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To boob or not to boob?

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After a month, Elliot and I have finally got the hang of breastfeeding!

It hasn't been easy, I can completely understand why people give up on it. There have been moments when I really wanted to pack it all in, close down the dairy and put up a sign on my boobs saying 'for decorative purposes only' but we persevered and figured it out and now I'm a prized cow. (Tom may say I was a cow during pregnancy as well but I put that down to hormonal mood swings and being denied booze).

We owe all our boob success to the amazing help from our community breastfeeding specialist, Louise. I went to a number of appointments over the last few weeks at the Stockwell Sure Start Centre in Stockwell Primary School. Each time I'd go for a few hours while the midwife came in and out to check on Elliot and I feeding. It's much better than the home visits where they only have ten minutes to spend with you, so they can start you off, but if you have any questions as you go you have to wait until next time.

Louise is great, she's a no nonsense Caribbean lady with a big bobbed wig, horn rimmed glasses and a deep gentle voice. She holds Elliot up really close to here face and speaks to him like an adult. (Read this in your best Jamaican drawl...) "Now Elliot, why do you have to go makin' trouble for mummy like dis? You listen to your mummy now baby, please no more fussin' or Louise be givin' you a talkin' to."
Elliot and Louise
I started calling her The Boobie Whisperer because she seemed to be a bit magic. After Elliot got his first 'talking to' he latched on perfectly and sat there for 45 min like a little angel.... of course later that day Elliot continued to make trouble for mummy by refusing to latch but after a few visits and a few talking tos he really got the hang of it. He still has one bottle at night before his (hopefully) long sleep which is great because it means I can get more rest and Tom gets a bit of bonding time when he feeds him.

So now that we've managed both bottles and boobs (if only for a month) I've done a list of pros and cons for both sides that are actually practical, not just the usual stuff that health professionals and breast warriors go on about. I know for a lot of women it's not a choice between the two as the babies or the boobs often have the last say, but this is what I've learned so far....

- Your boobs are free to remain pert and decorative and are less likely to be tucked into your trousers later in life.

- You get to wear really pretty, silly, frilly bras again instead of industrial boulder holders with stupid clips.

- Anyone can feed the bubba giving partners and grandparents a good chance to bond - I think this has really made Tom feel great.

- You get more sleep because you can share feeding times

- You don't have to worry about sore nipples, breast pads and mastitis

- You won't be that tired looking woman on the bus with wet patches on her top from leaking boobies.

- You're less likely to have baby poo on you, your partner, your handbag, your friend's carseats, your dad's trousers etc. because formula fed babies have less runny poos than breast fed ones.

- You will not be doing contortionist tricks in public places as you try to get yer tit out without exposing yourself to everyone.

- It's as nature intended, natural antibodies, good immune systems, bonding experience...blah blah blah all the stuff you already know...

- You can go out for a whole day and not have to worry about how many bottles you have.

- You aren't tethered to a microwave or steriliser, so you can travel around searching for the perfect wave.

- It's a quick way to stop a screaming fit from the little one. Who wouldn't want a boob shoved in their mouth?

- You lose weight faster so you don't need to buy more fat jeans.

- For a while you'll have awesome boobs, if a little lopsided at times.

- It really does feel good to be providing all the nutrition for your baby and if you can accomplish it this feeling of achievement might just chase off the baby blues.

- Your baby will be less likely to get colic, have bad wind or get constipated than a formula/bottle fed baby, so they may be less of a little bastard at times.

- You get to legitimately go on about women's rights and start arguments with random strangers who disapprove of breastfeeding in public - I haven't actually done this but I imagine in a sleep deprived, short tempered state it would be extremely cathartic so I have practised all my comeback lines already. People here seem very accepting of it though, I don't think I'll get my chance to use them.

- You'll escape the wrath of Gisele


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