04 Jul

How is my driving?

I love those stickers on the back of trucks that pose the question “How is my driving?” and gives you a number to call to voice your opinion. I wonder if anyone actually does call or if it’s just a nominal thing meant to give you, the person behind the truck, the feeling that the driver cares what you think.

Some people seem to assume that, when you are a mother, you are wearing a “How is my driving?” sticker. They may not be able to see it. Perhaps it’s under your clothes somewhere or tattooed on your ankle, but they assume it exists. In contrast to truck drivers, people are more than happy to voice their opinion with mothers.

Last week, I was at an event giving a photography talk. A woman came up to me afterwards to thank me for the talk and congratulate me on the birth of Baby. She then said, “Are you breastfeeding all the time?”

I replied that, yes, I was breastfeeding a lot, but we were also topping up with formula because of my low milk supply.

She then said to me, “I’m one of those people who believes that every mother has enough milk for her child.”

Excuse me?! Who are you?

What I wish I had said was, “Well, I’d like to believe in Santa Claus, but that doesn’t make him real.” And perhaps I would have added a couple of expletives.

What I did say was, “Well, I haven’t found that to be the case,” and I turned to chat to the next person in the queue.

What. A. Cow. Well, literally, as I assume she is one of those who was blessed with plenty of milk for her babies.

For anyone who is doubting my dedication to giving Baby breastmilk, I spend most of my day either breastfeeding her, thinking about breastfeeding her or expressing milk. Sometimes, in between, I’m able to shower, get dressed, eat, write a blog post, and do a bit of work.

And actually, I’ve come to terms with topping her up with formula. The benefit is that I know that she’s full, which means she usually has nice naps in between her 3-hourly feeds. Naps equal happy baby which equals a happy mommy.

I suppose the moral of the story is, my driving is great, thank you.




  1. 04 Jul

    Adele Haywood

    My friend is doing the same – but at least she is getting SOME good stuff! xx

  2. 04 Jul


    I rung one of those companies once because the guy’s driving was appalling. They listened to what I had to say and then proceeded to try and sell their product to me!!!

    I think you’re being very polite – I would call her more than a cow.

    You sound like you’re being a fantastic mum – baby is a lucky little girl x

  3. 04 Jul


    Ugh, what a horrid comment. I didn’t have a great experience with breastfeeding, and not for desperate want of trying. It took me a long time to come to terms with what I saw as ‘my failure’ and it wasn’t helped by the breastfeeding mafia. I really admire your honesty, unfortunately many online forums which should be offering support to mothers who are trying to establish breastfeeding are so militant that many women are afraid to tell it how it really is. It sounds like you are doing amazingly well, mummy and baby are both happy and that’s all that matters!

  4. 04 Jul


    Good for you! We all have to do what’s right for us individually and our babies. I topped up with formula for all my 4 babies – including twins. And yes, I was a smug mum because I gave that formula as the last feed of the day (midnight!) which meant by 3 months, all were sleeping through til 6/7am. So having more sleep made me a better, more patient mum. Well, hopefully Ms ‘I believe’ will soon experience something that positive visualisation and blind faith can’t rectify – maybe extra saggy bosoms??!!

  5. 04 Jul


    Ahhh, the breast feeding do-gooders. I thankfully never had the joys of meeting one but have heard similar stories on countless occsasions. You instinctively do what is best for your baby. Clearly, a mix of formula + BF is best for YOUR baby Julia! Well done you for maintaining you composure with the eejit who made this comment.

  6. 04 Jul


    In the olden days before formula and you were struggling to provide enough breast milk, if you could afford to you’d hire a wet nurse, if not you’d use any available milk and just hope that things would turn out well. Now at least we know that babies can be properly fed without risking either the health of either yourself, baby or another woman. I think it’s known progress. Backseat drivers beware.

  7. 04 Jul


    Julia this made me laugh out loud, seriously, why do people think they have the right to make such personal comments to people they don’t even know?!

    It sounds like you are doing just great :)

    Charlotte xxx

  8. 04 Jul

    Kate B

    Obviously all babies vary but by topping up after most/all feeds, your supply may suffer even more. Another possible solution would be to replace one breast feed completely with formula and slowly reduce all the top ups. I hate to say but the nice, settled baby might want feeding more often as her tummy won’t be full of formula. Depends if you want to keep breast feeding or not.

