By Andy Merrett
Feb 20, 2009
We’ve already reported on the UK government’s initiative to encourage UK mums to breastfeed their babies, due to the low proportion of UK mums who start or stick with it for the minimum recommended 13 weeks (and ideally six months).
A new resource has come on to the market that might be helpful for some mums. The Breastfeeding Companion CD has been created by Natal Hypnotherapy and includes both practical guidance and relaxation and visualisation techniques to increase confidence and ability to breastfeed successfully.
Positive testimonials suggest that the techniques work. To promote the CD, Natal Hypnotherapy has also published ten top tips for successful breastfeeding:
1. Pick up on and respond to your baby’s cues to feed. Ignore the clock!
2. Accept that your baby’s need to breastfeed may not always be connected to being hungry – it may be for comfort, because they are tired or they simply want to have a snuggle.
3. Feed regularly during the night. Successful feeding is based on a healthy supply and demand cycle. If your baby does not feed for many hours your body does not get all the signals it needs to get ready for the next feed and so production decreases.
4. DO NOT expect your baby to be guzzling milk in the first few days. Babies do not need anything other than a tiny amount of colostrum (first milk) so do not need “topping” up.
5. Give yourself time to get to know your baby and to trust your baby’s needs.
6. Babies have growth spurts – sometimes they need more feeding than other times – that is OK and normal.
7. Trust! Trust your baby – no baby was ever born with a pre-planned desire to upset or annoy. They simply feel what they feel and alert you in the only way they know how. Trust your body – milk production has nothing
to do with the size of your breasts but is all to do with the cycle of suckling and milk production. If your baby suckles often and frequently, you will make the right amount of milk.
8. Look after yourself – drink loads of water and eat really well. It is one of the few times in your life that you can eat loads (of the right stuff!) and know that it is all good for your baby.
9. Enjoy this time – it is for such a short time. Even if you are tired and worn out, think of every feed as a blessing and one to be cherished and enjoyed.
10. Get help and support. Accept any offers from others to help with the daily cooking and chores! If you are having any difficulties or simply want to talk, contact your local breastfeeding advisors from La Leche League or the NCT.
Actress Kym Marsh and partner Jamie Lomas have lost their baby son, named Archie Jay, when he died moments after his 18-week premature birth.
Kym said, “Archie is our beautiful angel and we will miss him so much.”
There’s little more that one can say in a situation like this. The couple must surely be devastated at the loss. Our thoughts and good wishes are with them, as indeed with any parents who have lost a child in these circumstances.
Would any mum do the same in supermodel Salma Hayek’s position?
On a recent tour of Sierra Leone, Salma Hayek came to the aid of an African mother who was unable to provide breast milk for her own baby.
As Salma has only recently weaned her own baby Valentina, she still had a lot of milk and so was able to provide for the other woman’s baby.
Talking to reporters, she said, “The baby was perfectly healthy, but the mother did not have any milk. It was amazing because he was really looking at me and he’s very little. My baby is one year so she can suck a lot harder.”
As a one-off this doesn’t sound particularly controversial. There was a need, and Salma Hayek was able to help out. We’re not talking “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle” here.
What do you think?
(Via No1 Magazine)
By Andy Merrett
Feb 10, 2009
Having a baby won’t save a bad marriage.
In fact, some couples report reduced satisfaction in the relationship with their partner after starting a family.
That may sound depressing, even fatalistic, but the truth is that parents who plan a family and collaborate with parenting are much less likely to experience this dip. It’s even likely to lead to a happier marriage and better-adjusted children.
Thinking about it for a moment it may seem obvious, but I’m sure there are still plenty of couples teetering along their precarious relationship path that believe that having a child together will improve their marriage.
A New York Times article by Tara Parker-Pope quotes from the most recent studies that point to the time bind facing new parents and the burden on women resulting from increased household work as factors in reducing marital bliss. She holds out hope to her readers by reporting the finding from a 50-year longitudinal study of Mills College women that couples are likely to reconnect once their children leave home.
For parents of young children, that’s a very long time to wait. And it’s not good news for the children either, because children are more likely to have social, emotional, and academic problems when their parents’ marriage is in distress.
Many of these findings on marital distress in the early childrearing years are based on the uncritical use of averages. More in-depth examination reveals that the averages hide considerable variation. Detailed interviews with 96 couples, followed for 6 years after their first babies were born, revealed four different pathways that couples take in deciding to become pregnant and carry the pregnancy to term:
- First are couples who agree about when to begin trying to become pregnant (about half of the sample).
