26/06/2015

Breastfeeding Awareness Week Meet Up with Medela

My breastfeeding journey began long before I had my son. For years, breastfeeding had been a kind of obsession, constantly questioning mothers around me on their experiences and ever since a young age I've been fascinated. 

My Mum breastfed both my brother and I but not for very long. As a student nurse in the 80's employers didn't offer the same support as they do now for breastfeeding mothers returning to work. When my brother arrived thirteen years ago, I was 12 and hated the world. I had just started puberty and was beginning to become aware of my body and what it could do. Being an only child for so long meant I resented the fact my mum was pregnant but as soon as she went into labour, I was hooked. To me, breastfeeding was just the way you fed your baby. I wasn't embarrassed or ashamed when I saw my mum feeding Luke, to be honest after a while I stopped noticing. 

But what if you're not given that early opportunity to experience it? What if your family or partner are against it? Who do you turn to then? 

Well the answer is simple, other breastfeeding Mums of course! 

Yesterday I hosted my very own breastfeeding café meet up. Over the last three months I have attended every single breastfeeding group in a 20 mile radius. I remember turning up to my first meeting with my three week old baby in tow with tired eyes and aching breasts. I was still taking the course of antibiotics to clear up my mastitis and I felt so alone. I needed reassurance, I needed friends.

That day sparked a network of ladies, women who were also struggling and the lucky ones who were now passed those early woes. Women who could now offer wise words to a bumbling self-conscious newbie like me.
I invited those wonderful women to come along to a local café in Llangollen called Vintage Rose. Carolyn makes the most scrumptious cakes and serves the tea in higgledy piggledy china teapots.  We exchanged experiences and through the chattering new friendships were made. 

I asked my Mum to join us and she was surprised at how content all the babies were. They giggled and cooed and the older ones ran around smushing broken bits of cake onto the tiled floor.

I didn't really have high expectations of myself in motherhood, I just thought I'd be at home looking after my son all day, unable to get out of the house. How wrong was I? I have a better social life now than I ever did. I'm hardly home during the day, there is always somewhere or someone to meet.

As a thank you for coming along I prepared some little goody bags and a few companies got on broad to offer these mummy's some free samples and discount codes. I was overwhelmed by their generosity. Weleda provided me with a full size Nursing Oil and four baby care samples as well as the goody bags themselves. Totsbots sent some lovely cloth nappies for the mummy's to try, one has already decided to make the change. Kokoso and Totseat offered some generous discount codes and Medela threw in some breastfeeding essentials, like Breast Pads, Pump & Save Bags and Quick Clean Microwave bags.

It was so much fun to be in the company of like minded Mums for the afternoon. I'm not sure how much Awareness we raised, there was talk of marching down the high street in our bras but the cake was far too yummy to leave.

If you've fed your baby for a day, a week or even a year, you're doing great. If you exclusively breastfeed, offer a combination or exclusively pump every single drop counts and finding a support network who are accepting and open minded is essential to a positive breastfeeding experience. And let's face it, a happy cake-filled mummy equals a happy baby.

My breastfeeding journey is now a positive one. One that I hope will last for many years to come. I want to know everything there is to know about boobs, uh oh I think I may have found a new career. Is there such thing as a boob lady?

Thank you Medela for letting me become a Medela Mum, without this I wouldn't have had the courage to do such a thing.

Do you attend a local group? Do you find it helpful? Have you made new friends? Share your stories below.

Laurie Rose & Baby Hedd

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