Tag Archives: breastfeeding

Mothering Through Breastfeeding – the sequel

This article first appeared in Le Leche’s breastfeeding magazine ‘Breastfeeding Matters’, July/August 2015, edition 208. DSCN0679

Caroline tells us about her tandem nursing experience, and how breastfeeding has always felt like the natural choice for her and her babies.

As I write this, my son and daughter’s tandem nursing days are drawing to a close, as Ewan is gradually and naturally weaning from the breast. He is four and a half years old. His younger sister, Tessa, now twenty months, nurses day and night. Words can never do justice to what my life has been like since having children; they have been the most eventful, joyous, challenging, memorable, exhausting and reflective years of my life, filled with laughter and tears. I have learnt to juggle, both physically and emotionally, two growing nurslings. My children have taught me more than I ever imagined, about myself, about breastfeeding and about life. Below I share a little of this enfolding journey, of mothering, of breastfeeding, and how the two converge.

Pregnancy

Nursing remained a place of sanctuary, support and comfort to Ewan throughout his third year. He persisted, even when there was little milk left as my pregnancy developed, seeing this out to the day I went into labour. As Tessa grew inside me, so did the unwelcome feeling of being ‘touched out’. These strong feelings were telling me to push Ewan away. I struggled to come to terms with the first negative feelings around feeding Ewan, which left me guilt-ridden and shocked. This was compounded with the physical challenge of nursing while pregnant, as my nipples became sore and my bump grew bigger. I persisted by placing boundaries on when Ewan could feed and for how long, not feeling ready to completely wean him yet.

I vividly recall Ewan’s last feed as an only child, the day I went into labour. As we lay snuggled up in bed I silently wept, aware the next time he fed would be radically different and that our relationship would alter once the new baby came along. Ewan was oblivious to my tears as he fell asleep dreamily on the breast. A few hours later, my parents came to collect Ewan, leaving me to labour in peace with my husband, and later, my independent midwife. My hope was for a natural home-birth this time, having experienced an emergency caesarean under general anaesthetic with Ewan. Continue reading Mothering Through Breastfeeding – the sequel

Living a little more gently on the planet; all year round and during the festive season; Part One

Natural Christmas ideasAs it is now the Festive Season, I thought I’d write a post about how we are attempting to change our lifestyles in order to live a little more gently on the planet, giving this a Christmas spin. At this time of year we create excessive amounts of waste, more so than at any other time of the year. Just taking a look at the Recycle Now website page ‘Festive Facts’ clearly illustrates this. For instance, the site states that ‘if laid end to end, approx 364,700km of wrapping paper is used each year, enough to stretch around the equator nine times or even go to the moon!’ That is scary stuff!

Festive facts 1

We attempt to live as green and sustainable lifestyle as is possible in a regular home connected to the grid. We live in hope that even these small measures, when grouped together, can start to make an impact on our planet, even if this is simply to teach Ewan the importance of reducing, repairing, reusing and recycling, so he will grow up to live a more sustainable life than his parents and grandparents generations did. If it impacts positively on him, it will also impact on others as he grows up;

–          We grow some of our own vegetables and fruit; we have fruit trees in the garden as well as a vegetable patch which is growing each year as we develop it. Ewan loves to help pick the apples and make crumble with them, one of his favourite puds! He also loves pulling up the rhubarb, as the pictures show. He is beginning to understand where apples come from, as well as other fruit and vegetables, because he is involved in picking and preparing them.  Preparing food using some home-grown ingredients is deeply satisfying. I can appreciate why people are turning to self sufficiency as they become disillusioned with modern lifestyles; however, for us a little gardening is enough, balanced with all the other interests and commitments we have. Continue reading Living a little more gently on the planet; all year round and during the festive season; Part One

Toddler wearing

Frist published in ‘Mothering’ magazine, April 4th 2012

Ewan in his Tula
Ewan in his Tula

An evening Ceilidh

It is the evening of our friend’s wedding. We dance enthusiastically at the ceilidh, a hundred bodies dressed in their finest, moving in tune to the music. Instinctively I swoop to avoid a flying arm, my free hand reassuringly touching the blonde mop nestled at my chest. As I move to the rhythms of the music my son unlatches himself from my breast, drifting contentedly into sleep. He nestles comfortably into my body, his eyes heavy, his breathing steady, as all around him people twirl to the rhythm of the music. Tummy full of milk, he is comforted by the familiar sounds of my heartbeat and voice, my smell and the touch of my hair on his face, sleeping soundly on my front for the rest of the evening. Conscious of his every movement, I am free to join in the evening’s celebrations, safe in the knowledge he is with me.
Continue reading Toddler wearing

Breastfeeding in a public place: one woman’s story. Part Two

See last week for the first installment of this story

Reaching out for support

Shocked that such judgemental Victorian attitudes still exist, Louisa opened up the issue for debate on the popular social networking site Facebook, asking;

‘Why is there so much shame involved in this subject that it has become the mother’s fault? Why should we need to apologise in advance? Why did my ‘style’ of feeding mean that lady was justified in discriminating against me? This whole situation is unnatural and unpalatable.’

In doing so she opened up a can of worms; a thorny, massively contentious issue which crosses countless personal, social, political, emotional, historical, sexual and economic lines.
Continue reading Breastfeeding in a public place: one woman’s story. Part Two

Breastfeeding in a public place: one woman’s story. Part One

These posts describe the experience of a nursing mother who was asked to leave a cafe in Devon, how she dealt with this request and the after effects, both short and longer-term.

A request to leave

Louisa is sitting feeding her three-month-old son discreetly in a small cafe in Devon, England. Unexpectedly, the cafe owner (we shall call her Karen) walks up to her in a confrontational manner and asks her to leave. Taken aback, Louisa asks why. Karen, a woman in her fifties, explains that she finds breastfeeding inappropriate and dirty, and is worried she will scare off other customers, of which at present there are none!
Continue reading Breastfeeding in a public place: one woman’s story. Part One

To my nursling; what breastfeeding means to me

Welcome to the August edition of Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Breastfeeding.

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival hosted by The Positive Parenting Connection and Authentic Parenting. As August is Breastfeeding awareness month, our participants are writing about this exact subject! Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


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Breastfeeding in Bali, June 2012
Breastfeeding in Bali, June 2012

To my nursling,

Here I offer you a poem to encapsulate what nursing means to me. Though words fail to describe my feelings surrounding nursing, they can at least begin to sketch a picture of the significance of breastfeeding in our mother-son relationship. Maybe one day, years from now, my words will touch some place deep within you, a warm, hazy memory of childhood contentment and security, a little of what breastfeeding also meant to you.
Continue reading To my nursling; what breastfeeding means to me

Stepping out onto the path of motherhood

The path

At the age of twenty-nine I became a first-time Mum. In my twenties I struggled to carve out a place for myself in the world, navigating along a complex path which at times led me to a feeling of clarity and purpose, but more often to stress, confusion and uncertainty.

Pregnancy provided me precious time to reflect on my childhood and early adult-years, as well as the opportunity to look forward to the kind of world I wanted my son to be brought up in. On the cusp of motherhood I experienced a kind of epiphany. I suddenly felt with all my being my role in life was to take unending care of my son. The path appeared inviting and bright, yet cluttered with demons and traps to set me back.

Continue reading Stepping out onto the path of motherhood