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SUMMARY: This episode takes in the beginning of the indelible Pinky McKay's parenting story. Pinky discusses how she forged her own path through the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Pinky covers how much the advice has changed, how lucky she was to find the right support at key moments in her parenting journey, and also how her rebellious streak served her in finding her own way.

Full Episode Transcript:

Carly Grubb: 

The Beyond Sleep Training Podcast- a podcast dedicated to sharing real tales of how people have managed sleep in their family outside of sleep training culture because sleep looks different with a baby in the house and because every family is different there is no one-size-fits-all approach to take. 

I’d like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which this podcast is being recorded, the Kalkadoon people, I pay my respects to the elders of this nation and the many other nations our guests reside in from the past, present and emerging. We honour Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the unique cultural and spiritual relationships to the land, water and seas as well as their rich contributions to society including the birthing and nurturing of children. 

Carly Grubb(00:52):

We have a very special guest today. Her name is Pinky McKay and Pinky has had a huge influence on my experience as a parent, and so as your host Carly Grubb, I'm very excited that she could actually be on here today, sharing her story about moving beyond sleep training. Pinky is one of Australia's most recognised and respected breastfeeding experts. She's an international board-certified lactation consultant, which is an IBCLC, and the best-selling author of four titles, including “Parenting by Heart” and “Sleeping Like a Baby”, which I actually have with me here as two of my favourite books and my other favourite book, “Toddler Tactics” as well, uh, Pinky specialises in gentle parenting styles that honour the mother's natural instincts to respond to their babies, and that is exactly what appealed to me. So welcome to the show Pinky.

Check out Pinky's website

Pinky McKay (01:44):

Thanks, Carly. And what a pleasure it is to be here. What a privilege.

Carly Grubb(00:57):

Very exciting for me, because it kind of takes me back to the very beginning of my own journey beyond sleep training, which I actually talked about in one of the earlier episodes. So, when, once we all go to air and everything Pinky, you'll be able to listen and you get quite a few mentions in the early episodes as I talk about my journey, but it's not about me today, it's about you and I'd love to hear more about your own family and how you came to the path of finding sleep without sleep training with your little babes.

Pinky McKay (01:28):

Right! Well, I've got five kids. I've got nearly 18 years between the oldest and the youngest. So, I had four kids in 10 years, and then I had a bonus baby eight years later and, um, which was quite beautiful and lovely for the older kids too, even though it was as, you know, I'm, I'm up late with teenagers, up early with baby, um, he was my only one who woke at five in the morning, you know, and as the kids headed off to school, he would be ready for a nap, which meant, you know, it was all just, yeah, sleep went out the window there, um, quite a bit. But with the first baby, uh, you know, this was in the seventies, so I've had babies in the seventies, two babies in the seventies, two babies in the eighties, and my bonus baby in the nineties.

So, um, you know, I've seen lots of changes and lots of changes in advice. So when I had my first baby, it was sort of halfway between Truby King and Dr. Spock, I guess, so four-hourly feeding, and I went home from hospital, my baby actually got a urinary tract infection in hospital and had to have lots of tests, and he'd stay he was in the baby NICU nursery. He was a big, nearly nine pounder, but he was the fattest baby in the NICU because he was quite unwell. And so, three weeks before I got home, I, I didn't actually know much about postnatal depression, you know, and that huge impacts that could have, but I lived upstairs and I said, if you send me home, I'll jump out the window. But I actually didn't (feel that way). I just said it. I wasn't thinking that I would do that.

I didn't even have suicidal thoughts, but, you know, it wasn't till later that I learned more about the total impact of how devastating that experience could be. Yeah, so they let me stay in hospital and I would go down to the nursery and, you know, touch my baby when I was, when they weren't looking because he was in this plastic mini crib. Anyway, I got home and as I left hospital, I was told to feed him and I was breastfeeding, I'd managed to get that milk supply back up again, it disappeared, but it came back up again, I just had this, there was a beautiful midwife who handed me a copy of the very old, “The womanly art of breastfeeding”. It was a little thin blue book and I read it and I thought, oh, well, my milk is going to come back when that baby comes back.

