Friday, 29 April 2011

Duke & Duchess of Cambridge

Today I watched history as our nations favourite Prince got married to the lovely Kate Middleton.

I wish them health and happiness in their marriage, they seem very sweet.

I'd say that Brits in the main have been very happy to see this wedding, not least because there's the general feeling that we've had quite a bit of bad news on a world scale lately. It seems the world loves our Monarchy so it felt like a world event.

Here in the UK people have been celebrating, apparently there was 5500 applications for street parties for today and our (choke) Prime Minister said to celebrate and don't worry about the red tape so presumably there were many more.

We watched the wedding at home then had a BBQ with friends to celebrate. My kids dressed as Princes and a Princess, hence my picture today.

Congratulations William and Kate.
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Saturday, 23 April 2011

Never mind Breast, does Doctor always know best?

I am presuming (hoping?) that The Guardian newspaper did nor set out to publish an inflammatory piece about breastfeeding but unfortunately, it seems to have fallen into the media breastfeeding black hole.

But more important than yet another media #fail are the ridiculous statements by this 'Dr Smith'. What book was he referencing when he said that the immune benefits cross over in the first few weeks, suggesting therefore that there are no further immunity benefits to be gained by breastfeeding for longer than that?

I blogged about some of the significant milestones in breastfeeding here - and honestly doctor, the facts are easy enough to come across if you look.

Then to move along to saying that expressing is faster than a baby feeding directly? While of course there may be individual cases where this happens, he is not to know that this is one of them and she certainly does not allude to that. in the main, babies who are latched on well will be much more efficient at 'draining' the breast and will get more than the mother pumping at that same session instead.

This Doctor is publishing in a respected newspaper and at the very least, should have a responsibility to check that the information they are providing is correct. Statements such as the ones he made result in me thinking about his motives, his funding etc.

Breastfeeding is not a medical mechanical process that can easily be quantified by science. The facts as we know them are that breastfeeding perfectly supplies exactly what is needed, when asked for, for as long as required. Some Doctors can't bear it that exact amounts cannot be pinned down, and their response then is to undermine it, consequently undermining the ability of woman to more than adequately nurture her child.

Wellmeaning advice it might be but I would like to see breastfeeding getting some positive and correct press coverage. Is that too much to ask?
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Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Mum : AKA My Biggest Fan?

A friend said to me the other day how her own mother was pressurising her about her weight loss.

My friend is 8 weeks post partum.

The hurt I felt on her behalf cut me to the core. The one person who is supposed to be a guaranteed cheerleader is your mother. That doesn't stop once you become an adult. In fact if there was ever a time you need your mothers support and unconditional approval, its when you become a mother yourself.

Mothering is hard! It's also joyful, rewarding, surprising, fulfilling and utterly mad. But it is also relentless, tiring, heart wrenching and complicated. Who doesn't need the occasional shoulder to lean or cry on?

Mothers are uniquely placed to be supportive of other mothers. Who should know this but a mother?

Our own mothers have 'been there and done that'... sometimes right, sometimes wrong but they have been there and they know that this mothering lark is not as black and white as the books would have us think.

Now we are mothers we know this too. I for one consider myself to be a mothers cheerleader. If you've read my blog before then you'll know already that I think women are pretty amazing and you'll know that I spent some time with my friend reminding her how amazing she is.

I can't change her mother but I can step into the gap. I don't mean mother her but I do mean pick up the slack.

I'm so fortunate with my own wonderful mum, she is one of my biggest fans and I know I can count on her to build me up, to support me when I'm flagging and to give me advice from her experience of mothering me and my 4 siblings.

As a breastfeeding counsellor I have a wonderful opportunity to support women at an incredibly vulnerable time in her life. I choose to be a cheerleader in that role too, but also as a mother to mother.

Not to say I always get it right, after all I have grumpy off days the same as everyone else but if I can, I love to be a mothers biggest fan, even for a short moment. She deserves it.

