Another day and another common query from a parent. This one wants to share all the positive effects of carrying with her pregnant friend & gift her a stretchy wrap.
My friend is having a baby in Nov and I want to gift her a stretchy for those first weeks and months! Any brand you recommend?A caring friend, 2019
I could give a one line answer & a link to my personal favorite brand BUT not only is that not my style, it doesn’t fit with my desire to empower parents.
So wether you are wanting to buy a wrap for a friend, or looking for yourself, I hope this information will help.
Stretchy Wrap (Video)
What is a stretchy wrap?
Let’s start at the beginning.
- A stretchy wrap is a long, stretchy length of t shirt like fabric
- They usually come in one size fits most length.
- They are often a cotton blended with something stretchy.
- Most often used between newborn and around 3 months, although many use longer.
- Two main sub types, stretching in two ways, or one.
One way & two way
The most common type seen on market, is the two way stretchy wrap.
Two way stretchy
- This means it has stretch in the fabric horizontally and vertically.
- It is very easy for someone learning to get the baby in and snug.
- As the baby grows, the strechyness means the baby will sink from where you first had them in the wrap.
- This will happen eventually in either type, although oftern later in a one way stretchy wrap.
Link – two stretchy wrap tutorial
One way stretchy
- Same as above except –
- Fabric stretches most in one direction only.
- Requires tightening more like a woven wrap (not stretchy).
- Some parents find they can carry their baby longer before needing a new type of sling
Link – Tighen one way stretchy wrap
- In short, you get what you pay for with stretchy wraps.
- You can pick one up for £6 BUT honestly, it’s worth the investment in a bigger brand.
- There are free hire schemes for newborns around the county, is there one near you?
- Look around your online market places, second hand slings are an affordable option for many !
- The colours and patterns do not affect their function, but choosing one you like might make you smile on a tough day.
- Investing in a higher quality stretchy wrap, often means they can last thought multiple children, and be lent to friends with bumps.
- I personally, I have 6 types in my teaching bag but I love most, an organic bamboo Hana baby wrap 😉
Want to know more about these types of slings? You can read more in the links and book to work with me 1:1 online and in person in Buckinghamshire.
find a local sling library and skilled helpers
Everything you’d ever need to know about stretchy slings (inc how to videos)
Stating to sag or feeling to heavy?
When babies enter the world, they expect to be, and need to be carried by us.
Be this in our arms or with the aid of slings and carriers, the positive effects are wide reaching for baby, parents and society as whole.
Positive effects for baby
- Encourages bonding
- Helps to regulate body systems and growth
- Promotes and encourages breastfeeding
- Reduces crying, often calming for fussy babies.
- Encourages social and language development
Positive effects for parents
- Heightens awareness and responsiveness to baby
- Help with perinatal mood disorders
- Increase Paternal confidence and family connections
- ’Hands free’ for tasks and getting out the house.
- Provide comfort and nurturing for older children
Positive effects for society
- Strong bonds are linked to more resilient children
- Carrying keeps families active
- associated higher breastfeeding rates
- Carried babies have less ear infections
- Improves perinatal mental health, good for everyone!
Read more (link)⠀⠀⠀
If you want to read more positive effects, read the original article here by Dr Rosie Knowles @ Carrying Matters.
Read more (Book)
If you want to know even more about babywearing, it’s history, the science and why it matters to everyone that we carry our babies.
Try Why Babywearing Matters
It’s written by Rosie, a GP who is also a bit of a babywearing community legend and I love love love this book. Well done Dr Rosie Knowles!
Don’t Google it!
Start your searches for infant feeding answers here. You will thank me.
All of the following websites have a wealth of information / blogs online.
Most of your questions will find answers here!
If I missed out your favorite, please add it in the comments 🙂
UK based IBCLC
America based IBCLC
Australia based IBCLC
UK based GP’s !
