Friday, 28 June 2013

Breastfeeding Beyond a Year

Quite simply, breastfeeding post 12 months is absolutely fine.  Why not?  

For many women in western society there is an unsaid opinion that we should stop breastfeeding by the time our babies hit 1 year old.  It's the raised eyebrow with the accompanying "Oh, you're still breastfeeding?"

It's fact that the World Health Organisation actually recommends that women continue to breastfeed their children up to two years or more!

We say, feed as long as you like!

Ten Facts Why We Love Breastfeeding

1. Breastfeeding reduces the risks of breast and ovarian cancer later in life, and helps women return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster.
2 WHO says adults who were breastfed as babies often have lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol than those who weren't.
3 Across the world, less than 40 per cent of babies under the age of six months are exclusively breastfed.
4 Breastfeeding burns approximately 500 calories a day.
5 There are more than 4,000 species of mammal, and all breastfeed their young.
6 According to a survey carried out by the Office for National Statistics in 2005, 35 per cent of British babies were being exclusively breastfed at one week, 21 per cent at six weeks, seven per cent at four months and three per cent at five months.
7 The same survey said 78 per cent of new mothers in Britain attempt breastfeeding, compared with 99 per cent in Norway, 91 per cent in Italy and 84 per cent in Spain.
8 In the UK, breastfeeding is more common among mothers who remained in education beyond the age of 18: 91 per cent, compared with 59 per cent of those who left school at the age of 16. (suggests where we really need to focus our efforts then...)
9.  Poop is less smelly (if any in some cases)
10 It's less hassle!  On tap, ready to go anywhere, anytime

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Breastfeeding - The Ins and Outs

Did you know there are three different types of milk you will give to your baby?  

In the first three days after your baby is born you will produce Colostrum.  Colostrum is packed with your antibodies which are passed to your baby to help develop their immune system.  It’s a great start!  It contains half the carbohydrates and fats of regular milk and is specially adapted to meet the immediate needs of the newborn.  Really, Mother Nature is quite marvellous!

Around Day 3 your ‘milk will come in.’ This means your breasts will fill with the fore and hind milk baby needs to develop.   The fore milk will satisfy the baby’s thirst while the richer hind milk will make your baby feel deliciously full.  Because there are two types of milk it is important that each breast is emptied entirely before switching breasts if baby is still hungry, otherwise it’s like giving your baby plenty to drink but no food.  A minimum of 10 minutes is needed. 

If you express, it’s possible to see the difference.  Fore milk looks quite watery, while the hind milk is more yellow, thicker and richer. 

Amazingly there are 15 -20 openings in the nipple (why does no one ever tell you this stuff) out of which the milk flows.  The milk is stored in clusters of cells, called alveoli that look like bunches of grapes.   
The milk travels along the milk ducts (mini pipes) and out of the nipple. 

Will there be enough?
There’s always enough!  Breast-feeding an infant is a supply and demand function. The more (and longer) a baby nurses, the more milk is produced.

Although it might look like a baby is chewing on your nipple, ultrasound images show he actually removes milk by creating a vacuum – also known as sucking.

When the baby’s tongue is lowered and the vacuum is applied, the milk comes out of the breast, and doesn't involve any compression of the nipple - it's not a milking action at all – no we’re NOT dairy cows in training.

Infants who struggle to breastfeed usually generate a much weaker vacuum than successful breastfeeders. This may explain why babies with a cleft palate often fail to breastfeed, as do premature babies who don't have strong enough mouth muscles to suck hard enough.

Last job – burping
You know yourself how much it feels to have a big burp after a satisfying meal.  Well babies are just the same.  Burp your baby by sitting him on your lap with his head down or over your shoulder and rubbing his back.  A great tip for a baby with trapped wind is to walk up and down the stairs with him over your shoulder. And don’t forget the muslin to catch the inevitable!  

