Saturday, 24 September 2011

Leave the World a Little Better

I have to admit to being a bit of a quote fiend. I manage to control my addiction mainly because most people find quotes a bit irritating after the 10th one has been rolled out.

However I'm going to ask you to humour me on this one and take a moment to enjoy with me my favourite of all secular quotes. Its by Ralph Emerson and I was introduced to it around 10 years ago. I was initially drawn to it by the whole 'laugh often and love much' bit but it goes on to talk about how we can affect other people and that this is the point of living.

“To laugh often and love much:
To win respect of intelligent people
And the affection of children;
To earn the approbation of honest critics
And endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To give one’s self;
To leave the world a little better,
Whether by a healthy child,
A garden patch,
Or redeemed social condition;
To have played and laughed with enthusiasm
And sung with exultation;
To know even one life has breathed easier
Because you have lived…
This is to have succeeded.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

What is Normal?

I found this link in a forum ( If you, like me, have a day to day, ongoing battle with the idea of normal and how it applies to your life then you may very well find it interesting. 'Extra' needs of an SEN child aside, I still do take exception even with the term 'normal'. My son falls outside of the range of normal in a few ways but does that mean by default that he is then 'ABnormal'? Of course not. And then of course we are left with instead 'Outside of the range of normal', which when dissected actually still means abnormal. I'm not saying that there is any solution here, its just an observation I have as a mother of a child who dances to his own tune. Beautifully I might add.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Start Right - The Elusive Latch

While I'm thinking about it (and I often am) I wanted to jot a few things down about the latch.
So many things come back to it, so its well worth revisiting. A significant proportion of breastfeeding problems come back to an incorrect, or inefficient latch.
Sore nipples - almost always a poor latch
Other things to cause soreness - tongue tie, Raynauds
Poor milk supply - an inefficient latch - baby not feeding very efficiently, so not draining the breast effectively and stimulating further breastmilk production
Other things to cause poor supply - baby not feeding very often, extreme malnutrition in the mother
Mastitis - Infected blocked ducts are often caused by poor drainage of the breast. Engorgement may then result in mastitis. If the latch isnt right, then particularly in the early days, engorgement may result.
My Tips for a Great Latch
* A baby can breastfeed from many 'directions' hence the various 'holds' like cradle and rugby hold (under the arm closest to the breast). The direction doesnt matter. Just be comfortable.
* Trust that your babys instincts will help
* Keep your hand OFF the BACK of the babys head - she needs to tilt her head back to get a decent mouthful of the areola surrounding the nipple. If you recline, then your baby can better support him/herself. Put your otehr arm to the SIDE of the babys head if necessary
 * Nose to Nipple - if you do this, brushing the babys nose with your nipple will stimulate baby to open their mouth really wide - with the back of the head unrestricted, they can tilt back and latch on brilliantly. Nose to Nipple should result in the ideal position. It therefore doesnt matter where on your breasts your nipples are - pointing forward, downward, whichever way.
* You can tell a great latch because it doesnt hurt beyond perhaps a few seconds of initial discomfort in the early days.
* You can tell a great latch because of the chubby cheeks puffed out, the lip is curled out underneath, creating a suction
* Take the baby off by inserting a little finger into the side of babys mouth, release the suction of the latch and start again
* Look at your nipple - is there any redness? If there is, then when you next attempt to latch baby on, you need to position baby TOWARD the redness...

* Redness on the end of the nipple - the nipple isnt far enough into the babys mouth - when youre latching ehr on, wait until the mouth is at its widest and bring baby on quickly
* Redness to a side of the nipple - the redness is excessive stretching, which means the nipple isnt comfortably inside the babys mouth. When you latch on again, adjust the position of the baby - its likely that he/she is either too far over or having to reach up too far. Nose to nipple is just right
Some final thoughts (this time)
* There is no need to 'prepare' your nipples prior to breastfeeding
* If you do get cracks or sores, then the best way to heal is thorugh moist wound healing, and a pure lanolin ointment like Lansinoh is very soothing and safe for babies too
*Aim to avoid introducing anything else (teats) before 6 weeks. 6 weeks seems to be the magic number where establishing supply and demand are concerned. Wait until after that, and the system is pretty robust by then
* If you experience any or all of these problems then access some local support
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Step back in time

On the bank holiday weekend I watched the Duke of Suffolk defeat Sir William of Herstmonceux. I'm not entirely sure of the historical accuracy of the re-enactment - afterall I'm fairly sure that Sir Williams Dad wasn't only concerned with the state of his lawn when he came home to find his son was hosting an impromptu battle in the back garden - but the atmosphere was certainly convincing.
The cannons admitedly sent my middle son up the wall and my eldest son hasn't yet stopped wanting to throw us all into the stocks, but apart from that it was a great day. The amount of traditional medieval dress around actually made me question my own choice of clothing today. Perhaps I should have worn a corset and floor length gown? I might have fit in a little more rather than cut off jeans and a vest top. Not too many White Stuff outlets in medieval Britain.

Number one son tried on some of the soldiers armour and bless his little heart, he was swamped by it. And not surprisingly either... further investigation turned up that the outfit weighed in at around 60lbs! More than his own weight!
It became apparent as the day went on that there is a whole community out there dedicated to medieval seiges and re-enactments. I wonder what their day jobs are?!
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