Cherry Healey Breastfeeding Chat
Cherry Healey is working with Philips AVENT to launch the Philips AVENT Breast Place Awards. Having worked with Philips closely over the last few years I am delighted to be involved and have this opportuinity to interview Cherry.
Photo Credit: John Phillips/PA
Can you tell me your breast feeding story?
Sadly mine is not one of cosy bliss! I just assumed (arrogantly) that I would be fine with breastfeeding. Even before Coco was born I was producing tons of milk (a logistical challenge when going out!) and I had been carting these enormous boobs around since the first trimester so I thought ‘they’re ready for action!”. But the reality was that it was so much harder than I had anticipated. Coco just wasn’t getting enough milk and my nipples were so painful I wince even now to remember. I used to hold onto the side of the sofa and scream into a pillow. My poor baby entered the world to find a swearing mummy! I didn’t realise so many women found it difficult so I was embarrassed about not being able to do it. I hoped it would sort itself out but I ended up with mastitis (a boob infection – ouch!) and had to go into hospital for five days on a drip. Not very clever of me. I was then terrified about letting my baby feed again so I expressed (something that is not often talked about) which I loved with a passion. It meant my baby was getting my milk but I could stop screaming!
Why do you think the Philips AVENT Breast Place Awards matter?
They are so important for so many reasons. They raise the issue that there aren’t enough companies who take feeding mothers into consideration and hopefully this will encourage more businesses to make changes and welcome mums who want to breastfeed. Breastfeeding can be hard and being a new mum can be isolating, so if there is any way we can allow mums to feed comfortably in public spaces then that can only be a good thing. It’s so important to say thank you to the businesses, cafes and restaurants that have taken measures to make breastfeeding mums feel welcome.
· Personally I fed both my babies breast milk until they were 2 but was constantly asked after about 9 months when we were going to stop as if it was a failure to still be feeding them , did you get pressured in relation to this, particularly with being on TV?
I never got that far! But I do think it’s unusual to see a mum breastfeed in public at all, let alone a toddler! There is absolutely nothing wrong with breastfeeding a two year old so you’ve got to wonder why these ‘comments’ are being made? Society certainly feels a strong sense of judgement over mothers.
· Philips AVENT recently found that 60 per cent of new mums have endured ‘a negative experience’ breastfeeding their baby in public, 62 per cent of new mums felt lonely after they gave birth and 71 per cent of pregnant mums feel pressure over how they dress. Such sad statistics at a time when mums should be supported! What have been your experiences in these areas?
When making the documentary ‘Is Breast Best?’ I met a new mum called Emma who was determined to breastfeed. After trying to breastfeed in public a few times, and not enjoying the experience due to furrowed brows, she retreated back home. This is such a common story and is one we must address. Becoming a mum can be quite isolating at the beginning – if you’re used to being part of the busy, vibrant work force it can be a stark and lonely change to suddenly be tied to this little baby without much adult company. And because babies need to be fed every 3 hours, if you can’t do it in public then you essentially can’t leave the house! And like many mums, Emma didn’t feel confident enough to speak out against negative comments, so it’s incredibly important for initiatives like the Philips AVENT Breast Place awards which support them.
· I blog about budgeting and creative family life at www.babybudgeting.co.uk Breast feeding as well as being fabulous in so many other ways is also a great money saver and so convenient. But most of all it felt very natural and bonding to me. What were the best bits about breast feeding for you?
Honestly, stopping! Oh how I wish I had been able to be a graceful breast feeder! Of course you mention the cosiness and ease – and not only is it freeeeeee but it burns 500 (yes, 500) calories AND helps your stomach to get back into shape – what’s NOT TO LOVE?!?!
· If you had one piece of parental wisdom from your experiences so far to share with my readers about to embark on the parenting journey…what would it be?
Tell people if you’re unhappy. Don’t struggle on. Share with other mums either over the phone if you’re stuck at home or online (a godsend for many parents) as there will be such good advice out there. But never, ever think that you’re alone.
Campaign information: Cherry Healey is working with Philips AVENT to launch the Philips AVENT Breast Place Awards, celebrating the people and places that make it easier for mums to breastfeed and express milk. To register your vote visit: http://www.duedateclub.co.uk/news_views/breast_place_awards.
Thankyou to Cherry Healy breastfeeding is so important and it so lovely when someone talks so honestly and openly about it.