Hello, I’m Judith from Boy and Bear where, just like Gemma I’m a keepsake jeweller. She has asked me to talk a little bit about the breastfeeding pendants I make so here I am with a little bit of background for you on how they came to be.
I am a mum of 2 boys, aged 1 & 3 and have breastfed both of them. When I thought about being a mother I never thought about how I would feed my baby, I just assumed I would bottle feed and that would be that. I felt a bit squeamish about breastfeeding bizarrely – I couldn’t tell you why. It wasn’t until I was around 34 weeks pregnant that I thought I’d give it a go. I attended a couple of classes at the local midwifery unit and put breastfeeding as my choice on my birth plan.
I went on to have a traumatic birth with my son which affected my mental health pretty severely and meant that I felt breastfeeding was the only thing I could do right so it became incredibly important to me. However, my son’s latch wasn’t great and caused some real pain for the first 10 weeks or so until we sussed things out which was very difficult for me but we persevered.
Unfortunately, for reasons we never really got to the bottom of, our son was diagnosed with failure to thrive and was admitted to hospital a couple of times within his first 6 months, a scary and unsettling period for first time parents.
After his initial admission I pumped for him, every 3 hours around the clock, to top up his feeds. Those few weeks were incredibly hard for me as I didn’t respond well to the pump and the lack of milk I was expressing was compounding my feelings of not being good enough. A month later he was admitted again and it was decided that we would top up with a high calorie formula and we combi-fed from then until he was 9 months old and had caught up.
I was diagnosed with PND and PTSD during this time too which led to me being unable to return to work so Boy & Bear was opened allowing me to have a focus away from my illness.
I’m quite a tenacious person and was determined not to give up so persevered through it all and when we came out the other side and hit 12 months I wanted to make something to commemorate our journey as I was beyond proud of where we had managed to get to from where we had come. These breastfeeding pendants were the result.
I made a gymnurstics pendant because that’s where we were in our journey, I was constantly having a foot in my face or a baby climbing over my shoulder, and I engraved his name and birthday on the reverse.
By the time we hit 2 years of breastfeeding I was expecting his little brother so opted to wait until he arrived to make something to commemorate that stage. I’ve moved my gymnurstics charm to my bracelet now and I have a copper tandem feeding charm instead.
Out of the designs available, the most popular is the International Breastfeeding Symbol. I often handcraft these for people who are gifting them to friends to commemorate the end or beginning of a journey to show their support. They do make the perfect keepsake for birth workers or breastfeeding support workers too – I don’t know how I would’ve made it through if it hadn’t have been for my peer supporter.
Well, that’s pretty much all there is to say about the origins of these pieces, I hope you found my story interesting and if you’d like to know more please feel free to pop over and see me. You can find me on facebook, twitter, instagram,or pinterest