Pinky McKay (03:53):

And it well did because she just said to me, you can do demand feeding, which was really new. Like they didn't call it cue feeding. It was demand feeding. So, you were making this ‘rod for your back’ with this baby because you were allowing him to ‘demand feed’. And I was told that you would feed him at 6am, 10am, 2pm and 6pm, and then the 2:00 AM feed, at six weeks, you were to cut that out by giving your baby a bottle of boiled water overnight, and then he would stop needing a night feed at six weeks. And I thought ‘not possible’, I just thought that was the dumbest advice because I thought, why would I get up and go boil water and a bottle when I've got milk in my boobs, that didn't make any sense, you know. One night, I'd been getting… Oh, and my mother-in-law also told me that one of my sisters-in-law, who was super-efficient, my husband's the youngest in the family, so I had four, five, five, much older sister-in-law's, he's one of seven, six boys and one daughter, and his sister's a good friend of mine.

She, she didn't have her baby till after my first one, but we sort of, you know, we didn't even know that we could collude until our kids were much older, but, um, you know, so we kept quiet about what our babies were actually doing, and, I just, you know, I, I didn't see the sense of making my baby wait for a feed because what was I going to do for the next two hours when he needed a feed?

So I just fed him and I went to the child health nurse and she said something about how many feeds a day is he having? I said, ‘I don’t know’, and she said, has he dropped any feeds? I said, ‘he's probably gone from 24 to 22’ and she just laughed. She had just come back from working in New Guinea. So I was super lucky that I didn't get that pressure of having to do the four hourly feed.

But no, my, my mother always did tell me how the sister-in-law used to bath her babies before the 6:00 AM feed. I'm not a morning person. There was no way I was bathing my baby before 6:00 AM. I would feed him whenever, whatever time he woke, and I would just snuggle him into bed with me and we'd go back to sleep for a few hours.

Well, my husband actually let it drop amongst some of his family that… one night, actually I've got up and down and up and down. We'd um, found an antique cot, which probably was definitely not safe to your crew in a second hand shop, as I was going past in the train and I'd sit. And when I was pregnant, I said to my husband, we've got to go back. I've seen this cot. We found a man who had made the missing brass knob for it. It was beautiful. And I crocheted all these lovely blankets for it….my baby didn't give a stuff about this cot.

Pinky McKay (06:44):

So yeah, one night I got up and down and up and down to this baby and put him back in the cot and then fed him and then cuddled him and rocked him back to sleep, before putting him back down, which of course was such a no-no. And I just was exhausted. And I handed him to my husband who was just lying there with his bare chest. And then said, ‘you have him, you have him’. You know, I just leave it in the morning. I woke up and foggy. I mean, probably only a few hours later, but you know, I woke up the daylight was streaming in and this kid wasn't in his cot, I was throwing off the blankets, looking for him, turned around, and he’s sound asleep on my husband's chest and I went “oooh!” after that last feed at night, whatever time it is, I'm just going to pass to my husband and he can sleep on his daddy, not safety recommended or anything.

Like, you know, we didn't know the difference. And nobody talked about say bed sharing because it was a no-no, but I'd grown up in New Zealand. My own mother had taken me into her bed when I was a small baby, but then she says, but I had to because you wrecked me after birth. So I couldn't get up and down. So it was still, again, it was because of necessity rather than, um, yeah, rather than, um, a problem, but nobody there really bothered, you know, it wasn't a bad thing that babies went into bed with you because I had this first baby in Melbourne, I'd grown up in New Zealand, but had the first baby in Melbourne. And, um, yeah, and my husband let it slip to family members that guess who slept on my chest last night. Oh, we were told we were going to kill this baby and what we were going to do.

