From Protest to Picnic: National Breastfeeding Week
Last week was National Breastfeeding Week in the UK, aimed at raising awareness and promoting support for mums who want to breastfeed. We’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s posts on their thoughts and activities. Six months after the Brighton Breastfeeding Flashmob, I decided to go ultra low key and organised a baby feeding picnic, where mums can feed together and share their experiences.
Since that fateful day in December when five strangers decided to bully me in public after breastfeeding my 4 month old, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind. I rode the crest of the media wave that ensued because I felt strongly about the issue, I did not relish the press attention. At the time, I had so many mums comment on the blog and write me e-mails thanking me for making a stand. I felt obligated to see if through. The whole journey revealed a few cynical and ugly areas of being in the press, trolling and other campaigners questioning your motives. People like to read between the lines or simply make nasty comments, I learned.
However, I don’t regret a single moment. From volunteering at my local drop-in I got the opportunity to train as a mum peer supporter. These are women who, after a period of training funded by the NHS and Brighton & Hove Council initiatives, donate their time at the Royal Sussex Country Hospital and in various Drop-In sessions to support new mums with their breastfeeding challenges. I help organise the Drop-In in Hanover, Brighton, a charitable organisation and haven’t looked back. Working alongside other peer supporters who are so passionate, understanding and knowledgeable (not a hint of breastfeeding mafia before you read between the lines) is such an experience.
When you’re invited into those first few days and weeks of a baby’s life, it’s a privilege. To me, listening to a frustrated, emotional mum and empowering her to feed her baby is far more important than any appearance on Daybreak.