I am Charlotte. And I have a confession to make. I breastfeed. And I have done for a year. And I’m not planning on stopping any time soon.
Breastfeeding is such a strange topic of conversation. So much so that I have no photo to add to this post because I’m certain 50% of people who visit my blog, don’t need to see a big veiny breast attached to a guzzling child. But yet, breastfeeding is just a strange one. You don’t do it initially and people have an opinion on it and formula is “the devil” and then you do it for longer than six months and then people start thinking you are getting a little smug with it. Approach a year and people you didn’t even think had an opinion on the subject turn round and go: “So you’re stopping now right?”
I’m not sure what people think happens between the age of 11 months and 30 days and a year, but my son did not magically transform over night and start asking for “Mummy Bitty” (knowledge of Little Britain required). No, he’s the same old little boy. He’s still very much a baby for now and I’m not going to start ruining his life – because, believe me, it would – by stopping.
My breastfeeding journey has not been an easy one. While I was lucky not to have ever suffered with mastitis, I had a baby who rejected the nipple initially, and then, when it was working beautifully, I went back to work. I went back to work when he was nine weeks old. There wasn’t going to be any weaning going on, because he was too young, so instead, I expressed (my guide to expressing at work is here if you need it). And I made it, exclusively breastfeeding, until William turned six months. It just so happened that coincided with Christmas, so I was able to cut down feeds and start weaning him onto solids. And now? One year and five days of breastfeeding. I want to high five my boobs. But it would be quite painful and possibly slightly socially unacceptable.
For some reason, breastfeeding is like Marmite. You love it or you hate it. And recently I’ve had friends, family members, colleagues and perfect strangers inquire as to when I’ll be stopping. Whether curiosity, conversation, or disapproval, sometimes I feel like I’ve got a bad habit or something – like biting my nails. Or like I’m trying to kick cocaine, or one of those other popular recreational drugs that people seem to have a penchant for these days.
I love breastfeeding, and in times of guilt, and times of regret, I feel so proud that, not only did I manage to breastfeed, but I managed it against some pretty high odds.
I don’t manage to continue for too much longer and I don’t imagine I’ll be doing it once the summer is over, but for now, it suits us. I have the support of my baby-daddy and I have a happy one year-old, with teeth and everything.
Now, if in years to come, you see me breastfeeding a 30 year-old with tits that look like they’ve been passed through a pasta maker, then by all means come and smack me with 2 pints of Cravendale, but for now, leave me and my udders alone.
We’re happy. And so’s my boy.