International breastfeeding Charity
Drugs in Breastmilk service (ABM)
General breastfeeding books
You’ve Got it in You: A Positive Guide to Breast Feeding – Emma Pickett
Breastfeeding and Medication – Wendy Jones
Why Mothers’ Medication Matters – Wendy Jones (shorter read)
Why Breastfeeding Matters – Charlotte Young
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding – La Leche League International
Breastfeeding supporters / specialists
The Breastfeeding Atlas – Barbara Wilson-Clay
Supporting Sucking Skills In Breastfeeding Infants – Catherine Watson Genna
Breastfeeding and Human Lactation, Enhanced Fifth Edition – Karen Wambach
Milk Matters: Infant feeding & immune disorder – Maureen Minchin
Context, politics and more
The Politics of Breastfeeding: When Breasts are Bad for Business – Gabrielle Palmer
(short, hand size version)
Why the Politics of Breastfeeding Matter – Gabrielle Palmer
The Big Letdown: How Medicine, Big Business, and Feminism Undermine Breastfeeding – Kimberly Seals Allers
With Black parents in mind
The Mocha Manual to a Fabulous Pregnancy – Kimberly Seals Allers
The Mocha Manual to Turning Your Passion into Profit: How to Find and Grow Your Side Hustle in Any Economy – Kimberly Seals Allers
The Mini Mocha Manual to a Fabulous Pregnancy: The Ultimate Pregnancy Guidebook for Black Women (The Mocha Manual 4)
– Kimberly Seals Allers
The Mocha Manual to Military Life: A Savvy Guide for Wives, Girlfriends, and Female Service Members – Kimberly Seals Allers
Free to Breastfeed: Voices of Black Mothers – Jeanine Valrie Logan
Coming soon –
I am Not your Baby Mother – Candice Brathwaite
With Islamic parents in mind
Breastfeeding in Ramadan: A Guide for Fasting Mothers – Latonia Anthony
Coming soon –
The Practical Guide to Breastfeeding in Islam – Latonia Anthony
Breastfeeding Without Birthing: A Breastfeeding Guide for Mothers through Adoption, Surrogacy, and Other Special Circumstances – Alyssa Schnell
Where’s the Mother? Stories from a Transgender Dad – Trevor MacDonald
Holistic Sleep Coaching: Gentle Alternatives to Sleep Training for Health and Childcare Professionals – Lyndsey Hookway
Why Your Baby’s Sleep Matters – Sarah Ockwell-Smith
Sweet Sleep: Nighttime and Naptime Strategies for the Breastfeeding Family – La Leche League International
Boobin’ All Day Boobin’ All Night: A Gentle Approach to Sleep For Breastfeeding Families – Meg Nagle IBCLC
Birth & body autonomy
Period Power – Maisie Hill
The Breast Book: A puberty guide with a difference – it’s the when, why and how of breasts – Emma Pickett
Crying Babies and Food: In the early years – Maureen Minchin
Infant Formula and Modern Epidemics: The milk hypothesis – Maureen Minchin
The Busy Parent’s Guide To Food Allergies: Everything you need to know about cow’s milk allergy and other childhood food allergies – Mrs Zoe T Williams
ALL of the Why it matters books!)
Why Babywearing Matters – Rosie Knowles
How To Talk So Little Kids Will Listen: A Survival Guide to Life with Children Ages 2-7 – Joanna Faber
No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame – Janet Lansbury
They came, they latched on, & they went home with a spring in their step.
Here’s what happened when the Big Latch on and workshops came to High Wycombe in August 2019.
Every year, all around the world, from 1 to 7 August is World Breastfeeding Week. Individuals and organisations alike, are encouraged celebrate, collaborate and empower parents to breastfeed.
This year, I was able to bring something new to my local town and community. We met at the local Library for a 2 hour session with workshops from myself, a local independent Midwife and a Doula. For good measure, we added in a Big Latch On and the result was a whole lot of love and fun.
Across the world, the BIG LATCH ON 2019 organizers counted.
- 17,846 children breastfeeding during the one minute count.
- 18,694 breastfeeding people attended.
- 56,442 people attended registered Global Big Latch On locations to support breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding Myths & Questions
My session, as it turns out, was far bigger than the 20 minute slot I allocated myself to answer the breastfeeding myths and questions from the people in the room. We got through a few but honestly, we could have talked about most of them for 20 mins and some, many hours!
So for those of you who where in the room and did not get your card addressed, Breastfeeding Myths & Questions (Part 1) is up now. I hope it gets you started on your own journey of self empowerment (this years #worldbreastfeedingweek theme).
Lastly, if you are sad you missed out on all the fun, and don’t want to wait until next year, maybe #SundaySessions will be your thing.
Get in touch to find out more
#empower #support #wefeedtoo #diversityininfantfeeding #latchon #brestfeedingspecalist #breastfeeding #mum #dad #parent #baby #toddler #pregnant #midwife #doula #raffle #localbusiness #shoplocal #eatlocal #canva #library #communityevent
In many respects, the bulk of what parents need to know is as old as the sky’s are blue. There is however, a growing need to evolve with the birthing population of today.
Take the toy pictured, not quite as old as the hills but sturdy enough to pass though generations of children to my own. It’s capable of entertaining children, parents recognise it with fond memories but would it hold any relevance to a family of today with all it’s digital trappings.
I review the texts that I have trained with in with the benefit of all the learning I have done since and I am struck constantly by one glaring assumption.
These books, that many health care professionals, breastfeeding supporters and mothers alike, gleam their technical knowledge from are all based from an assumption on writiters norm being the norm. As these authors are mostly white, mostly privaiaged, there is are whole sections of our birthing population in the uk who would be poorly served by theses resources.
I think next about the services that are run, in the ways they have usually been run, with shrinking or demonishing budgets. They offer a fabulous services in many places around the UK but even some of these are closed without warning as money is needed else where.
So maybe it’s time we get out thinking caps on and we rethink the way we support families who want to breastfeed and deserve support for the entire journey of lactating.
The digital age brings many trappings but also more opportunities. Some of the underserved members of my own local community do not feel comfortable to come along to a group, but are willing to pick up the phone.
