Monday, 5 May 2014

New Post on Other Blog

I've posted a blog about rape and the Game of Thrones, on this link:

Monday, 17 March 2014

The Tide Has Turned

See that water over there?  That ocean?  See the swell?  That's the tide having turned, that is.   

Thursday, 15 August 2013

The Lactavist Response to Formula Feeding Mothers

Lots of people appear to be having problems on how to inter-act with bottle feeding mothers.  And formula feeding ones.  Bearing in mind one does not equate to the other.

Not to mention, that you can be breastfeeding, and still using formula.

So shall we just stick to saying UP FRONT, formula feeders.  Just so you are clear?  Great.  They are feeding formula.  With, or without, a bottle.  Formula feeders.

The following is a series of vignettes on different types of formula feeding mothers.  After all, each mother has her own unique set of circumstances.  Each example is followed by the correct lactavist response.  You may want to take notes.  There will be a quiz at the end.

Type A

The type A formula feeding mother is very aggressive.  She sulks, has angry hair, a sigh in her eyes and is At The End of Her Tether.  Her clothes don't match, she has only one earring in, and two different shoes on.  Her baby is quite well presented, but there is a smell of baby sick on the mother and all over the pram.  She has a bottle holder on the back of the pram, which holds a large bottle of already used formula.  The correct response to this mother feeding her baby is:

... look at the baby and say "My, what a lovely baby you have."  Smile.

Type B

The type B formula feeding mother is very scary.  She is impeccably dressed in a smart linen suit.  Her hair is not only in style, and in place, but it smells of fresh apples.  Her make up is immaculate and her nails are pink and shiny and all the same length - long.  Her baby is in some sort of outfit that you are sure you remember seeing in Vogue.  She has a nanny, and a body guard.  She is holding her baby and cooing at it as she feeds it from a tub of pre-mixed UHT formula with a disposable one-use chuck in the bin push in teat.  The correct response to this mother feeding her baby is:

... look at the baby and say "My, what a lovely baby you have."  Smile.

Type C

The type C formula feeding mother is easy to miss.  She's neat and tidy, with no air of desperation or baby sick.  She slips easily into the background of any picture.  She probably has an older child with her and is managing both the toddler and the baby, without turning a hair.  You nearly didn't notice her, you just caught her smile at the toddler looking up at her.  She sits quietly to one side, and pulls out of her bag a flask with hot water in it, which she mixes with powder in a bottle.  She is amazingly deft, and you wonder how often you've missed her before.  She soothes the baby as the formula cools, and keeps the toddler interested in a butterfly that's dancing past them.  The correct response to this mother feeding her baby is:

... look at the baby and say "My, what a lovely baby you have."  Smile.

Type D

The type D formula feeder is very hard to spot.  She's pulled over on the edge of the play park, with a cover over her babies head, as she holds the baby to her breast.  However, if you look closely, you'll see the bulge of the formula feed dispenser in between her breasts, and a small tube running from it.  The baby hungrily devours at the breast, whilst the mother blushes and re-adjust her covering to hide everything from sight.  The correct response to this mother feeding her baby is:

... look at the baby's toes as she strokes them and say "My, what a lovely baby you have."  Smile.

Type E

The Type E mother is hard to ignore.  She has four whiney brats all around her, of varying ages and degrees of clothing.  Her hair is scraped back in a tight ponytale, and slick from hair gell.  She has cigarette ash down her front, her bra is three sizes too small and she's wearing a onesie in pink leopard print.  She talks loudly on her mobile phone and you can't repeat her language.  (She uses 'fuck' a lot, for those who don't quite get that.)  Her baby sits in its own, matching, pink lepard spot onesie and has pierced ears.  You know the women is called Chantelle as her tatoos tell you so.  She plugs a baby bottle into the baby's mouth whilst talking on the phone.  The correct response to this mother feeding her baby is:

... look at the baby and say "My, what a lovely baby you have."  Smile.

There are a variety of other mothers, no doubt some of you will add some in the comments.  Please do!  I want to hear more, and what the correct lactavist response to such mothers is.  But I'm afraid this large Gin & Tonic are calling now.  So I'll post instead.

After all, you don't need many more examples, do you?

Do you?

Friday, 11 May 2012

Write and Thank the BBC

Penny Smith
I'm getting a lot of good feed back for the BBC London interview I did this morning, on the TIME cover controversy.

Now, as you know, I've had some difficulties at times, on radio interviews, including being thrown off the World Service.

And many of you have complained, endlessly, and ceaselessly, about media bias and bigotry about women, mothers, and breastfeeding.  You've written, phone, emailed and blogged your outrage and demand higher quality from both the BBC, and their journalists.

Well, today you have a brilliant opportunity, to write in and thank them for just that - excellent quality and an excellent journalist.

Penny Smith, who conducted my interview today, is responsible for how good it was.  The research team at BBC London, who phoned me this morning at 8.05am, are responsible for how good it was.

Good journalism.  An excellent intro by Penny Smith, and her letting me speak without attacking, belittling, taking exception or holding me and other women up to ridicule.