And I said to my husband just, just don't say a word. So it was all under wraps that this child, you know, did it. And when he was about eight months old, we went back to New Zealand, eight, nine months old, we went back to New Zealand. My husbands in Australia, but we moved over there. And, um, my mother warned me at about, you know, getting close to a year that if I didn't wean this child, I was going to lose my husband because I had an uncle who was quite a womaniser, all the women he ever brought to our place didn't even have children, so it wasn't about his wife. My auntie was breastfeeding my cousin until, you know, she was walking, talking child about four or so, which was very unusual in those days. And um, so you know, this is, this is the reason he left because his wife was breastfeeding this toddler and he didn't get a look in, apparently this is, this is around the neck. You know, this is what happened. So, he, he was never told he was a prick of a man who, you know, shouldn't have been doing these things,

Carly Grubb(09:34):

Couldn't have any responsibility, you know, as seeing

Pinky McKay (09:39):

That it was definitely the baby and the way she was baby and all of the media in those days. I mean, there was no television. There was no, um, all the, might've been a bit of television by the, yeah, there was television by the seventies, but you know, there were magazines, there was no sort of apart from Dr. Spock, perhaps there weren't really many books about babies, but all of the media was about, you had to look after your husband, you know, you as a woman, that was your job. So chief,

Carly Grubb(10:12):

Cause you're lucky just to have one, you know, you know,

Pinky McKay (10:15):

Absolutely. And he's got no responsibility whatsoever. He's the bread winner. You have to look after him, which actually, you know, it was so different culturally that, you know, this was the man's responsibility was to make the money and the woman's responsibility was to nurture him so that he could do that. Which probably makes a bit of sense in some ways. But you don't have to nurture him that much, that he's a dependent person with no Brain

Carly Grubb (10:46):

no, it's not a man, baby, surely...

Pinky McKay (10:49):

 no impulse control. But anyway, my mum had heard about the la leche league and I could learn how to wean my baby, if I went to La leche league, and I thought, well, okay, but I still didn't hit along, But I, I visited, um, you know, we'd only stayed with my parents for a little while. And then we moved into a house and um, a lady next door to an aunt and uncle in that town was a La Leche league group leader.

And she invited me to a meeting and I went along, my child was about 15 months by then. And I had no clue how I was going to wean this child; you know what a 15-month-old is like...

 And, um, it was, and I was quite stressed about this, how was I going to actually wean this child who by then was sleeping in our bed and breastfeeding Adlib and you know, and boob was just what he did. It was just a, you know, we'd got into this groove, but I never, if ever implemented this stupid, whatever it was, bottle of water at night or anything. But I was just confused as to how it was ever going to stop because I, I had no modelling. I had nobody in the family didn't know anybody who was in after my first child was three months old in Melbourne. I didn't know anyone else who was breastfeeding we lived near the children's hospital in Melbourne, and one woman in my mother's group was a nurse at the children's hospital, um, and another mother was a dentist wife and they both stopped breastfeeding at three months because that was considered a good start, and get your body back, and that was it. So, I was really the, the weirdo that was, you know, I made this rod for my back...

Carly Grubb (12:22):

Trailblazer, trailblazer more like!



Pinky McKay (12:26):

Well, I went to the GP. I had a lump in my breast when he was, you know, seven or eight months old. And I went to the GP and he pressed my breast and got squirted in the eye. I didn't know. I didn't know I had a blocked duct!

Carly Grubb (12:37):

 That's awesome!

Pinky McKay (12:39):

 And he said to me “oh your breastfeeding?!” and I went “yeah!”

Carly Grubb (12:42):

Certainly am!!

Pinky Mckay (12:44):

He was absolutely stunned, he says, “Oh, that's a surprise!” He said, “but it's, um, it's very good!”

Carly Grubb(12:47):

Oh good, so you got another supportive person. How lucky were you in all of these little bits, even when it was a Suprise?!

Pinky McKay (12:54):

Until I was at my grandmother's house, this was when I was told to wean, um, I went, I actually got mastitis, went to the GP and thought I was just going to get antibiotics, He stood, uh sat behind his desk, didn't even look at my breast and wrote a script and said, your milk will dry up very quickly, And I said, “what do you mean, I thought you’d be giving me antibiotics?” and he said, “Oh yes, but these are the tablets to dry up your milk”. And I went back to my grandmother's house and my cousin was there and she was a pharmacist. And she's like, “Oh, well, you can't breastfeed on these”, I said, “well, who says I'm taking them?”. And my gorgeous grandfather, who's a farmer sitting in the armchair in the corner, as we're sitting at the table, having these cups of tea said, “yah take a cow off the calf it’ll bellow for weeks” and I went, “thanks papa!”, so you see every time, I just had one more cheerleader!

