I've fed the baby in caf├ęs, pubs, restaurants, museums, in the cinema, on a train, outside in a crowd watching a parade go past. No trouble at all, not even a disapproving look. I expected feeding her in public to be much more of a Thing, for me if not for other people, but honestly I think most people don't notice and most of the rest don't care - and as for my own comfort levels, it's amazing how comfortable you can get when the alternatives are a) screaming baby or b) not leaving the house for longer than twenty minutes for months.

So it is weird that the only place I've ever felt awkward for feeding her is at baby groups.

It isn't that anyone disapproves. It's more that I often feel like the odd one out. Breastfeeding rates in the UK start off fairly high but plummet in the first few weeks, partly due to a shortage of decent support for women who want to breastfeed but struggle, and partly due to cultural expectations shaped around formula-feeding as the norm for several generations.

Which I had not quite realised. I mean, I knew there was a lot of pressure from the NHS to breastfeed (it's hard to miss) and that a lot of women felt or were made to feel guilty for being unable to breastfeed, or for giving up because while it was possible it was also hellish, or for just plain not wanting to.

But I had not realised that there were pressures operating in the other direction, too. Pressures like the expectation to move to formula early, because friends and family tell you it's so much easier; pressures like hearing from so many women in your mother's generation that they couldn't breastfeed because they couldn't make enough milk, leading you to think this is common and likely to happen to you, rather than (in most cases) bad advice they were given; or that milk isn't enough for big babies anyway; or that any time the baby's fussy, it's probably something you've eaten. Or the pressure from expecting the baby to behave a particular way, feeding at regular intervals a few hours apart, because you think that's just what babies do rather than what formula-fed babies are more likely to do, and then yours feeds every hour or goes through cluster-feeding bouts of spending a whole evening feeding, and you think something must be wrong, the baby must not be getting enough. (My family are very supportive of everything we do with the baby, but I still get suggestions about giving her a bottle before bed "because then she'll be getting a full feed." Her chins have their own chins, I think we can be fairly confident she's getting enough.)

And then you go to baby group, and people hang around to feed their babies afterwards, and you're the only one out of twelve who's not formula-feeding. And then everyone has a conversation about how tough breastfeeding was and how they hadn't planned to give up but it worked out for the best anyway because bottles are so much easier and this way you can see how much they're getting, and this way the baby has a really involved dad. And you can't say "it's not that hard for me" because you don't want to sound all smug, and you can't say "yeah it's really tough" because then you'll sound like you're judging them for not sticking with it, and you don't want to say "what the hell do you think my baby's dad does?", and what if you're making them feel bad now somehow, and ugh.

You can't not be the odd one out. You can't not be noticed as being the odd one out without being prepared to outright hide it. You can't not make it a super-fraught topic everyone's already primed to feel sensitive and easily judged about.

I can feed her in a restaurant, at a table with no other babies present, holding her with one arm and holding a glass of wine in the other hand (yes it's fine, yes I'm sure), and feel totally comfortable - but I still feel weird feeding her at baby group.

Neighbour war update:

Neighbour C has received two anonymous letters this week complaining about his behaviour.

Also, the owner of Flat B - which is rented out, and whose tenants are now leaving because of the noise from Flat A above - apparently offered to pay himself to get Flat A's floors carpeted. Flat A occupants refused, and are somehow convinced Flat C guy is behind all of it.

Anonymous letters. Principled stands over carpet. These people are insane.

Lying awake at not-yet-time-to-get-up o'clock because the local magpie pair have a nest nearby. I know this because they built it partially out of the lining of my hanging baskets, and because recently they have got all NIMBY suburban about anything happening nearby that they don't like, which is everything. And they are loud. They have been yelling in stereo at whatever the latest thing is - cat? fox? other magpie? new housing development? - for about half an hour now, right outside my bedroom window.

Here is one of them a few days ago, yelling at the fox that comes to lie in a sun patch in our garden sometimes. The fox seemed a bit baffled by this, looking at the magpie and then at us like "I'm sorry, is he with you?"


