Friday, 29 May 2015

For anyone wanting to breastfeed but having problems

Just a quick one...

...I've noticed a surge of articles being shared online and popping up in my newsfeed about mums who wanted to breastfeed but didn't get the support they needed to continue and stopped as a result. 

It seems to me that the very people we assume to be experts on breastfeeding (midwives, GPs, nurses and Health Visitors) seldom are. My experience in hospital with a one day old wasn't great in respect to breastfeeding. When I had a bit of trouble getting Baby D to latch I had six (yes six) different people 'help' me. All but one were midwives. Two of them grabbed the back of Baby D's head and shoved her face into my boob and held it there whilst she screamed and screamed. I wonder why she didn't latch????!!!! The last lady to help me was a Healthcare Assistant. She had several children of her own all of which she'd breastfed and she wasn't overworked and rushed like the midwives were. She was kind and gentle and helped me to get Baby D to latch. It took about 30 seconds and we'd cracked it. I was so pleased! 
When I got home I was lucky enough to have a home visit from a midwife who definitely knew her stuff when it came to breastfeeding but after talking to numerous fellow mums she was an exception rather than the rule.

It seems that the support is there but you have to seek it out which is not the way it should be. Please give my post about maximising chances of success with breastfeeding a read.

I heard some brilliant advice recently: "If you don't feel joy when breastfeeding seek specialist advice immediately. Time is of the essence". This came from a breastfeeding expert April Whincop who is a Lactation Consultant and knows everything there is to know about breastfeeding. Lactation Consultants are the experts! Please please please, if you're having troubles and wish to continue breastfeeding call one. Here's a link to find one near you. 
A consultation will cost money but is way way cheaper than a year's worth of formula.

Dawn x

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

The beginning of Baby Led Weaning

So we are four months into baby led weaning and it's been super fun so far.
Baby D has eaten a massive range of foods only one of which she's not liked: extra mature smoked cheddar! She loves tomatoes, blueberries, spaghetti bolognese and chicken best...so far.

I'm an all or nothing kind of person and are doing Baby Led Weaning only. No spoon feeding at all. The whole point of baby led weaning is that baby has complete control of what goes on their mouth and to my mind spoon feeding undermines this ethic. We've tried giving her the spoon to put in her mouth herself with very limited success. Most ends up being flicked up the wall or on the ceiling. Nothing gets put in her mouth by anybody else, not even medicine or vitamin drops; I fill the syringe and offer it to her, she then puts it in her mouth herself and I push the plunger slowly. It works really well.

Before we embarked upon weaning I read the Baby Led Weaning book cover to cover. I thoroughly recommend it, it explains the ideas behind it really well along with techniques, food prep etc. I also did a baby first aid course at the local Surestart Centre. I was a bit concerned about the choking risk and wanted to be prepared in case the worst happened. It gave me the confidence to be able to deal with choking and to recognise when Baby D could be choking. Basically if they are coughing and spluttering they are getting rid of the blockage themselves. If they go quiet that's when you need to worry. Also I learned about the risk with whole cherry tomatoes, grapes etc. It's best to squash, halve or quarter them to prevent them from getting stuck in their throat or wind wipe. 
And something I learned in the book is that the gag reflex is right at the front of the tongue in a young baby and as they learn and grow the reflex moves gradually towards the back of the tongue. It's a clever safety feature of babies mouths. Spoon feeding can interfere with this reflex and make it harder for them to understand how to clear a blockage themselves.

I'm a subscriber to the view that food is for fun until age one. Baby D will get all of the nutrients she needs from my milk, so there is no pressure for her to eat any food at all. She can enjoy learning, taking her time and exploring for herself. Plus as she's feeding herself she's self regulating how much she eats which instils good habits of stopping once full, none of this 'just one more mouthful' or 'finish your food then you can have pudding'.