- Then there are the couples who “find themselves pregnant” and decide to “accept fate” and go ahead (about 15%).
- Another set of couples (about 20% of the sample) are still ambivalent when they reach the 7th month of pregnancy.
- Finally, for some couples who are at serious loggerheads about the decision, one spouse agrees to become a parent only because the other threatens to go it alone (about 10%).
The average decline in marital satisfaction was almost completely accounted for by couples who
- slid into having a baby without planning
- were still ambivalent about becoming parents in late pregnancy, or
- disagreed about having a baby but went ahead and conceived without resolving their difference.
About half the planners showed increased marital satisfaction or maintenance of their initially positive level in measurements taken when their babies were about 18 months old. All the couples where one partner had given in (usually the man) were either separated or divorced by the time their first child entered kindergarten.
The study concludes that it’s very unwise to rush into parenthood before both partners are ready. Partners need to start by having a discussion or a series of discussions – by making a decision. If both partners can express both sides of their feelings, it is less likely that one partner will carry all the ambivalence for the couple.
When both partners feel they are part of this major family decision, they are more likely to be able to meet the challenges of balancing the needs of both partners in terms of work and family. All this bodes well for their developing relationship with each other and with their child – and ultimately for their child’s sense of security and well-being.
Thanks in part to continue stigma, and sometimes simply practical issues, it can be difficult at the best of times for a new mum to breastfeed in public. However, the problem is exacerbated among lower-income workers, according to US-based Corporate Voices for Working Families.
It has therefore launched an initiative to help solve the problem – a need for breastfeeding support in the workplace.
In partnership with Abbott Nutrition, Working Mother Media and a select group of companies, this new programme aims to give employers the information and tools they need to reach hourly and lower-wage workers and help establish workplace lactation programs.
In a July 2008 survey of the Working Mother Magazine 100 Best Companies, more than one-third of employers said there are real barriers to implementing programmes for hourly and lower-wage employees. These barriers include scheduling conflicts, lack of dedicated lactation rooms, and limited promotion of lactation benefits to hourly employees.
“It’s clear that workplace lactation programs benefit employers. When women breastfeed, babies and mothers may be healthier, they may miss less work-time and employee satisfaction and productivity can increase,” Donna Klein, President and Founder of Corporate Voices for Working Families, said. “Opening the door to extend workplace lactation programs to all employees is a challenge that can be overcome and this new program offers tools to help.”
A key component of the initiative – Workplace Lactation Programs: Good for Working Families. Good for Business – is a workplace lactation toolkit that provides instructions, tips and template materials. Important elements of the program include recommendations for employers on how to support employees with breastfed babies, guides for working mothers who breastfeed, and sample promotional materials to alert employees to the resources provided by the program.
“Breastfeeding is the gold standard for infant nutrition but for many lower wage moms returning to work is a barrier to extended breastfeeding,” said Dr. Larry Williams, senior medical director, Abbott Nutrition. “As a leader in infant nutrition, Abbott’s goal is to ensure optimal nutrition for infants, whether mothers choose breastfeeding, infant formula or a combination of both. Abbott has a long history of supporting health professionals and parents with breastfeeding education materials and programs and we’re pleased to support this first-of-its kind program as a solution to an issue many working mothers face.”
By Andy Merrett
Feb 4, 2009
In films and TV documentaries women are often shown giving birth lying on their backs, but apparently (I have to say apparently as, being male, I’ll never fully “get” it) this isn’t the most natural or comfortable position for childbirth.
The trouble is, adopting other positions can make it difficult for the midwife to see the baby, which is why women are encouraged to lie on their backs.
Physiologically, in most cases, this is the worse position to give birth as it can increase pain, length of labour and
Use a mirror? Well, yes, except glass ones can break and plastic ones can be damaged during heat treatment and are more difficult to sterilise.
That’s why Virginia Howes, an independent midwife from Ashford in Kent, has developed a stainless steel mirror (completely without glass) that is highly polished, smooth, and can be sterilised. It is angled so there’s a good view of the baby for both midwife and mother regardless of what natural position is chosen.
Speaking about her development, Virginia said, “I am not an entrepreneur, nor will it make me a lot of money; it is just good midwifery sense and hopefully will help midwives encourage women off the bed, off their backs and bottoms and into positions conducive to a healthy more rewarding birth.”
Available now to purchase from www.kentmidwiferypractice.co.uk
Barefoot Living has announced a new innovation in flooring. Designed for use in nurseries and playrooms, and with a range of bright and bold designs, Bounce is springy, seamless, easy to clean, and made from recycled material.