Wednesday, 18 April 2012 12:42

I've been trying to grow some vegetables this spring, since we have a real garden (albeit a tiny one) and enough space to grow things in pots. These are cucumber seedlings, which came up a few days ago. There's also lettuce, rocket (which is growing like a crazy mad thing), tomatoes, sweet peppers, carrots and onions. I'm getting stupidly attached to these seedlings, so here's hoping they survive to planthood!

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Man to small child: "Who was the first man on the moon?"
Small child: "...God?"

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So. My former letting agents. Minions of evil. Have messed me around on just about every possible issue for months. Told me in the autumn my landlord absolutely, positively wanted the flat back in February, no possibility of lease renewal.

November. I find another flat. Put down a holding deposit. Letting Agents Of Evil phone up - do I want the flat after February?I do some spluttering; they tell me oh, well, your landlord must have changed her mind; I say, all right, if you can tell me in the next few days whether I can have this flat till summer, I'll go for it; if not, I'm moving out. They didn't get back to me in time, so I gave them my notice.

Today. My landlord tracks down my email address via work, and emails to ask why I'm moving out. She didn't ask for the flat back in Feb at all. And now she really, really wants to know if there's been 'some miscommunication' from the letting agents.

I will reply when I can do so without the swearing and all the exclamation marks.

Meanwhile, I'm curled up in bed watching bunch of people die in various gruesome ways on 'Harper's Island.' (Which, by the way, is absolutely awesome and you should ALL watch it.)

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...and this will likely be my last post, as LiveJournal will spontaneously combust over what [spoiler] said about [spoiler] in 5... 4... 3...

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(no subject)

Monday, 25 May 2009 20:07

GUYS GUYS GUYS! I am standing in a hotel room in Cardiff from which I can *see Torchwood*! (Well, just the building, but we all know what's there.) Filming for the last Doctor Who special finished a few days ago, so we even missed the wrap party, but I will be looking out for hungover Ood lying in gutters tonight even so.

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ISPs: evil

Saturday, 4 April 2009 20:06

So apparently cancelling your broadband is more complicated than phoning up the ISP, asking to cancel it, and being told that the cancellation has gone through. Tiscali have been taking money out of my account for the service I cancelled in February, because - I kid you not - "it's a particular kind of account that we can't cancel." Uh, yes.

Oh, and they've been doing the exact same thing for an account I cancelled LAST APRIL.


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I has a home

Saturday, 31 January 2009 17:06

The flat with the spiral staircase is MINE!

I would tell you more about it, but alas, I remember very little bar the SPIRAL STAIRCASE, OMG. No, I'm not joking. See, there were all these other people looking around it at the same time, and so after seeing enough to decide I wanted it (that would be the staircase, yes), I was more concerned with getting to the letting agent to claim it than I was with paying attention to... well, much, really. Yeeees. It's a good thing I had someone to look round this with me, or I would not currently know that it had a kitchen.

My new job starts on Monday. I am currently on holiday to celebrate things, for there is much to celebrate, with (fortunately) the person who *was* paying attention to my new flat. (It had an oven! Apparently.)

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Seriously, now

Tuesday, 6 January 2009 15:18

So apparently the recession means nowhere is selling the kind of suits one might wear to job interviews. This makes very little sense to me.

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Sunday, 21 December 2008 18:29

Standing at station noting that new development on the other side of tracks STILL looks like a postapocalyptic wasteland, and I can hear bells. Not chuch bells. Jingling bells. As might be worn by a reindeer. Coming from the postapocalyptic wasteland.

People, this could be the best crossover ever. Platform 6, 2010: Where it's always Judgment Day, but never Christmas.

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Tuesday, 9 December 2008 14:24

I has an iPhone. (kind of. Borrowed long-term.)

I am updating this from the bus.

I love living in the future.

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On sofa, updating from iPod. Finding it amusing that iPod capitalises spelling of 'ipod' all by itself. Also pleased to discover that technology has advanced to point where we lazy people can update livejournals without having to reach computer currently 3 feet away.

Still awake as friend out on blind date and am waiting for report, since current silence on matter rather troubling if you were expecting a brief 'appears to not be axe murderer' message as is the custom. Maybe axe murderer status yet to be determined?

ETA: Friend alive, well, and in possession of a red rose and box of chocolates. Whatever floats your boat!

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