The big one, breastfeeding, a delicate subject that is a much discussed subject between mothers and has recently also gotten some media time in Finland.
I thought I’d share my story.
I remember when I was pregant and my friend dug out her boob for her hungry baby, and I felt awkward. We have n-e-v-e-r discussed breastfeeding at home so don’t ask me where that feeling came from but it’s the closest I can get to describe how I felt.
As Cléo crawled up to my breast the first time the feeling was overwhelming, this little one had been born a minute earlier and here she was, eating to gain strength, grow, the beginning of her story.
But having said that I had felt awkward before, that feeling didn’t wash off quickly as I became a mother. I was suddenly supposed to be fine with digging out my boob wherever and wherever my baby wanted some.
In the beginning I wasn’t comfortable breastfeeding in public, “lactivists” on all kinds of forums urge women to breastfeed in public, and for me it felt like it wasn’t even okay to say that you felt uncomfortable with it, let alone feel uncomfortable. Not all mothers feel comfortable, and that should be okay too, a ship isn’t turned around in one go and neither is peoples attitudes. It takes time and some valuable lessons to change one opinions.
The feeling of being uncomfortable and breastfeeding uncomfortably in a public toilet quickly put things into perspective. There was never a chair anywhere, the restrooms are dirty and stale, I mean would you eat your dinner there? I would go in with a screaming hungry baby and sometimes I ended up sitting on the bathroom floor as it was the only position that worked, yummy huh!
Another thing that made me change my views was the fact that she wanted milk every two hours. It would have made it literally impossible for me to leave the house if I wouldn’t have loosened up a bit with my attitudes. Before I got pregant I had absolutely no idea that a newborn is hungry, all-the-time!
My baby was at some point like an owl, turning her head at anything or anyone she saw while nursing, which would result in her letting go and me sending a jet of milk over everything within 20cm. Caffe Latte anyone? So a shawl or scarf came in handy. It also let me be a little less uncomfortable and still being able to breastfeeding in public.
Then came the day when my baby started ripping the shawl off and exposing me to the world, but by then I was way over my idiotic ideas. I wear nursing friendly bras and tops and I still always carry a shawl in case I end up feeling like people are staring or see them flinch. Because the truth is I kind of get them, because there is no denying that I used to be one of them.
Breastfeeding is a very delicate subject because it involves so many feelings, love, success, failure, worry, stress, grief and everything inbetween. It’s a very brief moment in time, a bond and moment between a mother and a child that no one else has, and it only last for a little while and it should be treasured. Now that my baby is a little bigger it is the only time of the day when she settled down in my lap, for the 3-5 minutes I get to hold her, whereafter she squirms herself free again to explore the world she’s been born into. Now at 9 months breastfeeding has become something of a farce, her squeezing my boob and as the milk shoots out she lets out a delighted scream, the she latches on and tries digging my nose or puts her whole hand in my mouth or tickles me. I try not to laugh but it isn’t easy. So now I relax and just let her do her thing, and the looks I thought I saw in the beginning, I’m starting to think they were all in my head, because no-one has ever given me a negative comment! So Teri Niitti and all other haters, talk to mums and the reality of being a breastfeeding mum, and then reconsider, like I had to.