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A mothers Loneliness

I am lying in bed wondering when the next feed will be.  It is usually around this time so it feels almost pointless to go to sleep before he wakes.  It's in these moments I dare to let my thoughts loose.  The ones I have been too busy all day with my baby to listen to.  It's in these moments I hold back the tears and try to push the welling grief down.  I am led right next to my husband, he is sleeping, and although I could just put my hand out and touch him - he feels further away than ever.I am lying here knowing I am lonelier than ever. My baby is asleep in the adjoining room, he has a cold and I can hear his nose whistling as he sleeps soundly.  In that room is my whole heart, my reason for going on, my reason for living.I have never had many friends, I came from a military family so we moved so many times friendships were fleeting and even in my adult life I have also remained nomadic! Maybe it's a learnt behaviour, not holding onto friendships because I always leave…

Public breastfeeding: What I wish I'd known

I have always been shy and easily embarrassed. I was one of those teenagers that liked to keep things covered up not on display so breastfeeding in public was not just something that worried me it was a real fear. 
For me breastfeeding had got off to a bad start anyway as my little one had a tongue tie, meaning he couldn't latch and feed without the use of nipple shields. Well my friends if you have tried nipple shields the slippery little blighters are enough of a challenge in your own home let alone in a public place!  So my first public breastfeeding was a planned affair - I had a walk round my local town with the pram and then headed to a relatively quiet cafe to feed.  I decided not to try and fit the shield in public and pottered off to the toilets to fit them.  As I left the toilets looking like Madonna with my two pointy nipples I felt the embarrassment blush creeping up my neck. I was looking to see who was looking and to my horror they were all looking at my baby who Grandma was proudly holding and telling them all about his birth, weight and any other details that popped into her head while the cafe admired my little boy!
"Oh time to feed!" She declared to the entire cafe as I approached! Nice one mum! As I timidly tried to get Charlie attached under a scarf and with relief sat back while he fed and I looked round and everyone was just getting on with their own business again. The truth is it wasn't as bad as I had thought. Nobody was looking at my boobs and nobody was offended which frankly was my biggest fear. I was worried there would be some confrontation and yet to this day I have not had any negativity at all!  So all the nerves and anxiety had been unnecessary. The reason I felt so scared was because I didn't know what to expect. Before you have a baby your breasts are sexualized and are to be covered unless you want a indecent exposure charge! So you have this embarrassment or shame that you are doing something naughty! What I wish is that somebody had told me it was going to be alright so I have put together the following tips for anyone starting out on there first public appearance:
1) Don't feel like you need to cover up - putting a scarf over Charlie's head was just unnecessary. Nobody tends to look anyway and who wants to eat with a scarf over their face!
2) Don't worry about where you are going to feed - I have now fully embraced responsive feeding! If Charlie is hungry I will feed him! Whether it's in a cafe or on a coastal path watching dolphins. Nature is wonderful it gave us the freedom to feed wherever and whenever needed. 



3) Never feel you are not allowed to feed somewhere - it is illegal for anyone to stop you feeding in a public place. I hear of some people feeding in toilets. If someone has a problem with you breastfeeding it is their problem not yours! You have a right to feed your baby when it is hungry. It is very rare that anyone will take issue and you will probably find people are more supportive than you imagined!
4) Be proud - you are doing an amazing thing for your baby and you are also a walking advocate for breastfeeding. If you feel nervous I recommend going to a breastfeeding peer support group. The NCT run these and trust me when you see more experienced mums wap 'em out with such confidence it certainly gives you a boost as well! They also are great places to get advice if you are struggling.
5) Practice makes perfect- build up to public breastfeeding as slowly as you need to. Take support along with you to help build confidence or if no-one is available go to groups where other mummies can give you some moral support!
6)Buy some nursing clothing to get you started. I took confidence in my nursing jumper from JoJo Maman Bebe. It was discreet and paired with a good nursing bra which gave me good shape and support I found I could get ready really fast and limited exposure! However now I tend to wear whatever I like as Charlie is at a nosey age and is quite happy to show the world my nipples if something else catches his attention and I am so much more confident now anyway.
7) Finally enjoy every minute of that special relationship you have with your baby. The intimacy, the love and the bond you are sharing. It is unique and it's for such a short time!

In time your confidence grows and you become less aware of your insecurities and more aware of how easy it is to just give them the boob and how little attention people are paying to you!
A x

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