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My Extended Family – Sometimes Support Looks Different

I’ve talked lots of times about how thankful I am for growing up in a family where breastfeeding is completely normal.  My husband’s family isn’t like that.  They aren’t “against” breastfeeding, like some families are, and they have never tried to convince me to stop, for any reason.  I think they are probably like a lot of families in Australia – they know breastfeeding to be the normal way to feed babies, and they have seen the campaigns telling everyone why it’s important, but they are still wrapping their heads around because they didn’t grow up around it.

They sometimes don’t know which way to look when I’m breastfeeding, especially as my kids have grown out of babyhood and into toddlers, but they don’t say anything – they know their feelings are their issue and don’t expect me to stop on their account.  They sometimes ask questions about how it all works.  Sometimes they make inappropriate jokes, which can be a bit squirmish for me, but I don’t take it as a sign of disrespect, it’s just their way of getting used to the idea.  Sometimes they tag me in every single breastfeeding thing they see on Facebook too.  Sometimes I’ll be tagged in the same thing twenty times after I’ve already seen it in every single group I’m in, but ultimately I appreciate the effort everyone goes to, to find common ground with me.

Soon after my son turned 3, breastfeeds became something that we don’t do out of our home, and soon after that they were something that only happened in bed, either before or after sleeping.  So while I have never lied to anyone, it would be understandable for any family members who don’t read my blog (most don’t), to assume Mr 5 finished breastfeeding a year or two ago.

A few weeks ago at a family barbecue, everyone was feeling pretty merry after a big dinner and a few drinks.  A family friend told a story of the horror and disgust he felt when he found out a bartender at a nightclub was still breastfeeding her 6 year old.  I looked for my kids, preparing to swoop them out of earshot if these comments turned into a boisterous conversation.  Mr 5 is extremely perceptive, and he would have felt great shame to hear someone talking about term breastfeeding that way.  I’m a pretty assertive person and don’t usually shy away from expressing my opinion, but I never considered engaging in a conversation or argument in this situation, purely for the protection of my kids.  My husband must feel the same because he didn’t say anything either.  I almost held my breath and shut my eyes, waiting to see the reaction from my inlaws.

A few of them suddenly found the grain of our wooden table very interesting.  Someone found a spiderweb in the corner of the ceiling to stare at.  I actually saw one or two rolled eyes.  After an awkward silence, one of my husband’s brothers very obviously changed the subject.

And that was that!

Some people might have felt the silence was a lack of support, but I feel the opposite.

What we say matters, but sometimes what we don’t say matters more.  I don’t know if my inlaws support the idea of term breastfeeding or not, but their unwillingness to get involved in a discussion shaming a mother and child for it while my kids and I were present means the world to me.  Sometimes support is loud and vocal, with lots of praise heaped on top.  And sometimes it’s a quiet nod in your direction, acceptance that you (you with the awesome kids, who are probably awesome because of the way you raise them) deserve space to do what you do when it’s working for you.

Sometimes the biggest hurdle to finding support from your extended family is understanding that although they don’t support you the way you expect or even the way you want, they probably still care about you in their own way.

I love and appreciate my extended family very much, and I’m blessed to feel like they love me too.


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Breastfeeding A Surrogate Baby – Bree’s Story

We at Breastfeeders in Australia support equal marriage rights, as well as parenting.  Bree Miller is one of the original Admins of the Facebook support group Breastfeeders in Australia, helping us support others from the very beginning of the group.  She is has birthed four beautiful girls and is training to become a midwife.  Bree recently gave birth as a surrogate parent.  While laws differ from state to state, surrogacy is legal in Australia, provided the surrogate acts altruistically.  Bree would like to share some of her story of becoming a surrogate parent.

“A few days after giving birth…

I tried to feed all three of my daughters (now 9, 7 and 5 years old) but, not through lack of trying, I was never successful enough to exclusively breastfeed any of them. I’ve never been diagnosed with anything definitive wrong with my breasts but they just don’t respond normally. Probably a combination of things.

