Bed Sharing is NOT Co Sleeping!!

  
I’m a big believer in co sleeping to help alleviate stress for the whole family.

Let me just get one thing straight, first. Co sleeping is not bed sharing. Bed sharing is a FORM of co sleeping. If your baby still sleeps in your room, no matter where they are in that room (unless you have a really really huge room) then you are co sleeping. Obviously, the closer the better but still co sleeping. 

The reason the closer the better, is because it is natural for our infants (notice I said ‘infants’ not ‘babies’) to want to be near to us, for security and protection. They are small, helpless little animals and in our caveman days, prone to being eaten by predators. They crave to be near us, hence, lots of crying when they aren’t. 

This isn’t to make you feel bad, it’s to help you understand why your baby cries and how you might be able to solve it and get a better nights rest!! 

Crying stresses me out, to the point I can’t think straight and I feel sick. So does a really disturbed nights sleep! I know I’m not the only one, and I believe that it is partly down to our instincts as parents to feel like this. It is instinctive to answer our baby’s cries and keep them close. 

The best advice I ever got was to follow my instincts and I know, I have just discovered I have PND, at almost 12 months in, but I truly believe that if I hadn’t have been co sleeping with Maya, I would have delved into a great depression a lot sooner than now! 

It makes me feel better when I don’t hear my baby cry all the time. And did you know, that a hug, a kiss, a touch, skin-to-skin contact, and/or breastfeeding releases a hormone called oxytocin into YOUR body. Oxytocin work as a natural anti-depressant, alleviating stress and helping us to feel generally much better than we otherwise would.

Did you also know that sleeping with your new born helps to regulate their breathing, body temperature and heart rate? Without you there, they have to try and do this all on their own. Another reason to keep them near!

Again, you don’t have to bring them into your bed, all the time, to do this. You can simply just keep them nearby!

This article explains, really well, how western culture has messed up the way we were supposed to do things with out children, biologically, as humans. 

Follow your instincts! Do what feels right. I PROMISE it will make you feel better! ✌🏻️

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I Have Postnatal Depression and I’m Not Ashamed of It. 

    

It’s official. I went to the doctors this morning and we both agreed, I shouldn’t be feeling so low, so teary and sensitive, and so god damn angry, all the time!

I’m telling you this because it’s important to tell you. It’s important to talk about it, so that other women can know, there is nothing to be ashamed of. It doesn’t make you, or I, a bad mother. If anything, it makes you a better one, for putting up with parenting AND depression. Double whammy bonus points! 

It’s also important to know that it is not normal to feel angry all the time or to get upset all the time, just because you’re a parent and parenting is hard.

I’ll be honest, it took me by surprise. I had no clue I had it, until I read an article, only yesterday, about a lady who was having bursts of outrage and realised she needed to seek help. 

I have bursts of outrage, too, I thought. In fact, just the other day, my hairdryer felt my wrath and I’m sad to say, is no longer with us.

It’s not the first time I’ve flew off the handle, either. The more I’ve thought about it, since Maya has been born, there has been numerous times I’ve felt I couldn’t cope and 90% of the time, I’ve held it together. I had to! I didnt want my family suffering because I couldn’t cope. What sort of a mother would that make me? 

I know better now and what a relief it is! I can’t tell you how good it feels to know that it’s NOT normal to feel like this. That it’s NOT just a few bad days. That it’s NOT just me ‘failing’! I guess I’ve plodded on with things, until my symptoms, just recently, have became more noticeable. 

I think it’s possibly coincided with the fact that Maya has been reducing her feeds, lately, due to eating more solids, meaning I’m not getting such a high daily dose of oxytocin, as I once was. I’m guessing that’s what has been keeping the depression at bay, until now, and now I just need something else to get me back on track.

I’m slightly gutted, because I thought I would never again be reduced to the slums of depression, however, I know it’s just the result of too many negative thoughts resulting in a chemical reaction in my brain. Something, I simply couldn’t have helped.

