceptable: Breastfeeding is calming and relaxing for the woman and releases oxytocin, the 'love' hormone. 

Unacceptable: It can also make you feel trapped and claustrophobic and like your sole purpose for existing is someone else's nourishment and comfort.


So if you sometimes feel like a frumpy dairy cow who smells of gone off milk and you long for a strong G&T and a bra without windows, don't despair! You are not alone. 

Not loving breastfeeding doesn't make you a bad person... Putting other Mums down because of the type of milk they feed their baby makes you a bad person! 

Maybe if we were allowed to be brutally honest about breastfeeding fewer women would give up when it gets hard. Maybe we should prepare mothers that it can be hard, frustrating, unpleasant and draining rather than promising an easy, natural, hazy state of bliss that will guarantee you a perfect, healthy baby. 



Get lost Gisele!!!

If you're breastfeeding and struggling, don't hide away or give up! Talk to someone else who is going through the same thing. 

You could even email or tweet me if you don't know anyone else!
 


32 comments:

  1. A wonderful post and I couldn't agree more. Breastfeeding is hard and there is so much about it that we should be able to say without fear of judgement. I am still breastfeeding Jasmin who is seven months and I long to wear underwired bras again. I do feel trapped as she won't take a bottle and I do get bloody cold boobs if she suddenly demands a feed in the park. There, I said it! I do love feeding too - but you are right, we need to be realistic and tell both sides of the story. Great post. x

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  2. Love it - you are, of course, bang on! It is not all a haze of wonderful bliss and relaxation, although it does leave one hand free to read Twitter!

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  3. Great post, and very true. I breastfed for the first couple of months and actually quite enjoyed it. The main problem was my lazy boy kept falling asleep on the boob. We introduced formula and he went from strength to strength and is one of the less sickly babies I know!
    I hate the pressure women feel to breast feed, drives me crackers xx
    P.S. That whole losing weight thing is a crock of shit!

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  4. Im still breastfeeding my 16m ol and to be perfectly Honest I'm fed up of it now. We aren't stopping until he self weans so I know we've got much longer to go, and I'm so proud of us both going for this long but doesn't mean I enjoy it anymore! I love the closeness and cuddles,but hate not being able to leave him for long periods of time, hate feeling like a human cow!! I do wear wires bras now and I do have the odd drink but feel so restricted. The one benefit has been the cost (cheap) !such easier than faffing with bottles and I've lost loads and loads of weightfrom doing it! X

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  5. Great post - I had a hard time breastfeeding and remember feeling like I wasn't allowed to say all of the above. Spot on. Yes, breastfeeding is amazing but nothing is perfect. It's time we stopping pretending it is.

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  6. Sorry you had a hard time. I did too with Boy1 and it made me feel worse thinking that it was supposed to be easy and enjoyable! Thanks for commenting :) x

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  7. Firstly, well done for feeding for so long! Secondly, yay for saying its annoying but you'll still do it! We don't have to pretend we enjoy wiping snotty noses so why should people have to pretend they enjoy breastfeeding if they don't? Thanks for commenting :) x

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  8. Lol yeah, it is for me too! (Maybe if I wasn't eating malteaster bunnies for breakfast it would work!) thanks for commenting :) x

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  9. SUCH a good point! Had totally forgotten that bottle feeding uses both hands!! :) thanks for commenting! X

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  10. Thanks Kiran! Cold boob is the worst right? At least spring is on it's way! :) xx

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  11. Great post !! I couldn't breastfeed and find myself having to launch into a full medical report of why I couldn't every time I get that disapproving "you didn't breastfeed" look !!

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  12. Colette Burgess2 March 2014 at 01:07

    Lol - I do love breastfeeding but I totally miss wire, hate dressing for it & sometimes wish (like at this very second) that my lie in wasn't being interrupted by someone who wanted a feed! X

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  13. Haha me too! The clothes add to the frumpy cow feeling!! Thanks for commenting :) x

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  14. Aw it's so unfair that we feel we have to justify every decision we make! Medical history or not it's no one else's business! Thanks for commenting! :) x

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  15. I know I RTd this and commented on Twitter but had to comment on here too. I've found breastfeeding so incredibly tough at times - and boring! I can so relate to this post x

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  16. Ah thank you! So glad so many people can relate. Thanks for sharing and commenting! Xx

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  17. Love this! I agree be honest we know labour hurts but we still have babies so we need to spread the knowledge that breastfeeding isn't always the ideal perception of being easy and the most natural thing in the world

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  18. Such a good point!!! Thanks for commenting :) xx

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  19. Jen Gehl de Laforest4 March 2014 at 04:29

    Lmao. Pumping as I read this.

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  20. Urgh I could write another ten things I hate about pumping!!!

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  21. Helen Sims The good life mum6 March 2014 at 01:52

    haha love it i breast feed i do like it but i do also identify with your points

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  22. Thanks :) I love it too... Mostly! :) x

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  23. No matter how well your kid attaches to your boob, it can still freaking hurt; that weight loss is BS; baby does have more potential in sleeping longer with bottle; baby is not protected against viral infections such as the common cold: the high IQ levels are not down to the milk but the attachment parenting that goes with it (responding to cues, strengthening baby in his communication skills;, breast cancer risk has a significantly lower incidence from 2 years of non stop BF (not the 6 months the NHS says); when baby decides not to eat or sleeps longer, you are left with dangerously big and painful boobs, risking a mastitis that can develop later in life into breast cancer if you haven't managed to empty all your duct pipes. When you are finished w BF, you eat/sleep/think/live better because your hormones levels are finally back to normal and as a result you feel sexy but unfortunately your boobs can be two soggy pears of unmatched size!
    (from a mum who loved her 9 months of exclusive BF and cried when baby pushed her away!)
    TIP: Victoria Secret!!

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  24. Haha wow! What a list :) I think I'll prob cry when it's over too :) xx

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  25. It's been 25 years, but I still remember how cold I was the first time (and last) time we went camping and my daughter wanted to breast feed at two in the morning. I then knew the true meaning of the phrase "colder than a witch's tit on a frosty morn." (Pardon the American crude.) I'm glad you're speaking the unspeakable. Everyone is happier with realistic expectations. And we all take these choices way too seriously. What is best for baby is what makes mother and baby most comfortable.

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    1. LOL, I love that expression!! x

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  26. Fantastic post, I stopped bf a week ago today following 2 days of the baby actually laughing at my boob (*sob* I may need therapy) and totally have thought all the unacceptable thoughts (and none of the acceptable ones...) over the past year AND actually, since baby cut down to only 2 feeds a day I lost weight...what?!? (ooh and I also always pretend it's supernanny saying it when I see the word "acceptable" because sometimes I need a bit of excitement). Great post, #mythbusting!

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    1. Actually saw her say it properly on the telly recently. I was a little bit sad. (Don't worry because she still hasn't got to grips with the past tense: "was you there though?")
      So sorry your boobs were laughable. Mine too! xx

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  27. I love this post!! It really made me giggle. Although it helped me loose weight, well that's what I'm putting it down to because I made no effort whatsoever to try and loose my baby weight, think I'm just lucky! xx

    www.lovedbymummy.co.uk

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  28. What a great post. You so right, more honesty is needed around breastfeeding as it is hard and not always the natural beautiful act it's portrayed as. Thanks for linking up with #BFingDiaires

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  29. I absolutely frigging hated it. Six months of nipple shield hell! But then she decided she didn't need them anymore and we had three months of relative enjoyment!

    #BFingDiaries

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  30. Absolutely amazingly brilliant post!

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