How we did things 30 years ago

A friend recently confessed that when she was a child, she had a bottle of milk every night before going to sleep – right up until she was six years old.

Six is, well, it’s pretty old to be having a bottle, right?

Yep, it is. But as she explained, she had a pretty rough childhood. Single mum, no dad around. Lots of mum’s boyfriends in the picture, who weren’t exactly a stabilising influence. Mum had an alcohol problem and worked only intermittently and my friend had four brothers and sisters, so life was fairly inconsistent and chaotic.


“It sounds odd, but having a bottle of milk each night was such a lifeline,” she told me.

“It was something consistent and kind and nurturing that I could count on from my mum every night.”

In that light, it seems kind of lovely. The conversation had come up because we were talking about weaning and breastfeeding and bottles, following an incident in Kmart a few weeks back when a mum was apparently asked by a staff member to cover up when feeding her bub. A breastfeeding ‘sit in’ was arranged in response.

Really? This old chestnut again?

Why don’t we make a new pact: when it comes to raising children, making decisions and living our lives, you do you and I’ll do me, and we can agree to disagree on lots of things. Sound good?

Kmart staff members, and everyone else for that matter, should just look away if they don’t like to see a woman breastfeeding.

And mums: if anyone has anything to say about your breastfeeding, thank them for their opinion and then tell them you’ll kindly continue on as you were.

This is how we did things 30 years ago, and it seemed to work, didn’t it? Back then, my friend went to sleep with a bottle of milk in her gob every night, well into her first grade of school.

If that same story was relayed now, there’d be blog articles and news headlines and debates on TV panel shows and parents ranting “think of the child’s teeth!”

People would be up in arms. Because we all have too much of an opinion these days, and we all relate to things based on our own world view and without knowing the full context.

But in the words of Mark Manson, it’s time to perfect the subtle art of not giving a f*ck.