To feed or not to feed

June 12, 2014

Writing 101  Day 7 Give and Take

Write a post based on the contrast between two things — whether people, objects, emotions, places, or something else.  Twist: Make it a conversation.


To feed or not to feed


Anne looked at the other women as they arrived to take part in the yoga class. None of them looked remotely pregnant, yet she felt as huge as an elephant already. Whose idea was it to do this?

“Hi, my name is Angela” said the woman rolling out her luminous purple mat beside her.

“How many weeks are you?” She asked conversationally as she made herself comfortable.

“Twenty four, but I feel like thirty four already” Anne moaned.

“You look beautiful” she said “I love being pregnant. Is this your first?”

“Yep, and I’m not likely to do it again in a hurry” Anne replied, smoothing her hand over her abdomen.

“You thought how you’re going to feed him….her…?” She asked, nodding at Anne’s tummy

“Him..….Oh, I suppose I am going to try and breastfeed, you have to don’t you?” Anne responded.

Angela turned gently and laid a hand conspiratorially on her shoulder “You don’t have to, it’s not compulsory. I had lots of problems last time.  Gave up after a week.  My Daniel’s thriving on the bottle”.


The room was filling and soon the class would be starting, but Anne really wanted to pursue the breastfeeding question. “Can we chat about this after?” Anne whispered.  Angela nodded, as the yoga instructor brought the session to a start.


As they began packing up their mats and pillows, Angela began the conversation again. “They tell you a lot of stuff about breastfeeding you know. They make you feel guilty if you can’t or don’t want to breastfeed”.

“Yes I know I do feel the pressure. But the research out there does say breast milk is perfect for your baby.  I want my baby to have everything he needs”.  Anne replied.

“But these companies have really got their act together to make it as close as possible to breast milk. They even add good things like iron, to make it as close as they can”. Angela defended.

“But that is my point really; my milk already has everything he needs.  I even read that the milk changes as he gets bigger. You know, changing the constituents as he grows. It’s fascinating, sort of made to measure, when he wants it”.

“Ah and there is another point” Angela interrupted “My Daniel just wanted to feed all the time. My nipples got so sore I could not cope with it”.

“Really“Anne responded, concerned “But aren’t they supposed to feed often at first.  I read it is like starting the milk machine off. The more they feed the more milk you make.  Did you not feel like persisting a bit longer?”

“There was this woman who came around and she said I had not got him on quite right. That was why my nipples were so sore.  But I was just so pleased to get him on anywhere to shut him up, I put up with it”. Angela shrugged her shoulders.

“Yes, I believe that attaching the baby on can be difficult at first, but there are people around to help aren’t there?   I really want to give it a go.  We are mammals after all and mammals feed their babies”

Angela looked at Anne incredulously. “So because the cows, sheep and elephants do it, you think we as humans should too”.

“Yes” Anne replied simply. “Before we had milk companies, we did feed our babies.  I think these milk companies have done a bit of a number on us, making us think we can’t do it anymore”.

“So you think we can feed our babies?” Angela asked quietly. It was obvious she was thinking. “What about all those babies who die in Africa.  They just breastfeed don’t they?”

“Yes, many babies die in Africa because their mothers are starving, but more babies die from infections because of dirty water.  Milk companies send lots of artificial milk over there and the women think they should bottle feed. Africa is not a place to bottle feed because many don’t have access to clean water.  The milk companies would be better feeding the mothers”.  Anne finished.

“So you’re going to breastfeed your baby?” Angela asked

“I am certainly going to try my best”

“I might try again too” Angela stated with a smile.  “Thanks, see you next week?”

“Yeah, maybe we could chat about positions for birth” Anne laughed.


As she watched Angela leaving the room, Anne smiled to herself. When would be a good time to tell Angela that she was a midwife?


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