Dame Sarah Storey at Kiddicare – Let's Talk Breastfeeding

I was delighted to see a shout out about a breastfeeding talk hosted by Kiddicare in Merry Hill. I was particularly excited to hear about how a multiple gold medal winning athlete manages to balance parenthood, intense physical training and breastfeeding on the go!

 I’d like to start by saying at the end of the talk I was completely in love with Sarah. Her approach is so very natural and she speaks with such ease about a subject that seems to be in the media so much lately. Sarah even took the time to give advice, answer questions and say hello to everyone. She was wearing a superb black breastfeeding top and jeans with hair tied up – this straight away made me feel that it wasn’t an over made-up celebrity about to tell us that it it was easy and straightforward.

She started off by explaining the women in her family are all breast feeders, this gave her a brilliant support network only that but it was so very natural for her to continue on the tradition. One of the first challenges to most mothers is the bit following a c-section however Sarah says that Louisa (her daughter) knew exactly what to do and began rooting and feeding as soon as they were able to.

Sarah said that Louisa still prefers boobs to a bottle. If there is choice between Sarah and bottle there is no contest.

At 4 weeks Sarah talked about Louisa having her first growth spurt. She said that Louisa started pulling back and shouting at the breast, but Sarah knew there was milk there as it was spraying all over her face! She went on to say that baby Louisa ‘was pulling back and shouting  and some mums without the obvious spray of milk on their babies face may panic as think there isn’t enough but what happens is that baby wants more than her tummy can take.’ When this happened I’d take her off the breast and give her stomach a minute to settle down and make room for more.

A few mums in the audience, myself included had younger babies and nodded and laughed in agreement, we’ve all been there!

Next up Sarah shared how they have been weaning. You can tell Sarah and her husbands Barney are both keen on baby-led weaning, on demand feeding and Barney was in the background with the beautiful Louisa in a sling – looking every bit the natural carrying parent.

Louisa was interested in food from about 5 months, so we gave her food like bananas, tactile foods and things for her to touch. She probably didn’t even try any of it till 6 months though. You can tell from their nappies how much food they are taking. We were feeding on demand so if she woke up in the night I always offer a breast so she’d never wake up too hungry in the mornings, I also offered the breast at meal times.

I always thought when I had a baby I’d be the one deciding when I was training, and feeding baby when I’d finished but it was the complete opposite! I’d be standing there in my full kit waiting for her to go to sleep. Eventually she started to go longer between feeds so I use that time to train.

Sarah shared some stories about being in the middle of training and needing to run up to the balcony rooms where Barney was talking care of a hungry little lady. You can see that she takes her on demand breastfeeding as seriously as she takes her training.

She opened the floor to questions.

How long did you breastfeed for?
 I’m still breastfeeding! We are ten months now.

When do you introduce food to play with?
Once she was sitting up and she was clearly interested and trying to grab for things. Kiddicare do some great suits that you can put them in to protect their clothes. We let her play with food but like I said she probably didn’t eat any till 6 months. You can tell they are ready when they start grabbing stuff off your plate!

Do you have any tips for weaning while breastfeeding? How can you see how much of what they are getting?
You can tell from the nappy how much is milk and how much is food. You can see if they are really hungry, if they want you more food. Sometimes if they are little grounchy chances are they’d like a little more milk.

Express & Star : Do you have any advice/what would you say to the women who have recently been asked to leave stores and had pictures splashed on social media?
[Talk about the store I refuse to mention on my blog, how lucky we are in this country compared to another and a funny anecdote about a photographer asking for a picture thinking Louisa was asleep then going bright red when Sarah told him she was actually feeding!]
 The law is on your side. Be confident. Small minded people will always be small minded. Just feed your baby – that’s what we’ve done for hundreds and thousands of years!

Any tips for discreet breastfeeding or breastfeeding on the go?
I use an electric one. I store the milk in the little milk pouches – they go in the freezer no problems. I do find that Louisa will be more likely to take a bottle if I am no where near her and she can’t smell me though!

Later on during the Medela talk Sarah was quite happy jumping in with tips about how to improve supply, and shared that her mum made her a big bowl of oats every morning! In general she is lovely, inspirational and a normal mum. What was brilliant is there were new mums, mums like me with slightly older older babies, mums with toddlers and lots with beautiful bumps. One thing is for sure, we all listened to Sarah with interest.

If you get the chance to go along to a future event at Kiddicare where Sarah is speaking I couldn’t recommend going enough! Did I mention there was a goody bag?

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