Bree breastfed Haesel for the first 12 hours after she was born

Anyhow, I gave birth to a surrogate baby 3 weeks ago and have had probably my most successful breastfeeding journey so far. Though it’s been short, I’m happy with what I’ve achieved. I direct fed her for the first 12 hours after birth then left the new little family to go home to my own. I’ve been expressing every 3 hours for her ever since. I still wasn’t able to provide enough for her total needs but I’m happy with what I was able to give her. I have a new appreciation for all of you exclusively expressing mummas out there, it has been tough for me and I didn’t even have a newborn to care for.
Baby Haesel headed back to NSW with her dads yesterday so now I’m weaning down from expressing and will donate any remaining milk.

Haesel is beautiful enough to make any parent’s dreams come true.  Photo credits to Lauren Cook Photography

I envy women that find breastfeeding easy, and those that have adequate supply. I’ve gone through periods of hating my boobs and my body for not doing what it’s supposed to do. But in the end we can only work with what we’ve got and be thankful for that. I’m thankful that I was able to grow and birth 4 healthy babies within my body, even if I wasn’t able to feed them once they were out.

A few weeks later…

I’m now 6 weeks post-birth and have fully weaned off pumping, my milk is gone. One thing that has been really unexpected for me is how much it would affect me psychologically to discontinue pumping. Perhaps it was because this will probably be my last pregnancy and therefore my last chance to breastfeed, perhaps because I had a much better supply this time than I have ever had before. I’m not sure. But I keep having these little mental freak outs wondering what I’m doing and making me feel like I need to rush off and power pump. It’s a difficult thing to suppress your supply when you’ve conditioned yourself, over years, to attempt to increase it. The grief surrounding the end of the child bearing phase of my life has hit me hard and I find it interesting that it came as a result of ending breastfeeding instead of the end of a pregnancy.

Now onwards and upwards to a new phase of my life helping women with their own babies. I pumped a total of 10.4 liters in 70 hours over 4 weeks. Not too bad for someone with low supply. I can be proud of that.”

Bree was very proud of her her ability to provide some breastmilk for Haesel

For more information about surrogacy in Australia, you can download Sarah Jefford’s Australian Surrogacy Handbook for free by clicking on this link.  Thanks so much for sharing your story Bree, and for all you do.  We wish new dads Paddy and Anthony the very best with raising Haesel.

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MOVEMAMÍ, MOVE! Breastfeeding Sports Bra Review

As the weather is warming up, I’ve found myself more motivated than usual to get moving.  So I was very excited when Abby from The Mum Life offered to send me a MOVEMAMÍ “Shine” breastfeeding sports bra/crop top, designed for high impact exercise, like running.

Postage was super quick, and I had the bra only 3 business days after it was shipped (I live in a regional area, so I usually expect to wait longer than that!).  I tried it on straight away and was very happy to find that the XL seemed to fit my 14F chest perfectly.  Over the next few weeks, I gave the bra a thorough testing.  I found some things that I loved about it.

Shipping was fast!


  • It’s a very nice looking bra.  I can totally see women working out in this bra with no shirt over the top if they were jogging, working out in the gym or if it was simply a hot day.
  • The nylon and spandex combination make it feel very soft and luxurious.  Although it feels like a good, firm fit, it doesn’t leave imprints on my skin.
  • I feel no pressure or pinching around my breasts, so I’m confident it won’t interfere with my milk ducts, or cause any blockages.
  • The nursing clips are easy to undo with one hand, and is designed in a way that allows the bra to come down enough so that Miss 2 can breastfeed without a bra cup getting in her face.  I have found some breastfeeding sports bras have moulded cups that you can’t quite seem to get out of the way enough.
  • It’s comfortable enough for everyday wear, which makes it perfect for incidental exercise.  Sometimes we have an impromptu visit to the park and it would be perfect for me to do a quick workout, but I just know that my everyday Kmart crop isn’t going to cut it.
Awesome boob access for feeds

