Monday, 9 January 2012

My reaction to my TV interview today

I'm still reeling from the fast-paced attacking I got on RTE 1's "Four Live" television programme today with Maura Derrane. I was led to believe that I was going on as a normal breastfeeding mother to promote breastfeeding and show it's "normality". I gave permission to use a few photos from my blog, and it's really interesting to see how they constantly flashed the one of me breastfeeding my son in Disneyland, as if it was a titillation for the viewers, or to incite comments. I was told I could talk about the book I'm trying to have published, and to talk about my reasons for blogging, but these were glossed over in the interview. I was told she would read out comments from my Facebook page, and from their website, and I asked to see them in advance. I was shown four comments from mothers who attested to breastfeeding their children to 2 and 3 years, one even fed hers to 5 years, and three of these were ignored once we were live on air.

The "disgusting" comment about the photo of me tandem feeding on the sofa at Christmas was a real curveball. If the lovely Nigerian man waiting in the wings for "The Daily Show" had drawn racist comments from viewers, would they be communicated to him live on tv to see how he reacts? The ridiculous question about Charlie's peers having a problem with his breastfeeding once he starts school was just so infantile I'm not even going to comment. Her quote from the HSE about the immune system being fully mature after 12 months breastfeeding was so inaccurate I couldn't let the credits roll without challenging it. I really felt in the firing line, on the back foot, and felt unable to answer any question fully, and explain myself or defend myself against her insinuations. The questions came so thick and fast, I was really glad I gave each one an answer, even though it wasn't always the most informative one.

The researcher and the producer who approached me first about appearing both apologised to me about the turn the interview had taken, saying they had had no idea the angle would be twisted so against me.
In a way I'm glad she took such an unsupportive stance, as unfortunately those attitudes still exist, and we've all had to deal with criticism. My saving grace in the whole thing is that I spared Charlie from it, and he's oblivious to the whole discussion surrounding his continued breastfeeding. When she asked where he was in the rehearsal and I said I'm not bringing him on, because I want to protect him from any negative comments, she looked around the studio in disbelief and kept pushing the whole "but it's all about him, everyone will want to see him, that's the reason we got you on". I said I'd been led to believe I was on to talk about breastfeeding in general, and I didn't want to have him hear even one hint that what he's doing isn't "normal". She also said she would ask me about my family's criticisms that I mentioned in one post. I said I didn't want to discuss that on air, and she said "we have to show all sides of the argument", so she went ahead and asked anyway.

My aim was to go on to show that breastfeeding sometimes "just happens", and we don't have to designate a stopping date if we don't want to. I also wanted to talk about the difficulties all breastfeeding women have in the early days, and how the HSE do nothing to actively support the breastfeeding mother once she's discharged from hospital. I wanted to highlight how difficult mothering is, whether we breastfeed or not, and how breastfeeding is just one small part of my life. I wanted to say I can't wait for the day when breastfeeding is so normalised we don't need to discuss it on tv. I wanted to say every mother needs to strip back all the conflicting advice she hears and follow her gut instincts, and what works for one family may not suit another. There was so much more I wanted to say, but never got the chance.

I haven't watched the interview back yet, I'm waiting until Charlie is in bed, as I don't want him to hear it. Barry minded him in the "green room" while I was being interviewed, and he distracted him from the interview, while keeping an ear on it himself.

I've had amazing support from my readers, thanks. A lot of the reason I started the blog was to reach out and share my experiences with other moms, as I was feeling a bit isolated, being the only one still breastfeeding a pre-schooler in my social circle. I've derived so much strength and comfort from your kind words, and it's given me the words to defend myself against criticism. So a big thank you to you all for reading, and taking the time to write your comments, I know you're all busy.

Niamh

77 comments:

  1. I didn't see the show as I'm not in Ireland, but clicked over here after reading reactions to it on another blog's FB page. Cannot comment on what happened, but just wanted to say that I've enjoyed reading your blog today. I've been going back through old posts and love it! Well done :)

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  2. Well, the only thing I'm 'busy' doing is being extremely angry at the way the interview went. Can't believe you have a blog up about it already!! There's dedication! I honestly wish that I could call over to you & talk about the whole thing. Trust me, you are not on your own. Such a pity you weren't given a chance to talk about those important issues you mentioned. The interviewer was utterly ridiculous. Feel good about yourself please, you have made great choices & Maura Derrane...delete, delete, delete! Can't even say what I want to... lol
    Aine : )

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  3. You did a great job hun - really! I have shared your interview and this blog post with my group. I know they will have your back ;) Brava!

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  4. The interview is doing the rounds on Facebook. You are in danger of going viral! :-D Keep fighting the ignorance. One idiot at a time. x

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  5. Well done, I already commented on Rollercoaster but just wanted to say that i was so annoyed for you too....

