A Man’s perspective on Breastfeeding!

Yep I’m a guy a guy who grew up in a world where the breast signaled temptation and fantasy, I even remember my younger years when  me and a friend of mine thought we were being the most outrageously awesome young males collecting sun page 3 girls and placing them in a folder that we could flick through and appreciate to put it politely. The point I’m making here is that when I was younger we had to work harder to see the naked flesh of a female, this is not an obstacle that faces the modern man or women, images of breasts are literally everywhere, the unhealthy image that is being set up of women’s breasts is going to make practices as natural breastfeeding harder not easier.

Being sexually curious as your growing up is great and should be explored, it’s as natural as a female breastfeeding her young, however if a young males first and overwhelming image of breasts is artificially sexualised then the other function breastfeeding, which in the big scheme of things is a tad more important becomes almost forgotten by both the male and more alarmingly the female!

With that in mind who am I to comment on the topic of breastfeeding? I really shouldn’t, but something has been niggling at me now for some time, being a fan of natural law a mother nurses her young simple, for sure complications occur and yes it’s not always possible, natural law or not nature has a mysterious way about her, but to simply not take part by choice makes no sense to me.

Whilst I’m a guy I am also a father, a father to a 6 year old boy and nearly 2 year old girl, both have been and are still being breastfed, my son has only recently stopped breastfeeding, which means he was breastfed up to the age of six at which point he simply stopped asking for what he called ‘booba’, he occasionally still asks, but it’s rare these days.

My daughter is currently breastfeeding, she happily announces that she wants ‘bomba’ so my wife’s breasts have endearingly been named ‘booba’ and ‘bomba’.

Adele is successfully breastfeeding, but I get it, not all women can, I’ve heard the multiple reasons why not, I must say some reasons are weak, but that is still that women’s choice, but what has intrigued me is what is informing that decision making process? I come from the mind set that if you want something enough you will find a way! Now don’t get me wrong I appreciate that some obstacles simply cannot be overcome, the obstacle is asking us to surrender, let go, accept and find another way, which could be a breast milk bank or a friend who can help nurse your young, either way obstacles exist and so do ways round them, through them and over them.

I remember watching a program about breastfeeding with my wife Adele as we were expecting parents, the program explored the many different ways and challenges that lay ahead, but the part that stood out for me at that time was when the young lady declared that she would not be breastfeeding because her breasts were for her man!

Now ultimately that is her choice, but as a man that actually made me feel sad for her and disappointed in him and confused at how as a society we have got to a point where people look at it that way, perhaps I shouldn’t be concerned because it’s her choice as I said, however I couldn’t help but disagree with her statement, simply because if her breasts belonged to anyone it was her, not to mention nature has her producing milk for a reason, again the societal influence lay heavy on this young couple because he as the man in a relationship with the mother to be could easily have stepped in and said no, stop, what is best for the baby? Whilst the decision I believe ultimately rests with the female I believe a male voice can help.

Other women on the show were cutting the breastfeeding time down because of work commitments, work will always come back, your child will only be young and requiring your breast milk for a short period of time, which if you make the time for now it can be achieved, not easy I appreciate that, but things that are worth while so often are not easy.

As a man I cannot and do not wish to own Adele’s breasts or any other body part for that matter, it is her body, much the same way my body is mine, I must respect her body and more importantly her as a human being, now more than ever before she is going to need my support as her body and her go through a change I will never experience called ‘motherhood’.

To me personally breastfeeding looks both like hard work and pretty easy, hard work because well Adele is on call 24 hours a day 7 days a week and so far has been for the last 6 years, now that’s endurance and perseverance. Easy because she has finally settled into the rhythm and so it’s very natural for her, it had challenges in the beginning for sure, but as she persevered she found a way and now it is very natural.

I remember another breastfeeding encounter I had before becoming a parent. Me and Adele were at a local community center to teach children’s yoga, the class was part of a bigger event, whilst we were waiting to teach our class I took a seat and watched the current activities being presented, a lady with a newborn sat next to me, I carried on watching the activities when she asked me a question, at this point I turned my attention and gaze towards her, however my eyes fell upon a naked pair of breasts, I personally was not offended in anyway shape or form a mum feeding her baby is nature’s design, however it was reminiscent of those days spent looking at the page 3 models only now it was real time and I was trapped between awkward images in my head and responses to my real time situation, there shouldn’t have been conflict, but there was internally. I gave the best answer I could muster under such circumstances and averted my attention back to the activities.

Adeles boobs were as I said on 24 hour demand and still are, they have been on an interesting journey shall we say. I still remember them in bras and out of bras during our before parenthood years, I remember the size and shape, it should be mentioned here that the size and shape was also affected by the birth control pill, both the going into it and coming of it, however the effect that extending breast feeding has on the female breast is something quite amazing. Over the 6 years they came out of bras as it was easier to feed from loose tops, which meant they went loose 😀 if you catch my meaning, then the vein network or mamory gland expansion or whatever it is that makes bumps and pulses appear throughout the breast cause another reaction, then if she doesn’t balance the feeding from left ‘booba’ to right ‘bomba’ then one becomes abnormally large whilst the other experiences deflation, which has me 😂 laughing and we won’t even go into what happens with the nipples😝.