Carly Grubb(13:44):

That's so funny.

Pinky McKay (13:46):

I went up and put my, you know, breastfeed my baby to bed thinking, when will this be his last breastfeed? And then my brain relaxed. And I thought, “nah, I'm going to Chuck those pills down the toilet”. And I told my Nana, I had, and she went down to the local baby shop and um, asked Eileen at the local baby shop, um, around the corner from her, um, if she knew anybody that knew, you knew the answer to this thing, and she rang her daughter who gave you got me the number of a La Leche League person who told me no, I was right, I could keep breastfeeding.

So that was, you know, then we moved. So, I was just really lucky that when I hit a roadblock, you know, my gut was saying this doesn't feel right, that I actually ended up connecting with the right people.

Pinky McKay (14:37):

And when I went to the La Leche league meeting, I was just gobsmacked. And I was so relieved because there were people there with, it was an evening meeting. They were little kids running around, um, you know, breastfeeding, like two-year-olds, three-year-olds, still breastfeeding. And I went, “Oh my God, I don't have to wean my child”. It was just awesome. So, you know, and then I found they had a library and there was, you know, they'll see his books in the library and there was touching by Ashley Montague and, you know, beautiful things that just felt so right to me. So always say, you know, just don't, don't be afraid to step up and say what you're doing. Because somewhere out there they might be a lonely mother who, you know, just is confused because her dad is, or heart's telling her one thing and everyone else is telling her something different.

Carly Grubb(15:35):

Especially those people like me who really didn't want to break rules. I thought I had to follow rules. So finding someone like you, who was not afraid to actually step outside those rules is like, it's hugely empowering for, for others around you as well. It's really? Yeah.

Pinky McKay (15:52):

Yeah. But I've never been one to follow rules. I was kicked out of the school class umpteen times.

Carly Grubb(16:00):

I love that about you. Thank you, Pinky, Channel more of that!

Pinky McKay (16:03):

So, um, if you have a wild child who doesn't listen to anyone, actually, even my family laugh because, um, you know, again, back in the seventies, the wedding vows were love honour and obey. And I sat there. My husband's brother was a minister and this was one of his friends. And I said, no, I'm not saying that. And I said, I'm not starting with a lie. I've never obeyed anyone in my life. But when he told my mum that, because she was in New Zealand, and hadn't come to my wedding, well she said “well she's never obeyed anyone that I know of”.

Carly Grubb (16:41):

I'm pretty Sure, your husband probably knew what he was getting in for anyway. So probably didn't really have... Knowing you he wouldn’t have been expecting you to go along with that one....

Pinky McKay (16:56):

But it was really funny that I I'd never really thought about, you know, vows, till they said, I had to say this and I went, but I can't say it and mean it. It's not a bad. Yeah. So, breaking the rules. Wasn't one of my problems.

Carly Grubb(17:11):

And I love that because especially, it's probably even more important for you back then. Like you said, you had literally no role models. So, if you weren't able to actually question the advice around you and follow your baby, it would have been nearly impossible, which is probably why you didn't have any role models around you because most people wouldn't necessarily have had that, that in their character, that they would question things that much, to be able to no, because you know...

Pinky McKay (17:35):

No, in those days you'd never questioned a health professional. You'd never questioned a doctor. You know, your child health nurse would be telling you, cause New Zealand there was saying all the Plunkett nurse, you know, and

Carly Grubb(17:52):

Back then similar, well it's similar even now really isn't it like, especially for a first-time parent, you really do feel quite often, like you need to turn to people who do this for a living like that., This is their whole jam knowing about babies...