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  6. I also tandem feed a 30 month old and 11 week old. My first boy fed till he was 32 months when he weaned while i was pregnant. Anyway never thought I would end up tandem feeding it was just something that happened. I have gotten crazy comments from good friends and family but I'm ok with it and my boys are happy so it works for us. I will admit that I don't really feed ds2 in public anymore though.....his baby bro needs it more than he does lol :0)

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  7. I thought you were excellent and held your own despite the angle she took. They say no publicity is bad, and it's made me aware of your blog for starters - I'm sure you'll have more readers because of it. She made herself look like a tool.

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  8. Hey Niamh, I wouldn't have brought my son either, I wouldn't like him to hear any thing negative & think there is anything not normal about how he has his milkies. You should approach http://www.facebook.com/pinterandmartin re getting your book published. Im a bit confused about that last bit at the end, was she basically saying there was no immunity in breast milk past a year? Or was it that they have a developed immune system by then? I thought they didn't have a fully developed immune system until around 6 (& when they start loosing their milk teeth). She should be made to clarify/ correct her quote, which just sounded like her trying to get the last word in. I'm happy to see there seems to be a good few Irish women feeding toddlers, it feels quite lonely only for the Internet!! :)

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  9. You been fantastic during the interview, and such a pro. contrary of maura.
    I am too tandem feeding. DS1 stoped when DD1 was 6month and now she is 3y5 and still going with my 11months old.

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  10. You were amazing. I think you were there as a curiosity of some sort.I hate that they labelled you as a mother who breastfeeds her 3,5 year old son! HSE is the biggest bunch of (lots of bad words here).
    I remember once I went to weighing clinic with my baby.She was a few weeks old.While I was sitting there,my daughter got hungry so I lifted my shirt and started feeding her.One of the nurses asked to use nursing room and grabbed my arm (while I was feeding!!!!) and walked me to the room! I was so shocked I didn't know what was going on! It happened again and I said I was fine where I was...

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  11. Niamh, I've been following your blog for a week now and have to admire you and your family.Im a Russian living in Ireland for over 13 years with two small kids (both breastfed-the eldest girl until she was 2.5)My little boy is 10 months old and of course he is BF too.Being from a country where everybody is breastfeeding I am watching and admiring you strength.Poor Irish girls who want to breastfeed and what they have to go through.Your interview today is a proof to it. The way I am looking at it everything about breastfeeding in Ireland is upside down. Even after so many years here and being absolutely in love with the country and people I can't figure it out why you have to fight for the most natural thing and why do you have to prove that you are doing the right thing. They way I am looking at it you should be at home with your kids and its a formula feeding mum should be on the show apologizing and explaining her decision. Not the other way around.
    I felt sorry for you today - I bf my kids everywhere and am always bombarded with stupid questions and strange looks but I dont care.It must have been hard for you today as the TV presenter was as cold as a fish and I think didnt care less about the whole topic. But you did SO WELL!!! I am going to keep reading your blog. Love everything you are saying. I swear you are reading my thoughts most of the time - I just dont write about it. There is only one question I have for you girl - where do you find the time to do shopping with the two? I still haven't figured it out:)
    Love you and your blog! Well done.

    A huge Russian fan.
    Mama Lana

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  12. Oh, you are so not alone. It's very hard to do any interview about breast feeding without ignorant idiots spouting nonsense. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIHrhKoYYU8&feature=youtube_gdata_player

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  13. Just saw post on rc, and watched on rteplayer. Well done you!!! I have watched so many bf moms get trounced on tv both here and in UK. You did every long term bf mom proud today! Maura Just looked silly trying to do everything to jeer you. Big huge pat on back, you should be so proud of yourself

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  14. I thought you did a great job in the interview in the face of some very aggressive questioning. From the minute the interview kicked off, it was clear that Maura just wanted to label you as some kind of weirdo breastfeeder. She clearly had no understanding of what you are doing and the benefits to it. And like I said on twitter, I am still reeling from the supposed quote from the HSE and LLL. Whatever about the HSE...LLL saying there's no immunity needed from breastmilk after a year. Give me a break.

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  15. Just want to say that after watching your interview today, i checked out your blog and i think what you're doing is fantastic. You did so well in the interview, it was obvious that Maura Derrane hadnt a clue what she was talking about but in a way, it really highlighted the negativity that bfeeding mothers come up against due to the sheer ignorance of some people.
    Im bfeeding my 10 month old and am now pregnant again and seeing your interview today made me wonder about tandem feeding....who knows..maybe i will:-)

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  16. I just want to say well done today. the way maura spoke to you is a disgrace and she should be ashamed of herself. For me as a young mother with one child you are an inspiration, a mother with the right priorities. I found it very difficult to breastfeed and gave up after three months as I couldn't find any local support groups in my area.thank you for bringing breastfeeding into the spotlight you have given me hope for breastfeeding the rest of my children in the future.I look forward to following your blog and best of luck with the book.

