Sat with my youngest daughter cradled in my arms suckling “mama milk” and with my eldest daughter lying next to me, I started reading a bedtime story. As usual the baby depicted in the story was bottle feeding. There is nothing wrong with that but it made me realise that this was the ‘norm’ in children’s literature and that there were very few books, and none that I’d read, that featured families like ours. We co-slept, breastfed, tandem fed and I loved using a sling to carry each child.
I never thought I would breastfeed and I stocked up on formula milk when I became unexpectedly pregnant with my first child.
I was young, naive and shy about my body and also unsure of what motherhood would entail.
But with the help of Facebook groups, Families and Babies Charity, Homestart and my local Sure Start Children’s Centre I decided to try breastfeeding.. and I ended up breastfeeding for 7 years which included the birth of my second child.
As I blogged and vlogged about being an unlikely breastfeeder (my journey from ignorance and reluctance to natural term weaning) I have been featured lots in the press and ended up training as a breastfeeding peer supporter too.
Creating Mama Milk Book
I wanted to address the imbalance of children’s books that only over seemed to depict bottle feeding and dummy wearing babies and children which ignited my passion to illustrate a variation of families and parenting styles such as attachment and gentle parenting… so Mama Milk was born (my daughters’ nicknamed breastmilk ‘mama milk’).
Coincidentally, I had met a children’s book illustrator and artist Rachel Pesterfield at a breastfeeding Bosom Buddies group.
So the illustrator of Mama Milk is also a fellow breastfeeding mother and she too had wanted to show not just the diversity of feeding styles and birth choices but to create images showing the diversity of breastfeeding mothers and babies/children.
Our book Mama Milk is based on my own story of breastfeeding my first born and then tandem feeding when I had my eldest and some of the issues my youngest child experienced.
Mama Milk sneak preview
To all the breastfeeding mamas, supporters and advocates…
Thanks for inspiring us to keep boobing, educating ourselves and for sharing the non-judgemental love.
Wishing you all the Peace, Oxytocin and Mama Milk supplies…
Sophie and Rachel xxx
About Mama Milk:
Mama Milk is a movement to normalise breastfeeding and attachment parenting in baby and children’s literature. This first book follows the story of a mother nursing her first born and eventually tandem feeding her two children. The story is told through the eyes of the youngest child.
Mama Milk hopes to help correct the imbalance of mainstream books which tend to show bottle feeding as the norm of feeding a baby.
Mama Milk was founded by Journalist Sophie Mei Lan aka Mama Mei and Illustrator Rachel Pesterfield who met at a Breastfeeding Bosom Buddies group.
Together they have utilised their skills in illustration, story-telling and their own experience of breastfeeding their children to create their first book published through Breastfeeding Magazine.
Sophie also blogs at mamamei.co.uk and vlogs at youtube.com/sophiemeilan
|More about Mama Milk….
Why it began:
By Sophie Mei Lan aka Mama Mei and supplier of “Mama Milk” to her two daughters I wasn’t born an earth mother.
I was born into plastic fantastic city life and I became a career girl who wanted to change the world.Until I got pregnant.”If I breastfeed my baby, I’d only do it in the car or on my own at home.” Those were the words I uttered when I was “up the duff” for the first time.I was young, the pregnancy was unplanned and I was trying to prepare myself physically and mentally.Part of this preparation, or so I thought, was using my government-given milk and vegetable vouchers to stock up on formula milk. As well as purchasing a sterilizer, disposable nappies and bottles.But as the story goes, when my first child arrived, there was nothing that felt more natural than to breastfeed her.Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a case of my baby popping out and my newborn lovingly latching on to my boob.It took perseverance and lots of help from breastfeeding peer support volunteers.Nonetheless, it felt weird that my boobs which had been tied up in society’s belief that women’s breasts are just there to look good, were now beautifully functional and had a huge purpose.Yes, it was tough and tiring but having your first baby is such a life-changer anyway.Within weeks I became a breastfeeding advocate and I was bowled over by how much easier it had become.As the weeks passed by in a milky sleepy haze, I started to become more comfortable feeding my bearn in front of other people. I even started to make vlogs about it on my Mama Mei youtube channel.
I went to breastfeeding groups where we could chat and drink coffee all whilst openly lactating, although I still wouldn’t have predicted that I would end up breastfeeding a 4-year-old and 7-year-old. I decided to train as a breastfeeding peer supporter so I could support other mums online to make an informed choice. As a journalist, I also researched breastfeeding and questioned my own journey… Why wasn’t breastfeeding more normalised? I realised one of the reasons is that even in children’s literature I had only ever seen bottle feeding depicted. I wanted to address this imbalance by making my own book. Coincidentally, one of the breastfeeding mums I met at my Bosom Buddies group is an experienced illustrator RachelMary and we had kept in touch. Together we created Mama Milk using my writing experience as an author, columnist and blogger and her artistic skills to create this book.
You can find out more about boobing and us at Breastfeeding Magazine on youtube and @breastfeedingmag on facebook and @mamameiblog on all social media.
Peace, Love and Shimmies, Sophie Mei Lan mamamei.co.uk youtube.com/sophiemeilan
More about me:
Sophie Mei Lan aka Mama Mei – Author, Journalist and Breastfeeding Magazine founder
Sophie Mei Lan is a multi-award-winning broadcast journalist, vlogger, author, bellydancer, public speaker and business owner passionate about mental health, empowering women, wellbeing and feeling good in mind, body and soul! She is also a single mum aka “Mama Mei” but she’s yet to win an award for that… although she does buy herself a “well done” gift as each child reaches another year older and she did make herself a “boobie award” for breastfeeding two humans for what felt like an eternity. Sophie did, however, set up her award-winning Mama Mei Youtube channel and mamamei.co.uk blog during those times which amassed more than 20 million views and tens of thousands of subscribers within a few years. She went on a journey from refusing to breastfeed in public to breastfeeding online, on TV and anywhere and everywhere her daughters wanted “Mama Milk.” She later trained as a Breastfeeding Peer Supporter as she wants all women to have the freedom to make an informed choice. Sophie later launched Yorkshire Families to help all families get active and explore her area as well as Breastfeeding Magazine to campaign, inform and offer a non-judgemental hub to help women on their “boobing” journey.