I Am Now A Breastfeeding Peer Supporter!

Yay!

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I did it!

After 10 fantastic weeks of training, I am now a breastfeeding peer supporter. This means that once my DBS checks are back I can volunteer on the post natal wards, NICU and children’s centres and help mums who are struggling to breastfeed or who just need some support or information.

I cannot tell you how excited I am about this amazing opportunity and I feel so privileged knowing that I will be helping support women to continue to breastfeed and helping baby’s get their yummy milk.

I know it won’t all be fun and games, especially on the NICU ward. But I am up for the challenge and I am so passionate about breastfeeding after the hardships me and Freddie have gone through on our breastfeeding journey.

I believe every woman should be given the correct information to help her make an informed choice. If she still wants to formula feed then that’s fine but at least she is informed. Unfortunately, not many women are informed about infant feeding.

Being a breastfeeding peer supporter isn’t about judging mums who don’t breastfeed, it’s about helping the mums who DO want to breastfeed and about giving mums information so they can make an informed decision. There may be times where I help a mum wean her baby off the breast as she doesn’t want to breastfeed anymore and I will support her and help her. But I will also tell her of the risks involved because she deserves to know.

I’m so excited to start, not only do I get to help mum and baby’s but I also get to see super squishy, newborn goodness!

 

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Things That REALLY Matter Post-Birth

People so often go on about the things that aren’t really essential post-birth, they may be helpful and make things slightly easier like bouncers and swings but no one talks about what really matters. They may not be essential to some people but they’re all things that have been proved to improve the health and recovery for mum and baby.

Things That REALLY Matter Post-Birth

Delayed cord clamping

Fortunately, this is now becoming common practise in the UK, however mums can decline it if they wish and sometimes in emergencies delayed cord clamping is not an option. I had an emergency caesarean and the cord was cut straight away. With future babies I will definitely be delaying cord clamping.

Delaying cord clamping promotes better blood volume in the baby and it keeps the mother and baby together as 1.

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Skin to Skin

Skin to skin is sooo important for mum and baby, and also for daddy too.

If you’re breastfeeding it helps trigger your oxytocin levels which triggers your milk to let-down. Even if you’re not breastfeeding it’s still very important, if not more so important. It promotes bonding and research has shown that mums who have frequent skin to skin with baby are less likely to get PND. (Click here to see the study)

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Breastfeeding

I think most people know how important breast milk is for a baby, however the support and correct information is still lacking for many mums and they give up sooner than intended or don’t even try at all.

Obviously, infant feeding is always a mothers choice but it should be an informed choice and unfortunately many mums don’t get to make an informed choice. They make the choice based on what their friends and family do or based on myths perpetrated. For example, not breastfeeding because family members have been unable to so mum assumes that she can’t either. Only 2% of mums can’t physically breastfeed but a whole lot more of mums ‘can’t’ breastfeed simply due to lack of support.

If you are on medication, check with Wendy Jones who is a pharmacist and specialises in breastmilk and medication to see if your medication is compatible with breastfeeding. Unfortunately Dr’s and Nurses aren’t trained in breastmilk and medication so they often say you can’t breastfeed on certain medications to be ‘on the safe side’.

If you are struggling then please please seek help! Here is a list of Lactation Consultants in the UK (just enter your post code and it will find your local ones for you!), and here is a list of Breastfeeding Support Groups in the UK. You can also search here for local NCT Latch on groups near you and they can also organise for a breastfeeding specialist or peer supporter to see you.

If you cannot breastfeed or you need more milk whilst building up supply or whathaveyou then Human Milk For Human Babies is a brilliant source to find donor milk near you!

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Bonding

You would have thought this was a fairly obvious one. Every mum knows that bonding with baby is important, right? Well, yes they may do BUT they don’t realise what bonding entails. Skin to skin is a massive factor, but also just spending time with one another without having people interrupting and having you play host whilst they sit on the sofa passing baby around like a bloody parcel. If you must have visitors then tell them to bloody well bring round some shopping or a takeaway, oh and do the dishes whilst they’re at it too! You should not have to run around after anyone at such a precious time. Which leads me on to my next point…

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Relax

I wrote about this before, why the bloody hell do women rush to get back to normality and routine after having a baby?! Just chill!! I know it’s probably easier said than done when you have other kids to tend to but get your partner to take over for a while. Or if you don’t have a partner then get a close friend or relative to come round whenever possible to give you time to relax.

If you don’t have other kids to tend to then you have no excuse! *bossy voice!* It’s not to say that you’re chained to the house, but just take your time and go with the flow. Even after the most simple and natural birth it’s important to give your body time to heal and every woman deserves to be treated like a Goddess post-birth.