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  17. I'd say LLL will sue Maura Derrane over that comment!!

    Well done Niamh, already posted on RC. Delighted I found your blog, really enjoying it...feel you're a kindred spirit!!

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  18. Do the HSE actually have a recommendation? I just went by the WHOs, Ive passed that now and will let nature take its course, I know in America they say 1 year and then as long as is mutually desired. But do the HSE have an official recommendation? I went to a doctor when my DS was 3 months and he was confused that I was tyring to fix a problem we were having saying "but you've already done 3 months"???? I was thinking did he not get the WHOs memo about recommendation. Here's what Maura said "They recommend that you bf your child but they say that after 12 months the child has enough immunity". Maybe we should be emailing the HSE not just the Four Live show r what ever its called.

    http://www.facebook.com/jean.m.kelly

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  19. I am very surprised at Maura's negative reaction to you. I thought interviewers were supposed to stay neutral?

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  20. Hi Niamh,
    I just had to write to tell you how proud you made me to be a woman today. I watched the interview and was shocked by the viewers comments as well as the HSE's advice. Our breasts are there to feed our young and anyone (especially a woman) who feels it is disgusting and should be hidden needs to hang their head in shame. It is probably the most natural and intimate act in the world after conceiving the baby. Well done to you for highlighting the benefits! Will certainly consider to feed my little one for longer now. Great blog!!!

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  21. Hi Niamh

    Someone else said you were a pro and that is exactly what I thought- you seemed so pleasant and professional, and the presenter a bit malicious. Well done. I'm sorry too you didn't get much chance to have your say. The photo of you feeding your two sons is beautiful!

    My 32 month old self-weaned last month, I was never able to say No to her when she looked for "milk from mummy's tummy".

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  22. Well done Niamh , I did not like that presenter and the angle the show choose to take , ignorant, and I will be letting them know about it too, breastfeeding is the most natural thing for however long anyone chooses to do it, I'm extremely annoyed , as u must be I could go in and on , we know we are doing right by our children if they would like a debate on breastfeeding then so he it inform you first not blind side you and they should educate themselves more. Ignorant ignorant I'll formed ... Anyway Niamh you did brill well done girl

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  23. I take my hat off to you staying so calm and composed throughout the interview. I had a similar experience with Maura a few years ago in an interview about birth practices in Ireland. You did brilliantly!

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  24. I've just watched the interview. Well done, you were brilliant. Can't believe the line Maura took. She came across totally uncomfortable and snooty about the whole thing. Good on you for getting in the last comment. And the fact that the music was rolling before it was finished. Unbelieveably rude.

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  25. Just watched the show...Didn't you do really really well not to jump up&smack her! I would've!! You did wonderfully! Did she apologise?

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  26. Just watched it on real player, well done Niamh it was that Maura one that came off as a tit (excuse the pun)what a sinsationalist....I have just wrote a complaint to RTE first time ever but felt so strongly about it. You should be very proud of your self.

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  27. I didn't watch the interview on the rte player as having read a few posts on this thought I'd be too infuriated by it. However having listened to me ranting on husband has watched it and tells me you were brilliant, got the book plug in, got the last word and came across as calm, informed and inspiring.

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  28. You did a really great interview Niamh! You came across as measured and well informed and totally at ease. Maura Derrane ended up looking very unprofessional.
    It was the HSE that was quoted as saying no benefit after one year, not LLL. LLL normally lambasted as ones who promote long-term breastfeeding!! HSE also now recommend until 2 years on breastfeeding.ie Wonder what other organisations they contacted?
    I'd say there will be a lot of complaints in to RTE over this. Lazy journalism of the worst kind, but you can hold your head high Niamh. Well done, and all the best with the book.

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  29. I had the show on in the background and was only half listening when you came on, just happened across a thread about this now too. I couldn't believe the way she spoke to you today, but I have to say until I read your post here I didn't even realise how angry you are with it all, shows how well you dealt with it, I thought you were cool, calm and collected, and LOVED that you talked over the credits to correct her. I actually wouldn't be the biggest...fan or advocate aren't the right words, I just wouldn't personally breastfeed for so long if I had kids but sure everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and I was honestly shocked when she read out that stupid comment from someone saying it was disgusting and that your son would be bullied for the photo! That is someone who clearly has their own issues, a comment like that should never have been let go live to air. You did a great job x

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  30. I haven't seen the interview, but I will look online for it.. I am sorry that she totally blind sided you. That is awful. My 3 yr old nurses on occasion alongside my 1 yr old.

