Support, and the lack of

My husband is away snowboarding in France this week (it’s his number one passion more than sex, probably) so I took this opportunity to take some annual leave and enjoy some me time but of course both my children have picked up some stomach bug from licking the ginger pigs at Hackney Farm (my 4 year olds diagnosis not mine.) Let’s just say that due to the nature of my job I can pretty much tolerate most bodily fluids, as I work in a hospital with wipe clean lino floors, plastic covered delivery beds and an endless supply of stiff, starch linen, I’m shit hot (no pun intended, honest) at cleaning up after whatever falls around me. However my little house has carpet, cream carpet in fact and only a certain amount of sheets and not a pair of sterile gloves in sight. This type of bodily fluid has defeated me, on the plus when my GP asked ‘is there any chance you could supply a sample in a small pot to send to the lab?’ as I was becoming more neurotic that my children had contracted E. coli, I smiled knowing that I could probably supply enough samples to sink the Titanic (when will it become PC to use the phrase Concordia? just asking)

So there I was today in the doctors waiting room clutching my two samples, flicking through a pregnancy/baby/parenting magazine (the choice was poor it was that or Saga) and I came across a page on breastfeeding. I breastfed both my babies, I absolutely believe in everything it stands for and not just because I’m a midwife but I was glad when it came to an end and my boobs belonged me to me again. So, this article on breastfeeding shpealed out the usual advice, recommendations and how to get it right from the start, nothing to fault there. Then at the end it went on the say about getting the right nursing bra, making sure it fits bla bla bla (just for the record I actually hate the term ‘nursing’ I’m just using it to be subjective in this instance.) Before I had babies my boobs were big, 34E I think, I actually hated them but my sister tells me I longed for big boobs from the age of 10 and use to sing whilst doing the arm movements ‘I must I must I must increase my bust’. I cried and screamed at my mother in the Marks and Spencer changing rooms when I couldn’t get decent bras to fit without looking like I was wearing some sort of contraption, ‘Don’t blame me, blame your Great Aunt Kate’ my mother would reply smugly with her B cup pert boobs staring at me, not a very useful comment as Great Aunt Kate had been dead at least 10 years.

Anyway when I had my first baby I went to Marks and Spencer (I’d obviously forgiven them for my previous traumatic experience 10 years earlier) and searched for the perfect nursing bra, ‘Sorry we don’t sell or recommended underwired nursing bras’ it was the same answer everywhere I went, ‘seriously you don’t understand I need underwire I have big boobs which need support, uplift and big wide straps, boulder holders whatever, don’t sell me this shit lady’ as I held up what can only be described as a flimsy piece of cloth that Kate Moss’s titties would fit into. I kind of went off in a hormonal tangent. One bra fitter (I do now feel a little bit bad about my behaviour) said to me in Mothercrap Mothercare ‘it’s not just our advice madam, I think you’ll find if you ask your midwife she will also give the same advice, no underwired feeding bra for your big breasts I’m afraid’ ‘I AM A BLOODY MIDWIFE!’ I made a swift exit before the manager was called, cringe.

By the time I had my second baby 3 and a half years later, things had moved on from this advice and companies saw a niche in the market for good quality feeding bras for the more ample lady. I invested in 2 at the time one black one white and it really did change the way my boobs looked and felt. No more 4 boobs with a cleavage up to my chin spilling out of tops, I felt comfortable, well supported and not embarrassed when I undid the clip and revealed a little bit of lace, yes they’re actually tastefully designed too! The other day my good friend who has just had her second baby and gets almost as excited as me when discussing feeding bras (or the new edition of Living Etc.) whipped out her boob to feed her 6 week old and revealed her new find, another amazing feeding bra! I was so jealous I almost wanted to get pregnant again just to be able to get one (joking of course) it looked so comfy, she said it was divine. So girls don’t be put off when your midwife/bra fitter/mother-in-law says you can’t wear underwired feeding bras because you CAN, I’m certainly going to change my advice when discussing it with pregnant women. Invest in your breasts.