I gave the bra a thorough test with bike riding, walking, jogging, pushups, handstands, burpees and a long list of other awful exercises.  I have no problem recommending the MOVEMAMÍ “Shine” for low to medium impact exercises.  When I tested it out running and skipping, I was a little disappointed.  I felt the bra restricted boob movement in a downward direction, but not up, if that makes sense?  I feel like it cut out a lot of the bounce, but not as much as other breastfeeding sports bras I have tested in the past.

However when I shared a video with my followers demonstrating the bounce in my breasts while skipping, THEY were impressed.  Maybe my video doesn’t adequately reflect the bounce that I felt, or maybe I have higher expectations when it comes to boob support than other mums.  Or maybe I’m too picky.  I’ll let you watch my video and decide for yourself.  I am happy the range caters to my size, because a 14F bras aren’t something that are easy to come by.

To maximise your chances for an optimal fit, I would encourage you to talk to a salesperson.  If I went by the sizing information that I found on the website, as a 14F I might have ended up with the XXL (to fit 16-18, E-F) instead of the XL (14-16, DD-E).

See The Mum Life‘s MOVEMAMÍ collection and more at their website (here), Instagram (here) and Facebook page (here).  Use the code “VIP” for a 10% discount

Thanks Abby for sending me my MOVEMAMÍ bra in exchange for my honest review.

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Breastfeeding A Baby With Kidney Failure – Amanda’s Story

When Lucy was nearly 11 months old, she was diagnosed with kidney failure, and her mum Amanda had to stop breastfeeding cold turkey.  Lucy is now 18 months old.  Amanda has been exclusively pumping since the diagnosis, because not only are the majority of formulas on the market unsuitable for a baby with kidney failure, but Lucy also has CMPI (Cow’s Milk Protein Intolerance).

Lucy is in kidney failure from end-stage kidney disease.  It’s suspected she has a condition called infantile nephronopthisis, which will be confirmed by results from genetic testing.  At only 18mo, Lucy is waiting on a kidney transplant, and has to undergo peritoneal dialysis until she gets one.  The dialysis involves a catheter running into her belly and to her periotoneum.  The catheter recently moved out of it’s intended position, causing great discomfort for Lucy during dialysis, and requiring surgery to move the catheter back to where it belongs.  This photo was taken while Lucy was recovering from that operation, with Amanda needing to comfort Lucy while pumping.

“How breastfeeding looks for us!! This little girl turned 18 months on the 27/08. She was exclusively nursed until a couple of days shy of 11 months, when she was diagnosed with kidney failure and we had to stop nursing cold turkey. She has CMPI and is unable to have the majority of formulas on thr market either because of cows milk protein, or because they are not suitable for use in kidney failure. I have been exclusively pumping for her since her diagnosis. Her 18 month milestone marked 7 months of exclusively pumping for us. She is listed for a kidney donation and I am hoping to provide EBM for her until her transplant. Breastfeeding comes in all shapes! Today, post minor surgery, she needed snuggles while I pumped. #gottadowhatyagottado Boob on Mummas!! ♡”

“We not only had to suddenly stop nursing, but we suddenly had to severely restrict my daughter’s fluid intake until her dialysis started working”

Lucy wasn’t passing any urine at all, and was overloaded with fluids, so Amanda was told to stop breastfeeding immediately, with no opportunity given to gradually wean.  As if that wasn’t enough, Lucy essentially had to starve or risk making her situation worse.  Like many breastfeeders, Amanda had mothered Lucy with breastfeeding, and was distraught and felt unable to offer comfort to her daughter when she needed it most.