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Funny Breastfeeding Memories

Here our Emma-Jane mums give us an insight into the funnier side of breastfeeding

  • I was using a breast  pump once, when a man asked me if I was making cheese! I thought he was joking and laughed!  I have since found a site on the internet where they actually sell cheese made from breast milk.
  • I was sitting with friends in a park in Leicester breastfeeding my baby, when a man rode by on a bike.  He stared so hard, he wobbled like mad and fell off!  Boy, did we laugh!!
  • When I was suffering from cracked nipples I was desperate for some relief and tried an old wives remedy.  I chilled a few large cabbage leaves in the fridge and then lay them on my nipples.  For a couple of seconds it felt great but the leaking milk soon mingled with the warm leaves….and it smelt terrible like rotting veg.
  • By baby number three I could answer the door to the postman whilst feeding, managing a toddler hanging off my leg and being the phone – now that’s what I call multi-tasking!
  • The inevitable embarrassing leakage patches and having to rush home to change while desperately shoving toilet roll in my bra to limit further damage and searching for something to cover up
  • Standing under the hand dryer in the ladies to ‘resolve’ the wet patch
  • Being bitten my baby – now that’s painful and also indicated to me that it was time to move on from breastfeeding
  • Not funny but poignant..all of my final feeds have been a middle of the night feed when the house has been silent, the world is calm and it’s just me and my baby enjoying our last feed together in the rocking chair
  • Breastfeeding memory – feeling my breasts at every feed to try and remember which side to start
  • Feeding in front of my dad and actually my father in law and feeling quite natural about getting my breasts out – but the thoughts of doing that now fills me with utter horror.
  • Your breasts feel  like a milking cows udder when utilizing an electric pump and the shape your nipples stretch to has to be seen to be believed
  • Walking around with my arms encircled in front of me when making the move to bottle feeds – the thought of anyone bumping into my tender, swollen and extremely sensitive breasts during those initial days bordered frightening - talk about defining your personal space!
  • Being shown the size of my friend’s breasts and asked if that was normal as they’d grown to gigantic proportions during pregnancy – I had to be honest as say they were the biggest pair I’d ever seen


Tuesday, 25 June 2013

The Benefits of Breastfeeding

Money Can’t Buy You Love – The Benefits of Breastfeeding

With over 25 years’ experience of making maternity and nursing bras that deliver in the comfort factor every time we asked some of our Emma-Jane mums from our group of Testers  what they felt were the benefits of breastfeeding.

Marine, mum of two including a 6 month old, said she loved the feeling of closeness with her baby and the extra special bond that she shared with him.  Marine was happy to fit in around the needs of her baby and liked working to his “rhythms” feeding him when he wanted. 

The mums we spoke to realised that physical contact is not only important to newborns, helping  them feel more secure, warm, and comforted but the mums themselves benefited  from this closeness and quiet time too.   

 Angela , mum of 3 and Karen mum of 2 year old Mia, and 8 year old Hannah were among the mums who said that they enjoyed the freedom of breastfeeding.  They could go out all day, if they wanted without worry.  No need to sterilize bottles, buy, measure and mix formula or think about warming the formula, or even having enough formula .  And there are no bottles to warm in the middle of the night! Breast milk is on tap and always at the right temperature for babies.

Less time spent winding, was a bit of a breastfeeding bonus! For most babies, breast milk is easier to digest than formula.  

The health benefits breast feeding brings were very important to our Emma-Jane mums.   The cells, hormones and antibodies in breast milk protect babies from illness. Our mums felt that breastfeeding was protecting their baby and giving him the best possible start in life. 

And…breastfeeding is also better for the environment. There is less rubbish and plastic waste compared to that produced by formula cans and bottle supplies.

Interestingly no one mentioned the expense of bottles and formula compared to the  cost savings of breastfeeding.  Our mums rated feeling close to their babies followed by the  flexibility that breastfeeding offers over the fact that breastfeeding is free.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Breastfeeding top Tips

In support of UK Breastfeeding Week 2013...

Breastfeeding Top Tips

We interviewed three breastfeeding mums to find out what their top tips are.  We share their top 5 here with you here… 

  •       Be prepared for the amount of leakage for the first three months!  Never leave the house without a supply of breast pads.
  •        You will need at least two or three maternity bras, preferably cotton for comfort - it’s good to have spares while one is in the wash!
  •  Choose bras which have a bit of spare room to accommodate breast pads and changes in breast size between feeds. 
  •          Wired bras can cause the milk ducts to become blocked as your milk comes in. You need a bra with soft, giving fabric that also provides support. 
  •          Choose specially designed maternity bras with good support, including when one cup is open for feeding, the other should continue to provide comfortable support.   A good maternity bra allows you to feed easily and discreetly.
  •        The best time to buy your bras is during the 36th week of pregnancy 
  •          When you think you have less milk, let your baby feed more often to stimulate the milk flow
  •          Don’t be shy or embarrassed to ask for help,  ask at your clinic, your health visitor or find a support group
  •          Follow your heart. Don’t worry about what other people think or their opinions.  Do what is right for your baby