Pinky McKay (18:06):

And they're experienced and they've got qualifications and who are you to put your baby at risk by not doing what they tell you?

Carly Grubb(18:14):

Yes. And you assume it's, evidence-based because they're saying it and you trust that they wouldn't say something that wasn't best practice, which we all now know is not necessarily the case. So tell me with, so with like, what was your background before you had your babies? Were you working in health before baby?

Pinky McKay (18:34):

I’ve been a nurse in New Zealand and, but even then, there were very low levels of breastfeeding. I, you know, just did a stint at maternity, you know, at the maternity ward. Cause part of the nursing training was a bit of maternity and um, you know, I don't, I can't remember whether it was a month or whatever it was that we did that. And I really only saw very few people who were breastfeeding from birth. Then it was at the really lowest rate of breastfeeding. Um, and I remember seeing, because I was young, I was only 21 when I had my first child, but I remember seeing a woman who, you know, you'd go around to every day and feel the women's funders, you know, to see how their uterus was contracting and check their pads and bleeding. And the very few women who were breastfeeding involuted really quickly.

Pinky McKay (19:20):

And they, you know, it just, to me, it just seemed like, why wouldn't you do that? Because that's obviously the best thing for your body. And also, I barely had a chest. I had decided that I would breastfeed. Right. Cause my baby was born in April, so started winter. And I thought what I'm going to breastfeed right through summer because then I'll be able to wear a bikini. Um, that was, that was not my prime reason. That was one of my reasons. But also, the babies that I had seen that were breastfed. Yeah. They were healthy babies and they had a beautiful glow about them. And I'd grown up in the country and knew that the breastfed carves had the most beautiful coats. You know, those sorts of things had, had influenced me that, you know, I needed to breastfeed, so my baby would be healthy.

So it didn't occur to me not to breastfeed. But when I saw these women who, you know, those uteruses would go down within days where just people stayed in hospital for it, you know, a week to 10 days, then that was what they did after having a baby. You know, they'd have 10 days in hospital and the women who were not breastfeeding, who dried up straight up, I mean, they would be in pain and agony. They would have binders on, you know, tight binders, like a draw sheet wrapped around. It we'd have to safety pin them around their breasts. It was horrible. And I just thought, you know, who and there, and the uterus was still barely contracting because they weren't doing any breastfeeding decide not to breastfeed birth. So I thought, well, you know, this is why would you do that? And put yourself through so much agony.

I didn't realize breastfeeding could also be painful. Yeah. I had really sore and it was, you know, I'm looking in hindsight, I would have had thrush on my nipples, but you know, because my baby was given antibiotics, but I didn't, it wasn't even a recognized thing then. So, I was given this stuff to paint on my nipples, which was, I think it was called tent Ben's coast. So, it was sort of like a mixture of better Dean and some kind of oil castor oil or something like that. It was really not very nice stuff. And your nipples were shiny, like bright orange headlights, you know, like when you put betadine on, then took it off before you fed, oh, you couldn't you'd have had to scrub it.

Carly Grubb(21:40):

Oh wow. And baby didn't mind? I’m just imagining the colour of the nappies.

Pinky McKay (21:46):

No, no, no. It was just, you know, they just suck it off. It didn't come off...! Yeah. Yellow nap nipples that were in soaked into your skin. Yeah. Nobody said take it off. But talking about scrubbing brushes when I was pregnant, the advice was to toughen your nipples out by using a nail brush, rubbing them out with a nail brush before the baby came, told me that. And I said, well, I can think of something you could scrub with your nail brush.

Carly Grubb (22:34):

 go your hardest...!

Pinky McKay (22:36):

 That was just me being a bit of a cheeky young girl. I mean, you know, at that stage I was nursing and an x-ray department, but you know, um, yeah. I just didn't have a lot to do with babies and breastfeeding really until I had my

Carly Grubb(22:38):

And yet still, yeah. And still you had quite a, um, a sure view that that is what you wanted to do with your own baby. So, it's like, you must, there was enough background there for you.

