It's World Breastfeeding Week. Another café is offering a free drink to breastfeeding mums.
And another one.
And another one.
I'm meant to think this is great. Surely if anyone would, it would be me?
Co-chair of a national breastfeeding charity. IBCLC. Breastfed my children for longer than considered interesting by a few tabloid newspapers. Spend most of my time thinking about breastfeeding, reading about breastfeeding, knowing how tough it can be for new mums to venture out in public, supporting mums to reach their breastfeeding goals.
But I don't think it's great. Sorry. And no, I won't 'lighten up' and just 'appreciate it for the positive gesture it is' and 'stop being daft'.
Free drinks are lovely. But they aren't so lovely when the sign advertising them causes a tear to come to someone's eye and causes a new mum to bite her bottom lip so that she can hold it together long enough to pay for her coffee.
Like most of us who are dedicated to breastfeeding support, I see a sea of faces of mums who didn't get to breastfeed in the way they wanted to. It didn't quite work out. It was too difficult.
The hospital staff were overstretched. The midwife didn't come on Day 3 after all. That GP didn't know what to do apart from give antibiotics. That group was closed because the children centre was only funded for 'term time only'. That lactation consultant, however brilliant, was too much money. That relative wasn't supportive. That antenatal class didn't talk about this. That tongue-tie was missed. That latch actually WASN'T alright and that pain wasn't 'something I'd get used to'.
Mums are being failed by breastfeeding support in the UK. 90% of those who gave up in the first 2 weeks didn't want to give up.
And you know what, I can carry my own bottle of water and pay for my own drink. Can I buy a coffee for the mum who's trying to fight back the tears over there please as she brings out her bottle of formula?
She's trying really hard to breastfeed at home. She's trying really hard to pump. But she usually takes a bottle out because it's hard to latch on in public when you usually cry out in pain and then you and baby both end up crying.
Of course, that other mum who is breastfeeding has worked bloody hard too. Just because she was lucky to get the right support, doesn't mean she doesn't deserve a drink.
Can they both get one? Because being a new mum is hard.
Can they sit down together and both get a drink? I don't want a sign that puts these women into different groups.
I want breastfeeding to be normal, ordinary, unspecial and something that anyone who wants to do it, gets to.
I wasn't a goddess, a 'wonderful' mum who deserves a sit down and a treat. I was a mum who was lucky enough to reach my breastfeeding goals. In this country, that sometimes does feel like it's down to luck.