“I just wanted to know where we stood so I could get my head around it”

Initially, Amanda had some hope that she and Lucy might be able to return to direct breastfeeding, but she kept getting mixed messages from the variety of health care professionals she had to see.  Some were very optimistic and encouraging of Amanda continuing to express, and others were not.

Thankfully there was a Dietician, Lactation Consultant and one particular Doctor who recognised the importance of breastfeeding in this situation.  They helped Amanda devise a system that involved placing a carefully measured, fortified feed into an SNS (Supplemental Nursing System) and using it to feed from a thoroughly drained breast.  Lucy and Amanda were able to breastfeed this way for a week, which allowed them to enjoy their remaining breastfeeds together, and gave Amanda a degree of closure.

Amanda and Lucy’s very last SNS feed

“The staff in the Renal Treatment Centre were great at helping me find volunteers to sit with my daughter when I needed to express at first, because I didn’t want to upset her by pumping next to her.  When she was a bit older and her fluid restriction was lessened, she was ok with me pumping next to her and they organised us to be trained in dialysis in a separate room so that I could express when needed without leaving.”

Amanda said she feels comfortable pumping in front of the doctors and nurses that come and in out of the dialysis room, and they also seem very comfortable being around her too.  The nurses have been very encouraging too.  Amanda also feels the Lactation Consultant has gone above and beyond her duty, from checking in to see how she is going, to finding her a pump to use at hospital that was the same as her one at home, right down to finding vegan recipes for Amanda to use (as Lucy has CMPI and a possible egg allergy).

“Originally I was expressing every 3 hrs, with a 6-8 hr break overnight”

Now, 7 months later, Amanda finds she can pump 3-4 times a day while maintaining the same output as when she was initially pumping much more frequently.  She is able to express enough for Lucy to have 3-4 bottles of her 6 daily bottles as fortified breastmilk.  About 8 weeks into her exclusive expressing journey, Amanda started taking motilium to help her express, which can be very difficult without being able to put baby to breast.  She also takes sunflower lecithin to avoid blocked ducts.  Amanda says it’s very important for her to eat and drink well, which can be hard when you have a sick baby.  She uses a Milk Genie double electric pump, which she chose because it’s small and portable.  “I bought it to use in the car to and from the hospital, and liked it so much I use it all the time now. It’s quiet, small and portable – I love it!”

Lucy celebrating her 1st birthday with her mum, dad and older sister

“Encourage readers to speak with their families about their wishes for organ donation – registration is important, but our families make the final decision about our organs and tissue. We don’t need our organs in heaven, but heaven knows we need them here!”

The Australian Government’s Organ and Tissue Authority maintain a national donor registry at Donate Life.  You can register your intention to donate your organs and tissue to people like Lucy.  But as Amanda says, you also need to discuss your decision with your family, for they need to give permission for this to happen once you’ve passed.  You can get yourself onto the organ and tissue registry by filling out this online form.

*This post contains an affiliate link*


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Natural Term Weaning Update #3

Our weaning journey is coming along smoothly with Mr 5.  He has come from having 2 absolutely vitally necessary breastfeeds every morning and every night to one last night, one two nights before that, one that morning, and I’m not sure when the one was before that.

He never breastfeeds for more than 10 seconds, and he often jumps off after 3 or 4.  He now unlatches and kisses me goodnight before snuggling down in my arms, and then casting me off him so he can lie on the other side of the bed.

A fortnight ago Miss 2 and I were sick with the flu, and he spent a day at a friend’s house.  Mr 5 was picked up by my husband on his way home from work.  When Mr 5 was asked how his day was he exclaimed “It was so good to be away from Penny, always whinging about milk!”.  Not so long ago, it was he who was always “whinging” for milk.

Some nights he falls asleep while I read to him.  We read a childhood favourite of mine – Truckers, by Terry Pratchett.  Now we are reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.  They are big books with no pictures, lots of chapters and is written in a language that’s difficult for a 5 year old to understand.  I don’t explain what’s happening, but he seems to understand anyway.  I also don’t explain to him that I feel “done” breastfeeding him, but he also seems to understand that too.