I usually HATE the phrase Happy Mummy Happy Baby (read about that here!)as it’s so overused now but I think in cases like these, when the mum is taking time to relax and care for her well being it makes it easier to bond with the baby and give 100% of your attention and care to your baby which in turn means that your baby is happy and is having all their needs met on demand.

 

 

Can you think of anything else that REALLY matters post-birth?

 

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Thanks *Insert Family Member/Friend* But Your Advice Is Crap

Ever been given awful advice on how to care for your baby by a family member or friend?

Of course you have.

Bad advice from family and friends is sort of like a rite of passage into motherhood.

I can guarantee than you WILL get told that your breasts are not good enough to feed your child simply because darling little baby Peter has fed for the 3rd time in one hour. (AKA growth spurt)

Or you WILL get told that your little bundle of love is manipulating you because she dared to cry out for her mama as soon as you put her down.

And I can guarantee that you WILL want to punch this family member/friend in the face for being incredibly unhelpful. But I can also guarantee that actually punching them probably isn’t a good idea.

People always want to put their 2 pence in and they probably think that their advice is exactly what you need to hear or that because it worked well for them and their children seemingly ‘turned out fine’ that it WILL work for you.

( I don’t know about you but I want my child to turn out more than fine)

So thanks to the family member or friend who thinks they are trying to be helpful but are failing miserably. Instead of handing out unsolicited advice just offer a sympathetic smile and ask what you can do to help.

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Attachment Parenting My Way

Attachment Parenting My Way

I’ve always had strong parenting views. Before I was pregnant I used to think smacking and leaving your child to cry was essential and I looked down at those ‘gentle parents’ and labelled them all as pushovers.

Now I am a mum myself, I am one of those ‘gentle parents’. I can’t imagine ever leaving my baby to cry or hurting him.

I think all parents have something that they hate. Whether that’s cry-it-out, smoking in front of children, leaving children of a young age to go out and party. Every parent ‘judges’ in one way or another, it’s how we make the choices we do to parent our own children. But there is a difference between disagreeing with someone and being a dick.

There are loads of labels these days for different parenting methods and I am guilty of using these labels. I label myself as an attachment parent and I try to be as gentle as I can, although some days I find it hard to not lose my shit.

Even though I class myself as an attachment parent I am fully aware that other attachment parents may have differing views to me; they may formula feed out of choice, they may have never used a pram in their life (we exclusively baby wore for the first 5 months, we still babywear now but I also LOVE my pram), they may never let their baby out of their site but they’re still attachment parents like me because they tend to their babies needs and they answer their babies cries every time they can, the same way I do.

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No two parents are the same. That is a fact, no matter what type of parent you are, there will be someone else who does lots of things the same way you do but they also do lots of things differently.

I am an attachment parent, but I still look forward to Freddie’s bed time sometimes. After a long day of cluster feeding, full on melt downs, food being chucked all over the place, I look forward to having a couple of hours to sit down without being leapt on for booby.

I look forward to dates with my partner. Admittedly, our dates usually aren’t the typical 3 course dinner and cinema dates. They are a nice walk just the two of us, or a drive around the city, or a trip to the amusements to spend all of our lose change we have been collecting for the past month or so.

Just because I look forward to spending quality 1 on 1 time with my partner does not mean I am not an attachment parent. Our baby loves spending quality time with Granny and Pops and he hardly notices when we are away. If he had a full on melt down every time we left him and he was miserable whilst we were away then I wouldn’t leave him. But because he’s fine with being away from us for a couple of hours we make the most of it.

I have strong views in regards to breastfeeding and I feel that every baby deserves breast milk; that is what they are designed for after all. Saying that, I have plenty of friends who don’t breastfeed for various reasons. And you know what? We get on really well.

Recent research has shown that 80% of mothers in the UK start out breastfeeding but then stop relatively soon. Most of these women stop due to lack of support and they are failed by our system. They are given shocking advice from health care professionals and family members. I have learnt to throw my frustration towards them, not the mothers who were failed.

It’s okay to have differing views to someone. It’s okay to do things differently. I am strongly against cry it out and the next mother I pass down the street may feel strongly against leaving your child to go on a date with your partner. And that’s fine. But I have been told that I am ABANDONING my baby by leaving him with my parents every so often to have quality time with my partner.

Abandoning is a strong word. Abandoning refers to ceasing to support or look after someone; deserting. If you feel that I am deserting my child by having a date with my partner, who may I add LOVES spending time with his Granny and Pops, then so be it. But that is not only an insult to me and my child, but it’s also an insult and undermines all those babies and children who actually HAVE been abandoned.

