Wrestling baby, boob and blouse opposite my Olympian turned banker colleague as I breastfed my son at a team dinner wasn’t my most dignified move, but then who has time for dignity while we’re mothering, working, traveling, working out, sight seeing, supporting and exploring.
I recently dipped my toe back into work, presenting the swimming coverage of the World Championships for the BBC from Budapest. I took my Mum and my son with me as I am not ready to go back to work but I wanted to keep my hand in. It worked mainly because my Mum, who acted as my Nanny trotted alongside me where ever possible. (Beeb critics this was not at the expense of the licence fee payer, I paid for her obviously, I know how lucky I am to have her around for occasional childcare).
There are so many things I feel I ought to be doing as a working Mum, I totally forgot to warn my team mates I was about to breast feed at the dinner table and as a result I am pretty sure my lovely colleague Andy Jameson nearly choked on his Hungarian strudel. Thankfully Becky Adlington was on hand with a well placed napkin, she has a baby she’s been through this breastfeeding battle and was highly amused by the fact by the end of each programme I looked like I was holding two bald men in a headlock.
I confess I wasn’t trying to ‘normalise’ breastfeeding nor was I flying the flag for working Mums I was just feeding my baby and trying to still be me, catching up with my colleagues after work. I didn’t really think about it until I saw the look on my Mums face who was sitting next to me, taking in every ounce of Andy’s awkwardness. As ever he was a gent pretending not to notice my bare boob to the side of his beer.
I write this, not seeking reassurance or praise, merely to share a few hacks if like me you’re a working Mum who (for whatever reason AND THEY ARE PERSONAL, NO JUDGEMENT HERE) is currently feeding a child.
-Stick with the breast feeding bras. Those little clips releasing the cup of the bra are fantastic in awkward and cramped situations.
-Invest in some nice scarves that can double up as a muslin, cover up and change mat.
-Avoid dresses, it’s easier to sneak baby under a top than up past your knickers.
-Hand pumps are fantastic at easing a bursting boob should you be away from baby longer than you would like. (I did find the more I expressed the more I produced so be careful!)
-Warn your colleagues you’re about to breastfeed if you’re doing it in front of them, I found my male colleagues don’t tend to mind, they just get embarrassed when surprised a nipple appears at the table alongside a bottle of the house red.
-I took NUK bottles, they are the only ones my son will drink from.
God bless my fab colleagues and Mum for helping me do my job, be a Mum that is.