Noone Puts Baby in the Corner

Yes Mr Farrage.  I only feed my child for the attention.  Its so rude of me making everyone else feel so uncomfortable.  Next time I get my breasts out I’ll be more considerate and make sure it’s only once I’m dressed in a bikini, posing like I want a bloke to give me one and splashed all over a billboard, newspaper or TV ad.  That way everyone can feel more comfortable.

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I have mixed feelings about the recent media storm following the a breastfeeding mum being made to cover up at Clarrdges hotel, the response from everyone’s favorite joke politician Nigel Farrage and the consequent “nurse in” at Claridges.

On the one hand I think its important that people who shame nursing women should be challenged and made to understand the harm their actions have. With that in mind I was totally behind the nurse-in and had hoped to join them.

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However I’m not sure the media storm that comes with this challenge is helpful. It just gives a platform for a minority of ill-informed muppets to mouth off on radio phone-ins about how they believe nursing mothers should behave and this can only make breastfeeding mothers feel uncomfortable when nursing in public.  I’m not sure Nigel Farage has ever made a sensible comment on any topic so why should we expect him to be sensitive to the needs of a nursing mums and why should any of us care what he thinks any way.

In short, I don’t give a crap what Nigel thinks about breastfeeding and I hate that this story has become platform for UKIP’s uninformed views.

All this publicity given to the views of prats like Nigelle and previously the practices of employees at sports direct just create an impression of an unfriendly world out there ready to attack nursing mums.

This isn’t encouraging for nervous new mums and its not actually that accurate.  Over the past 4 months I’ve had only positive interactions when feeding out and about and I’ve fed in some crazy places from dodgy old man pubs, packed commuter trains and even in the middle of Deptford high street. Yes, actually on the street, well, on a bench on the street but Deptford high street is what an estate agent would probably call a “vibrant” market street.

I’m pretty passionate about breastfeeding for many reasons. Of course as you might expect I love the zero waste aspect of feeding without plastic bottles, packets of milk powder and the faff of sterilisation. In addition its free, less crap to lug about in the nappy bag, great for bonding with Bubba and protects against ill health. Even better it stops lining the pockets of greedy corporations like Nestle which can only be a good thing.

The problem is that even when everything goes well breastfeeding can be pretty tough on us mums, especially at first. And my heart goes out to any mum who faces problems such as tongue tie and reflux.

I never realised that we are such a bottlecentric society and how it affects women’s relationship with breastfeeding. For example, before I had Arlo I thought babies fed every 3 hours. Easy, I thought.  It turns out that breastfeeding babes can feed constantly…
for hours at a time….
Especially at the start!
And that’s normal!

Cluster feeding is basically how babies tell your body to make more milk – its their way of putting a note out for the milkman to leave an extra bottle.  Its definitely not a sign that you haven’t enough milk and supplementing with formula or trying to force a baby  into a strict routine can stop that note reaching the milkman and so reduce your milk supply. (Something some heathworkers,  bought up on bottle routines, scarily still don’t understand and so risk misinforming unsuspecting mums.

Its a bit of a shocker to find yourself in cluster feeding prison if you don’t expect it. However once I got my head round feeding on demand and all its challenges I quickly realised that unless I wanted to go stir crazy trapped on my sofa Arlo and I were going to have to get used to feeding out and about.

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Judging by the comments floating round the radio phone-ins and internet last week it seems that there are a lot of bottlecentric people out there who still believe breastfeeding mums can time feeds and subsequently can and should do all their feeding out of sight. These people should not be given the chance to soapbox their uninformed views on shows that vulnerable, stressed nursing mums might be listening to.

When a woman gets shamed in one of our poshest hotels for feeding her child in the best way she can then lets shame that hotel back explain why they are wrong and move on. Let’s not start inviting people who don’t have the first idea of the challenges facing nursing mums to debate their crazy views on national media outlets.

And please God don’t ask Nigel Farrage anything at all.

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