Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I've not posted in a while. I addressed my blog/life balance and decided now that I'm driving again I'd like to get out and do more activities during the day, and slob about watching telly in the evenings!

At the beginning of last week, we had some wonderful news; my friends Faye and Liam won the competition to have their dream wedding totally paid for!!! I was over the moon, but I was pretty confident they would, as the last leg of the competition was won on votes, essentially a popularity contest, and as they are such lovely people, they have lots of lovely friends that bent over backwards promoting the cause! Thank you to all my readers who voted, you helped make it happen.

I had a busy week preparing to sell at our local NCT sale, I really wasn't sure I'd get all the ironing and labels and forms done in time with two babies around. I almost decided not to go to my cousin's virgin v party on Friday night because of it, but when I told my sister and HID, they both offered to take charge of childcare when they finished their working week so that I could finish off, and Missis fell asleep at just the right time in the sling for a few hours, so we pulled it off in the end. HID dropped it all off on the Saturday morning and I had forgotten one of the forms, but he fudged it on the spot and it was ok. We left any unsold items to be donated to charity, so it's sort of like a lucky dip now, we don't know how much we sold until the cheque arrives in the post!

I did get to the party on Friday but I wish I hadn't bothered. I didn't buy anything. I'd taken Missis along, and spent a chunk of the evening feeding her, and I was made to feel pretty uncomfortable doing so. First, repeated suggestions I should go somewhere more suitable, i.e. away from embarrassed (female only!) eyes. I worked out where she could have sent me. Her older daughter's cabin bed (up a ladder with a new baby?!), a hard dining chair next to an open back door the smokers were crowded around, actually outside in her garden somewhere with their huge dog (on a November night), the loo with the seat down, or my car parked outside the spar. I was sat on the sofa. Needless to say , I didn't move. Then cries of "Is she STILL feeding??? Isn't it BORING for you??" (no, I actually like it) and most strange of all, when Missis cried (as all babies sometimes do) actually offering to make up a bottle of formula for her. I felt so undermined. Embarrassed and small. It's so odd that something that used to be so normal and natural is now viewed as something almost shameful. And certainly weird.

On Saturday, I attended the Breastfeeding Network's annual general meeting as a breastfeeding helper-in-training. They were more relaxed about feeding in public :-) Boy was booked into the creche to treat Daddy to another day off, but the previous day he'd come back from babygroup with a gammy eye, and no doubt the creche workers would have taken one look at him and turned us away, so he stayed at home. As it happens, it was the same creche company as the one he mysteriously HATES when I attend training on Fridays, and since it's so unlike him (he loves new people & places) I've stopped taking him and he goes to my mums. Chances are, he would have refused point blank to go with the horribly familiar creche ladies anyway!

"Babes in arms" are always welcome at BFN events, but Missis is so tiny and the only one not in creche, so she was kind of the star of the show! I couldn't move for gooey ladies asking me her age. I only knew a few people so it was a great way to get chatting. I carried her in the sling, and when we made it into the lecture theatre she was sleeping, and stayed that way until the first break! The ladies behind me later remarked she was so good, they didn't even realise I HAD a baby until I started feeding her after the break! She only cried once the whole day, and no one minded at all. I'd even taken a small cushion with me so I could feed more comfortably, it was great, everyone was so supportive (as you would expect!)

Outside agencies came and delivered lectures on various topics such as the new weight charts based on breastfed babies, and how they won't solve every bf baby weight issue but they are more realistic and parent-friendly at least. We met the "star buddies" who had been providing peer support in and out of Blackpool hospital wards up to 8 weeks of age, reducing breastfeeding drop off rates from 75% to just 20% in their ladies (amazing!). The scheme had recently been reviewed, and comments had been taken from mothers and midwives, collated with photographs of nursing mums and set to music (M-people, "Proud", you know, "what have you done today to make you feel proud?") in a slide show. Well, it was unbelievably emotive, all the issues are still so raw for me with Missis being so tiny, it all happened so recently. The power of the words of thanks and praise alongside music and pictures brought many to tears. And I did feel proud. Proud to have joined such an ethical and independent organisation where I'll soon have the opportunity to help women just like me to give their baby the best start in life. Proud to be part of the Nestle Boycott, about which I'll post another time. Proud of myself for wanting to breastfeed second time around after a horrible first experience, and (so far) making a success of it.