Pinky McKay (22:47):

I know that my mother breastfed me for nine months and I've got a younger sister. And I remember when mum weaned her at about, I'd noticed within about three months, mum had PND and she'd had psychosis after I was born, but in New Zealand they'd put the mothers and babies into hospital together. And breastfeeding was really encouraged at that generation. It was later that the formula feeding came in. And, um, yeah, so I remember her weaning my baby sister onto this yellow tin of formula. I think it was black. So, and it was the sunshine black. So that was the yellow one. And then you went onto the blue one and I remember her coming out in these horrible rash and she had terrible asthma as a child. And I thought, you know, so that was enough for me to just go look, breastfeeding's obviously going to give you a healthy baby. Yeah. Also, they always talked about me. I was the naughty child who wouldn't, wean, you know what, it's that rubber must've been born of that.

Carly Grubb(23:42):

Yes. You knew what you wanted and you were only going to accept the best. That's what was going on

Pinky McKay (23:47):

There by the side of that, you know, nine or 10 months. My mum was my young uncle teenage uncle had taught me to say. So, um, that was so I had to be weaned. So mum took drying up pills and yeah, that was it.

Carly Grubb(24:02):

Oh, you got nine months, which sounds like a lot longer than a lot of babies too. That's for sure.

Pinky McKay (24:06):

I know it was totally extraordinary. Yeah. So, it was my second baby. I was in this lovely cocoon of La Leche league women. Um, my oldest child weaned while I was pregnant with him. Um, yeah. And I just, you know, it was just lovely to have that beautiful support and community. I mean, very lucky when you think about it today, that community in my neighbourhood was lovely because other women, you know, they'd come to my home to the La Leche League meetings. So, it's by then I was, you know, a group leader and my best friend who was another, you know, I'd met her through LA Leche league and we would actually swap children because we had different age group children and she might take the big ones and I'd take the little ones or something, you know, just, or vice versa. And one day I was in the fruit shop and I had her child that was a two-year-old sitting in my trolley. And my childhood was a similar age was, oh, he was just a little bit older, another year older, but he was there. And some woman I didn't even know. So again, I had gotten notorious for breastfeeding these older babies, but some woman in the fruit shop that I only knew from sight really came out to me said, are you still breastfeeding him? And I said, oh no my friend breastfeeds this one...

Carly Grubb (25:37):

 Face.... drop

Pinky McKay (25:39):

Face... Pop... What...?!

Carly Grubb (25:41):

Ohhh I love it!

Pinky McKay (25:44):

And then when I came back to Melbourne with a six-month-old baby, our third child was six months. So, we're there for about five years. Um, Larissa was, um, six months old. And again, I really hit the brick walls. I, um, I went to a nursing mothers conference. I was asked because I, because I'd been working between those two children, I'd been because I had a four-and-a-half-year gap. I had worked weekends in the maternity ward in Hamilton, in New Zealand at Waikato women's. And, um, so I knew, um, what we were using the Wittle stone milkers on the ward. And they were big, you know, like a cupboard that you pushed around and had these pumps, but it was a physiological breast pump that could do both sides at once. Because ultimately, you had a glass thing with a bulb at the end and you squeeze this bowl and you swerve the nipple up, but there was no sizing it really hurt.

Um, was horrible. That's what cracked my nipples of my first baby when he was in NICU. Um, but this was a beautiful pump with spongy, um, stuff on the cups. And it pulsated, as it went on your breast, it pulsated like a real, you know, like sucks as close to the sucking action. So was devised by a physiologist called Walter widdle stone, um, who worked because we were in Hamilton and there was a recur, which was a dairy, um, research centre. So, they do research for dairy, which brought in lots of money, but he actually worked there and started doing work for mothers, which was awesome. And this pump was going to be demonstrated at a nursing mothers conference in Sydney. So, they flew me and my baby up there to demonstrate this pump, which was actually held up in customs. But I was asked to put my six month old baby in the creche, not sit with her in the seminar. So, I sat in the creche with my baby because I thought I'm not leaving my baby with a pack of Australians. She's six months old. She doesn't even know where she is.

