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As a mother i feel the urge to ensure my baby is properly nourished. I choose to do this by feeding him breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. I also choose to breastfeed.  When i began breastfeeding him as a newborn ,a whole year ago, it was expected and considered normal. No one commented or gave us funny looks if i was feeding him. I had a newborn, he was hungry, i fed him and that was that.

He was breastfed at cafes, restaurants, bus stops, parents rooms and sadly i also fed him in a few public toilets. I promised myself i would not be ashamed to feed my baby anywhere anytime but sitting opposite 3 elderly men in a doctors waiting room and in a crowded bowling club with my grandmother and all the other elderly people was too much for me. It wasn’t their fault, it was mine, i was too self conscious. I wish now that i hadn’t been. I wish that i’d had the strength and assertiveness to simply feed my baby, or at least move to a different chair so i would feel more comfortable. I wasn’t really prepared for how self conscious i would be with my breasts in the public arena and my baby was never comfortable with his face covered up – and why should he be?

When he hit 3 months it was still considered fairly normal to be breastfeeding but I had a somewhat ‘windy’ or ‘colicky’ baby who regularly appeared unsettled and would feed often, sometimes up to 10 or 12 times a day. This led others to the conclusion that he was obviously always hungry and needed either solids or a bottle of formula and once i was even told by an 80 year old woman to “feed him a chop!”  To all these people i simply replied that my son was breastfed and if he needed an extra feed or a top-up then that’s what he got. Regardless of my sleepless nights i was very determined.

At one stage we went through what i now know was reflux and he was waking hourly, even at night. When i took him to the doctor she suggested i switch him to an anti-reflux formula. When i told her that i was still breastfeeding she didn’t know what to recommend…in the end she suggested a food thickener in some expressed breastmilk, but it didn’t work. After reading the whole internet (seriously!) and using my powers of deduction and motherly intuition i decided it could be an intolerance to cow proteins found in milk and other dairy products. I went off dairy and the reflux stopped.

I guess i just felt that i was constantly justifying my choice to breastfeed and that the bottle-feeding Mums had it easy – after all no one offered them advice if they fed their baby a bottle and then offered them more after another hour or so, but if i did the same with my breasts then there must be something askew. Of course now i know i had it wrong. My realisation came when my first Australian Breastfeeding Association magazine arrived and i found that women who didn’t breastfeed often had feelings of inadequacy, guilt and constant justification, not to mention the constant barrage of washing, sterilising, boiling, measuring and the extra money needed to buy formula.

Neither group seemed to have it easy and i concluded that feeding a baby is hard work, no matter how you do it.

Well, i was enjoying feeding my baby, no matter how hard it was. I knew that either option would have its difficulties and i had made my choice, but i wasn’t sure for how long…

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This is my very first entry on my first blog… I’ve been toying with the idea for a few months now and couldn’t decide if it was simply a way for me to procrastinate a little longer over the things i really must be doing with my life or if it was actually a worthwhile experience in expanding my life, only time (and many procrastinated hours later) will tell.

Over the past year or so  i will admit that i feel like i have slipped a little. Although i have undertaken what could possibly be called one of life’s biggest challenges – motherhood – i have also become blissfully unaware of life outside my glorious little bubble of existence. I used to live my life on the very outskirts of my bubble, demanding admittance to the bubbles of others and frequently bursting the bubbles of those that had become trapped and seemingly listless. Now i understand that sometimes people are actually happy within their bubbles. These things take time, patience and care to build. They often contain what we find most valuable and fragile within our lives and i think people become scared to explore further or share what’s in their bubble for fear of bursting.

Don’t get me wrong, i’m not complaining, i love my little bubble with all my heart and soul. Within it is a mix of family, friends, a one year old boy, a wonderful husband, many cooking adventures.  Its taken much time and energy to prepare and create this safe and beautiful oasis and i have reveled in it for many months now and whilst i do not wish to burst my bubble i do wish to expand it, invite people in and also pop in and out a bit more.

It sickens me to admit it, but husband and I are a perfect pair, each making up for the others shortcomings. He is my rock and i am his rocky-road, he is the bread and i am the milk. Together we compliment each other and with our new addition we make a not-so-neat little tripod. Our son is a great big ball of active and alert energy. He is certainly not, and nor has he ever been, the lay down, chill out, eat & sleep kind of baby i had envisaged. He is however an absolute delight, but who doesn’t say that about their own children, and i can honestly say that i have not missed a moment of his first year. I can honestly say that because i am quite sure i was awake for most of it. Although it was hard, it was also amazing and he has taught me a lot about my about myself, i would not trade it for anything…except maybe eight hours of uninterrupted sleep…

Retrospectively i suppose the blog could have been titled Milk, Bread & Eggs to include our son and any other additions we make to our family in the future, but to me the phrase “Milk&Bread” says all i need it to. It represents the basics of family life, the joys of feeding a baby, the delights of cooking a meal and the so-called “bringing home the bacon”! Its tradition vs new age philosophy. It questions the common gender stereotypes and the boundaries (if any) of femininity and it’s all tested by someone who has always considered herself kind of a feminist and who is now a stay at home.

…thus represents my bubble, my wonderful little bubble that will expand more and more each day with new adventures in family life, cooking, teaching, working and hopefully much, much more.

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