We’ve had it tough since Maya was born. For three and half months, everyone around us told us she had colic, distracting us from discovering the real problem, which was that I had an oversupply of milk and she was taking too much sugar from it. This resulted in one very gassy and unhappy baby, who coughed and spluttered when I gave her my milk and eventually hated breastfeeding. It was a problem that was solved within a few days, once we knew what was causing it, but we had endured it for so long because in our culture, colic is the answer to everything and no one seems to quite know enough about breastfeeding. 

All those negative emotions, from such a stressful period, have really stayed with me all this time. I still feel mega stressed the second she starts to cry. It’s almost traumatised me. I get sweaty, anxious, panicky, I can’t think straight and then I get angry. 

Here’s something else, I feel is important to tell you. I DON’T CRY ALL THE TIME! 

You don’t have to cry all the time to be depressed. I smile quite often, actually. I’m generally a positive and happy person and I’m guessing most people wouldn’t have guessed that I am depressed. I’d be surprised if you did, because I didn’t even know, myself! The point is, people handle depression in different ways. Mine took the form of anger, screaming, shouting, breaking stuff and wanting to get away from my baby. Followed by feelings of guilt and disappointment in myself. The one thing I’ve always wanted is to be a good mother and I vowed to never be a ‘shouty mum’. As the occasions of shouting seem to have increased lately, I knew it was time to act. 

It’s easy to let the signs pass you buy. Especially, if you have well-meaning family and friends around you, telling you ‘it’s ok’, ‘it’s normal to feel like that’, and ‘you’re just having a bad day’. But if you don’t feel you are living up to your basic expectations of coping, that your emotions are out of hand, however they choose to manifest, get yourself to the doctor!

I had a great experience. I know I’m not the worst case of PND the doctor has ever seen, but she was so understanding and got me straight on the waiting list for some Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). 

It’s as easy as that. 

I still feel a bit shitty today but I did just find out I have depression! 

Hopefully, I’ll be back on my feet in no time. 

And if you’re reading this and you suspect depression might be looming over you too, don’t doubt yourself, just go get help. Depression effects 1 in 5 adults. It’s so much more common than we realise and absolutely NOTHING to be ashamed of. 

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Breastfeeding – Friends and Foes

  
I had a really interesting morning at toddler group, today. My usual side-kick has gone back to work so Maya and I were flying solo. Time to make some new acquantences! 

There’s a lady at the group, I have actually noticed in previous weeks, due to the fact she reminds me so much of my older sister. Doesn’t really strike you as a mum. Very glamorous! Full make-up, flowing, and might I add, perfectly highlighted, hair. I don’t know, just not quite as tired as rest of us. This one definitely looks after herself. Makes you slightly jealous. In a good way! 

What’s her secret? 

Where does she find the time? 

Cue dreaming of days gone by, where you would spend a good hour, at least, pampering yourself every morning, not a care in the world. 

Anyway, I noticed her again, once more, today. She was trying to settle a crying baby in a car seat, in the corner of the room. I couldn’t help but sneak a few looks and I noticed, what looked like, a bit of cry-it-out session, going on. I wondered, why? – Not in a judgmental way. Becoming a mother has made me realise you never know what is going on in someone else’s life. But, in a genuinely curious way. 

She’s right there, I thought. It’s a playgroup. I wonder why she’s trying to keep him in the car seat? Perhaps, it’s nap time? 

The crying got pretty bad and the lady just kept holding him down, as he tried to wriggle his way out. I really couldn’t watch it. The sound of a baby crying, goes straight through me and makes me feel a bit sick. So, I left the area and moved over to the forming circle of mums and little people, in preparation for Song Time.

Just as we sat down, Maya began tapping my boobs and whining, so I got comfortable and started nursing. 

Just as we had started, the lady and the baby came and sat next to us. “Don’t mind me! Just keep doing what you’re doing!” I laughed and thanked her, as she moved her chair out of my way, noticing she was now cuddling a very distraught little boy. 

“He’s not mine, he’s a friends.”, she said. “She’s trying to get him off the boob so, I’m helping her out.  He’s 8 months old. He doesn’t need it anymore, he just uses her for comfort, he’s not getting anything from it.” 