Designed by mums at the flooring company, Bounce is installed by Barefoot Living’s own expert fitters.
Company owner Dawn Gibbins MBE said that mums wanted something safe, sustainable and easy to look after.
“The floor is nice and springy, so it absorbs knocks and bumps, but it is still really hard-wearing and – because it’s seamless and a sealed surface – it’s easy to clean too.
“It is a great surface for children to stretch their little toes and walk barefoot.”
Expectant mums across the UK will have access to a new breastfeeding resource thanks to a collaboration between the Department of Health and child health charity Best Beginnings.
The From Bump to Breastfeeding – following real mothers’ stories to find out how DVD gives positive and practical information to encourage mums to breastfeed and help increase breastfeeding rates across the UK.
Recent statistics (2005) show that, while over three-quarters of mothers started breastfeeding their new-born baby, a third had stopped within six weeks. Those numbers also drop significantly when looking at the younger age group – for mums under 20, just half were breastfeeding their baby.
Produced by Jacqueline Smith, the 35-minute film features nine women who chart their expectations and concerns as they prepare for motherhood.
The Department of Health recommends exclusive breastfeeding up to the age of six months, with continued breastfeeding, alongside other food and drink after six months. That’s because breast milk gives babies all the nutrients they need for the first six months of life and helps protect them from infection and diseases, such as gastrointestinal infections, ear infections, urine infections, eczema and obesity in later childhood.
Dawn Primarolo, Public Health Minister, said, “The DVD will appeal to all women who are having a baby as it follows ordinary women on their breastfeeding journey and addresses hopes and concerns that are relevant to all. The DVD demonstrates breastfeeding as the normal and natural way to feed a baby and will support mums to continue to breastfeed and help them give their baby the best start in life.”
Best Beginnings founder & CEO Alison Baum said, “Only with accurate information and practical support can there be real choice for families about how to feed their babies. The DVD will enable more mothers across the UK to have the information and reach out for support so they can enjoy breastfeeding their babies for as long as they wish.”
More information is available at the Best Beginnings web site.
I’ve just found out about a rather exciting new resource, due to launch next Thursday, 23rd October.
TV4Parents is an online forum, based in the UK, developed by Tomorrow’s Child, and aimed at parents, carers, and children aged 0-11.
This online TV styled web site will look at ways of parenting, offering hints, tips, advice, and a place for parents to share their experiences with others.
An ongoing nationwide survey – “Pressure Cooker Kids” – confirms that parents and children are under pressure to spend time together, deal with separation anxiety, and eat healthily and together.
A book and DVD will also be launched next week. “Creative Wellbeing” is written by education specialist Jacqueline Harding and medical advisor Dr Sanjay Chaudhuri, both who are heavily involved with Tomorrow’s Child and the new site.
Visit the site now to get a taste for what’s to come, and bookmark it, because it looks like it’s going to be a fantastic resource for anyone looking after children.
Check out our Family Christmas Survival guide for articles and advice.
The Early Learning Centre has announced a huge range of new toys coming into stock in plenty of time for Christmas this year.
As a special offer, customers buying any product from the Star Buys range will receive another free toy.
The Brilliant Start range of toys is designed specially for babies, featuring black and white designs with bold colours and graphics.
Toys such as the Brilliant Start Activity Table help to encourage babies’ visual development and boost their strength and co-ordination.
The ever-popular Classic range of toys are made from wood, tin, and fabric, and include the Tin Spinning Top and Rocking Horse.
A number of Christmas toys are also on offer to encourage children to use their imagination and creativity including the Snow Queen Palace, featuring towers and balconies. Along with the Magical Figure Set, this is a Christmas must have for imaginative children.
A real alternative to disposable baby wipes, just as efficient (if not more), and kinder to baby, bank account, and environment.
Moist, fragrant, and convenient even while out and about, they don’t contain any of the harsh chemicals often found in disposable wet wipes, but instead rely on essential oils to help soothe baby’s bottom and keep nasty poo smells at bay before being washed.
How they work:
- Just add a little water and a few drops of the fresh wipes essential oil blend to the fresh wipes container, then pop in your lovely soft wipes and they are ready to use!
- Do the same with your mucky wipes container but with a few drops of the mucky wipes essential oil blend instead and add the mesh bag ready for dirty wipes.
- Once you’ve used the wipes, place them inside the clever mesh bag in the mucky wipes container, to neutralise any unsavoury smells, start soaking pre-wash, and avoid any direct contact with poo!
