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Volunteer stories: Becky

Updated: Jun 8, 2022

I first volunteered with Baby Umbrella when my little boy was very young, unfortunately this coincided with the pandemic so the face-to-face sessions were no longer an option and frontline volunteers were not needed. Instead, I decided to offer my skills and experience behind the scene, joining the marketing and comms team to support the promotion and growth of Baby Umbrella which I am able to fit in around my own work now that I have returned. I decided to volunteer for Baby Umbrella because I wanted to support other mothers in accessing amazing free advice and support about breastfeeding, so that they feel empowered to give their baby the best start in life with confidence. I had a fairly rocky start to breastfeeding, fraught with self-doubt and worry. Once I had overcome those early issues however, I was passionate about supporting others having similar experiences. I started by supporting friends and offering information but when I realised I wanted to do more I reached out to Baby Umbrella.

Here’s my breastfeeding story, a short summary of a long journey (still going strong two and a half years later!). I hope that it inspires others to follow their instinct, seek support and do what feels right for their babies.

When we started out on our breastfeeding journey I vowed to get to two years, after all, that’s what the WHO recommended so I assumed it was the norm. I had no idea that in reality very few made it this far and actually breastfeeding a toddler is apparently fairly controversial. It actually started with my own mum, the “when are you going to stop” and “I don’t think he needs it anymore” but that was easy, I bombarded her with a plethora of articles and stats showing the unending benefits and she soon became my supporter.

I had therefore expected only judgement from my Nan, who only fed her two for the absolute minimum and asked very early on “when do you get the pills to dry your milk up”. I couldn’t have been more wrong though, when feeding my 18 month old in front of her one day she doted on us both, proud that we were still feeding and how “absolutely beautiful” it was, and how “natural”. But I’d been the same with her, I’d keenly spouted all the facts and figures whenever anything about breastfeeding came up. It goes to show how far education can go!

So, here I am still feeding this little boob monster (as I write) and still loving it.

Sure, it’s not always the image of Mother Nature in a flowing dress with a perfect pert boob out, sometimes it’s dripping wet in a towel on the toilet seat because he saw the boobs and had to have them! But mostly it’s cuddles and loving eyes, hands reaching for mine and utter love. And today? Feeding in one of the little shelters on Southborough common while my dog looked on impatiently! And when will I stop? I really don’t know! When we are both ready.

Stories of early parenthood

One of the things parents often say when they’ve recently had a baby, and even more so when they've had a difficult journey, is why did nobody tell me that this was going to be so hard? Why did nobody tell me the truth about breastfeeding, or birth, or sleep, or the emotional transition, or the physical recovery? If I'd have known some of this, I could have prepared myself... and maybe I would have known better if something was wrong.

We'd like to start to tell some of these stories. Every story you will hear here is unique, but it can still be helpful when you’re going through a difficult experience to realise that you’re not the only person who's been through this, that someone else has been here before.

So we want to open up the floor to you all and give anyone who would like to a chance to tell their story of early parenthood - both the joyful parts and the challenges you faced. Not just the shiny story on Instagram or Facebook but the truth of the things that were beautiful and delicious and wonderful as well as the difficult things, the things you might have struggled with, the things you miss from your old life, the things you regret or you wish you'd known.

If you’d like to contribute to our stories of early parenthood we would be really happy to hear from you. Please email or message us and we would be delighted to hear from you.

We hope you enjoy the series and do let us know what you think.

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