It blew me away.

I couldn’t believe this person had just sat next to me. My heart started to race a little. 

I’ve prepared myself for this for a long time, meeting someone who knew so little about breastfeeding, yet felt compelled to voice such a strong opinion on it. 

Having only just met her, I didn’t feel I could correct her, just yet. 

Of course, he would still be getting something! Human milk doesn’t just stop being nutritious because a baby is over 6 months. I mean, what would it be replaced with, formula? Cows milk? Of course, if dried-up cows milk is nutritious, then human milk most certainly still is! 

I stayed quiet, though. Gave her a half smile. Enough to be friendly but not too much. I didn’t want her to think I agreed with her.

Song time pursued and after joining in for 5 minutes, Maya wanted more milk but a few minutes into feeding, everyone started singing her favourite song, “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands!” At that, she popped off and shot up, with a huge grin on her face and began clapping her hands. The lady tossed her hair back, laughed and said, “She prefers the music to the boob!” I laughed again, nodded, smiled. Trying to work her out. Was that friendly or a dig at breastfeeding? Am I being paranoid, here?

On the one hand, I love people who are relaxed about me breastfeeding. On the other hand, it was clear she knew very little about it and had some judgements of her own. I know this type of person and I prayed she wasn’t about to fit the stereotype. 

Song time ended and off we went to play again. I noticed the baby boy’s mum had returned. She was walking and hugging him tight. She looked very stressed! 

I wanted to go over and offer my sympathy and support. Perhaps, some advice. I could tell her about the Breast Buddies group on Facebook, I thought, and she could get tonnes of advice on gentle-weaning strategies and maybe, then, she wouldn’t be so stressed. 

I almost went over but stopped. What if she thinks it’s none of my business? What if the other lady shouldn’t have been telling me what she was doing? I thought it best to leave it. 

I regret that now. 

We enjoyed snack time and before you know it, we bumped into each other again. I looked for her friend with the baby but they were no where to be seen so, I asked her, did she know if her friend was in the Breast Buddies group? 

She wasn’t sure so, I explained, it was full of women who could give her some great tips and that weaning didn’t have to be all or nothing. She could offer expressed milk or formula, along with food during the day and still offer the breast on a morning and at bed time. This might make the transition less stressful for the baby and for mum to endure the crying. There are also options to give milk in a cup, if he won’t take a bottle, I went on. I asked her to pass on the name of the group, as well as my name and if I see a post from her, I will link her up to some good articles.

She seemed thankful for my advice and promised to pass on the information.

Proud moment. I did good, I thought. I was just about to go about my day with that good feeling that changes everything when you’ve done a good deed, when out of no where, there it was. A plethora of breastfeeding myths and criticisms, rolled off her tongue one by one. 

“I’m all for breastfeeding but there’s a way to do it discreetly..”, “Some women do it just so they can get their boobs out.” I was quick to defend this one and said I don’t think anyone ever breastfeeds a baby just so they can get their boobs out. However, she was quite persistent and proceeded to explain she once seen one, in the shopping centre. “…and you should have seen the size of the kid, at least 2!” 

So, I’m stood here thinking, I’ve waited for this moment, say something clever, tell her about the World Health Organisation and that they recommend feeding until 2 and beyond! Tell her! 

I managed to push out that feeding until 2 or 3 is quite normal. Disappointing stuff. 

I fake smiled and pretty much gave up on trying to convince her. I just didn’t know where to start and figured it would take more than a few minutes to educate this lady on the truth. So, I just reminded her to pass on my message, smiled and said goodbye. 

To be fair, she was very honest and I appreciated her honesty. I didn’t, personally, feel offended by her opinions on breastfeeders. I’ve heard it all before, mainly in the comments section of breastfeeding articles, online. However, this lady represents a much bigger problem. It is seemingly harmless comments, like hers, that can destroy a mother’s breastfeeding relationship. 