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  31. Thanks everyone for all the supportive comments, and it's fantastic to hear about so many others tandem-feeding, continuing breastfeeding (my new term for "extended breastfeeding")and co-sleeping. It is all so normal and natural, and good for us, it's shocking when I'm reminded how negatively people react to it. It reminds me of the old saying (I think!) "There are only two emotions driving our actions - Love and Fear". We're all coming from Love, the nay-sayers are all coming from Fear. Simple as. Thanks, going to bed now, I've had enough excitement for one day!

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  32. Hey niamh, just watched it a little while ago, you really did so well, even with such a terrible excuse for an interviewer. Really sad how she conducted herself. You came across really calm and confident, and a caring mama. The more i recall the more irritated i get! Rachel

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  33. I haven't watched your interview, and probably won't, because it would raise my blood pressure. Too bad that the last thing your interviewer wanted to hear was what a normal part of life breastfeeding is. At three, your little guy is still such a baby! Hard to believe that people still think nursing a three-year-old is so questionable. And to expect you would bring a young child to an interview with you is just ridiculous. Breastfeeding a baby still ranks up there with impossible feats, so tandem nursing is just completely outside the expectations of many. I'm glad that I was never in the spotlight when I was tandem nursing.

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  34. hello niamh,
    i have never heard of you until today (thanks to AIMSI for posting the link to your blog). I am also a tandem-feeding, co-sleeping, non-vaccing mother of two living in dublin and i have had my days of feelinglike i am the only mother nursing a 3 year old in ireland!! thank you for your interview today, regardless of the wretched way you were handled. it made a difference to me and reinforced what i know to be true - that what i am doing is the best for my children. i don't doubt this at all, but it is great to be reminded that we are not alone in our choices. so thank you!!

    btw, i had to write to fourlive after watching the offensive interview. here is what i wrote:

    Hello,

    I felt compelled to write an email after seeing the interview with Niamh O'Connell.

    Having worked in television for several years, I am keenly aware of the need to present some topics in a controversial light for the sake of 'edutainment'. Unfortunately, Maura Derrane's interviewing style was more exploitative rather than informative when interviewing Ms. O'Connell about her parenting and lifestyle choices.

    Breastfeeding is not controversial but the media, for some reason, feel it is necessary to misrepresent and to misinform parents and mothers about the real, evidence-based, scientifically supported reasons for choosing to breastfeed - for as long as a mother feels comfortable doing so. This is not a radical choice. It is a natural one.

    I would have had so much more respect for Maura Derrane, the producer and the researchers of the show had the truth about breastfeeding been presented rather than the same old, tired and inaccurate factoids that get brought out in almost all mainstream media representations of breastfeeding.

    Why not take a stance that supports breastfeeding, rather than concentrate on false beliefs and wrong information (ie. the HSE claim that breastfeeding is recommended only for the first year of life) that was presented on this show? For those who have never breastfed, it is so tiresome, for those of us who have, to repeatedly explain that the nutritional benefits of breastfeeding are only a small part of why women continue to nurse well into the 2nd, 3rd, 4th year - or more - of a toddler's life. Providing what John Bowlby describes as 'secure attachment', calming an anxious toddler, fortifying the loving bond between mother and child - aren't these things also worthy of mention?

    I have never heard of Niamh O'Connell until today but I must say that I am so proud of this woman. She sat on your couch and was unfairly treated with contempt. There was a total disregard for her intelligence and wisdom as a woman and as a mother for making unpopular, but profoundly valuable, choices.

    Shame on you for continuing to perpetuate the myth of the 'abnormal' breastfeeding mother. You had the perfect chance with an articulate and informed guest to ameliorate the enduring myths surrounding breastfeeding and instead you chose to bolster the judgmental and conservative viewpoint. That was a cowardly and, frankly, lazy approach to this topic.

    Regards,
    Barbara Western

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  35. Hi Niamh, well done on rising above it today.
    I have left my comments on 'Four Live' fb page, would suggest others do to.
    You have my complete support, from a mother of 5 breast fed 'CHILDREN' and only recently having had my 3yr old son wean ME ! and after breastfeeding for over 16years continuously.
    Marguerite

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  36. I didn't see the show either, I'm in Germany. Please know that your blog is reaching around the world and isn't limited to Ireland like that tiny TV show is.
    Thank you for being there, for your time, and for being a role model for me.

