As a journalist who writes about family matters such as breastfeeding, child vaccinations and diet I am aware of the huge amount of pressure on parents coming from all different directions.
Breastfeeding is always a hot topic of conversation and I feel that as a mother who has both bottle fed a child and breast fed another I have a fairly balanced view on the matter.
Earlier in the year I wrote a piece for Telegraph Women on how painful breastfeeding can really be. I was frustrated that the excellent NHS breastfeeding support group I attended still promoted the mantra that breastfeeding can be “uncomfortable” when most of the mums at the group were saying how much it bloody hurt in the first few weeks.
Even when I wrote the article I was met with resistance from healthcare professionals and support groups who were reluctant to admit that breastfeeding can really hurt because they feared saying this would put women off.
But the mums I knew all said they wished the private and public antenatal groups, midwives, health visitors, breastfeeding support networks etc. were more honest about it so they could mange the pain and not worry about doing something wrong.
It was therefore refreshing when a PR company representing Medela breastfeeding accessories contacted me following my Telegraph article to ask me to join their Count to 10 campaign.
The “honesty campaign” aims to give mothers support by not shying away from the difficult realities of breastfeeding and is based on the notion that when a newborn baby first latches onto the breast, the mother should count to 10 and gradually the pain should dissipate.
Admittedly I was a little cautious at first of putting my name to the campaign as I am naturally cynical of anything PR related and ultimately it is about raising the profile of the company Medela. I was also worried that there might be a conflict of interest as I am a journalist who writes about family matters but then simultaneously I am promoting a product – hardly objective.
But I spoke to journalist friends about it and they felt that if it was a campaign I was passionate about and genuinely supported then it would complement my journalism rather than negate it.
So here I am. My hope is that this campaign will make some inroads towards taking the pressure off mums who think they are not breastfeeding correctly. It hurts. It’s hard. It’s completely knackering. But it is also great.
And here is some of the media coverage of the campaign. Click here for the full Mail Online story.
It has been great to hear that new mums are welcoming this honest approach and feel it is something we should all be talking about. This comment is from the Mail Online thread: