Tag Archives: breastfeeding

Breastfeeding: anywhere, anytime

I happened to be feeding the baby while watching Sunrise on Friday, when host David Koch (Kochie) passed comment on the story about a breastfeeding mum who had been asked by lifeguards to move away from the poolside (where she was supervising children AND feeding her baby). Kochie took the problematic stand that he supported breastfeeding mums BUT… And it’s the “but” that is the issue at hand. The thing is, in Australia, the right to breastfeed in public is protected by law. That’s it. There’s no qualification on that right, no footnote that says you have to cover up, be “discreet” or “modest”. There’s no part of the law even saying you have to feed SAFELY (one of Kochie’s arguments was that the mother of the story was, basically, being irresponsible by feeding on the side of the swimming pool – it’s really a diversion from the issue, but if you want to argue the point, in fact no, that’s STILL HER CHOICE, and if she was supervising other children, also a necessity. So yes, please Kochie, “leave duty of care aside”).

The thing is, many women choose to be “discreet” while they are feeding. They try to find the parents’ room, they use a muslin drape, they sit back from the crowd. That is both their right and, most importantly, THEIR CHOICE. And for me, there is the key word – choice. How, when and where a breastfeeding mother CHOOSES to feed her baby is the thing – if she wants to be discreet, her choice. If she is happy to let it all hang out, ALSO HER CHOICE. And, under Australian law, no-one else gets to dictate to her what her choice must be.

Sunrise helpfully put the segment from this morning’s “debate” on the topic online (which also includes Kochie’s original comments from Friday, but not the later discussion he had with his “angels” on the issue, which is separately here). I have to say I was a bit disappointed by the Sunrise webgoblin who seemed to be favouring the tweeters supporting Kochie more than the other side in the #sun7 hashtag retweets this morning, and the coverage throughout this morning’s show really didn’t seem to be taking it seriously. And while I think Sam Armytage herself wasn’t on Kochie’s side, I take issue with the way she opened the questions this morning to Amy, “…this is obviously an emotional issue…” Actually no, it’s LAW. About as far from emotion as you can get!

What really interests me about people who are “offended” by breastfeeding is that they rarely seem to be offended by women in low cut tops or bikinis. And they are quite okay with front page and headline news photos/footage of Tony Abbott in his little speedos (I don’t want THAT image in my face, but that too is Tony’s personal choice and you know what? Also not illegal.) [Thanks @MissBaileyWoof on Twitter for making that comparison!] 

Well done to the Destroy the Joint team for getting behind the Sunrise Nurse-in this morning, and for pushing the issue through the social media circles over the past three days, as well as to the women who organised it. It really does seem crazy that we still have to have these discussions, on a process that is both protected by law and is one of the most natural things in the world! In the end, if you don’t want to see women breastfeeding in public, you have a very simple option: don’t look.

Storify on the topic from today.

Destroy the Joint's montage to support the Nurse-in. Yes, Daniel and I are part of this!

Destroy the Joint’s montage to support the Nurse-in. Yes, Daniel and I are part of this!

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On giving up…

I have given up trying to breastfeed Max. It’s not a decision I’ve come to easily, and every time I tried to talk about what was going on for the past week, I’ve ended up in tears (even now I’m tearing up!). I think I tried everything I could possibly try. Expressing worked for a few days, but then I started to have trouble getting enough out, and finally realised that I was actually causing more damage. Shields sort of worked for a couple of days, although Max hated them and fed extremely fussily when I used them. But then the pain wasn’t really diminished when I used them so they really weren’t helping. I used Lansinoh cream, which everyone RAVED about, and again, which seemed to work for a few weeks, but then it seemed things got so traumatised that even that couldn’t help anymore.

I contacted the Breasfeeding Association and got a wonderfully comprehensive reply from one of their great volunteers, with some excellent suggestions, but again, I think things might have gone too far by then, as nothing worked. Eventually, I realised that it was possible I now had thrush – this meant of course that the Lansinoh was actually hampering healing rather than facilitating by this stage. The chemist gave me two gels to use (one for me, one for Max). I don’t know if this would have eventually cleared things up, but after 24 hours of that treatment, I was in so much pain (not from the treatment so much, although it wasn’t entirely painless, but from the weeks leading up to it) all over – not just breasts (although that was pretty awful), but also shoulders, neck and back from hunching over and compensating for pain, as well as tension from it – that I just couldn’t do it any more. I’ve now gone for 36 hours without breastfeeding and my nipples are still really sore, dry and cracked (although not red raw anymore). And I think my supply had already started to dry up, as I’ve had minimal leakage and no real pain at this stage.

This is hard to come to terms with for so many reasons. I loved feeding my first two, and it was something I’d really been looking forward to. I’m really going to miss not having that. Secondly, I know breast is best. Formula can’t compete with breastmilk for the benefits it offers, and I regret I can’t give Max a better start than five weeks of breast milk. Secondary to all of this is the cost and inconvenience of bottle feeding. It’s time consuming, expensive and far less easy than breastfeeding. I loved just being able to take me and baby! Now bottles and formula have to be part of the baby bag, and there’s an endless cycle of washing, sterilising and filling bottles with boiled water. And a tin of formula is between $20 and $25 and lasts about a week or so (less, as they get older). Bottles aren’t cheap either. That’s a lot of money in twelve months that could have been allocated elsewhere.

So yeah. I’m sad about this. But Max has been having formula for about a week now (interspersed with breast up until yesterday) and he’s fine. He isn’t having any tummy upsets with it, and he doesn’t seem bothered by the difference, taking the bottle no problem. He’s healthy, content, sleeping well, and just lovely. And that’s what really counts I guess. But I will miss it, and I regret I couldn’t continue persevering, but I seriously couldn’t function with the pain. I needed to be a mum still in every other way, and I was on the path of not being able to do anything else! Decision made, with sadness.

Something else I’ll miss – sweet-smelling breastmilk burps. Formula burps are not nearly so nice.

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Failing fast… :(

I’m currently failing at breastfeeding. This is a bit of a shock to me, as I had no problems at all with either of the other kids, so I’m a bit ill equipped to deal with it.

The baby didn’t seem to be having any problems after the rocky  start caused by all the stuff done to him in the first 24 hours. Then we had a few days where he seemed to be feeding constantly. And I imagine he really hasn’t been attaching properly, despite how good he seemed. By the end of this I was getting pretty sore and raw, and unfortunately, haven’t really recovered. Have tried expressing for a day at a time, am using shields, slathering with Lanisoh, airing, everything I and google can think of! Today I had bought formula, luckily, because this afternoon, I had nothing else for him.

He doesn’t seem to care what he’s drinking or how, and he’s content and chubby and all those good things. But I’m not coping at all. A lot of pain when feeding on one side, even with shields, and with two other kids to deal with, doubling up on time spent with boobs (ie: expressing then feeding) is not working at all. I’m also starting to get a bit of upper back, shoulder and neck pain from the time spent hunching over expressing and trying to find comfortable feeding positions!

I’m still persevering though. Will keep trying to express the bad side and shield the good side, and avoid the formula unless, like today, there’s nothing else. But I’m struggling. It might not be this hard if I could just devote all my time to it, but school runs and all those other kid-related and real-life interferences make it a bit hard! Ah well, tomorrow is another day – will just keep trying!

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