Can you be a cheerleader?
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Sunday, 17 April 2011

Almost Silent Sunday

My boys enjoying an ice cream on Brighton Pier. Their faces smothered!
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Wednesday, 13 April 2011

A Great Latch....

Good quality, timely support is absolutely necessary to help mothers to have the breastfeeding experience that they want.

We know that of mothers that stopped breastfeeding before 6 months, the vast majority wished that they had continued. The reasons they cite for stopping being pain and failure to thrive among others.

Pain is so not necessary in breastfeeding. It's quite often unfortunately that a breastfeeding counsellor will be called to support a mother with cracked, sore and bleeding nips. You can't help feeling that earlier support may well have avoided the issue. Getting a great latch early on is key.

Remember that a baby born after 34 weeks has the ability to breastfeed. Babies who are born and put onto their mothers tummies and 'left to it' will find their way and rather helpfully latch themselves on.

They don't worry about mummy sitting bolt upright clutching them in a vice like grip and cradle hold, they simply want mummy to be relaxed and all parts of her body supported. Using their natural instincts, quite a bit of bobbing around etc, and then with a big open mouth, they'll latch on. No specific direction, just let the baby lead the way.

Mothers have reported less incidents of pain this way so give it a go. Try it at a time when baby is relaxed and only demonstrating the very early infant feeding cues.

Above all, ring someone, get someone to come visit you and get the support you need. Nipple pain is horrible so give yourself a fighting chance of avoiding it.

Failure to thrive...
A favourite of the 'chart brigade' this one is used to frequently guilt mothers into formula feeding exclusively or topping up.

If the baby doesn't seem to me putting on weight and is not moving up the chart in a consistent manner then there is a chance you'll hear this phrase. It's a horrible phrase actually, to me implies some dirt of failure on my part which is simply not the case. But why might a baby fail to put on weight?

The first thing to look at is the latch. Is it good? Is baby breastfeeding efficiently? If a baby isn't feeding efficiently its quite possible that they will out on weight slower.

Breastfeeding works on a supply and demand basis, so the more you breastfeed the more you will supply.

Both these things can be addressed by early support for a great latch. Breastfeeding counsellors are not just here for when you're in bad pain through breastfeeding, we're here to support you to actually avoid that pain and heartache.
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Thursday, 7 April 2011


This morning I met with the Occupational Therapist with Reuben. Amazingly the last time we saw her wad a year ago. It really is shocking that it has been that long but that is typical of the NHS really, lack of funding means that you get discharged from their service at the first opportunity.

Perfect example, Reuben is being assessed for verbal development delay as basically I can't understand much of what he says never mind anyone else and he's been discharged several times. It's madness. A less determined person might have given up by now but I believe that Reuben needs help, more help than I'm equipped to give and that's not false modesty, that's accepting that someone else may have better insight into some of my sons needs than I do and I have to say that admittance does not come easily to me by any means.

As a mother I believe that the vast majority of the time I know what's best for my children. I'm not an ego maniac, I'm a mummy! Sometimes though that belief means allowing someone else to know better and its a hard one to learn.
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Saturday, 2 April 2011

Mothers Day

Tomorrow will be my 6th Mothers day. Seems almost unreal that I have been a mother for that long.

I've been been reflecting today about my 'place' in mothers day.

I know that to my children I am the main event so to speak on this day. But I know that I am most definitely not the main event. It's a funny day really, because even though I'm now a mother, I still celebrate my own mother. I am blessed beyond words to still have my mum and also to have a fantastic mother in law.

All the while I celebrate these two women in my life, they are my main events on this day. And rightly so in my mind. The mothers day where I am the main event is the mothers day I'm in mourning and so for that reason I will enjoy my brief moment of Mummy spoiling first thing in the morning with my 3 beautiful children, and then I will throw myself into the celebration of the women who made my Mummy-hood possible.

I don't want Mothers day to just be about me, we need to appreciate the good mothers we have while we have the chance.
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