A few months ago, I was really thrilled to receive the email that I’d been selected to become one of Medela’s Breastfeeding Cafe Ambassadors.
I came across Medela’s Facebook Breastfeeding Cafe whilst I was on maternity leave; I really wished I had known about it before I had my baby! I was very pleased when I applied and was selected to attend one of their face to face cafe last Summer. So, when I saw their advert for their Breastfeeding Cafe Ambassador programme, I went for it.
You see, I found breastfeeding really hard for months after I gave birth. Breastfeeding was a battle for me, and I wouldn’t have made it without the vital support I got along the way. So, I’m drawn towards supporting others on their infant feeding / breastfeeding journey in whatever capacity.
My first Medela Breastfeeding Cafe happened against all the odds at the start of June. I met up with some of my breastfeeding mummy friends at a park for a morning picnic. The sunshine, open space, and thriving bird life gave us a toddler-friendly environment to meet up for a chat about breastfeeding. The croissants, brioches, strawberries, grapes, carrots, and bananas were also lovely to munch on.
On our first meeting, we discussed our breastfeeding journeys at length.
We had a range of breastfeeding contexts and cultures between us. We found out that not all our own mums were keen on breastfeeding, and we reflected on the possible impact of this on our desire to breastfeed. My mum tried to breastfeed me but I wasn’t keen on it. I found it interesting to learn that breastfeeding is more common in rural Brazil than in its cities.
Our attitude to pre-birth breastfeeding sessions was also different; my friends took it more seriously than I did. I couldn’t see how practising the ‘stuffing’ of a knitted breast into a really ugly look doll’s mouth was relevant to me.
Those who led our breastfeeding sessions seemed to emphasis different things about breastfeeding too. We felt there wasn’t enough said about how difficult it could be at the beginning.
The breastfeeding sessions we attended pre-birth seemed to have played a significant role in how prepared we were for our breastfeeding journey. Our conversation once again highlighted how vital it is for mums to have the right breastfeeding support before and after birth.
The breastfeeding Q & A sheets that Medela sent to me to support my leading of the session also came in handy. We thought their picture of how much milk a baby needs at the beginning was very helpful. I wish I had this picture by my hospital bed when I had my baby.
One of us shared about how dads can help with expressing milk with gentle massages. It was also lovely to be reminded about how to make gravity work for us when struggling with expressing. This technique came in very handy for me a few weeks ago, when I experienced some unexpected (don’t know if it’s ever expected) lumpiness.
We also talked about pumping at work, and the importance of getting the right pump to take some of the stress out of it; and there was the usual sharing of our experiences of breastfeeding at night.
I was super impressed with one of my mummy friends who breastfed whilst standing and moving. There was I thinking that Precious Sparkle and I had explored all the breastfeeding positions that are possible. 🙂
What a lovely time talking about breastfeeding; we were surprised about how quickly time passed.
My second Medela Breastfeeding Cafe was at the end of June, and we mainly discussed how mums can continue breastfeeding when admitted to the hospital. Of course, the extent to which one can do this will depend on the reason for one’s admission. We felt it was very important for all the relevant medical personnel to know the mum’s breastfeeding preferences in the situation.
Our toddlers were more on the move during this meet-up and this limited the amount of time we could spend chatting about breastfeeding.
I’m looking forward to involving more mums in the cafe, especially those in the earlier stages of their journey. Breastfeeding can be quite isolating and it’s helpful for breastfeeding mums to know they’re not alone.
Massive thanks to Medela for the samples – nipple cream, breast milk storage bags, breast pads, and magazine – they sent to me for my cafe; and majority of our picnic was also on them. 🙂