This is EXACTLY the standard we look for from the BBC.  And if we want to see more of it, we need to make our voices heard.  It's easy to be the one that always complains.  It's harder to be the one to take the time and effort to say 'Well Done".  It easy to pick up the phone and rant, when you are inflamed.  It's easy to email, when you're in a temper.  The temper drives you.

Finding time to sit down and say "Great" in a busy day is harder.  Please try and find that time.

The interview can be heard HERE.  Go to 1.29 on the cursor.  The item starts at 1.29 and finishes at 1.40.

Please email Penny Smith and say 'Thank You'.  Please email the Vanessa Feltz Show, and say "Penny was great this morning."

Please email BBC London, and say "Great Job" for Penny Smith this morning.  10.30 am, BBC London, Friday May 11th.

AND  (Really Important)

Please email, write or phone the BBC central line, and do the same.  If you want to see better coverage, real journalism, and good interviews, you have to tell them when they did it right!  Please?  Now?  Thank you!


Phone This Number:  03700 100 222*

03700 100 212* (textphone)

*24 hours, charged as 01/02 geographic numbers

The Standard of Journalism You Get, Is In Your Hands!  

Thursday, 10 May 2012

And We Keep On Winning!,16641,20120521,00.html  May 21. 2012

Slightly annoyed the boy is wearing combat trousers.  But I do understand that boy's clothes are difficult to buy.  It probably didn't occur to anyone, to juxtaposition the 'feeding child' in combat gear, to undercut/underline the grown up male aspect.


So want this framed and on the wall!  :-)

And yes, it does say 'driven to extremes' and it's unlikely that the article is going to be a good one.  But it's mainstream, folks.  The agenda is out there, up front, and being taken seriously.  Winning is in the little things changing in the press, not expecting it all to be perfect and exactly like you'd want it to be if you wrote it.

But let me do just say in advance: don't read the comments!  Just look at the picture on the newsstands, and smile.

What's even more awesome, this is also an adoptive mother.  Yes, an adoptive mother breastfeeding on the cover of Time and talking about it inside!   :-)

The article the cover relates to, can be found here:,9171,2114427,00.html?xid=fblike

Article with the Mum in photo above:

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

New Book

Goodreads Link
Just to let you know I've published a new fiction book.  It's a collection of short stories, well, it's two short stories, and one novella.  Both the shorts are horror, and the novella is an occult thriller.

One of the shorts is about mothering.  Badly.  In my opinion.  I thought you might be interested in seeing an excerpt from it.  Trigger warning, therefore, on those who might have experienced stringent, routine driven mothering, that involved crying it out and other delightful ideas about How To Train A Child.

Alma Mater

            ‘What is that stench, how can she make such a foul odour?’ 
            Although quiet, and polite, Alma’s husband could hear the repulsion in her tone: could hear her muscles clenching and her body turning to piano wire as she spoke.
            ‘Don’t speak like that in front of Catherine, she can hear you.’  Acutely aware of his wife’s moods, his own words were muted and light, with an attempt at humour.  He smiled down at three week old Catherine, and rubbed her belly with a light tickle.
            ‘Oh don’t do that, she doesn’t want a poo-ey hand touching her.  Haven’t you finished?’
            James had indeed finished changing the nappy.  Poor Catherine had seemed a little constipated, and had squealed and cried and turned bright red as she howled.  He’d come home from work to be greeted by the shrieks from the pram in the outer porch whilst Alma had been finishing making dinner in the kitchen.
            Alma liked dinner to be on the table in front of him as he walked in the door at 6.15.  The screeching from Catherine had been matched by the icy silence from Alma, as he entered at 5.55.  Prior to his daughter’s birth, he’d have hung around at the train station until he could walk in the door at the correct moment.  Now, his desire to hold his daughter in his arms, lift her up and cuddle her, and have that bit more time with her before she was sentenced to the bedroom at 7.15, over rode other considerations.
            Alma was furious on two counts.  One, he’d come home ‘early’ and two, dinner wasn’t nearly ready.  Catherine, it transpired, had been an absolute nightmare all day.  Crying, refusing to sleep, refusing to swallow all her bottle, and deliberately vomiting up her milk on her nice clean clothes.
            ‘Honestly James, she is just like you.  She never listens and does exactly what she wants.’  Alma had stirred the bolognaise sauce she was working on with such speed it slopped out onto the cooker.
            ‘Now look what she’s made me do!’  Alma took the saucepan off the ring and washed down the cooker top before putting it back on and continuing the frantic swirling.
            James had smiled a smile of consolation and comfort, picked up Catherine and taken her upstairs.  Twenty minutes later, with her tummy rubbed and her legs bicycled up and down, she’d finally managed to get rid of the thing that was hurting her, and had stopped crying.  James had cleaned her up and was just about to put the new nappy on, when Alma had arrived to comment on the smell, and to state that dinner was on the table.  James thanked his wife and carried Catherine back down the stairs.  He placed her in the little Moses basket his mother had given them, and watched her look around as he ate his spaghetti.
            ‘I wish you wouldn’t keep looking at her like that, she’ll get spoiled.  She has to learn she’s not the centre of the Universe.’
            James smiled and carried on eating, carried on gazing at his beloved Catherine.


