Waiting for Agnes

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Free breastfeeding…naturally August 13, 2010

Breastfeeding is on my mind a lot. Whether I’m feeding the small person, studying different aspects of it, talking about it, helping a new mother learn how to do it, reading about it, explaining why I’m still doing it, or trying to work out how to do it more in the day and less in the night. I feel fortunate that for the small one and I it has been a pretty easy ride, with the exception of the first month, and that a year down the track he shows no sign of losing interest. There have been times when I would have loved it if the beloved could have taken over but mostly I have relished that time with the small person, smug in the knowledge that only I can feed him.

I’m sure part of the reason for our success is dumb luck, part of it is having a great partner, family and friends who haven’t once tried to undermine the value of breastfeeding, even when my experience of it has challenged their beliefs or expectations, and being a midwife doesn’t hurt either, although it’s certainly no guarantee of success. I also joined the Australian Breastfeeding Association when I was pregnant, convinced I would want to call on them for help (anxious, as no women in my family have ever breastfed). As it turns out I never did call them, but I do love getting the magazines – getting a little window into so many other women’s experiences – and I found their book ‘Breastfeeding…naturally’ really helpful to dip into when any issues cropped up. I have a shelf full of professional, technical breastfeeding literature that is super when I’m putting together information for an education session or to refer to for guidance with a complex case, but when it came to the personal experience of really common problems I wanted something basic. Something kindly and sensible and not written in a rigid, bossy tone. Something as simple as ‘Small babies feed a lot. This is normal’. It was about as much as my foggy, fuzzy mind could absorb, encouraging without needing to go into details of digestion times and molecular breakdown of milk content.

Now I have a second, brand new copy of this book sitting on my desk and it could be yours! The small one turns one tomorrow and the beloved and I were reflecting on how happy we are to have got through this first year in pretty much the style we had imagined. Our baby is healthy, happy, fully breastfed, non-immunised, cloth-nappied and generally doted on (did I mention feeling smug? sorry). I got to trying to figure out how many times I had breastfed in the past 365 days – approximately 3000 – and to thinking about some of the odd places I have found myself feeding – oceans, concerts… I do love a good story and I want to hear about the strange places you or your loved ones have breastfed. The most peculiar wins this sparkly new copy of ‘Breastfeeding…naturally’.