I really wish I could enjoy these last breastfeeds, but my body itches and stings and wishes he would stop putting his hands on me.  I feel a small trace of guilt that I am not weaning as lovingly as I thought I would, but the conscious part of my mind reassures me that this guilt is a trick.  Every breastfeed I have given him for the last 5 years was a reminder of my love for him.  Instead of seeing the end of our journey as an ending to the way I show my love, I am choosing instead to see it in a different way.  Instead, I will remember that every breastfeed I have given has prepared him for now –  when he no longer need to be breastfed to feel loved.  I choose to celebrate all of the ways he is now capable of not only feeling love, but also showing it back.  And maybe part of the way he is showing me he loves me is by letting me finish breastfeeding.


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Breastfeeding & Returning To Work (Guest Post)

Fiona Morrison blogs over at the Mumma Morrison website.  She is a first time mum to “Starfish”.  She is a teacher, writer and (her words!) an oversharer.  She loves writing to help other mums in their motherhood journey, and she has recently returned to work.  Fi kindly wrote a guest post for us, to offer her unique perspective on returning to work while breastfeeding.

“In just over two weeks time, my son will be turning one. His first birthday. A time for celebrating so many triumphs and milestones – a whole year of life, a whole year of surviving motherhood (who knew that was possible?!), and a whole year of breastfeeding my son. In two weeks time, those memories will be pleasantly remembered and celebrated. But this time will also be bittersweet.

It will be bittersweet because next week I will be returning to work after being on leave for just over a year. Just as we come to a time to get excited and party about surviving parenthood (and the complete overhaul of our lives that it has been), I succumb to another massive shift in routine. I will now need to adapt to life as a (part-time) working mother, and the affect that that will have on my relationship with my son. It was change how we spend our time together on the days that I’m not working; it will change our routine of when he wakes up in the morning for breastfeeds; it will change how he spends his days when he is looked after. Just as we finally got used to life together, we now have to adapt to a new life where time is spent apart.

The Challenges of Returning to Work as a Breastfeeding Mum

One of the biggest challenges that this is presenting at the current time (besides massive separation anxiety on my behalf), is working out the time of his morning feed. Currently my son is on two big breastfeeds – one in the morning and one at night. While I thought that this would work perfectly in time for my return to work – and in a way it does – the timing of the morning feed conflicts with the time I need to leave for work. This means I will need to be waking him up earlier than usual to feed him before I go, or have expressed milk in place ready to go for his babysitter to feed him when he wakes up.

The next challenge this presents is the need to find time to express while at work in order to build up enough supply for the morning feeds. As a primary school teacher, this task will be even more difficult as there isn’t much time or space for me to duck out to express (away from the eyes of colleagues or students). If I do decide to express so my son has a bottle for his morning feed, I will either need to express on my days off, or try and find a storeroom to sneak into during my 20-minute recess break. An interesting dilemma that I will have to decide upon within the next week.

Lastly, I know that I am going to miss that extra time snuggling with my son in bed first thing in the morning while he feeds. While breastfeeding can sometimes be a challenge in itself (for example, when my son bites!), it is a bond that I treasure as it is something only we can do together. While I’m not a morning person, I do love this time that we get to spend just the two of us. This will be far be the hardest adjustment I will have to make in returning to work, and is at the foundation of my separation anxiety.

The Benefits of Returning to Work as a Breastfeeding Mum

 To help my transition back into the workforce, I have been trying to think positively about the whole experience and what I have to look forward to. For me, there is one huge benefit of going back to work for our breastfeeding journey. I know that returning to work will make our feeding times much more special as I won’t be taking them for granted. It means that in the morning I will be eager to get up a little bit earlier to feed him and see him before I go. It also means that just before bedtime, we get some special one-to-one bonding time as he feeds before bed. This for me is a particular benefit, as I know it will make our bond even stronger.