Pinky McKay (27:30):

So then I other people who've gone to that conference and they have young babies at home,

Carly Grubb(27:35):

But this is a nursing mothers conference. Right.

Pinky McKay (27:38):

Things have really changed since then. Yes. And so, I came back to Melbourne, not having demonstrated that pump, not having sat in the conference because I was set, you know, in those days it was a beautiful hotel with lovely posters of mothers and babies all around the wall. But the babies were in the creche and I just, for me, that was just, I can't. So that's why with all my seminars and everything, I say, bring your babies because that feeling is so horrible. Like you are not welcome because you have a baby and you know, you're

Carly Grubb(28:08):

And the fact that your meant to be able to concentrate while your baby's off with somebody else. And you're not even sure if they're settled as if you're going to be taking in the information.

Pinky McKay (28:16):

Yeah. But I guess the reverse was thought then that if you have your baby with you, you won't be able to take in the information and the baby might disturb other people, but you know, with a breastfed baby you just flop it out, you know, if in doubt, flop it out and they just suck and they're quiet.

Carly Grubb(28:36):

It's a fascinating perspective, that's so much. Um, it's like all work stops when there's a baby around. It's like, no, actually there's plenty of work that is achieved with babies around and at the breast and various other things. But it is still a common misconception that the only valuable work can be done without kids around. So yeah. I can see how that would have been the case back then. Yeah.

Pinky McKay (28:56):

Yeah. So, I faced another battle with this third baby. You know, I even went to a nursing mother's meeting in the evening and was told that, um, this is our night out without our babies. So, I never went back. I actually never went back and you know, and then, and yet the breastfeeding association is such a magnificent organization, but there was a vice president who I met in Sydney at this conference, turned out, she lived not far from me. And we started a La Leche group in Melbourne and thinking, oh, well look, maybe we'll just find some other women that are, you know, a bit more relaxed about this and a bit more connected because I literally had this background of 10 concepts. I know if you're familiar with that, you know, like things like, um, what is it? Um, there was some about nutrition, so you'd never find chocolate biscuits at a La Leche League meeting.

You know, they'd never be tum tums. They'd always be, you know, there might be wholemeal muffins or something like that. So, nutrition a wide variety of foods in its natural state as possible. Um, you know, there were a few other things about weaning and there was one about separation and mothers and babies too. Like those sorts of things informed as a group leader, you had to honour those honour those. Yeah. I mean they weren't rules, but they were just concepts that this was the best for that relationship between mother and baby. So, um, you know, there were beautiful books about co-sleeping um, what was wonderful, the family bed, which came out with a bit controversial, but you know, there were, there were lovely, lovely, lovely information that reinforced that nurturing. And then find that once again, I was back in the space where I went to a talk at the local kindergarten, um, and took Mikey and took my six-month-old baby.

And the man from the university that lecturer was talking about leaving babies to cry. You know, it was like training, but straight up, leave them to cry and someone put their hand up and said, how long do you leave them to cry for? He said, till they stop. So, this was what I'd come back to. So again, the pressure was there with that third baby, but just that isolation, you know, so we started this La Leche League group and beautiful moms came from down the Hills and around about. And there were lots of expats. There was a mum from Turkey who'd been to La Leche League there, there was a mom, there were two moms from South Africa. There were some American moms, you know, and they were either here because their husbands are working here or they moved to Australia. And, um, another mom from Czechoslovakia, you know, there were, there were moms from all over who we got together and we're still in touch. It's really beautiful.

Carly Grubb(31:45):

It really is. Is that, that it's such a vulnerable time in your life, but you've so much stronger when you have people around you who can support you through it.