Critisisms like “he doesn’t need it” or “he is using her for comfort”, suggests there is something wrong with a baby breastfeeding for comfort. Actually, it’s a very normal and natural thing and not only do I love that side of it but once they’re older, you get to use it as a great parenting tool! It’s literally the answer to everything. Anytime Maya falls and bumps herself, I get the boob out. Teething? Boob. Sick? Boob. Upset? Boob. You see where I’m going with this…

Yes, some women use breastfeeding as a means to provide their child with the comfort they seek from their mother. Much like a hug, a feed can provide security and help the child to feel loved and cared for. Very important to a child’s emotional development. Would you deny a child a hug? 

So, that was the last I seen of her. I tried to forget about it and carried on playing with Maya. We were just about to start getting ready to go, when a lady behind me exclaimed just how beautiful Maya was! 

We got chatting and as it turns out, I had managed to park myself next to the other breastfeeders in town. I suddenly felt at home! 

What lovely, ladies they were. We got chatting about breastfeeding and how there really isn’t enough support for those mums who really want to, but struggle and that many end up left, feeling failed and guilty that they didn’t do a good enough job or are now unable to nourish their baby with their own breasts.

Another mum interrupted at this point and explained that is exactly what happened to her and that she had failed to breastfeed. We all piped up straight away and told her she didn’t ‘fail’ she was failed by the people that were supposed to help her.

The conversation really lifted my spirits and reminded me that while there are still some uneducated people out there, contributing to the discrimination women face for breastfeeding, there are also the people like us. The ones who will never judge a mum on her decisions with feeding her baby, who will never throw such strong, uneducated opinions at vulnerable mums, looking for help and support and who will always offer ideas for gentle methods and give their support to a mum-in-need. 

Keep up the good work you people! It’s working. One boob at a time. 

And if you’re reading this, mum, please get in touch. I’d love to chat! 😊

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Thirsty for Thirsk!

  
We’ve had a beautiful day in Thirsk, this afternoon. As soon as the husband said he was off that way, for a meeting, I took the opportunity and jumped in the car with him. 

I forgot how beautiful Thirsk is. A small village of cobble stones, coffee shops, bakeries and quirky craft stores. 

The first place we landed was the local book store, White Rose Books. One of my favourite things to do, in the world, is get lost in a book shop, and mentally add every book I pick up to my ‘Must-Get List’. 

I want ALL the books!!

So this was a great opportunity to share one of my favourite hobbies with Maya and I was pleased to see her thoroughly enjoy the experience, as well! 

What a gorgeous book shop it is, too. Two floors and a lovely little coffee shop, offering a range of homemade cakes and food. 

I enjoyed a yummy cherry and cinnamon tea, with a cupcake, and Maya chomped on cucumber, while she browsed their children’s selection, which was fab! 

 

There was so many children’s books, which continued upstairs, where there was also toys, board games, puppets, educational books and a drawing station. Downstairs, there was a table and chairs with a few toys and a basket full of books to read. This one was, quite conveniently,  placed right next to the coffee shop. 😉

  

Maya didn’t waste any time getting stuck in with the toys and books and spent a lot of the time shouting ‘Mmmmm’, which is her version of ‘Moo’. Lots of cows in the books. 

The staff were lovely! It made me realise why it is so important to support local businesses, like this one, rather than spend all our money on online companies, who apparently, don’t even pay tax in this country. 

We’ll definitely be making a trip back down, to stock up on some Christmas presents. 

Next, we hit the duck pond. Wow! Thirsk ducks have to be the most tame I have ever met! From the second we arrived, we were mobbed by hungry-looking feathery creatures, looking for a bite to eat. 

  
What a great, unexpected, little sensory experience for her! All that quacking, flapping and their strange little waddles. I can’t imagine what she must have made of it. It got me thinking, all the time we spend looking at pictures of animals, in books, with our little ones and making the noises to suit each one, what better way to teach them about animals than to show them, first hand, like that. So I’ve vowed to spend more time around animals, from now on. 

Next, we wandered along the high street to look for any hidden gems. We came across a lovely little craft shop, Kristina’s, hidden down one of the side streets. (Check out their Facebook page to see what they have on offer.) They were actually closed but the owner was in cleaning and let us in for a browse. It was a lovely little shop full of really unique craft items. The absolute perfect place to go if you’re looking for something different for the home or a gift for a friend. I can’t wait to see what they get in for Christmas! 

