Breastfeeding Stories - My Breastfeeding Journey
by Pip Wheelwright
I would like to share my Breastfeeding Journey with you, to help inspire other breastfeeding mums along the way.
Our first son Harry had a very traumatic birth by emergency caesarean, back in 1998, after a three-day labour. Although the hospital staff were brilliant, the support for breastfeeding wasn't. The nighttime midwife on the ward took one look at me and remarked, "it won't work, you know, too flat chested. I resolved that night to make it work, whatever the cost, especially as we have bad asthma and allergies on both sides of our family. When Harry was six weeks old, I attended my first (Bromley and Bexley) La Leche League meeting with a friend. We walked out of that meeting saying, "We will never feed our babies when they are that big!" My determination to breastfeed paid off and Harry proved both the midwife and me wrong by breastfeeding happily until he was two and a half years of age and stopped in his own time when he felt ready.
My husband was diagnosed with testicular cancer when Harry was 20 months old and after treatment we were told the prospect of having more children was incredibly slim. Then suddenly, to everyone's surprise and delight, six years later, I fell pregnant with Alfie, who was born, via VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C section) with forceps in 2005, I suffered 3rd degree tears. Unfortunately I still did not get the breastfeeding support I needed from the hospital staff.
Sadly then my dear Mum died when Alfie was just four weeks old and my Dad had recently suffered two strokes. Caring for my Dad (with other family members) and a newborn was very difficult, but thankfully breastfeeding posed no great problems for a second time running. We muddled through and I was so grateful each night for our quiet times together to nurse and cuddle through my grief.
I arrived at my first LLL meeting after a number of years (Bromley and Bexley group still) when Alfie was five weeks old. I was craving some light relief from the busy times with Dad and my life in general, and the feeling of coming home and belonging was such an emotional one that felt so right. It helped me to focus on others and allowed me to help where I could. It was something positive while I was grieving. I have made a close group of friends through LLL and we continue to help each other through our ups and downs, even though for some of us our nursing days are now over. Alfie continued to nurse until he stopped in his own time when he felt ready at two and a half years of age.
I will always be grateful for the support LLL gave me over the years, and for the friends I have found through becoming a Breastfeeding Mum. I continue to be a member of the same group helping new Mums where I can and supporting by paying my yearly subscription, and helping out at meetings.
Over the past two years, coming into contact with lots of children's toys, it struck me that it is commonplace for role play toys that involve feeding babies to come equipped with bottles. Noticing this gap in the market every time I went shopping or as I watched Alfie nursing his soft toys, I decided to create a doll to promote breastfeeding as the norm, as well as one that children could have fun playing with. I hope my dolls may help our future generations realize they do have a choice how babies are fed.
My educational dolls involve the use of totally secure, hidden magnets, at key points throughout the bodies, which enables them to kiss, hold hands, cuddle and breastfeed. The effect gives the child a magical visual image of the Mother and baby bond of breastfeeding! With clean facial lines (and no external attachments, therefore less fiddly for role play) and all the child sees, is the happy smiling faces of the Mother and Baby dolls. 21" Mum, with removable clothes, and 7" baby wearing removable cloth nappy!
I am really proud now that my project is now finished, special sets have been produced via a long-standing established toy manufacturer, with the help of their established links in China. These sets are fully safety tested and certificates state these toys were produced using humane working conditions and conform to the European (1,2 & 3 EN71) and USA (US CPSC) toy safety standards, and I requested the new updated guidelines for (BERR) Department for Business, enterprise & Regulatory Reform on all hand tags, labels and packaging.
I like to think of my sets as a nice keepsake now our nursing times have finished to help me remember our special breastfeeding time together. The dolls but would also be a fantastic present from a new baby to an older brother or sister, while Mum and her newborn baby nurse, while the older siblings role play alongside feeding his or her own "baby" with its own Breastfeeding Mum. This way everyone's a winner & after all happy children in turn create happy parents! And vice versa. These sets would be ideal also in Antenatal and Postnatal breastfeeding workshops. Check Out my Website, read reviews and customer comments pages for details!
To find out more information about "Boobie Buddies" Educational Magnetic Breastfeeding Dolls contact me at pip.boobiebuddies[at]ntlworld.com or visit the website at: www.boobiebuddiesbfdolls.co.uk
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