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From labour to breastfeeding: What does Sunrise presenter Kochie really know?

Oh, I don’t know. It’s not easy being a mother sometimes. Not only do you have to get on with the business end of mothering, basically until you’re pushing up daisies, you have to put up with commentators critiquing you from the sidelines if they don’t like what you’re doing.

And mothers have a lot of commentators who don’t like what they’re doing. Trust.

Take David Koch, for example, or Kochie as he’s better known, from Sunrise. Middle-aged chap. Father of four. Never breastfed a baby in his life, as far as I can ascertain. Probably had a mother who made sure he was fed, though. As they do. Probably enjoys a snack every now and then when he’s out and about, at the beach or the movies or the park. Without necessarily draping his head in a blanket, you understand. As you do.

 

Old Kochie is all het up about mothers breastfeeding their babies in public. Something about the need for discretion, what with all that bare boobage flashing about the place, and common courtesy – you know, that thing that went out with the dark ages?

Anyway, old Kochie is all het up about mothers breastfeeding their babies in public. Something about the need for discretion, what with all that bare boobage flashing about the place, and common courtesy – you know, that thing that went out with the dark ages? Plus, not to put too fine a point on it, he’d like breastfeeding mothers to, “be a bit classy”.

Uh oh. Is that an order? It sounds like one, but I’m a little unsure about the detail. Is Kochie talking Kate Middleton classy, or Audrey Hepburn classy or, lest-we-forget, Queen Victoria button-up-gels classy? He didn’t elaborate. That’s all kinds of bothersome, because “classy” can be interpreted in so many ways. Kochie, old chap, we may have a problem..

Or, maybe not.

Anyway, after lugging their babies around in their bellies for months, feeding them healthy non-listeria-type foods and the correct vitamins, singing and talking to them and hanging out at pre-natal yoga classes practising squats, mothers go into labour. This can turn them into foaming, howling Banshees that are, quite frankly, terrifying. They are almost certainly not classy in the traditional sense, and I say this from personal Banshee experience and with no judgement. That business cannot be tamed.

See, here’s the thing that Kochie may not realise. Mothers grow a baby, and it takes a lot of work getting it right. Sometimes mothers grow three or five or eight babies at one time. I wouldn’t contemplate that myself, because I might get five of the toddler I currently have. Or eight! Eight versions of my child would be so mind-bogglingly exhausting that I’d have to lie down forever, but more power to mothers of multiples. Or as Ali G says, “respek.”

Not all women are Banshees, of course. Some are Earth Mothers, who loll around birthing suites breathing a lot and listening to calming music. More power to them, too. I thought I’d be an Earth Mother. Just me and my TENS machine and my yoga breaths and my squats. That was before I understood that a contraction is like a medieval torture device, and started demanding morphine NOW, because the anaesthetist was too busy dealing with another Banshee howling down the hallway to give me my epidural. It’s called A-G-O-N-Y. I don’t recommend it.

That’s the thing. The babies are fed – breast or bottle – and they thrive. Sometimes they are breastfed in public. They thrive. Sometimes mothers go to great and painful lengths to breastfeed their babies.

The Banshee Mothers and the Earth Mothers end up doing the same thing, eventually. They push said baby, who is usually the size of ten large organic pumpkins from the local Farmers Market, out of their nether regions. That is a lot of pumpkins and it is not to be sneezed at. Alternatively, they hitch a ride on a hospital trolley to the operating theatre and have said baby cut out of them, because their ten-pumpkin baby is simply too large for their nine- pumpkin pelvis. That is not to be sneezed at either. No sneezing at birth options, here. None.

It’s probably petty of me, but I’d quite like Kochie to try either one of those baby-expulsion-style party tricks before he lectures mothers about discretion. Just for research purposes. He’d discover that discretion is not, unfortunately, a glaringly obvious part of birthing. In fact, having 500 people in a room poking interestedly around your cervix, while you alternately vomit and howl, can make other things, such as breastfeeding your newborn in public, akin to a classical music concert in the Botanical Gardens. Tra la la la la.

 

It’s probably petty of me, but I’d quite like Kochie to try either one of those baby-expulsion-style party tricks before he lectures mothers about discretion. Just for research purposes.

In fact, if Kochie ever did manage to birth a ten-pumpkin baby he’d realise that, before enjoying a little recovery snooze or, heaven forbid, a restorative liquid snack, a midwife wacks said infant on the breast and encourages feeding, often quite sternly and with a great deal of boob tweaking. Most mothers try to breastfeed. Some can, some can’t, some won’t. Whatever. Some continue, some don’t, some won’t. Whatever. Mothers usually ensure their babies are fed, one way or t’other, and babies usually thrive, one way or t’other.

That’s the thing. The babies are fed – breast or bottle – and they thrive. Sometimes they are breastfed in public. They thrive. Sometimes mothers go to great and painful lengths to breastfeed their babies when they have mastitis, and they’re exhausted and it’s like a never-ending marathon of NOT-FUN-NESS. A simple, “great job, mum” from the likes of Kochie, while staring at the sky so as not to feel offended by a patch of breast skin, obviously, would not go astray. Mothers are mothering their babies the best way they know how, and that looks pretty classy to me.

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