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Shakeaway: breast milk to go

Once when Ramona was around 2 months I was walking along our road carrying her in the sling.  Some boys spotted me from their perch up in a block of flats and started hurling down meanness, although all I could really make out was the word “BREASTFEEDING!!!” screamed in a kind of offensive way. (The fact that this is a diss is worth a whole politics-of breastfeeding-rant in itself.) I was utterly mortified! “They must think I am breastfeeding her while I am walking along!” I put my head down and blushed to match my hair, feeling like my little freckly 9 year old self who got bullied in the playground. Then when I got to the end of the road I almost stopped in my tracks; what a bloody good idea. Of course I could breastfeed her in the sling!

The next time I was walking along and Ramona began her hungry headbutting I unhooked my bra and shuffled her around a bit;  she latched on immediately. That day a whole new sphere of stress free parenting opened up.

No more panick stations as I try and find a suitable place to feed her- with her nursing in the sling we can be wandering around the supermarket, a Parisian flea market or an  art gallery and no one is none the wiser. Well. Apart from the growling.

No more missing the train because I had to get a feed in before leaving the house. She just snacks on the walk up.

I feel it has helped build her security as she knows the instant she has a need it will be met, wherever we are – no crying involved. I love that science shows that meeting baby’s need quickly is vital to their development and nurtures things like their empathy cells. (Read more about that in my fave parenting book- it is the shizzle.)

If I ever want her to start a nap quickly (say because I have a meeting that it would be handy for her to sleep through) I just feed her off to sleep in the sling on the way. It often sends her to sleep within moments.

Around the three  month mark Ramona got way too distracted by goings on to breastfeed in public.Then she’d get all hungry and mad. However feeding in the sling helps her feel still involved somehow, avoiding what felt like miniture nursing strikes.

Perhaps best for those early days though was for the occasions when Ramona was incolsolable. They didn’t happen much but sometimes she wouldn’t feed or sleep even though I knew she was hungry and tired. As soon as I learnt to double them up she would settle really quickly. It was as if she needed movement to feed, or perhaps she wanted to feed upright.

I only wish I could have discovered it sooner.

So to those lads on the estate I will be forever indebted, for Ramona’s food on the hoof has made my life as a mother a lot easier. So much easier I would rank it in my top five mothering activities (I know, I’m a total expert after nine whole months.) I should really make those badasses some breast milk ice cream as a grateful treat.

In case your baby wants shakeaways…TIPS:

Feeding in a mei tai, ring sling or wrap is simple. Just tie it so their mouth is about level, although you may have to use your hand to hold either their head or your breast in place as they feed.

Where easy clothes, a low sccop or v-neck so you aren’t trying to yank up your top between your tummies.

Practice at home so you can get the hang of it.

Flick the end of the wrap over the top if you feel you have too much on show.

Beware of strangers coming in for a peek of your baby’s smile only to get that smile, dripping with milk, AND an eyeful of squirting nipple.

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Just when you think your baby can’t get grubbier…

Posted on

you go camping.

There wasn’t much hope for Ramona. Her mother is one of those shower-averse Brits that substantiate the “myth” that we are an unclean nation. (I put myth in quotation marks as I like to think that there are more of us in the closet, you know?) Even at 28 years old she can’t remember to clean her teeth (and twice a day? Really? Booorrring.) and a brush only goes near her hair to backcomb it.

I like to think I embrace a layer of grime proudly, for aren’t pheromones -or Furry Gnomes as we call them- a vital sign? But clearly by writing that first bit in the third person I am somewhat distancing myself from that mucky sod.

So Ramona was never gonna be a prim and proper, nit pickily clean little lady. Or just clean.

She manages it for about the first ten minutes after a bath. And then she generally finds some food. Baby Led Weaning is one messy buisness. Yesterday she crawled off to the blackberry bush and ended up looking like she belonged in a horror film.

But, gosh, camping? That is seriously Next Level.  All that dust and mud and not a sink within dashing distance.

One night we were heading to bed late, we had put up the tent, cooked and eaten tea in the dark but I felt I ought to duck in the shower with Ramona as it had been a sweaty old day. As I turned the light on I expected to see Ramona covered in the tomato sauce from the pasta. She was. But I didn’t expect to see stuck on to this layer, a thick film of the dark dust surrounding our tent. She looked like a chimney sweep from Camberwell circa 1872.

And we are off camping again tomorrow to the probably not so hot as France but equally lush land of Glochestourestershire (pronounced Gloster). Meanwhile here are some snaps of the French campitycamp.