For Friday/Saturday, Kat and I went up north to the annual La Leche League conference. For those of you wondering – the La Leche League is all about breast feeding and any related child raising stuff. Suffice to say all the attendees were middle class, carrying their baby/toddler in a sling and touting Onya bags. I suspect a large proportion of the children there were also home schooled, judging from the few kids I overheard talking about it.
Kat went to various talks about attachment parenting, how milk is made and so on. One of the talks had something about a child being thrown out of the window to be caught by their father down below. An interesting idea, but I fear it might lead to social services visiting.Although I suspect I’m already going down this slippery slope as Rowan is starting to demand I throw him up in the air (“Jump! Up!”)
Rowan and I spent pretty much the entire time in the onsite soft-play room – he found plenty of balls to play with, and I wasted time on my iPhone eating chocolate biscuits. Unfortunately there wasn’t any wireless available :-/
I did go to one talk, helpfully titled ‘Dads’ which saw a few fellow soft-play inmates/fathers attend. It was a vaguely interesting talk, not surprisingly focussing on the role Dad’s have in breastfeeding. I think my attitude to breast feeding can be briefly summarised as :
- Why would I be interested in bottle feeding? This would mean I’d have to do something in the night/day. I want Kat to do all of this. The stupid argument over the man feeling involved is rubbish – if I want to be involved with Rowan I could easily do something with him before/afterwards. Yes, I tend to get lumped with nappy changing when I’m around, but it’s not something that bothers me – it’s just something that needs doing.
- Bottles are hassle – cleaning + sterlisation + worrying about whether you’ve given the baby enough/too much – no thanks.
- Environmentally, breast milk is hard to beat. Formula is neither free or sterile.
- From a health point of view, it’s good for my wife, and also for the baby. Apparently it makes the child more intelligent, less likely to be obese and so on. The longer they are breastfed the better all round.
The Dad’s talk also covered things like – “how to best support your breastfeeding wife” and so on. Someone raised the point of needing to be able to defend your wife/baby if challenged in public – personally I think this is a non-issue, as before I’d be able to open my mouth, Kat would be most of the way through her fifth or sixth argument as to why it’s none of their business or how it’s the natural thing to do for baby/toddler etc. Rowan has also probably been through a secret army special ops training course to bite any such people, given the correct key-word by Kat. Unfortunately for Kat, she’s been waiting 21 months for someone to challenge her over it, and it’s not happened yet. I hope they give me some warning they’re about to argue with her – so I can video it.
What was interesting was how some of the mothers there were still feeding 5-7 year old children. We’ve not really thought that far ahead yet – Rowan still isn’t two. He is now night weaned (and thankfully sleeping from around 8pm to 5am straight through), but still demands feeds in the morning and evening at the very least. If he’s somewhere strange then he’ll ask at random points throughout the day as well. But then, he won’t drink cows milk (not that I can blame him).
There wasn’t much, in the way of shops, in Alfreton – however it seemed to be doing far better than Bromsgrove as far as town centres go – and it had a big f*** off Tesco in the middle of it too – but still had two bakeries, a Curry’s and various other little shops.