Milky boobs back in the headlines – my take on the rise of “Brelfies”

So, judging by yesterday’s news, milky boobs are back in the headlines.  Partially thanks to models Gisele and Miranda Kerr, “Brelfie’s” are now on the rise as women decide to share photos of themselves via social media breastfeeding their babies.

As a breastfeeding mum myself, I am obviously an advocate and I applaud anyone who tries to normalise the act of feeding a baby in public.  Believe it or not, I have often been subjected to the odd “look” when feeding my babies out and about, and this “look” could range from pure disgust to plain embarrassment.  “It’s just a pair of tits people. Move on!”

When pregnant with Coco, I even had a close friend tell me it would be revolting to breastfeed my baby in public, and I know it is this kind of attitude that makes a lot of new mums nervous. Nonetheless, at no point have I found it necessary to share my own sagging pair feeding my baby via social media.

As my neighbours will no doubt testify, modesty is not a strong point of mine.  If I’m tired at night and the blinds are still open, I won’t hide in a corner to change into my PJs.  I have also breastfeed my babies everywhere…NCP car parks, playgrounds, restaurants, train stations, airports..you name it, I’ve whipped them out there.  Because I particularly wanted to show passers by the puppies?  No, because the baby was hungry so I bloody had to! If I didn’t have to share my boobs with the world, I wouldn’t, but if it’s an option of staying in for however many weeks/months or braving it out, out wins every time.

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This is the most boob you’ll see from me, unless you bump into me in the Larder…

Do I think women are sharing these photos to be smug?  Probably not.  If I was Gisele or Miranda Kerr I would definitely feel smug, but that would be nothing to do with breastfeeding.  However, I absolutely agree there is a crazy amount of unnecessary pressure put on mums to breastfeed from birth and this needs to stop.  I was incredibly lucky both times with my babies, who just seemed to know what they were doing, but many mums aren’t so fortunate.  My mantra, happy mum equals happy baby.  If breastfeeding isn’t working out, there shouldn’t be huge amounts of pressure put upon you, the switch to bottle should be a natural one without any guilt (easier said than done I know) or judgment attached.

As with all selfies, it’s rare these “brelfies” show the most natural poses.  Done in the best light with an extra slathering of mascara/bronzer/poly filler, they hardly depict a real sleep deprived mother breastfeeding her bundle of joy.  Should I share a photo of Raffy and I, it would be less Miranda Kerr and more mum on the edge as I try to prize his sharp monkey claws from the end of my nose and stop his hard gums from biting down on my nipple.  Breastfeeding is blimin’ hard work, but news flash…so is being a mum in general and this is something we all have in common, whether we bottle feed or otherwise. Let’s be kind to ourselves and one another, after all it’s a tough enough gig as it is.

Gemma x

I'm linking up with Modern Dad Pages #wineandboobs
I’m linking up with Modern Dad Pages #wineandboobs

8 thoughts

  1. I have been thinking about writing a blog post on this myself but sadly feel to scared too as I have watched (not commented) on discussions taken place on Mummy Support groups (scary places at times) on Facebook where mummies have torn pieces of other mummies for not breast feeding. I believe it is the mothers choice, as long as baby is fed and both are happy who cares. I attempted to breast feed both of my children and ended up bottle feeding due to difficulties but hey I tried, they got some of the vitamin bomb (colostrum). I would strongly support any mum who is breast feeding should there be a problem in a public place but in saying that if your boob is very much on show my two boys (4 & 7) are very inquisitive and will look and my response would not to be telling them off for looking because I don’t want them to feel awkward about something so natural. My line of thought was always if I had managed to breast feed I would have done it in public but would have indulged in a large colourful muslin cloth to give myself some cover (I don’t want every person seeing my boobies too) and to make it more snugly for my little one (but always taking into consideration my child may not like that so there was always going to be a risk of a little booby exposure.

    Thank you for writing such a responsible post, for not making me feel guilty because I bottle fed, for showing support for mothers choice….. For being a thoughtful human being (and not being to scared to post it in the first place).

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    1. Thank you so much Nikki. I really don’t understand other mums who are quick to judge others. We are all just trying to do our best for our children and I strongly believe that if mum is struggling, then they won’t be in a strong position to care for the kids. Happy mum really does equal happy children. I always thought I was breastfeed by my mum, but I found out recently that I had formula fairly early on as my mum’s milk dried up. Did it make me feel any less cared for or loved by my mum knowing this? Of course not! It makes no difference at all. Thank you so much for reading and taking the time out to comment x

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  2. I totally agree with you, breastfeeding is great and we are lucky that we have two good options for feeding out babies, bottle and breast – Boo and I are still going strong at 17 months and despite our ups and downs we have muddled through. It’s hard work and I think more needs to be done to show the realities of breastfeeding to new mums rather than just the endless pressure etc. I had no idea about what breastfeeding would actually be like and if it wasn’t for the support of my husband I don’t think I would have coped. I also think that more needs to be done in terms of long term support for breastfeeding mums, after I hit the six months mark I started to experience lots of pressure to stop!!

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    1. Thank you so much for reading and for your comment. I absolutely agree with you. I think we need to have more measures in place to help women deal with the realities of breastfeeding. I remember health visitors telling me that if it was hurting me to breastfeed it meant the baby wasn’t latched on properly, like I was doing something wrong and it was my fault. Maybe breastfeeding does just hurt at the beginning!? The baby was certainly still getting plenty of milk. When my friend was struggling they suggested lying the baby down, for mum to lean over her and literally dip her boob in babies mouth like she was a dairy cow – ridiculous! x

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      1. Oh my word, I cannot even imagine trying to dip my boob into baby Boo’s mouth, that’s just scary! Oh dear, to be fair I did have various support workers come and try to help me in the early days (at least enough people have seen your boobs by week 6 that you don’t mind getting them out in public!!) I think that healthcare professionals really need to think about how the communicate – especially to new mums who are sleep deprived and hormonal one wrong thing can do so much damage.

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  3. I wouldn’t say that feeding my babies worked out the way I had planned it, but I did a fair bit of public breast feeding with each of them. I never encountered any negativity per se, but definitely had people advising me how I ought to be doing it. One helpful stranger tried to take my modesty muslin off me, because she thought my daughter’s writhing and pulling away was down to the fact she didn’t like having it over her face. As it turned out she is lactose intolerant, drinking my milk gave her a terrible belly ache and what she was actually trying to tell me was ‘give it up, mama’. Everyone’s an expert, eh. 😀
    Good post, by the way.

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  4. A very personal and sensitive subject isn’t it. I too fed my baby breast because it was right for us. I didn’t care where I was when he was hungry, I just wanted him to stop crying. Thank you for linking with #wineandboobs

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    1. You’re welcome! Thank you for letting me post. I agree, it is a sensitive subject and I absolutely understand why. But I think there needs to less emphasis put on whether women are breastfeeding or bottle feeding, and for people to just let them get on and care for their babies the best way they know how x

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