Updated: May 5
I guess as I write this I can see maybe I am on my sofa box about attitudes after all. Perceived and real. On both sides. Society’s vs mums. The perceived and real dissaproving gaze that we as mums get and feel when we attempt to breast feed in public for the first time. The actually act of getting your breast out and in to babies mouth can be daunting ! In our previous life when we dressed up to go out, there probably was a wee bit of cleavage on display, but not a nipple. what is the fuss about the nipple , it all comes down to the nipple. In advertising , on tv, on FB, the nipple is a controversial body part. Men , no problem bare chested and nipples out on parade , Im guess because they are essentially useless, the nipples not the men........ although, no I won't go there. But a woman getting her baps out , it‘s in the papers and it's like she's broken some rule of decency. Even in my language there I purposely used different words to describe female breasts and not in all good terms to show the 'gaze' in society we are all under. And its only the female breast that seems to offend.
So imagine the pressure we are under to actually use our breasts in public and even in our own homes for what god intended. Like mums don't have enough to deal with . Which brings to the reason I have first thought of writing this. I am a breast feeding mother , no judgements on bottle feeding mums , this is about what a pain in the neck , back, shoulder blades.... Breast feeding is. The layers of clothes you have to fight through , especially in Northern Ireland winter to actually get to your breast, which at this time with baby has conspired to start with out you , bubs is crying, boob is leaking , like a sprinkler and you are trying to get this bit down and that bit up and you finally find skin but can't get baby close enough to engage as there is a small cloth barrier encasing your breast. I know there are specially designed t shirts ,jumpers , jackets etc for this , but who has the money and if you're only having one child or your last child , do you want to wear an item that will ( in my case/luck) expose you when you're not actually feeding later in life. Here I am harping on about trying to get exposed and feeling vulnerable when it is what nature intended and then gust of wind and Im showing my bra to everyone in pub cos I was too lazy to wear something else. The clothes are comfortable!
Once you have fought your way mental and physically through the mine field of getting bubs on to the breast , then you have the leaking, while they are feeding , the pain again while feeding , the swollen nipples that won't go down, the cracked nipples that you never want to put them on again, ( the baby not the nipples , they aren't detachable , although if they were , we wouldn't be having any of this discussion ) The what I call porn boobs that swell up like beach balls, the stress of not producing enough and the waking up in a pool of your own fluids because you have produced too much, using your own breasts as floatation devices ! My other pet peeve was the nipple shields, I needed them , boy did they save the day in allowing me to breast feed at all , but when they are full and bubs gets distracted pulling one off mid feed , its the trickle of your breast milk soaking in to your waist band that I hated . And don’t get me going on the ‘distracted‘ baby that takes nipple with her as she scans the room, they do not stretch like that !
So you can see, why I envy woman where it‘s acceptable and or the right temperature to walk around bare breasted allowing your baby to feed at their leisure, no maturnity / nursing bras that are so unflattering, no clips to try to cleverly pop back under your clothes that won't for the love of god clip back on one handed while you burp said child and try to unexposed yourself. If all well and go when bubs is feeding on you , they act as a shield from prying eyes but once they are off you literally are left with your boob out. Although god bless my daughter but she has no hair ( I didn't till I was two so we have bit of a wait ) but her head is about the size of my breast and when I'm feeding her it was pointed out that with her bald wee head, it does just look like a giant breast so I get 2nd looks, as ' they 'aren't sure what they are seeing , me or a breast feeding baby. I guess I'm dammed if I do and dammed if I don't !
Anyway vent over for now, attitudes , clothes and acceptance are all nearly up to date with us mothers of today. But the , if you didn't laugh you would cry and yes I haven't even touched on the hormones that surge through you body while breast feeding so you need to be in a cafe under everyones gaze as you need the cake that they have to combat the fizzing in your blood stream or teeth , it‘s coming the day they nip you and you shoot through the roof alerting any one who hasn't noticed that your breast feeding to the fact that you are and you are now in tears and trying not to yell out loud or at your darling child. Thereality of breast feeding will alway be with every mother through the ages no matter what. I will continue to be out and proud and wishing for a shower ....