7 August 2013



Half the worlds population carry a pair of these on their chest, yet they are often a cause of much excitement and as a society we seem to be obsessed with them. Whether it's celeb boob spotting on the cover of a magazine or simply ogling them on the street, they're desired, they're judged, they're there. But they have another purpose, they give life and nourishment. They are the cushion that you once rested your head as a babe, that made you feel safe.

Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world, it's what they're designed for yet it doesn't come easy for most women. For those who choose to breastfeed there is only a handful of women I know – in fact maybe two – who can smile with doe eyes and say it was an amazing experience, pain free and beautiful. The truth is it's challenging. Those first few days of negotiating boob to mouth – with this new being trying to suckle – can cause frustration, chaffing, cracks and pain. But we do it anyway and it gets better.

Every mother has their story, all different. My first moments of feeding F were frustrating, he wouldn't latch on properly and I felt inadequate, why wasn't this working. So eager to find milk his head would dart around, fists in mouth as I tried to negotiate the space between us. It took a forceful midwife acting in those early twilight hours to literally manhandle my boob into his mouth and I didn't care, I was exhausted. Once he made contact he would feed for 45 minutes every hour. During the first four days in hospital I got only eight hours sleep as he was ravenous. I vividly remember the midwife handing him over encouraging me to feed in gentle voices, broken I just turned my back and cried and F was whisked away so I could have some time to pull myself together.

Just as I got used to the sensation of this liquid gold leaving my body it changed again. My breasts became engorged and now I faced a new problem, he physically could not latch on. I would stand under hot showers to release some of the pressure building. So hungry and desperate to feed, my nipples became sore and eventually cracked. I would cry out when he made contact through gritted teeth. My mum seeing me in pain tried to comfort me, 'You've tried' she would say 'just give him a bottle' and although I wanted to throw in the towel, something inside of me said no. If I could labour without any pain relief, I could do this. I was thankful to have a group of friends who were also new mothers, we would catch up over decaf coffees and exchange war stories – mastitis, cracked nipples, thrush, nipple confusion – it was these united moments that egged us on.

Two weeks went by and suddenly I turned a corner. They healed. There was no pain and he fed constantly. I felt happy and confident in my new ability. I would sit in cafes with this tiny person lying along my body receiving milky goodness. I managed to breastfeed exclusively for four months, until F's appetite could no longer be satisfied with my milk alone. After this came a mixture of formula, breast and his first taste of food. It might not have been the best way, but this was my way and it was the best I could do. Gone are the pert twenty-something breasts I took for granted, now they are replaced by a softer shape but beautiful all the same.

This is my story. This is World Breastfeeding Week.

I love this spoken word piece Embarrassed by Hollie Mcnish, talking of her experience of breastfeeding her daughter.



  1. I love this Lori.

    I have a similar story to you but it ended with me painfully managing 3 1/2 weeks and I couldn't face it anymore. It wasn't helping me bond with my newborn so I had to make the decision to stop.

    I think women should be celebrated for being able to provide for their babies without fear of being thrown off a bus or such. My friends all used shawls or muslins or blankets to be discreet and hide their modesty. There are some women who do feel its their right to just get them out and in no way try to shield it from prying eyes. I'm not a prude but I certainly wouldn't have liked sitting with my friends and feeling like they were not considering other park/cafe/pub users. If I overheard anyone muttering behind my friends back I certainly pointed out that we live in a civilised country and mothers need to feed their babies... maybe they should turn away so as to not be offended.

    I love the video clip and no mother should have to feed their child in a toilet. Sadly we lack in educating people as to what boobs are actually for!

    Thanks for sharing this. x

    1. Hey lovely. Thanks for the lovely comment. It is such a shame that we are made to feel ashamed to feed our own child. Almost everyone has been fed like this at least once. Sorry for the late reply, i've only just seen your comment xx



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