We just had enough time to pop into one of the charity shops, before our lift home arrived. So, we chose Oxfam. Full of wonderful books, toys, as good as new, and even a selection of Halloween costumes. The staff were so friendly and made some lovely comments about Maya and children being carried around in slings. Anyone like that, are our kind of people! 

So, quench your Thirsk thirst! Go and do some Christmas shopping and support your local economy. 

I can’t wait to go back! And we’ve definitely found our favourite book shop!

P.S. Check out White Rose Book’s Facebook page and give them a like! 😉

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A Message to the Family and Friends of the Breastfeeding Mum…

  
I am currently training to become a breastfeeding peer supporter and as a peer supporter, it is my duty to provide each mum with the latest evidence-based information, so that she can make informed decisions throughout her journey. It is also my duty to make the mother feel supported, to pass no judgement on her, no matter what. This is exactly the kind of thing that makes all the difference in a women’s success with breastfeeding. Which is what brings me to the point of this article. 

There are many reasons a woman may not continue breastfeeding and health professionals and peer supporters do all they can to prevent/correct those issues. However, one very large, underlying issue is the lack of support a breastfeeding mum can receive from the people around her. 

Often, you’ll find it’s the most well-meaning, close family and friends that can cause the most damage and they don’t even realise it. 

So, if you have someone close to you – your daughter, sister, girlfriend, wife, granddaughter, friend, colleague, who you know really wants to succeed at breastfeeding, read on and see how you may be able to help her.

Don’t wait until the baby is here to start supporting her.

Unfortunately, we live in a society that has forgotten the art of breastfeeding. Bottle feeding culture means that many people don’t know much about breastfeeding. They assume it’s pretty much the same as bottle feeding, so all the advice must be the same – feed baby every 4 hours, give baby a bottle of water on a hot day etc… Well, not only is breastfeeding different but advice towards breastfeeding has changed over the years, so even if you breastfed your own children, it’s very likely that advice has changed since then. 

Often, mums are met with a lot of conflicting advice because the people around her know that things were done differently when they were parents and their children turned out OK. Before you go down that road, put yourself in the mums shoes. You, of course, did the best you could with the information you had at the time and if you had been given the same advice, then, that the mum has been given, now, I’m sure you would have done things differently. Support her in her choices. She knows what is best for her baby and needs to learn how to trust her own instincts. People telling her she is not doing something right will only cause her to loose confidence in her ability to do so.

What you can do, is help her brush up on the latest breastfeeding advice. There is so much information online and it’s really easy to access. Websites like Kelly Mom, The Breastfeeding Network, La Leche League and The Milk Meg, all offer the most up-to-date information on breastfeeding. Learn it together or mention a little fact about breastfeeding when you see her. She will love your enthusiasm and may even learn something she didn’t already know that will help her at some point down the line. 

Encourage her to listen to her baby instead of the people around her. 

If you’re a mother yourself, you will know that no-one knows your child like you do but sometimes, your instincts can get confused with the advice from the people around you. Help her to have confidence in herself and to block out the people around her. Those post-partum days can be an exhausting and overwhelming time and it can be hard for a mother to speak up for herself. Do it for her! Tell Aunt Know-it-All to hush down, in the nicest possible way, of course! 😊

Do not criticise her, in any way, shape or form, for breastfeeding.

You might think this one is easy, right? Well, I wonder if you would consider simple comments or questions about breastfeeding as criticism? Often, and again because our culture just knows so little about breastfeeding, the people around a breastfeeding mum tend to ask a lot of questions and make a lot of comments about it. While to the spectator, they are harmless, they can be absolutely detrimental to a breastfeeding mum’s confidence. 

“Wow, is she feeding AGAIN?!” 

This can either translate as, “There is something wrong with your baby” or “If the baby was formula/bottle fed, she would probably feed less and cause you less stress.” This was my personal feeling towards those comments. Who knows? Other mums may have something to add to that. 