It’s not funny at first for the female, this after all is her body, something she took a lot of time to dress and present to the world at large in a way that would make her feel confident and happy in the skin that she was in and now it was doing crazy out of shape and order things. 

Feeding two children at once deserves a medal, but even that she begun and they begun to make look easy and after 6 years of breastfeeding the lop sided, bumpy, pulsing, overall weird going ons of the female breast evened out, there is good news on the aesthetic front, the breasts recover themselves and are even more beautiful than before, 6 years out of a bra and all that tugging, pinching, grabbing and dragging has encouraged them to shape up if you like.

From the male perspective it’s a beautiful thing to observe, your children are bonding in a very special way with their mother, they are receiving the best nutrition available and when they need comforting because it’s a big and scary world out there especially when your pint sized the boob is a great tool for comforting them.

Yes the changes are challenging and yes you loose something you once had, but with patience and perseverance you gain things you never knew you would.

Extended breastfeeding naturally lends itself to co-sleeping and this is another life changing process that I may talk about and share at a later date.

On a closing note, yes the men in your life have more than likely been exposed to and willing participants of The sexualisation of the female in a variety of ways, which can present challenges when entering the parenthood and exploring extended breastfeeding and co-sleeping, however theses obstacles and challenges can be overcome if both parties work together as a team, that both parties accept where they have come from, where they are and where you envisage yourselves moving towards.

On a final closing note, I wish all you super breastfeeding mums out there a wonderful bonding experience with your child and all you awesome fathers and husbands of super breastfeeding mums I wish you all the joy and humour of watching the transition and demise of your ladies udders I mean breasts 😀 because if you don’t laugh well? 

Grown Men don’t Cry?

The stereotype of course, men don’t cry, suck it up lad, don’t show your weaknesses to anyone. The trouble is that love expresses itself in tears, the trouble is this, there are tears of sadness, tears of joy and tears for many other emotional states and technically speaking, it shouldn’t be a ‘trouble’ or a ‘problem’.

This morning I had the pleasure of an unexpected tear whilst watching a sunrise. I share this story now.

The sun rose high and as it did it painted the clouds red, orange, yellow and purple, a breath taking spectacle,

The starlings rose one by one in there collective hundreds from the long abandoned west pier, they danced effortlessly through the ever changing palette of colours in the rising sun’s sky,

The water facing the sun began to shine and yet when looking in a Westerly direction at the sea and all her surrounding vistas they looked cold. An intriguing contrast the warmth and light had penetrated most of what was life in that moment and yet a portion was still left cold and icy, why?

The icy cold water caught my attention, it froze me in a moment of time not the same as this and yet not that different either, why the contrast I wondered?

My heart I realised was in a similar position, recently it to had been lit by a rising sun, allowing a warmth to move through it and be given away from it and yet there was and still is this part of my heart that is hidden even from me and that was the cold reflection of the icy blue sea.

I allowed myself to feel my heart and its contrast as I gazed upon the multicoloured East and the Icy blue west, not thinking about anything in particular, then as my gaze settled into a nothingness racing across the calm waters of the icy blue western sea a tear appeared,

Where did you come from tear, surely not me? Why yes, the tear replied, where else could I have come from if not you? It’s just that I have no reason to shed a tear I countered, and  I’m not sure i’m comfortable looking out into the vastness of the blue ocean whilst little blue oceans of my own stream down the canyons of my weathered storm called my life.

I am but a tear, I am neither good, nor bad, I am free from judgement and so are you, you saw beauty in nature and in that moment saw the beauty of your own nature, you understood that you need not battle with yourself anymore and as you let go of the dams you had built inside of you I came out simply as a reminder, a reminder that we are water after all, that life is lived in the ebb and flow.

How many dams have I built tear? Ask your heart, tear answered, she knows and she will work with you to open the channels of your stagnant rivers so that they may run freely to once again nourish the heart and soul of life.

Men do cry and this was not my first tear and nor will it be my last, but it was one I felt had come from the heart.

Love to you all

Matt

 

CoYo Smoothie

A month or so ago we came across a fantastic product called CoYo, which essentially is coconut yoghurt, this product is not raw but tastes amazing and is great just on its own and comes in a variety of flavours including chocolate and vanilla.

We decided to see what would happen if we used this wonderfully creamy yoghurt to make a smoothie and well simply put AMAZING Ulysses is 3 years of age and he loved it and its really easy to make.

Ingredients:

125g – CoYo Yoghurt (natural flavour)

3 – small bananas

7 – strawberries

200ml – water (less water = thicker and more water = thinner consistency)

Method:

Add all the ingredients to a blender and away you go that simple, pour into a glass and enjoy… Ahhh the simple things.

note: to make sweeter, purchase CoYo Vanilla flavour or add 2-3 fresh dates to the above recipe.