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  37. Reading your reaction Niamh, I have tears in my eyes. You speak for so many of us women out there but be assured you did a super interview and masked your anger very well ! I too bet you'll be asked back with a better slant.As said this will be huge now and that is great. I feed my 31 month old out and about all the time and breastfeeding has made me a super strong person now. Love it. I will miss it when she weans herself ;-)

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  38. Hi Niamh,
    I am home recovering from a major surgery and so found myself watching Daytime TV....UUUGGHH. Anyway, previous to yesterday I was not aware of you or your Blog, but I certainly am now! First, I would like to say that you handled yourself with exceptional grace and a professionalism which seemed to escape Maura Derrane, even more so in light of your 'background' story regarding how the interview was intended to proceed. I was SHOCKED to say the least by Maura's agressive, predatory and clearly 'agenda driven' methods. In short, she disgraced herself! On the other hand, you were clear, calm and trying desperately to inform her. Well done to you Niamh! You have my support. I have also reposted your Blog on my FB Page. Hopefully this incident will both raise awareness of the ignorance which exists as well as secure a publisher for you. Best of Luck! Daria

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  39. Well done Niamh for staying so calm & professional. I breasted my 3, each for a year & loved it. However I think breastfeeding is for babies & not for children who can walk & talk ! Are you fulfilling your needs to continue or your child's needs ? Even though I breasted my 3 I found the picture of you feeding your preschool child just plain wrong. A child should be allowed grow & develop and let go & move through the stages. There was some reference made on the show to home births too. I think home births are the single most selfish thing a women can do. It's fine if everything goes well but why take the chance just so you can be in familiar surroundings etc... Check yourself out of the hospital immediately after the birth if you want to. I was 24 & perfectly healthy & needed an emergency section as the cord was around my daughters neck....imagine if I was at home & the damage that the extra journey time into hospital could have done. I think Maura was right to mention about your son getting bullied etc... as it is something other kids would laugh at. Are you prepared for this to happen just to make your point ? One last question ? Did you breasted through your pregnancy or did you just reintroduce the breast to your pre-school child after your second child was born ?

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  42. Anonymous, why not have the guts to post with a name?


    I'm assuming your 3 children could walk and talk at aged 2? This is the MINIMUM age of weaning from the breast recommended by the World Health Organisation, who say that thereafter breastfeeding should be continued for as long as mutually desired. Fact.


    Home birth is proven to be at least as safe as a hospital birth for second time and subsequent births. Fact.


    I am sorry that there was an emergency at your baby's birth that led to a surgical delivery but a cord emergency such as this is unusual. The cord being wrapped around baby's neck happens in a third of births and does not generally cause a problem, it is simply lifted from around the neck after the head is delivered. Fact.


    Generally, what we have to say is taken more seriously if we use facts rather than just opinion.

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  43. Hi is this interview on You Tube at all? Or is it availiable to veiw from overseas?

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  44. I have to laugh at Maura's opening comments.. ."you're obviously INTO natural birth?".... What?! Aren't we all?! Sheesh.

    Anyway Niamh, I think you gave a great account of yourself and your decisions in spite of the attacking and derisory nature of Maura Derrane's interviewing style. Well done, am now reading your blog (hadn't been prior to this!) Noah and Charlie are beautiful boys, a credit to you :)

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  45. we opened a facebook page few months ago about tandem feeding.
    Feeding two babies rocks!!!

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/143525685751694/

    More people talk about it , more people will thing is normal.
    thanks Niamh hope you find a publisher, she did not let you even talk about your book

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  46. Hi - I didn't see the interview (came here via online forum) but I just wanted to say that I think you are fabulous and your website is great. I am still breastfeeding my 13 month old to my great surprise (didnt think I would) and I love it - more importantly she loves it and apart from all the health benefits there is no better comfort for her in the world. I keep thinking about stopping and I realised today that I'm not entirely sure why - I think its because I feel like it is 'expected' or something. But reading your blog has given me an insight into continuing to feed and some renewed determination to continue so thanks for that.
    Keep up the good work and sucks to Maura D!

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  47. Well you're not alone at all in BFing an older child! I'm tandem feeding my 2 little men DS1 will be 3 in Feb and DS2 is 4 mths in a few days. I have somehow managed to surround myself with a lot of people who have the same views on parenting. I try not to think whether we are normal or not. We are certainly doing what is natural for humans to do and I firmly believe that it is a good thing. I thought you were fantastic and very well composed on the TV show. I was shocked at that closing comment about the HSE (which I presume to be inaccurate) and loved that you put her right before the end of it. Well done -you were very brave to go on air to promote BFing! Hopefully your going on air will plant the idea in some mom's head that she doesn't have to stop until she and her child are ready!! I can't believe she was unaware of what co-sloeeping is. Surely that's quite normal and people just don't have a name for it?