            The shrieks were ear piercing.  James felt his nerve begin to break.  He’d been pacing the living room for over an hour, despite Alma’s promises that it wouldn’t go on for more than ten minutes.  So far he’d kept to his side of the bargain: not to interfere, not to intrude on her authority as the mother.  But the feeling of his skin searing off his body, and fear knotting up his stomach, was becoming impossible to ignore.  Every one of Catherine’s screams and wails was killing him.  He could feel his heart jumping in response.  He gave in to his instincts and went upstairs.
            Alma was sitting outside the nursery, reading her Women’s Weekly.  She’d put her chair in front of the door, barring the way.  She looked up at him as he emerged onto the landing.  Her eyes rolled and the magazine was put down with a huff.
            ‘Oh for goodness sake, James!  She’s perfectly all right!’ 
            ‘She doesn’t sound all right.’  He’d had to raise his voice to be heard above the cries.
            ‘She is warm, well fed, safe and comfortable.  I double filled her bottle to get her through the night and her nappy is dry.  There is nothing wrong with her.’
            ‘She’s lonely!’  His voice raised until it was almost matching Alma’s extortions.
            ‘She’s in a TEMPER.  You don’t propose to raise a spoilt brat, do you?’
            ‘She’s six months old, how can she be spoiled?’
            ‘Easily, with you around.  Always picking her up, cuddling her, telling her what a good girl she is.  Always rushing to her for the slightest whimper.  You’ve caused this!’
            James stared at his wife.  The schism that existed in their world had never seemed so great, so profound.
            ‘How can you bear to hear her in pain like this?’
            ‘She is not in pain.  She’s in a temper, and heaven knows, if we don’t control it now, we’ll have worse to come.’  Alma seemed not to hear the pain in James’s voice.  ‘She has to learn to sleep, and this is how she’ll do it.  Not by being mollycoddled by you.’
            Alma picked the magazine back up and purposely stared at the pages.  James had been dismissed.  Short of physically pushing her out of the chair to get to the nursery, there was nothing he could do.  He stormed back down the stairs, pulled his coat off the hook, and left.
            ‘Another night at the pub whilst I do the hard work.’ Alma spoke out loud, as if addressing the baby through the door.
            ‘Now see what you have done...’

            James opened the door at 6.13.  ‘I’m home!’
            Alma smiled her greeting, and her thanks, as she placed the dinner out on the table.
            ‘Smells good!’ said James, as he hung up his coat.  ‘I’ll just wash my hands.’  He ducked into the down stairs toilet that Alma had had installed under the stairs.  She was immensely pleased with this civilised addition to the house.  James would have preferred... well, quite a lot of things, actually, but it was keeping Alma happy.
            Alma was settling Catherine into the high chair, as he seated himself.  Beef Cobbler was one of his favourites: once again, Alma was showing her thanks for him giving in on the extension.
            ‘Well, how have my girls been today?’
            Frost formed in the air as Alma launched into her tirade of how trying her day had been.  James tried to tune it out, and concentrate on Catherine, who was playing with a rattle he’d bought for her, but it was difficult.
            ‘...And then she spit up all over her new bib.  I’d starched it too, when I ironed it, and she got bits in the little embroidery roses.  I’ll never get them looking that good again...’
            ‘Tut,’ said James, quietly.  He winked at Catherine.  Alma didn’t pause for breath.
            ‘... so I tried the new banana one, and she spat that out too.  I mean, what child doesn’t like mashed banana?  It took me an hour to get that jar into her.  I was exhausted by the time for her nap, and then she threw up all over her clean bedding, so I had to re-feed her and do the bed linen...’
            James spooned down his dinner, trying to juggle his attention between the women in his life.  Alma would erupt if she felt she wasn’t getting enough, or that Catherine was getting too much.  All he wanted was to beam and smile at Catherine, and talk to her in little whispers and tickle her until she started to hiccup with laughter.  He nodded and smiled at Alma enough times to keep her mollified whilst giving Catherine his secret smile and pulling faces that Alma couldn’t see.  Catherine giggled.  Alma droned on...
            ‘Claire was round, and she said little Emily never spits out her food, and every scrap is taken from the jar...and heaven knows Emily doesn’t manage to stink out the room every time she breathes...’
            Catherine dropped the rattle on the floor as she squealed in laughter. 
            ‘That’s it, that’s the third time today.’ As James had leaned down to pick up the rattle, Alma swooped up Catherine.  A sharp slap and a sharper cry rent the air, and James’s heart.
            ‘Never, never, never, do that again.’  On each ‘never’, Alma slapped the back of Catherine’s hand hard.  Catherine’s howls became screams, as Alma whisked her up the stairs.  ‘When will you learn?’
            James looked at his beef congealing into the gravy, as he heard the uproar upstairs as Catherine was stripped of her clothes, pushed and pulled into a sleep suit, and the door firmly closed on her cries.  By the time Alma came back downstairs he was in the pub.

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