It’s fine to have strong parenting views, just don’t be an arsehole about it. Be gentle, be kind and be patient. We are role models to our future generation. I don’t want my children to grow up and think that bullying another person because they do things differently is okay. Of course you can disagree with someone, but disagreeing is different to bullying and looking down on someone.

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I’m not on about those parents who don’t even deserve the title of being a parent. I’m on about the parents who try their damn hardest every day, who respond to their babies for the millionth time after taking a deep breathe and muttering ‘fucking hell’ under their breathe.

Lets just all take a seat back and think about what really matters, lets forget about the criteria you have to meet in order to be a specific type of parent. If in 20 years time my baby is suffering severe attachment issues as an adult because I dare to leave him every so often to go to work or to have a date with my partner then I will rethink my parenting choices and I’ll come and shake hands with you.

We’re all too busy thinking that we are right and every one else is wrong. Sometimes we are the ones making the right choices, sometimes we are the ones making stupid choices, sometimes we are the ones making mediocre choices and doing the bare minimum. But just because I may do things differently doesn’t make me less of an attachment parent. My baby’s needs are met, he is loved, he feels safe and secure and firmly attached to me- enough so that he knows he can be left without me for a while and have fun.

Every relationship is different; some couples don’t need to have dates to stay strong and nurture their relationship. But me and my partner do. We spent 6 months without spending any sort of decent quality time together and it broke us and ruined our relationship. We had to start from scratch and even had to seek relationship counselling because of it, so yes I do find it offensive if you tell me I am abandoning my child by spending time with my partner. I don’t find it offensive if you have different views to this, if you disagree with it then that’s fine. We can still be friends, we can still agree with lots of other things.

I am an attachment parent doing things my way, doing what I can to get by and sometimes that includes taking time to myself to recharge my batteries. And sometimes that means taking time to focus on my relationship with my partner.

 

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Things Midwives Forget To Tell Mothers

Things

  • It’s okay to co sleep, your baby might not settle in their moses basket and that’s perfectly normal. Here are the co sleeping safety guidelines.
  • You have a choice. You don’t HAVE to be induced,  you don’t HAVE to have a hospital birth, you don’t HAVE to do x,y,z.
  • Cluster feeding is normal when breastfeeding. Your baby has a tiny tiny stomach so feeding every 10 minutes is normal. Tiring. But normal.

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  • It’s normal for your baby to wake up often. Babies take a while to adjust to day time and night time. Waking up often lowers the risk of SIDs.
  • It’s okay to feel emotional. Baby blues can last longer than 3-5 days. If you’re still emotional after a couple of weeks then tell a health care professional.
  • Instinct has been around longer than a book. Trust your instinct, always.
  • If you have had children before then you may get worse after pains.
  • It’s okay to feel hungry all the time, you have just grown a baby for 9 months and now you are keeping it alive with your boobs. Eat all the food.
  • It’s okay to say no to visitors. You don’t owe anyone anything. If people must visit then tell them to bring shopping and wash the dishes.
  • Breastfeeding can be hard to begin with, but after a few weeks it’s completely worth it.
  • You will sweat like a motherfucker. It’s fine.
  • You might get piles. Don’t be embarrassed, just see a Dr asap to prescribe some cream and eat lots of fibre and drink lots of water.
  • Keep baby close, skin to skin as much as possible, its okay to leave the chores to everyone else.
  • Its okay to respond to your baby when they make the slightest whimper, your instinct is to pick them up and keep them near. Read more here.

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  • Breastfeeding isn’t just food.
  • If bottle feeding, your baby should still drink little and often; not 6oz every 4 hours. They don’t need hungry baby milk. Read more here.
  • You don’t have to have a sweep. You’re not a chimney.
  • Your estimated due date is just that. They are not late and you don’t need to be induced or have a sweep and go to 4th base with the midwife if you go past the date, the due date was just wrong.

ESTIMATED Due Date:

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  • Baby acne is normal. Just leave it.
  • You don’t need to bath your baby as soon as the umbilical cord falls off. Babies don’t do anything to get them dirty enough for a bath. Waiting for up to 2 weeks (or longer) gives a chance for the vernix (the gooey white stuff they’re covered in) to soak into their skin.
  • Skin to skin is so important and isn’t just something you should do after labour or if your breastfeeding. You can do it as much and as often as you want regardless of feeding method.
  • There’s no such thing as overfeeding a breastfed baby.
  • You DO have enough milk for your baby. The 2 main signs that you don’t have enough milk for your baby is no wet nappies and rapid weight loss/failure to thrive. (Although weight loss is normal after birth)
  • If you have certain drugs in labour, such as IV fluids, then your baby’s birth weight may be inaccurate and may appear to have a big weight loss because of this.  (Read here)

 

 

Was there anything you wish your midwife told you?