But what touched me most was the section about breastmilk banks. Human milk is literally life saving to some premature infants who cannot digest formula and need all the antibodies they can get to survive, which are only present in breastmilk. In fact, I learned that formula is way down the line of choices of food for a prem baby, medically speaking, it goes something like this: the mother's own breastmilk, suckled from the breast, the mothers own breastmilk, fed in a different way, but freshly expressed, the mother's own breastmilk, frozen then given, donor milk, formula.

The United Kingdom Association for Milk Banking is a registered charity that supports human milk banking in the UK.

Their motto is Every Drop Counts and they believe that the provision of safe and screened donor breastmilk makes an important contribution to the care of the premature and sick infants who receive it.

They give practical support to the milk bank staff who co-ordinate the provision of donor breastmilk for premature babies and share expertise and good practice with milk banks and with breastmilk donors.

UKAMB is reliant on membership for most of its income and recently Trustees have been looking at ways to increase its sources of financial support. A special £10 per year membership fee (reduced from £25 per year) for Professional members (ie midwives, neonatal nurses, lactation consultants, neonatologists etc) was agreed at the AGM in November. However despite a concerted effort to gain new members at the BFI conference in Glasgow, only 2 new people joined.

In an attempt to attract financial support from the wider public, UKAMB has signed up to the Justgiving scheme. This enables individual supporters to raise money on behalf of the charity by attracting sponsorship for a particular event or simply by sending a donation. If the donor is a UK tax payer, the fees for the scheme are deducted from the tax that charities can claim back ie that has already been paid by the donor to the Inland Revenue.

UKAMB urges all supporters to encourage family and friends to help them raise the funds that are needed. Their support for milk banks is dependent upon more income being generated. Please go to to help UKAMB continue to ensure that Every Drop Counts.

UKAMB were being given some financial support by the company Medela, that makes breast pumps and other paraphernalia. However, Medela has recently broken the World Health Organisation (WHO) code for the prohibition of promoting bottles and teats (which would undermine breastfeeding), and so the tiny UKAMB has bravely and ethically said goodbye to a big financial ally. This bravery should be applauded and valued. I have asked HID to buy me a membership for Christmas. I hope you too will support this wonderful charity that helps women save babies lives. On the website,not only can you become a member, but you can make a one off donation, fundraise, or buy gifts or merchandise. Christmas is coming!

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At 8:38 pm , Blogger Kat said...

What a bloody pain!

I donated to milk bank. I have plenty and someone else needed it.

At 9:49 pm , Blogger Laura C said...

Fab post! It's great to hear you're doing so well after the struggles you had with your little boy! It is a shame that BF is viewed as something uncomfortable to some people especially women. I can understand men being a little bit weird about it! I'd have stayed on the sofa too!

At 10:16 am , Anonymous Kath@Parklover said...

What a shame you had to put up with such negativity from other women. I wish people would reflect that if they feel uncomfortable about something like breastfeeding then that is their issue to deal with, instead of transferring it to the woman in question.
I'm about to blog about Withy Grove Park, and will namecheck and link to you, as I discovered it via you BMB post. All the best, Kath

At 9:20 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's great to see you raising the profile of milk donations. I blogged about it a fair few months ago as I feel passionately about it. Both my premmie sons received donated milk and it made an enormous difference to the feeling of helplessness I had whilst they were in incubators.

I came by to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support after my difficult day, the night before my boys' birthday. It meant a great deal to me xx

At 9:40 pm , Blogger allgrownup said...

Kat: what a commendable thing to do. You should feel so proud!
Laura: thanks!
Parklover: thanks for the tag! Your review is much better than mine :-)
MTJAM: you're so welcome. xxx


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