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  48. To Anonymous who posted @10 January 2012 02:04,you say "I think breastfeeding is for babies & not for children who can walk & talk ! Are you fulfilling your needs to continue or your child's needs ?" One could argue that you are the one NOT fulfilling your childs needs to continue BFing to suit your personal misinformed opinion or obvious hangups that you have considering you found the picture of Niamh feeding her preschool child "just plain wrong"!!!
    I don't understand why you then focus on Niamhs INFORMED CHOICE to birth at home, but seeing as you then insulted that, as said already Home Birth *IS* as safe IF NOT SAFER than hospital birth. Choosing to birth at home means choosing the ultimate professional for your care a Midwife - they are the experts in birth , who's word are you taking for it that HB is not safe ??? the OB's that have a vested interest in complicating birth , all research proves that OB's complicate birth for the most part unnecessarily ! Hospital Midwives do not practice Autonomy and are generally UN-happy the way the are forced to practice active management in hospitals not to mention are then relegated to be basically obstetric Nurses. Home birth is only not a wider option or promoted more because the OBs and Gobs have a monopoly on Maternity care in Ireland. If Home birth were SOOOOO unsafe why does our HSE provide for it???(see their web site) WELL ?
    Further more the reason why the majority of women choose Home birth is for SAFETY not "familiar surroundings"
    Regarding your emergency c-sect for cord around the neck ???? well that can not be determined unless the head is out(cords are very poor at showing on scans or other tests - so if that reason is given it would be *suspected*)and then you see the cord around the neck and then the trained MIDWIFE be they hospital or HB MW slips it off this is usually not a reason to call in an OB to a birth. Cord around the neck if your labour in already interfered with as common in hospital ie induction ect.... so assuming you where otherwise labouring for a normal vaginal birth until some distress became apparent and then moved to c-sect some time elapsed? the same time frame even more time(ie earlier decision making)would be given by a HB MW.
    Lastly , but this might just blow your mind.... humans/mammals are actually designed to suckle from their mothers until their adult teeth form - which would we if left nature alone be around 6/7years...., why did you ask if she reintroduced her toddler after the 2nd birth? do you seriously think Niamh is FORCE BREASTFEEDING ??? roflmao force bfing is IMPOSSIBLE and that according to the experts too!
    Pity there isn't a 'like' thingy would like to agree with 'Pickles and Onions' and Pachamammy and others too .....:(
    Marguerite

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  49. I thought you did a fabulous job under pressure. Maura was certainly very negative and accusatory. God they give disgraced politicians/developers/bankers an easy time in interviews by comparison! I don't think I've ever heard any viewer feedback telling them they're disgusting being relayed to them.
    Dawn

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  50. Niamh,

    Fair play to ya!

    You did a fantastic job of bringing some normalcy to breast feeding & faced with the ignorance of the interviewer you came across so well. You appeared calm and collected and intelligent. Whereas she (I can't even bring myself to use her name) came across as using tabloid tactics and totally unprofessional in her line of questioning and her tone!

    I had to laugh at how she phrased her final comment "We got onto HSE & LLL etc". Got On To, is she 12? I am sorry but she doesn't even have basic grammar!

    I really do not have faith in RTE as our national broadcaster, but it is worrying the level of incompetence that the majority of their staff hold.

    Seeing intelligent women such as you advocating what is natural and what I believe all children deserve is so reassuring. I know we as a society have such a long way to go, were what we see as normal and natural become the societal norm.

    My little son is self-weaning at 18 months, I think due to low supply issues with current pregnancy. I am feeling nostalgic about losing all those precious snuggle moments, but also so excited for him to be moving on and exerting a little independence for the first time.

    Thank you for being so brave to speak up as you did.

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  51. Well done on your interview Niamh. My parenting choices/style are not all the same as yours, but I think you stood your ground really well against the poor interviewing technique displayed by Maura Derrane, particularly at the end when she threw in that nasty comment about the HSE.

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  52. You did very well and the presenter was just awful!

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  53. four live should b ashamed of themselves, and as for that response today.....BS i've only heard negative reaponse on the way in which u were treated. u were doing ur part in trying to normalise bf and beyond, gud on ya niamh

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  54. Marguerite

    Re your comments on my post. You talk about home birth been so professional.......Niamh said in her blog that her midwife used her own mouth to clear the babies airways !! Sounds very professional. And the reason I asked about whether Niamh reintroduced breast feeding to her toddler after the baby was born was because I found it too difficult to be pregnant and breastfeed so I had to reluctantly stop breastfeeding my son. It shows how unbalanceed and neurotic your responce is if you thought I believed Niamh was force feeding her son. I had only just gone into labour and was only 2cm when my babies heart beat dropped. Only for the fact I was in the hospital my daughter could have died or been left seriously brain damaged. I loved every second of breastfeeding even though it was difficult having 3 sections (Im waiting for the comments on how Im not a real women for not delivering vaginally) I dont wet myself everytime I sneeze like a lot of my friends who have confided in me do or have any problems in that department thankfully so I dont care that I have never experienced a vaginal birth!! I had only one eye on the TV but I dont remember Maura using the word disgusting ?? I stand corrected if she did.

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  55. Pachamammy - Is this your real name...you ask me why I choose annonymous ? Its because it was convenienet & Ive no need to sign up for a blog that holds no further interest for me. Its interesting that your comments were removed.... I wonder why.....very classy comments I suspect.