To you all in great health

Matt Allen

http://www.theyogahealthcoach.co.uk

Bowing Meditation (Day 55)

The last 5 days of bowing have been a struggle in one sense; finding motivation to actually complete the bowing has been both challenging and insightful; insightful because I know that I always feel better after completing my practice; I have noticed that I am healing physically, emotionally and spiritually, which is both great and should be a source of motivation, for this reason it is insightful because I am finding it hard to motivate myself to take part in something that I know is good for the whole of me and then this reflected to me another insight about my life; how often do I put of doing things that are good for me because my motivation is low?

The challenge was despite the lack of motivation to get into the practice each day and not give up; giving up is easiest and most likely when I lack motivation to do something, but for the reasons stated I knew I could not give up and so I bowed my 300 bows each day.

The actual practices themselves have not been challenging and have actually been very insightful and healing. The main insight I had was that if I bowed faster than my thoughts my body temperature raised I would sweat, but I found a rhythm that was peaceful and flowing and I realised that my previous pace was caught in the ego by this I mean I would bow at pace that allowed me to think and analyse too much; where as when I picked up the pace, let go of tension and simply bowed my thoughts were a lot less and I noticed I had accumulated a lot more energy for my meditation practice afterwards.

This may seem counter intuitive to move faster to gain more energy! the truth is in the practice and I would say in my early sessions I would have tired instead of feeling re-energised, this is for many reasons, but the one that matters is the mind would still have been distracting me from the experience I was having for example when I was pushing mysef faster and thoughts such as I can’t keep going at this pace for another 50 bows would come in and so the mind would add extra fatigue onto the practice.

Now through this practice I have found I can calm the mind and energise the body, the calming of the mind comes from simply focusing on the bowing and the breath and nothing else, other thoughts come in to the mind for sure and I may find myself distracted for 5 or 6 bows, but if my focus is simple I can bring the mind back to the practice and keep going, it is the present mind that allows a fast paced bowing session to be re-energising instead of exhausting, another way of looking at it, if I bow fast with the intention of completing my practice quicker I may find myself fatigued by the end, but if I bow faster with the intention of allowing the mind to be in the present moment and no thought of the goal of completion an interesting thing happens! I arrive at my destination quicker and full of energy, at least this is what I have observed through my experiences over the past 55 days.

I can only say that at the moment I feel stronger, calmer and more peaceful than I have been for a long time and my bowing practice is a big factor in arriving at that state.

To you all in great health and wishing you happiness for your own journeys.

Matt

Raw Vanilla Cheescake

My son turned 3 years old the other day and he requested a cake for his birthday, no problem I have been making cakes for years, but here’s my problem! It was awesome the best ever and I have no idea what quantities I used and have a vague recollection of most of the ingredients; the thing is when you are use to creating anything you simply go by instinct and intuition and the only real reason it’s a problem is it becomes more problematic sharing your creation, but as they say ‘a picture speaks a thousand words.’

Ingredients.
Base.

100g – Almonds
100g – Pecans
50g – Currants
50g – Coconut flour
Pinch of Himalayan Salt

Middle layer.
50g – Cacao butter
50g – Cacao paste
80g – Coconut oil
1 tbsp – molasses
1/2 – pomegranate

Topping.
50g – Pecans
50g – Cacao butter
100g – Coconut oil
100g – Cashew nuts
1 tsp – Vanilla powder
8 – dried apricots
1 tbsp – wild honey
1 pinch sea salt

Note – nuts, cacao butter, cacao paste, currants and coconut oil are guesstimates on the quantities used.

Method.
Prepare the base first, I used an 8 inch cake tin. Blend all the base ingredients together and place into the base of the cake tin. The cacao paste, cacao butter & coconut oil need to be melted down to liquid using a Bain Marie; then pour the cacao liquid (molasses added at this point) on top of the base and sprinkle the pomegranate over the top, place into the fridge to set/harden. To make the topping you will need to melt down the cacao butter & coconut oil and add all the ingredients to the blender, blend until thick and creamy (you will need to keep adding water until you get the right consistency, don’t rush this part as your cake will either win or loose at this part). Place in the fridge and leave to set for 24 hours and then serve with a sprinkle of cacao nibs on top.

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To you in great health

Matt Allen
The Yoga Health Coach

Courgetti Spaghetti with Sundried Tomato & Almond Sauce

My good friend Russell James, the Raw Chef, is KING in the RAW arena.  I’ve pretty much tried all of his recipes, bought his amazing e-books, and think he’s one cool dude.  So, this recipe is dedicated to him and his awesome RAW recipes!  To find out more about Russell, head to:  www.therawchef.com and find even more amazing RAW recipes!

Before I get into the way to prepare this awesome recipe, I thought it best to explain why RAW is so important in our diets.

Now that summer is nearly here, we are more likely to eat raw food in summer because we are crave lighter, cooler dishes such as salads, juices, chilled soups and smoothies.   And that’s great as raw fruit and vegetables deliver far higher levels of nutrients to our body than cooked food.  I always try to have ONE RAW DAY.

One day of the…

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