Breastfeeding abroad was so much more "normal"


Breastfeeding rates in the UK are some of the worst in the world - only 0.5% breastfeed their child at one year old, the lowest in the world). This can be for so many reasons (I tried and "failed" with M and F and was lucky to manage with O). What I did not realise was just how different breastfeeding in the UK would feel than breastfeeding abroad.

I recently went on a two week holiday to Lanzarote and almost instantly I noticed how much more relaxed and enjoyed breastfeeding was. So many times I would be feeding O and a chorus of "awwwww" would sound as people saw me with him. Never have I had this is the UK. I actually still get a wee bit nervous about feeding in public in the UK, even now 16 weeks on. Yet for the two weeks that we were abroad I did not hesitate on just finding the first available rock/wall/tree stump that was in the shade to feed O. No-one blinked an eye and in fact some people came over and stroked his head.

Now in the UK it never crossed my mind that breastfeeding was odd, nor do I remember really seeing it happen before having children - it did but I just never thought about it. Then I became pregnant and people making "breastfeeding normal" suddenly became a huge thing on social media (I presume because I started following more and more mums). The thing is all this "make breastfeeding normal" posts actually made me more and more anxious about feeding in public. I expect to be seen as an abnormal person, that people will disprove of it. I feel this because of the campaigns to make it normal and not because I have received anything but positive comments about it - in the UK and abroad. It makes me wonder if all the campaigns to make breastfeeding normal is actually making a mountain out of a molehill and perhaps doing the opposite of what it intends to do.

I used to think this negative feeling I had about the campaigns was more because with M and F I tried but did not manage to breastfeed. I think I felt an element of jealousy and anger because I was being made to feel that I was not as good a mum because I did not feed. I didn't, but oh my goodness did I want to. Now I wonder if the campaign is doing more harm than good?

I don't know why there is such a difference in feeling from feeding in Spain to here (not that I have prevented myself from doing so).

I have, and I still am, enjoying breastfeeding so much and nothing or noone would make me stop other than myself. I would love to help other women on their breastfeeding journey and I am currently looking into doing just this as I do hope that the fear of feeding in public can very much shift from what it can be just now to something that is completely normal - no campaigns, no extra attention.

Training Mummy

Training Mummy is a 30 something mum to two beautiful children - a girl born February 2014 and a boy born in October 2015.

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