    Get a life......theres more to life than kids...the way some of you go on you would swear your the first mothers on the planet.

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  56. Well done on the interview Niamh, you were so composed despite the aggressive stance taken by the show. I don't understand why we mothers can be so critical of others choices. I am planning a homebirth in March and the comments I get are just plain bizarre and usually revolve around me being crazy and or brave. I would never presume to say that to someone electing for a section, even if that's precisely how I feel. I'll be reading along here from now on. Keep fighting the good fight! :)

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  57. Put the video on you tube!

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  58. Anonymous, I removed my comment to correct a spelling error! Otherwise, it stands as I originally posted, in between doing an assignment for my Masters and finishing off some paid work - is that enough of a life for you?


    Maura did indeed use the word "disgusting".

    If you've no interest in what's going on here, why comment in the first place, especially if it's to insult?

    As regards your sections, why are you waiting for insulting comments? Why would anyone want to insult you over how you have given birth?

    It's very sad that you loved every second of breastfeeding and yet feel like there is something wrong with it once a child hits a certain age :(

    If this blog holds no interest for you, why post inflammatory comments that will generate a response?

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  59. Well done Niamh! I think you held your own so well, talk about cool under pressure! I really think that Maura was winding you up and trying to get you to say something inflammatory and your logical, measured answered kind of threw her off. To be honest I think a lot of breastfeeding slots on afternoon shows are pitched to be as controversial as possible. You are so brave and confident- very inspiring!

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  60. Thanks again everyone, great to hear your opinions. I'm going to try and install a Like button for comments, if that exists on this website. In future all negative anonymous comments will be removed. If you don't have the decency to show your face, please don't leave a negative comment here, just move on. I've left the current ones as I love the answers other posters gave, and I hadn't issued a warning yet!

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  61. TRIUMPH! I loved the way at the very end you managed to get that ultra important last comment in - "Well, they must be mistaken then because WHO recommends 2 years minimum of breastfeeding" - perfectly worded and pristinely timed, you were so on the ball to get the comment straight in after she spouted that BS! Well done you were so smooth.

    Niamh S.

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  62. Hey Mama,

    you rock!

    Next time you are called to an interview bring me! My 6 (nearly 7) year old son will tell you that breast feeding is brill! He has all but stopped now, maybe a try once in a while but we fed nightly until over 5.... I have deliberately 'forgotten' now when we actually ''finished'' feeding!

    I am going to 'out' myself now with Ireland being such a small place but I cant talk to colleagues or my peer group about extended feeding for fear of being ridiculed (I'm a student midwife).

    Ask my son; recently another child at the minders asked for milk and was told it was in the fridge. My young man replied 'dont be silly, it cant be in the fridge or my mum would be freezing''...........

    Out of the mouth of babes!

    Im not going to post anything negative about the interview (I SO could) but you were amazing, Im so glad you got that comment in at the end and the negative replies they got obviously out weighed the 'positive' (from Mauras perspective) or they wouldnt have had to clarify the next day!

    I look forward to the book and will buy an extra copy to donate to my college library!

    Keep up all the good work!

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  63. Anonymuos wt* you are only digging a big hole for your self, Niamhs MW's actions completely demonstrate how PROFESSIONAL she acted, she would of been able to completely apply the correct pressure to the babies air ways to clear them , which would be more difficult to judge otherwise!! not sure where you comments "Im not a real women for not delivering vaginally" are coming from!?
    I don't wet myself every time I sneeze either, but hey, we're not all perfect !
    what has that got to do with my comments? w.t.h?
    Just so you know bladder incontinence postnatally is related to the strain of pregnancy weight and prob more likely Controlled Pushing in hospitals at birth - yet another thing you can avoid at home......
    Best of luck to you.... I'm sure your breast feeding memories are cherished ones and your babies were lucky to have it.
    Marguerite ... AND YOU ARE ????

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  64. Most bladder issues are caused thru 'purple pushing' or the famous valsalva manouvre.

    If women 'went' with their bodies then there would be less 'bladder issues' and less tears!

    Oh and less babies with poor apgars at births as the 'pp/valsalva' decreases the amount of O2 the bay recieves in 2nd stage.................Therefore less babies with NNU admissions, better BF and attachment rates....

    Niamh, glad to see you have upped the debate!

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  65. Well done Niamh, you were very composed and articulate. This country needs to wake up and realise that nurturing and supporting our children is the biggest asset we can give them. I'm still breastfeeding my 16 month old and will continue for as long as we both want to. I've been on the receiving end of criticism but am well able for them. Well done to you lady.