I know that another benefit of returning to work breastfeeding, if I required it, would be some space and time to pump at work. While this may not sound like a big benefit, I know that if I needed to pump while I was at work (which won’t be the case this time around), it would give me time to stop and relax a bit during the busy day that is teaching. Normally I am running around throughout the day, not stopping until it is well after home time. This would have been a huge benefit to me, but unfortunately I might have to wait until the next time for that one!


Returning to work will have its challenges, and also its benefits. What I do know is that I’m looking forward to the opportunity to deepen my relationship with my son and to really appreciate the wonderful blessing it has been to breastfeed him this far. My hope is to continue to do so over the coming months, and I know that we’ll both be stronger for it.”

Thanks so much Fi, for sharing your story with us.  If you like what Fi has to say, you can follow via her Mumma Morrison website, Facebook page or Instagram account.  If you have a story you would like to share with us, please email us at

Have you returned to work since breastfeeding?  How did it go?


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Can Anabella Live Up To The Hype?

My newsfeed has been flooded today with a video about “Anabella”, a new kind of breast pump.  The video comes from Indiegogo, which is a crowd-funding website that help people raise money to kick start their projects.  In this case, Senia Waldberg from Tel Aviv, Israel, wanted to return to work, but it would appear she couldn’t find a breast pump that worked well for her.

Her pump, Anabella, appears to be a rechargeable, single-breast pump that has a patent-pending design that tries to mimic the perstaltic movement of an infant’s tongue during breastfeeding, rather than creating suction using a diaphragm.

Please let me preface this post by saying I think this is a marvellous idea in theory.  The way breast pumps operate is very different to the way babies breastfeed, and this will always be a barrier for many women to express.  I have a lot of respect for anyone who tries to fund their own product.  I have written before about working with Pumpables, promoting their Milk Genie breast pump.  I have seen what the competition is like among breast pump brands, and I sincerely wish Senia Waldberg the very best when it comes to meeting her goals of mass producing her pump and getting it global.

The pitch video makes some big claims that seems to have excited the breastfeeding community, but I have some concerns.

  • At the start of the video, it is claimed that most breast pumps only remove up to 60% of breastmilk from a breast.  Besides the fact that I have never seen this figure before, I know from personal experience that all pumps operate differently, and that different women respond to different pumps, differently.  I don’t know where that 60% figure came from, but if anyone can send me links to reputable info supporting this, I’d love to see them.
  • The video claims that this problem is entirely down to the shape of the suction cup (or breast shield, or flange, or whatever you know that part to be).  I really struggled with this claim.  There are so many factors that can impact how effectively someone can drain their breast while pumping – personal comfort, mental state, the physical environment around you, whether you have a double or single breast pump are a few – blaming poor drainage solely on the design of a pump oversimplifies a complex issue.
  • My biggest worry is that the pump can supposedly remove 100% or “close to 100%” (depending on where you look) of the milk stored in a breast.  Many breastfeeding experts, including Kellymom, tell us that “milk is being produced at all times, so the breast is never empty”.  The claim that this pump can remove 100% or so of the milk from a breast isn’t in line with my understanding of the way breastmilk production works.
  • The video alludes to the claim that pumping will decrease your supply, because 40% of your breastmilk is left remaining in your breast, making your body think that it’s making more milk than necessary, and therefore telling it to make less milk.  While some breast pumps may contribute to a decrease in milk supply due to an inability to extract breastmilk appropriately, factors such as pumping technique, frequency, duration and what kind of pump you’re using are all important factors. In my own experience, once I knew what I was doing, pumping increased my supply.  Given that many breastfeeders are advised to embark on a pumping routine to increase their supply, it would appear I’m not alone in my experience.
  • Additionally, Senia tugs at our heartstrings when she tells us her daughter was “hungry and mad” because 40% of her mother’s milk was left in her mother’s breasts and Senia felt frustrated because there was nothing she could do.  As a mum who has had to express while working fulltime, I disagree that there was nothing she could do.  Pumping more frequently, breastfeeding more frequently or breastfeeding instead of pumping are three options that can be explored when pump output is low.
  • The idea for Anabella was apparently borne from “hours” of research.  I don’t know if there has been a language barrier, but a few hours of googling doesn’t do the conundrum of how to make the best breast pump anywhere near enough justice.