 

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5 Ways To Be Discreet Whilst Breastfeeding

We all know that breastfeeding is a shameful and immodest act. I fear that indiscreet breastfeeding will make men uncomfortable as it’s hard to ogle over boobs when there’s a baby attached. Those poor men.

I’ve written a list of ways to be discreet whilst breastfeeding so we can stop making other people feel uncomfortable. (Because obviously their comfort is more important than your babies.)

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1- Use some sort of cover. A breastfeeding apron is simply not good enough. I recommend buying one of those pop up tents. They’re easy enough to carry around with you and if your baby needs a feed you can just pitch it up in the middle of a shop and sit in there whilst you feed.

2- Carry a ‘warning’ sign around with you and before you sit down to feed your baby place it approximately 5 metres away from you so people have a chance to overt their eyes.

3- If a sign is simply not feasible as your pop up tent is taking up all of the room in your handbag then carry a roll of that bright yellow ‘warning’ tape around with you. That way you can wrap the tape around furniture and isolate yourself in the corner of the cafe or shop.

4- Sing really loudly. That way you will distract the attention from the small amount of skin exposed whilst feeding your child. The perks of this one is that some people may mistake you for a busker and give you money.

5- If the previous 4 tips fail then simply don’t leave the house until your baby no longer breast feeds. If you’re planning to breastfeed until natural term then you may be stuck in for a while so I recommend stocking up your cupboards and making the most of internet shopping.

 

Hopefully these tips will help you become more discreet whilst feeding your baby. After all, feeding your child in the most natural way is not something people should see.

 

Happy pop-up tent boobing!

 

If you enjoyed this article then you may enjoy reading 9 Ways To Create A Rod For Your Own Back!

 

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9 Ways To Create A Rod For Your Own Back

Nobody wants to create a rod for their own back. Ugh God forbid your children actually grow up to feel safe and well attached to their parents. What kind of world would that be?

The downside to creating a rod for your own back is your child or baby MAY be a happy and content baby who’s needs are met. But we all know how awful that is, we want independent babies who will happily sit in their bouncers for 6 hours a time whilst we crack on with more important things like housework and watching Jeremy Kyle.

However, for those weird parents who WANT to create a rod for their own back. Here are some tips you should follow. Do not take these lightly, I know how hard it is to respond to your babies needs, those selfish pesks. Ugh, God help us.

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  1. As soon as your baby so much as whimpers you must run to them flapping your arms about shouting ‘I’M COMING!!!!!!!!!!!!!’
  2. Buy one of those strappy pouch things that you put on your chest and your baby sits in it. (Some people like to call these slings or carriers, I call them rod-makers) Your baby must stay in this ALL day for the first year of their life.
  3. Buy one of those bed extender thingys, or better yet SHARE YOUR BED WITH YOUR BABY. I know, I know. This will 100% effect your sex life and you will never have rumpy pumpy with your partner again but if you want a rod, then you need to do this.
  4. Breastfeed. *shudders* We all know that breasts were made for men to ogle at and are only sexual but in order to become a committed rodder you will need to feed your baby from your breasts.
  5. If for some reason you cannot wear a rod-maker (sling/carrier) then you must keep baby close to you at all times. A pram is simply not good enough, I recommend putting them in your handbag.
  6. Feed them on demand. This one is really hard to get used to. After all, they should only be hungry when our schedule says so. But whenever they show their feeding cues you need to feed them. I recommend a cheese baguette if you want to keep them fuller for longer (or create life-long digestive issues)
  7. DO NOT let anyone babysit. AT ALL. No. No. No. They must be with you at all times in order for your rod to be super shiny. Want to go out for a meal with your friends? Tough titties. Want to send them to school? I’m sure Mrs Smith doesn’t mind you sitting at the back of the classroom.
  8. Baby led wean. Let them feed themselves their food. This is really inconsiderate of them to be honest, taking 30 minutes to eat their jam on toast can be tedious but stick with it. *Warning, baby led weaning can lead to awful things such as positive and healthy attitudes towards food*
  9. Respond to them at night time. I tried this once. Never. Again. I mean, don’t these babies realise that parenting is only a 12 hour job?! Once the clock strikes 7 my hours are over and they must tend to themselves until 7am. So if your baby dares to wake up during the night in order for their needs to be met you must respond to them.

 

 

I hope these top tips have helped you create a better rod for yourselves. Good luck for the next 40+ years, hopefully they would have finished breastfeeding and bedsharing by then but don’t count on it.

Don’t put your baby away, rod today!

Happy rodding!

 

 

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