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  66. Popped over from Aine at Andmybaby - I watched the clip online and having been on one of those shows myself can honestly say I don't know how you coped so well. Amazingly calm and articulate and if I was a totally unbiased watcher I would have sided with you. (However I am biased having breastfed all 3 of mine to between 1 and 2 years.) Huge well done for getting out there and talking about it. x

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  67. anita mac gabhann14 January 2012 at 22:33

    well done for being so calm and serene and answering all the questions brilliantly anita

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  68. Like a few others who have commented, I had never heard of your blog before your interview on RTE and had also never watched Four Live before. I heard about the interview on facebook and played it back. I'm now a big new fan of your blog and have no intention of ever watching Four Live again - you came across incredibly well while the interviewer just appeared foolish and chippy!
    I thought the comment she read out about the picture of you feeding your sons was incredibly hurtful and I think you were amazing to keep your cool as I'd have been in tears. It's a beautiful, precious picture and I hope you are all the more proud of it now. What very lucky little boys you have. x

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  69. Thanks again everyone, can't believe I'm still getting messages of support, how deadly t'internet is! TBH I've had a shit week, on a total downer after the "fight or flight" adrenaline left me, somewhere on Wed morning. It's really knocked me for six, the whole shock of being so exposed on national tv, and having my children and parenting values questioned like that. Some good came out of it at least, in that I've heard from other mums who say they now have the confidence to continue breastfeeding a bit longer after hearing my story, which is fantastic. I've since heard that every breastfeeding story in the media sparks debate and opposition, but I was totally unaware going into it that I would be on the receiving end. ANYWAY... I'll save the rest, it's only gonna p*** me off talking about it here at the moment, but thanks to all of you for a) watching the interview, b) reading my side of the story here and c) taking the time to comment/message me on my Facebook page. Get those boobies out - TITS FOR TOTS! (That's my new war-cry!)

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  70. You took one for the team Niamh and I personally thank you! Please have faith that your interview will have made a positive difference to some Mamas who needed to feel they're not alone, and their babies who might now benefit from a little more of their Mama's milk! Your interview and blog have inspired me to keep nursing my 16 month old with confidence, even when there are some around me who would knock that confidence down with something as simple as a look or "harmless" comment. I really mean it - thank you. x
    PS, from what I've seen of you in your blog and interview, I suspect you'll have your fight back in no time!

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  71. Well done, you handed it so well today! Never mind that wagon!!!!

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  72. I think you were so brilliant, Niamh. I only just watched the programme now. I get so upset by stuff like this because I think it is terrible how the media puts such a warped spin on subjects like breastfeeding older children, tandem nursing etc. They make it sound like the women and children doing it are somehow wrong, when in fact it is this insane bloody culture we live in...I am so sorry for the upset caused to you and your family, but I hope your brave and articulate attempts to show a wider audience how normal breastfeeding is will reach at least some people, and that it has not been too traumatic for you. What do people think their breasts are for???!!

    I love your blog, too, well done :-)))

    Love, Siobhan, mum to three little ones xx

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  73. I just came across this via 9 Crows St blog post. I'm 28 and have no kids and no experience of breastfeeding, but I hopefully will one day.

    I've just looked through your blog and you're an inspiration.
    It's a shame the tv interview took the turn that it did, but hopefully the general public will have the good sense to check out this blog and see for themselves what the benefits are and hopefully try to clear up some of the misconceptions.
    All the best.

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  74. Hi Niamh I watched your interview and please don't feel like you were shown in a bad light, it was your one Maura who was shown to be malicious, ill informed and immature. You showed yourself to be so confident and informed and through that you showed it up for what that interview was. I refuse to watch that show on the basis of that interview, I cannot stomach the woman. the reason I am only posting now is I don't have access to internet at home

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  75. Haven't watched it yet, but I have to say kudos for taking on such a battering and standing up to it.

    People just have no idea until they've been there themselves. I hoped I would breastfeed my children but would never in a million years have expected to find myself continuing past 12 months, tandem nursing, and ending up breastfeeding both of them to four years and beyond. I'm from Dublin but live in the US where attitudes are a bit broader (not that much), and I try to blog about it to help normalize it for anyone out there doing the same thing.

    But for heaven's sake. It's just a thing you do, in your family. You're not hurting your child, in fact, in many many ways you're helping him. Can people not just get on with their own business? The country has more to be worrying about than how long somebody breastfeeds. (Not just aimed at Ireland. Did you see the kerfuffle with the Time magazine cover a few months ago? Sheesh.)

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  76. Hi Niamh, Edele here, I met you in Doolin in Tonys house the other day. It was so lovely to meet you and your lovely family. Sooo happy I got a cuddle with the little cutie that is rose. I'm so sorry you had such awful things thrown at you like that,it's not fair or right,but I'm sure you did an amazing job at keeping calm and getting your point across. I'll be tell my sisters and sister in law about your blog! Love it :)

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    1. Hi Edele, so lovely to meet you and please hook up on Facebook with me too! Lots of love, N x

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