I don’t want to completely tear down what appears to be an innovative start-up, but all of the hype surrounding the video has made me want to put my hand up and gently suggest that we need to calm down and look at this critically.  If I were to invest my money in the best breast pump ever, I would want to know that the people making it had a lot of experience in other breast pumps, a high degree of knowledge about how breastfeeding and expressing work, and the ability to produce it well enough to deliver on it’s promises.  For now at least, I think I’ll keep my money in my pocket.

Have you seen the hype over Anabella?  What are your thoughts?

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The Choice To Breastfeed

When I was growing up, everyone in our family breastfed.  No one asked the pregnant lady if she planned to breastfeed, because it was taken for granted that she would.  When I was pregnant with my first child, I didn’t really decide that I would breastfeed – there was no decision to be made about it.  Breastfeeding is the normal way for families to feed their kids.  If I couldn’t breastfeed then I’d cross that bridge when I came to it, but I’d seen breastfeeding work lots of times and I had to reason to believe that I wouldn’t be able to do it too.

I never seriously considered choosing to stop breastfeeding either.  I had some epic problems establishing breastfeeding, but I had faith that I would get through it, because I’d seen other people get through the same problems before.

I never felt like breastfeeding was a choice.  That probably sounds bad, like I felt forced to breastfeed, but it wasn’t like that.  I didn’t need a thought process behind a decision, there was no list of pros and cons.  Breastfeeding is the normal way to feed our babies.  I just did what needed to be done.

I look at changing nappies in the same way.  I can’t choose to change nappies or not, it’s a part of parenting.  My kids need their nappies changed, and I would neglecting to meet their most basic of needs if I chose not to do it.  If I was physically unable to change their nappies for some reason, then I’d be forced to find an alternative solution – a costly and inconvenient solution that other people would be shocked I’d have to go through.  They would probably be impressed at the great lengths I’d go through to do something that other people could do easily, and seeing me go through such a rigmarole would make them grateful for their natural ability to change nappies the normal way.

That’s how I look at families who can’t breastfeed.  I am wowed by the struggles that they’ve overcome, and concerned about how are coping mentally with being unable to do what they had hoped.  I’m shocked at how expensive bottles and formula are, and I’m blown away by all the effort they have to go through to get it done (the handwashing, careful measuring of scoops, sterilising, boiling water, washing extra dishes, etc – it’s a big workload!).  And ultimately, seeing a family who can’t breastfeed makes me very grateful for my own ability to do so.

Growing up in a family where breastfeeding was normal, I can’t imagine why anyone would ever choose not to breastfeed, because from where I’m standing it’s much easier than other feeding methods.  I know that most people don’t see it that way because they didn’t grow up the way I did.  But as we continue normalising breastfeeding, and helping the broader community see more happy breastfeeding relationships, one day things might be different.

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Natural Term Weaning Update #2

Do you ever feel really touched out?  I have explored these feelings of mine before and have found some ways thst help me avoid them (you can read about that here), but when I am tired, it hits me much harder.  I have been burning the candle at both ends lately – staying up til 1am and waking up at around 6.30 with eleventeen billion night time requests for milk from Miss 2.

After a busy day yesterday, by evening time I was burnt out and could not deal.  With anything.  Much less Miss 2 and Mr 5 both trying to own my body.  They can obviously sense when I’m at my worst – I’ve always known they will be at their most demanding on the days where I feel least equipped to deal with it.