Pinky McKay (31:53):

That's not your first baby, if you have, I think support is the biggest, biggest thing for any mother. So, you know, that would be my, to reach out. And if you can't reach out, you know, I don't, I don't care how you do it, but you can do it on the internet now. So, you know, In the beyond sleep training, it's no wonder it's boomed because mothers are isolated when they feel that they're not fitting in with whatever the culture says,

Carly Grubb(32:21):

That's right. And it has to there's, there's this Twang that comes from inside. Even when you, you try to deny it. Sometimes it often still there in the background. And I think that's something it can take time, but it can, if you can find people in real life, it's a, I know for me, that was a massive, massive thing with, with my second and third baby. I didn't, I had friends around me and like with my first baby, but I was so in, on myself, I kind of needed to, to build myself up, um, find my way of mothering. That was quite different to those around me. But I found with my second and third year, it's almost like I started to attract more like-minded people, as I got more confident in myself, I wasn't ashamed to say how. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. And all of a sudden you become, you realize you're actually not so alone. Once you start feeling confident enough to say it out loud, because it is, it's a really common experience, funnily enough, that most of us have babies who need a lot from us. Um, and there's, there's certainly a lot more of us who were, co-sleeping very secretly who, uh, once, once one person in the group, you know, whispers it out at, you quickly find that there's many other people. Who've also got babies in the bed with them also.

Pinky McKay (33:40):

Yes. And I've found working with mothers, you know, when one child, you know, years ago I saw three mothers within the same suburb within a week of each other. And I'd say at babies the same age, and I'd say to them, have you talked about this in your mother's group? Oh no, everyone's so together. And I said, look for the mother. Who's not speaking out because she might be the mother who again, is not speaking out because she feels she can't. And I think that's another thing, you know, if you're in your mother's group, everybody else has said, Oh yes, I've got my baby almost magic routine, blah, blah, blah, blah. You know, um, then the mother, who's not owning up to that. Quite possibly as the mother, who's taking a baby into her bed and feeling shameful that she, or that she's rocking her baby to sleep. It's not self-settling, whatever this baby is doing, uh, that she just feels so alone. She can't speak up because she does think that everyone else is so together.

Carly Grubb(34:37):

Yeah. And she could be that mum too, who then also goes home and has a good cry because she thinks she's the only one who has a baby not sleeping. So that was definitely, that was definitely me. I just like, yeah, it was hard because I think it's sort of, you can be the person who speaks up and it's always great to then have others kind of wrap you up with some solidarity, but it's takes a bit of courage and it's very vulnerable. I know that that was hard for me. It was hard, especially coming from a perfectionist background to actually go hang on a sec guys. Like I'm not okay over here. Like

Pinky McKay (35:13):

Yeah, because you're going to be, you know, you really have to be brave because if then if you get slapped out on top of that, you know, if you say, oh, this is really hard. And I go, oh, we all love it. And you just go, sorry, cruel.

Carly Grubb(35:30):

I think though that sometimes is the surface layer. Cause I know for me that, you know, talking about things, it's always, it's not usually in that moment that you get people coming and fessing up along with you. It's usually the more quiet message that you'll get later and go, Hey, I'm so glad you said that me too, or whatever. So, it's often like, you know, in that moment you might not get that, that feeling that you've had any impact whatsoever or maybe you feel completely shattered because you just got shut down, but it's, it can come in from the sides as well. So yeah, I think that's really important. And thank you for that tip. Now I'm going to have to finish up this episode. Um, are you happy to stick around for another episode with us so we can hear more about that? I would love to hear more if that's okay. All right. So, thank you for joining us today, everybody. And this episode will be followed up with further information from Pinky McKay, but thank you for coming along today.

Carly Grubb: 

I really hope you enjoyed the podcast today the information we discussed was just that information only it is not specific advice if you take any action following something you've heard from our show today it is important to make sure you get professional advice about your unique situation before you proceed whether that advice is legal, financial, accounting, medical or any other advice. Please reach out to me if you do have any questions or if there's a topic you'd really like us to be covering and if you know somebody who'd really benefit from listening to our podcast please be sure to pass our name along also check out our free peer support group the beyond sleep training project and our wonderful website If you'd like even more from the show you can join us as a patron on Patreon and you can find a link for that in our show notes if listening is not really your jam we also make sure we put full episode transcripts on our little sparklers website for you to also enjoy and fully captioned YouTube videos as well on our Little Sparklers channel so thanks again for listening today we really enjoy bringing this podcast to you. 

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