  9. 04 Jul


    I am not a mother so I don’t feel like I can comment on it – but what I DO feel im allowed to say is, just because that woman IS a mother doesnt mean she should comment either! What an idiot – it really is up to the individual and it makes me so mad hearing people think they know best trying to force their opinions on you – basically, if you don’t do this you’re a bad parent. errr what? Coming from someone like that, I really wouldn’t worry about her beliefs!

  10. 04 Jul


    The cheek of it! I think I would have crumbled at such a comment. I wonder if she has had children herself. As said before happy mummy = happy baby. You are doing the best job Julia, don’t let anyone doubt it xxx

  11. 04 Jul


    I’ve always wanted to phone one of those numbers and be incredibly complimentary. I’d imagine all they get is complaints.

    Not knowing anything about child-rearing I’d never presume to comment on how people choose to do things – just keeping a baby alive seems to me a phenomenal achievement!

  12. 04 Jul

    Jenny AKA Mrs O

    I hope karma comes and bites her in the arse. (I bet she has really nasty boobies and nipples like dinner plates haha)

    You don’t need to justify your feeding technique to anyone Julia, you are doing amazing.

    Also, one of my mummy friends had the same boob milk supply issues – her supply all of a sudden shot right up when her baby was 13 weeks old (at this point she is just pumping as baby was refusing the boob) but that made me feel proud of her for persisting with it! (also made me feel sad for stopping).
    Jen x

  13. 04 Jul


    I think the constant judgement that us new mothers receive, is down right wrong. I have been really lucky and have managed to exclusively breastfeed my little one and I’m proudly approaching the five month marker. Recently I have found myself having to justify why it is that I continue to breastfeed. I’m getting plenty of helpful comments along the lines of “now that he’s getting bigger and more mobile, wouldn’t you find that formula would fill him up more?” and “when ARE you going to put him on to formula?” and “if you don’t get that baby on a bottle soon then you never will”.
    Why is it that we’re made to feel we’re doing the wrong thing, whatever we do.
    In the early days, complete strangers would ask me how I was sleeping. In the first few weeks, formula was recommended to make my baby sleep, as if babies are designed to sleep through straight away. Then when I was able to smugly tell people he slept 12 hours at night, I’d be smugly told back that it wouldn’t last.
    I’ve decided that you simply can’t win and you just have to smile and nod at the help and advice and then promptly do whatever the he’ll suits you best.
    It sounds to me like you’re doing a fab job. And being a happy mummy makes you 100 times more qualified for the job than someone who makes themselves miserable. Keep up the good work. X

  14. 04 Jul


    I love the suggestion that you might have called her a cow!!
    But you’re right people do seem to want to interefere.
    After my daughter was born I was her primary carer a lot of the time. My wife wasn’t producing a huge amount of milk so feeding was a combination of expressed breast milk and formula. Interestingly I never had anybody trying to interfere regarding my care regime of my daughter. Although that may be just because people assumed that I wouldn’t have a clue what I was talking about anyway!

  15. 04 Jul

    Mama Says

    “Every mother has enough milk for her child” indeed. What a nerve! You should have said “Yes I believe that too, I always have a good supply of SMA in the cupboard”. Fantastic post.

  16. 05 Jul


    I top-up fed with formula too. I’m always amazed at the things people feel they have the right to comment on, how rude.

  17. 05 Jul


    I spoke to you last Tuesday but it was definitely not me who said that!

    When I gave birth to my twins they were in NICU, as I gave birth at 27 weeks, so breast milk and expressing were considered even more important but my milk never really ‘came in’. I kept feeling quilty and useless as some of the nurses would ask me if I had a present for the babies as soon as I walked into the room. Some would imply that I must be expressing wrongly. Nobody considered that there could actually be something wrong (they found I had retained placenta at 3 weeks post-partum just after we’d lost one of the twins).

    I still expressed every 3-4 hours because I was determined to at least have a chance of giving breastfeeding a go when my baby was old enough to. We did but I was always sure that I would never be able to do it exclusively because there wasn’t enough milk. My son was very good at it and latched on well but he was a hungry boy. After four weeks I mentioned introducing a bottle to a nurse who replied “you’ve only been breastfeeding a short time”.

    We eventually did introduce a bottle but I worked it so that I would go in to the hospital for the first morning feed when I was very full. My son would get two feeds from me then formula for some and expressed milk for others depending on what I had. I continued this at home until my milk completely dried up about a month ago (he is now 6 months old).

    It was hard to get over the feeling of guilt but I eventually realised that I was doing all I could and that I had done my best for him because he had at least still got some breast milk.

  18. 06 Jul

    kat rock n roll bride

    cow? i would have used a stronger word that that! jeeeeeeez.

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