Asking if a baby is feeding again, once again disturbs the connection the mum has made with her baby. She has spent a long time getting to know her and learning her cues. She’s pretty sure she knows when her baby needs feeding but if you’re so shocked that she’s feeding her ‘again’, maybe she doesn’t… You see? 

Another comment I had was about breastfeeding in front of people. Now, I can’t stress enough, when a baby is born, THEY ARE HUNGRY!! They are growing, fast! Their tummy’s are the size of a marble, meaning what goes in, soon comes out and must quickly be replaced. And it doesn’t end there. They keep growing and being hungry and needing milk and don’t get me started on growth spurts! Basically, this means mums need to feed their babies as often as that baby needs and comments like, “Do you have to do that here?” do not help. 

I won’t blame you for feeling a little confused at this point if you bottle fed your children, because bottle fed babies act differently. A breastfed baby needs to work to get the milk out, so it takes a little longer and once they are full, they stop. A bottle fed baby actually gets fuller much quicker and, often, overfeeds slightly, so they might not feed as little and as often. It’s important to let the breastfeeding mum know and feel that this is normal! Her baby is acting just like any other breastfed baby. You can not feed your breastfed baby too much!

What you can do to help, is make her feel comfortable. Talk to her while she is feeding her baby. Don’t avoid eye contact or look uncomfortable. Ask her if you can get her a glass of water. Breastfeeding is thirsty work and not only will you help her quench her thirst but you will help make her feel really supported to feed her baby wherever and whenever he/she needs.

Incessant questioning!

To continue on and elaborate, questions are not good. I’ll give you some examples. 

“Didn’t he just have a feed?”

“How do you know he’s full if you can’t see how much there is?” 

“What happens if you give him too much?”

“Is that why he’s sick a lot, because you overfeed him?”

“How will he ever get used to anyone else if it’s only ever you holding him?”

Etc… Etc…

If you are really interested in knowing the answers to these questions, why don’t you go online or pick up a breastfeeding book and find out? It’s likely that the mother doesn’t even know the answers to all of your questions yet. All she knows is that it’s natural, it feels right and she trusts it. Your questions will do nothing but make her feel undermined and under supported. 

Please, don’t tell her she will spoil her baby by holding him too much or by co-sleeping.

So, thanks to those lovely, cold-hearted Victorians, who quite frankly, kind of hated children, us Brits still hold certain ideas that holding a baby too much or letting them in your bed, will spoil them. 

Thankfully, we now know very different. Not only does holding your baby often, help a mum keep a good milk supply, it helps calm a baby, making them feel safe and secure. This means they cry a lot less and inevitably, reduces a mum’s risk of post-natal depression. 

What can you do? Does your mum need a good rest? Help her to look up how to bed-share/co-sleep safely. Telling her not to bed-share is actually a lot more dangerous, as it can lead to her falling asleep, exhausted, with her baby, under unsafe conditions. If she plans to co-sleep, she can make sure it is done as safe as possible. 

It’s also worth remembering that when co-sleeping is done safely, it is actually a preventative factor against SIDS. Check out the Behavioural Sleep Laboratory website for more details. 

Please, don’t tell her, her baby should be sleeping through the night.

One of the most common misconceptions about normal infant sleep, in our society, is that there is something wrong with a baby if they don’t sleep through the night. In fact, the opposite is true. It is very normal for most babies not to sleep through the night. 

According to Infant Sleep Information Source, “In cases where we are unhappy with our infant’s sleep development it may not be the baby that is problematic, but our expectations regarding sleep and babies’ needs.” In other words, raising mums expectations that her baby should be sleeping through the night, can actually cause her more stress than her baby will by keeping her up. Do you really want to be adding to her stress? 

Instead, try reassuring her that it is completely normal for her baby to be waking and that there are numerous reasons for her doing so, all equally important as each other, such as hunger, thirst, comfort, a nightmare, a growth spurt. By encouraging mum to respond to her baby’s needs, you will actually help to enhance her mental health and relationship with baby. 10 points for you!

Help her find the local sling library and offer to go with her to the first meet.

