– – – –
“Isn’t that so cute? I can’t believe I’ll have my own baby to fit into one of these in a few months time.” says Alice, fingering a baby bonnet.
“What else do you think I need Mum?”
“We haven’t gotten you any bottles yet.” says Margaret, Alice’s mum.
“What do I need bottles for? I’m going to breastfeed my baby” says Alice, adamantly.
“Shh! Don’t say things like that in public! People will stare at you.” Margaret looks around quickly. “The formula they have these days is scientifically balanced, it’s better than any human body could produce. You’ll be chained to your baby all day every day.”
“How many nappies do you think I will need, Mum?”
“Don’t change the topic, as disgusting as it is to discuss in public”
“I am going to breastfeed my child, no matter what you say.”
– – – –
Adam rubs Jennifer’s tummy affectionately.
“Not long now and we can meet you” he says, kissing her belly.
“I can’t wait to meet him. I’m really looking forward to breastfeeding – Mum always talked about it with such fond-” Jennifer began to sob. “I wish she could’ve been here to meet him”.
“I know honey. I wish Alice could’ve been here too.” giving Jennifer’s back a rub.
– – –
Michelle walks back to the table juggling a tray of food and James, her baby.
“The food is so expensive here these days!”
“I know. At least you don’t need to buy anything for James – I’ve got three growing kids to feed!”
“Got everything I need right here” said Michelle, patting her chest
“Good thing it’s free!” Michelle paused to take a bite of her sandwich.
“You know, Jennifer, I don’t think I would have even bothered breastfeeding if it wasn’t for you.”
“Really? I just knew I wanted to breastfeed, I know my mum would’ve wanted me to try – she breastfed me even though her mother almost disowned her over it!”
“Really! You’ve never told me that before.”
“Haven’t I? Grandma would make my Mum hide in the bathroom when she fed me or if mum started feeding me in her own loungeroom while Grandma was over, Grandma would tell her how disgusting and inconvenient it was and how I’d be much better off if she’d just give me a bottle”.
“Good thing people aren’t like that any more.” As if on cue, James starts to whine.
“Yep, time for your lunch too, mate” says Michelle as she picks James up and lays him on her lap to feed him. James’ whinges change to contented silence as he snuggles into his mother’s chest for a feed.
– – – – –
Angela sneaks in through the door at the back and takes her seat in the circle.
“Don’t worry Angela, we’ve just started. How have you girls been this week?”
Nods and grunts from the seven teens follow.
“That good? Well, this week we were going to have a chat about breastfeeding. What do you know about breastfeeding?”
“My mum said it’s too much of a hassle – I’d be stuck at home all day every day.” calls out Melinda, a young woman of about seventeen.
“Why is that?”
“How am I supposed to breastfeed while I’m out? There isn’t really anywhere to go.”
“It’s up to what you each feel comfortable with, but you are allowed to breastfeed anywhere you like these days. You can breastfeed on an aeroplane, in church, in a restaurant… anywhere you and your baby are allowed to be, you can breastfeed.”
“Yeah, I saw a lady in the food court yesterday feed her baby – right there at the table.”
“How did you feel about that Angela?”
“Well, at first I thought “Oh gross!” but then I thought how cool it looked. I mean, she didn’t have to find somewhere to heat up a bottle or anything, she just fed him right away. It seemed so much easier.”
“You mean you can just feed your baby anywhere? I thought you had to stay in the parent’s room with all the mums the same age as our mums!” Melinda shakes her head. “Wow!”
“What about at school? How can I manage to breastfeed if I am trying to finish my HSC?” asks another girl, shyly.
Melinda tunes out to the conversation while she thinks about the possibility of breastfeeding her baby.
– – – –
“I got it!” Samantha yells as she lets herself in to Melinda’s loungeroom.
“Where? Show me!” Melinda takes the book from Samantha’s hands and holds it out.
“More than a good bra: A General Practitoner’s Guide to Supporting Breastfeeding Mothers by Samantha Smith” she reads.
“It’s hot off the presses!” squeals Samantha, unable to hide her excitement.
“Look at you, author and breastfeeding expert! And to think, it was me who had to nag you to start training as a counsellor.”
“You have to rub it in, don’t you!”
“So do I get a thank you?” says Melinda, flipping through the pages.
“Give it here”. Samantha grabs the book from Melinda’s hands and begins to read.
“This book is dedicated to Melinda Burrows and all the girls from the Lower Mountains ABA group. I could never have done it without your support”.
“I’m… I’m speechless” says Melinda blushing.
“Don’t be so coy. Without your input I would never have gotten this finished – not to mention hours of babysitting I owe you.”
“So, when can I buy one?”
“Didn’t I tell you! Amy from the LRC called me yesterday. The Department of Health have bought out the entire first print run to distribute free to doctors.”
“And that’s not all, they’ve had enquiries from several Uni’s wanting to preview it as a possible addition to textbook lists”
“Wow. It’s about time some of those doctors had some up to date information. Just think how many more mums might breastfeed with the support of their GPs”.