- Your mesh bag of mucky wipes can go straight into the washing machine with your next load of washing (just loosen the drawstring on the bag) and your wipes come out clean and ready to reuse.
- No need to dry them, just place them back in the fresh wipes box with some fresh soaking solution.
The Cheeky Wipes All-in-One Kit costs just Ã‚Â£29.95 and is available to buy online at www.cheekywipes.com
It consists of:
- 25 lovely soft Terry Towelling cloth baby wipes (15 cm x 15 cm)
- 1 Fresh Baby Wipes Container
- 1 Mucky Baby Wipes container – with mesh bag insert
- 1 Fresh Baby Wipes waterproof out and about travel bag
- 1 Mucky Baby Wipes waterproof out and about bag – with mesh bag insert
- 1 bottle of Lavender & Chamomile Ã¢â‚¬ËœFresh Baby Wipes’ essential oil blend
- 1 bottle of Tea Tree & Tea tree lemon Ã¢â‚¬ËœMucky Baby Wipes’ essential oil blend
Breastfeeding is widely considered to be the best start for baby, not only providing nutrient-packed food but also forming a bond between mother and child. In this interesting article, Stuart Hutchings shares a father’s perspective.
Breastfeeding is the most natural thing to do. It is one of the most important things that you can do to give your child the very best start in life and it is likely to be the first most important decision a mother and family will make about their baby’s health and upbringing.
We may all possibly be aware of the major benefits to mother and baby that breastfeeding confers.
But it does take commitment from both mother and family.
Possibly one of the biggest issues is that breastfed babies often spend more time Ã¢â‚¬Ëœat the breast’ than formula fed children do whilst being fed; this is purely because bottle-feeding is functional (the activity only provides food). Breastfeeding however provides food and nurturing. It is common for the baby to snuggle up to mother and fall asleep whilst feeding in this comfortable, secure environment (this intimacy leads to bonding which is a very important aspect of breastfeeding). For this reason I personally thought for the first six months that our new baby did not have a face! I only ever saw the back of his head! This leads on to more practical matters such as making sure mother and baby are comfortable for these periods and as happy and secure as you can make them both. Although this can mean a lot of Ã¢â‚¬Ëœnurse-maiding’ it is wise for dads to remember that they are part of a team giving baby the best food, on tap, when he or she needs it. It comes out of the breast Ã¢â‚¬Ëœready to serve’ and is tailored to the baby’s age and nutritional needs. There are also no bottles to worry about, no formulas to mix, you don’t have to worry about sterilising everything, getting the temperature right, and, baby’s poo even smells better!!
Breastfeeding is not just the best source of food but also a good source of comfort and security. Mother’s bonding with her child can start here, if it has not already happened during pregnancy; breastfeeding is the most natural way of bonding. The eye-to-eye and skin-to-skin contact that breastfeeding requires strengthens the attachment and bonding between mother and child. Breastfeeding helps mother to get to know and understand her baby. It is an important step in building a trusting relationship that extends well beyond baby years; it is not just the best source of food for a growing baby but the ultimate in terms of safety and security. There are some emotional adjustments to be made. Family members may become jealous of the intimacy and attachments that occur between mother and baby through breastfeeding. From a father’s perspective, one sometimes has to wrestle with one’s feelings for baby, as this new-comer muscles in on what was your sole territory. But this time is very important for mother and baby, and it is often easy to forget that a family’s job is to care for and support mother as well as baby. The help required from family members is very important but the most important is the care and support from dad. He can provide physical and emotional reassurance, he can head off discouragement and negative criticisms from other family members, and he can make mother comfortable whilst breastfeeding with such simple things as providing food and drinks, or even helping with the household chores or with other siblings.
Sleeping can also be an awkward time. If you do not want to sleep with baby in the bed, the cot should be placed in close proximity so that mother can virtually Ã¢â‚¬Ëœdo it in her sleep’. But here breastfeeding can be a major benefit to other family members because they may not be woken in the middle of the night. Mother simply attaches the baby and satisfaction is guaranteed!
There are other lifestyle modifications that are required for breastfeeding:
- Having the right clothing to allow easy access for baby
- Being willing to stop your routine for unplanned feeds
- Continuing with a cessation of drinking and smoking
- Watching what drugs or medications are taken
There are many other reasons that breastfeeding should be the first choice food for babies.
Just remember breastfeeding can be good for baby, mother and family – breast milk is perfectly formulated to meet your baby’s nutritional needs and…
It’s what breasts were designed for!
Breast really is best.
For more extensive information on breastfeeding its benefits and practical implications visit breastfeeding at From Little Acorns Academy