Slings, as far as I’m concerned, are the best thing since sliced bread. 

Without my sling, when my husband went back to work, I wouldn’t have been able to feed myself, drink a cup of tea, nip to the loo, wash the pots etc…

Some babies are great and are born with the ability to settle in a crib, quietly for an hour or two at a time. I did not have one of those babies! And neither do most of the world’s mums! 

Sometimes, a mum needs help and giving a mum help with learning to carry her baby, so she can do things for herself, can make all the difference to her mental well-being.

Much like breastfeeding, humans in our modern society have also forgotten the art of babywearing. For centuries, humans carried their babies in some form of cloth and for good reason, too, not just because prams hadn’t been invented yet. When a baby cries less, so does his mummy. Happy baby, happy mum! 😊

I can’t stress enough how important it is to help mum attend a sling meet, while she is pregnant. There is so much to learn and take in when a new baby arrives, learning how to use a sling is the last thing mum needs. If this isn’t possible, then simply supporting her to learn will still make all the difference. To find your local sling library click here.

Have to hand all the information she needs, to access breastfeeding support services.

Locally, nationally, breastfeeding cafes/groups, Facebook groups, her local Infant Feeding Team, the National Breastfeeding Helpline, her local NCT breastfeeding counsellor, nearest lactation consultant (IBCLC). All can be found on google or by contacting your local health service. Having this to hand means that if she does start to struggle, finding the right phone number and knowing who to call, will not be a worry for her. Something so simple can mean all the difference in a crisis. Those early days with a newborn, really do destroy your brain cells and it’s hard figuring out who to turn to when things don’t go as planned. Having someone else to rely on for things like this can be immeasurable help to a mum-in-need.

Sit back and let a mum do what she has to do.

It’s super important for a breastfeeding mum to spend as much time as possible, in the early days, with her little one. 

As I discussed above, keeping baby close, helps regulate a mum’s supply. It also means she can look for and learn her baby’s cues. A mother needs time to get to know her baby and that just isn’t going to happen if people keep coming and taking the baby off her. 

Again, it’s a tough one because I know that family and friends are all so well-meaning when they do this. They think they are giving the mum a break, along with the added bonus of getting a good squeeze from the cute tiny baby and sometimes, mum does need a break and someone to hold the baby. The best way to solve this, is to just ask if she would like you to hold the baby. If the answer is no, leave it at that! Simple. 😊

And last but not least…

Print this out or save it to your computer and refer back to it as often as possible. Share it on Facebook or Twitter to help spread the message to other family members and friends. We need to get the message out there if we want to see women succeed with their breastfeeding goals! It won’t be easy but together, we can get there. 💪🏻

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There She Goes…

 It was an emotional morning, today, that took me quite by surprise. I didn’t expect it. I took an 11 month old Maya to her second ever toddler group. I’m not sure, exactly, what was different this week but it was. Last week, she was asking for my hand before she ventured to the other side of the room or wanted to play next to another child. Today, she had a different spirit. Today she didn’t need me.

She stood up tall, confident, with a huge smile on her face and she waddled away without a single glance back!

I’ve been told to expect emotions like this. I’ve been told, one day you will look down and wonder where your baby went. I just didn’t expect it to be today. So, this morning, after 11 months of attachment parenting, I had that first taste of heartache that comes with learning to let go, as a parent. Wow. It’s hard!

However, I also felt pride. Proud to have never pushed Maya into being separated from me before she was ready and grateful I had that choice. Proud that we ignored all those comments that holding my baby all the time will mean she will never want to let go of me or that responding to her every need will spoil her.

You should have seen my gentle little girl, today! Taking bananas to the other children and sitting nicely with them, pressing buttons on toys and giggling away. Spoilt? Ha!

So, there she goes! My baby is fading and my little girl appearing, right before my eyes.

All I can think is, here it is. My evidence. You can not hold your baby too much, you can not answer their cries too often, give too many hugs, wipe away too many tears. I was right to follow my instincts and never leave myself feeling guilty for not responding to my baby, for fear of making her too dependent. On the contrary! There she goes.

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