Her first food was broccoli and to my surprise she ate quite a lot straight away. I guess that because she'd seen us eat so often (we had a newborn seat on our Tripp Trapp to enable her to sit at the table with us as a newborn) she knew what to do. She even swallowed a fair bit - this became evident in the next day's nappy.
Over the next few days I introduced lightly steamed vegetables at each meal. Sometimes she'd just play with it, sometimes eat some and other times wasn't interested at all. And every time fed a load to the dogs! Our dogs know to sit patiently at the foot of the high chair and food will rain down for them.
She now eats whatever we are eating. We don't add salt or sugar to any of our cooking and always make everything from scratch. We actually find it makes us a bit healthier in our food choices. And the Baby Led Weaning Cookbook is great for ideas and inspiration. 
We always sit at the dining table for all meals and Baby D's high chair is a Tripp Trapp that comes right up to the table so she can use the table like us - not a tray attached. We also have a new rule which is no phones at the table. 

Baby led weaning is messy. There's no avoiding it. The other day just before bed I noticed that I had Weetabix on my ear...it had been there all day. Having the dogs around to eat everything that ends up on the floor is handy. But they are starting to get a bit chubby so we might have to put a stop to that. 
After spaghetti bolognese Baby D definitely needs a bath. If it's warm enough I generally strip her down to her vest and put a bib on her then we don't need to worry about her clothes getting stained. Mine on the other hand...!

Anyway, I could talk about weaning all day. And I’ll certainly be posting about different aspects of it in the near future like good snacks for when out and about, useful things to have/use and interesting recipes like breastmilk pancakes which we made on Shrove Tuesday.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Getting back to fitness post baby...or at least attempting it

After Baby D arrived and having to do pretty much nothing except nurse, change nappies, nurse, nurse and nurse post emergency c-section I started to feel rather unfit and squidgy. During pregnancy I’d got really into swimming and gone 3 times a week in addition to walking the dogs for an hour a day and was feeling really trim…as far as a pregnant lady can.
So, I set about trying to gradually build up my fitness. I had to start really slowly as my caesarean recovery wasn’t as good as many other mums and I found it quite uncomfortable and sore doing anything physical.

Walking the dogs is where I started. I didn’t go on my own as I couldn’t bend down to pick up poop for a few weeks so always went along with hubby and pop Baby D in the buggy. As I got stronger I was able to put Baby D in the sling and a dog lead in each hand and even go for walks on my own! I've now got to the point where I am walking faster than I did pre-pregnancy even whilst carrying an 8.5kg baby on my front. I do however find it slightly hard work and when I get home often have to down a pint of water and have a good sit down. But as Baby D gets bigger and heavier I'm getting stronger and fitter which is making it easier all the time.

Walking the dogs is all very well but it's nice to have a bit of variation and a chat with fellow humans (other than Baby D who isn't much of a conversationalist yet being only 9 months old). So when I was approached by a very friendly mum with a leaflet about Buggy Walks I was super interested. A group of local parents or carers, grandparents etc go for a walk along with buggies and babies (or a sling and baby in some cases, me included) every Monday morning. I've been going for a few months now, it's such a lovely thing to do.
Buggy Walking in Filton
Each walk starts at 10am and lasts around 45 minutes, the first Monday of the month is in Stoke Gifford, second Monday is Cheswick village by the MOD, third is Patchway and fourth is Filton. The pace is fast enough to increase heart rate but slow enough to hold a conversation. The routes vary and it's nice exploring new places. After each walk we all go to a cafe for a cuppa (and some cake if we're feeling naughty). They are a friendly bunch, I've made some nice friends and look forward to having a good work out each Monday. Although if the weather is a bit grotty I have to force myself to go but always have a nice time once I'm there regardless. Its a free activity, you only have to pay for your tea and cake and you don't have to go every week, just go when you fancy. You can find this group on Facebook, further information for others in South Gloucestershire on the council website and other walking groups on the Walking For Health website. 

My next step is to start swimming once a week. Watch this space!

Dawn x