Only kidding. How do you go about inventing these celebratory weeks anyhow? As you may have all been aware the beginning of this month was World Breastfeeding Week, devised by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action to “protect, promote, and support breastfeeding” around the world as a key factor in the healthy development of children. I certainly raised a glass to my BF mamma friends (I mean that metaphorically, not rubbing your face in it/my wine, girls) and I as I scrolled through FB there were indeed a few stories, anecdotes, totemic status updates in support of human lactation. Instagram was awash with celeb mummies posting their breastfeeding selfies (breasties?) and I thought to myself ‘job done World Breast Feeding Week, job done’.
But I have to admit that even though I was out there flying the flag for the boobs, I didn’t manage it without just a little bit of sadness. It’s still there for me even 6 months on, granted I don’t think about it all the time and I have a beautiful, wonderfully crazy, bouncing bean of a baby boy to prove that formula milk feeds babies just fine. But it’s still there, a sad pang somewhere deep inside in that place that you can’t really point to but you know it’s somewhere between your tummy and your bellybutton. It whispers to me ‘You. Couldn’t. Do. It.’. The following week I went on holiday with some family and their friends who also have a 6 month old baby. All week I’d had an uneasy feeling. Halfway up the M6 I finally blurted it out, ‘what if she is breastfeeding?’. The thought that I might at some point have to explain/justify/make my excuses to a complete stranger had quietly filled me with anxiety all week and probably made me an utter delight to co-habit with (sorry Ben xx). Turns out I was being a massive idiot and she was possibly one of the loveliest ladies I ever met. The complete opposite to me, milk poured forth from her like a milk fountain. Breast feeding had been a breeze. The fridge in our cottage was literally full to bursting with bottles of her homemade brew. But it was OK, no one was judging me. No one even cared. And I realised that most of the way along this journey, apart from maybe on one occasion (my mama’s in the know will know what I’m referring to) I haven’t felt singled out, I haven’t felt judged, I haven’t had to explain myself. The only person who really gets all Judgy McJudgerson on me, is Me. Moi. Mij (that’s Dutch, I looked it up).
I’m a great believer in taking action to make change and I feel I have to at least try to do something to help myself and others. So whilst setting up World Formula Feeding Week may be considered a little ambitious at this juncture, instead I would like to propose a local coffee morning for all formula mums (and dads). The aim of the group is to provide a supportive and positive place to come and meet other formula feeding parents, where we can exchange stories and experiences and eat cake and just enjoy being mummies/daddies.
This kind of thing only really works if people come along so if any of you who read my blog think that you or someone you know may benefit from a bit of help and support please share the post. The group is open to all, breast feeders, combination feeders and full-time formula feeders alike.
If it looks like there is some interest then I’ll figure out how to create and FB event and send invites/post more details on the blog with detail of venue and date. It will be in Frome (Somerset) and will happen next month.
Now all I have to do is think of a name….the Federation of Frome Formula Feeders? Frome Formula Feeding Alliance? I jest…..any suggestions?