Mr 5 is feeling quite a lot of jealousy over Miss 2’s demand-feeding, and yesterday evening, when we were all feeling a little bit frail and in need of various types of comfort, his feelings were being made quite clear.  Every time Miss 2 breastfed (frequently) he came and tried to sit all over me and put his hands all over my breasts.  I found myself more than once sitting very still, even holding my breath to stop myself from exploding.  Then I would start slapping their hands off me.

I said things I am not at all proud of.  I write because I like to think I’m pretty good at articulating my thoughts, but let me tell you.  At that time, in those circumstances, my beautiful, gentle, sweet, caring 5 year old child did not need to hear my thoughts articulated.  After hiding myself in the kitchen I took a late-night stroll down the street with both kids to try and reconnect a little, I told Mr 5 it was time for bed.  He protested, as he always does when he is overtired, but I got him to cooperate with some gentle firmness.  He wanted to watch a movie, he wanted to play with his Transformers, he wanted me to play Snakes and Ladders with him.  I explained that sometimes what we want and what we need are not the same thing, and could he please come to bed because I really wanted to give him some milk.

Even though I write about what we do, and a lot of people seem to relate to it, I don’t have all of the answers.  Sometimes I have moments of brilliance, and sometimes I sink so low I feel like I don’t deserve to have kids.  I know that as long as weaning is happening, however slowly or child-led, there is still going to be days and times when it sucks.  There’s no quick and easy solution.  Neither of us have done this before, and all we can do is try to ride out these feelings together.

And here we are.  I can’t remember the last time I breastfed him to sleep, but last night I did.  I know we are on the downhill run towards weaning, but I’m still using his milk as a parenting tool. It’s easy and effective, and when we’re in bed and he’s still and sleepy, the aversions go away.  Even though I know he is nearly ready to finish breastfeeding, he’s not ready to let go of feeling connected to me, and nor I him.  We have other ways to be connected, but last night I was too tired to think of any of them.  As long as breastfeeding works, I’m still going to do it.


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Our Final Breastfeed

A photo shoot to mark the end of our breastfeeding journey. Most people who dream of letting bub self wean don’t have the luxury of knowing which breastfeed will be their last, it’s usually something you think about a few weeks after and think ‘Hey it’s been a few weeks since we breastfed, I wonder if that’s it now?’. Which is what happened with #3, the time between feeds became longer and longer and the feeds themselves became shorter and shorter. After being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and being told I had only a few days before starting chemotherapy drugs that I couldn’t breastfeed on, I was gifted a breastfeeding photo shoot by Tara at White Lotus Photography.

Hard at work getting ready

I have been on a fairly high dose of Prednisone for a few weeks now. I am supremely bloated and the heaviest I have ever been, for a bit of perspective I have gained 5cm around my neck! Things like dying my hair are extremely difficult now. I have managed to overtone it, but not sure if I have the energy to fix it this morning, we’ll just pretend it’s intentional. I have woken up (if that’s possible without really sleeping) extremely sore today. The thought of getting ready is daunting. I desperately hope I don’t look ‘sick’ in the photos.

Bub was super shy during the shoot, but Tara was super nice and accommodating. Usually when people get breastfeeding photo shoots its all about flowy lace and flower crowns, the standard nature goddess pics. Um… not really our style. Bub is currently loving Captain America and Harley Quinn is an easier one for me to do my own take of. Of course as soon as we got there bub wanted boob, right on cue.

This was our last ever breastfeed. I told bub this would be our last boo-boos, she said “bye bye boo-boos” and had an hour long drawn out final cluster feed until she couldn’t stay awake any longer and crashed out. I feel so sick to my stomach knowing that she is going to be upset when she can’t have anymore boob. I literally feel so nauseous and stressed knowing tonight is going to be a rough night. But my sweet little girl is sleeping at the moment and we’ll deal with what happens later, later.