Monday, 29 October 2018

The breastaurant pt.3 : Put your t**ts away

So, after taking his time getting to grips with google maps, River has become very familiar with where the breastaurant is located and feels he's old enough to take himself there at any time of the day without reserving a table and without wearing smart shoes. This often results in a lot of stretched t-shirt necks. It also results in unintentional flashing in the swimming pool, when he decides he needs a quick refuel after 10 minutes of aggressively splashing water at me and not participating in his lesson in the slightest.
It's getting to the point where people are no longer congratulating me on the length of time that I've breastfed. They're just asking when I'm going to stop. They're asking in a way that couldn't project their opinions more if they tried.

"Aren't 1 year olds supposed to drink proper milk now?"
"Have you tried to stop?"

When I first started breastfeeding, it was the absolute pits and one of the hardest things I've gone through; it caused more emotional and physical pain than I ever anticipated and put me on the edge of punching Jason in his sleep every. single. night . The main thing that got me through the opening of the breastaurant, other than the support from Jason (when he eventually woke up fresh as a goddamn daisy,) was my sheer stubbornness to succeed and prove I could do it. We came out the other side more experienced, slathered in nipple balm and feeling more confident with motherhood each day. So if anyone thinks that I'm gonna go through all of that, get past the one year milestone, just to pack it all in because there's a chance it might make someone feel uncomfortable in Café Nero? Think again.

The sad thing is, society HAS made people pack it all in. I've read through so many forums which are full of disheartened mothers who have been stared at, whispered about, even asked to stop breastfeeding and made to feel that they are doing something wrong. STRANGERS have projected their narrow-mindedness onto women who have then gone against their own wishes and completely stopped breastfeeding before they wanted to. The thought of someone viewing breastfeeding negatively offends me beyond belief. You don't have to be standing up shouting in protest for your behaviour towards breastfeeding to come across negatively. I've experienced people getting up and leaving their seats in a café and others leaving a park bench that they're sharing with me when I have been feeding River in public. People have reacted to me breastfeeding as if I'd just shat on their birthday cake. While it may be coincidence (rubbish reason), or it might be that they just don't know how to react to it (rubbish reason), or maybe they are deathly allergic to nipples and when they sense that one is being released into the open air, they have to make a quick getaway. For whatever reason they are avoiding being near a woman when she's breastfeeding, these people are contributing to an existing ignorant view that looks upon it as weird or unnatural. Women should feel empowered when it comes to breastfeeding, not judged. Don't get me wrong, I'm not telling you to get a good look at her tits, lean over with a thumbs up and take a photo for the 'gram; just let a woman feed her baby with the body part that was created for feeding babies and carry on as you were.

I don't know when I will stop breastfeeding Riv. I'm leaving it up to him so I keep checking his day planner to see if he's got any dates pencilled in (nothing at all written in there as of yet other than a wine tasting day with Pierre Bubbles at the start of next month); I'm not going to stop for the sake of it, just as I'm not going to be forcing a tit down his throat if he's not wanting it. I started it because it was the best thing for him and breastfeeding has been great for us. I will always encourage and support new mothers to try it . It's mainly been great for Jason because the novelty of giving River a bottle lasted a grand total of ONE SECOND so I was always going to be chief baby feeder either way.
Don't get me wrong, breastfeeding a 14 month old isn't all unicorns and rainbows; Rivers constantly got kicky legs and pulls my hair a lot. So it's obviously going to draw more attention to us in public compared to his previous burrito baby days. But I don't understand why age should be a factor when it comes to your opinion of breastfeeding. The World Health Organisation actually recommends that children are breastfed until the age of two and anything after that is considered 'extended breastfeeding'. So going by that, we're nowhere near done yet. 

I don't think I'll ever get used to the pain of River using my nipple as a teether mid feed. Or the pain that ensues when there's a dramatic storyline in Biggleton that he MUST whip his head around to see with my nip in his mouth (It's usually the scatty "businesswoman" losing her phone then finding it in her pocket at the end of the episode. Do me a solid and put a different episode on once in a while, Cbeebies before we all go batshit crazy) 

If I could give one piece of advice to any women out there; whether you have a kid or not, never let anyone tell you to put your tits away.


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