Others might send a pm on Facebook or follow an influencer on Instagram gleeming information from their peers comments.
What if we rebuilt services from the ground up and adjusted how they run to great equitable care. This is different that it being available to all, this is activity accounting for barriers to services and making it easier for these families to get the same level of care. This isn’t just a nice thing to do, but what NEEDS to happen.
I meet so many people who say they wish they knew x, y or z when their littles ones where small. If I had a time machine I would happily send the information back to them but alaalas, I do not.
Time for change
So instead I shall build my services from the ground up, adjusting for those less served whilst also utilising the technology of the age.
For me this means asking if those who can afford the fee to attend a session run by me, to pay for a second for someone who is less able to afford or access support.
It means meeting in a neutral place, where many members of my community are used to meeting. It means not asking the local health care team to join in just now. It means trying something new, probably at a cost to me, to better server the wonderful families I meet. Many of whom don’t need much, but asking your questions to someone who will listen and help can be the make or break in breastfeeding journies sometimes.
So if you are local to High Wycombe or can get here by public transport, I hope my soon coming Sunday Sessions might be start of that change.
More to come soon.
Every year, all around the world, from 1 to 7 August is World Breastfeeding Week. Individuals and organisations alike, are encouraged celebrate, collaborate and empower parents to get more families breastfeeding and for longer.
This year, I was able to bring something new to my local town and community.
For The Big Latch on & Workshops, we met at the local Library for a 2 hour session with workshops from myself, a local independent Midwife, a Doula and an early year educator to help with the children.
For good measure, we added in a Big Latch On and the result was a whole lot of love and fun. See photos and read more about it here.
Breastfeeding Myths and Questions
All of the parents in attendance where given an index card and asked to write either a myth about breastfeeding that they have heard, or a question they had and give them back to me. We then discussed the answers as a room, with input and ideas from other supporters in the room too.
It turns out, the 20 mins I allocated myself to answer the questions was woefully short. We got through a few but honestly, we could have talked about most of them for 20 mins alone. and some, many hours!
So my promise to those in the room, was that I would blog the answers to their questions (see images bellow) and share. It also turns out, that I don’t know how to do a quick answer 😉 so here is part one with more to follow soon… ish.
Part 1 questions
- Can I drink wine when feeding?
- How do I know if I have mastitis if I don’t have pink nipples of white breasts? ( I can’t see a red mark on dark skin)
- Can you REALLY make breast milk if you are adopting a newborn and haven’t had kid previously? How does it work?
- What to do when baby has tongue tie? What else about the physiology of a babies mouth can hinder breastfeeding / other issues?
I could write a separate blog on each of these questions as there is so much to say on them all. Your interests might not run so deep so I have tried to keep to the main points for each but if you want to know more, or have information/experience to share, please do get in touch!
Can I drink wine when feeding?
The guidelines on drinking alcohol in pregnancy has swung backwards and forwards over the course of the past years so I wouldn’t blame you if you where confused about if it is safe to drink Alcohol whilst breastfeeding.
The short answer is yes, you can. A glass of wine, with your family as you eat your meal is A OK. However, if you feel to drunk to parent, you are probably also too drunk to breastfeed.
Whilst not feeding, you might need to express to relive engorgement during, but you need only wait until you feel sober again to breastfeed as your blood and milk have the same levels of Alcohol in them.
Knowing this Pumping and dumping for one drink is over the top but do not just take my word for it, see bellow for the science.
Dr Jack Newman, rewound IBCLC, explores the science and he reckons the perceived rules around drinking alcohol act as a barrier to longer breastfeeding and better all round health for everyone (due to lower disease rates, not more alcohol ;)).
This Blog by UK IBCLC Philippa Pearson-Glaze is also very comprehensive.
How do I know if I have mastitis if I don’t have pink nipples of white breasts?
( I can’t see a red mark on dark skin)
This is a fabulous question and related to many questions being asked since the 2018 MBRACE report starkly pointed out the difference in perinatal mortality rates in the UK for black and brown parents. ( see link for more information).
When asked, most health care professionals and supporters will tell you the common text book answer and then look puzzled when I point out theirs and the books assumption that the lactating person is white.
The lady who wrote this question told us her story of mastitis and miss diagnosis, another mother in the room told a similar which had a hospital admission for sepsis. Everyone was shocked by the experiences they had, a few of us though, where not so surprised. That could be a whole other blog post so back to what to look for when your skin comes in a different colour that the text book, when you suspect mastitis.
You might see..
- Swollen breast due to poor/non existent drainage.
- You might notice a painful, hotter area on your breast
- You might feel a harder area, a lump but this is not always present.
- Some parents report feeling like being hit with the flu all of a sudden, others others mention vertigo and feeling dizzy.
If a milk duct is blocked, unless there is milk at the tip of the nipple, this will be only a subtle, if at all visible difference. There is often nipple pain when you press where the suspected blockage is, and a small swelling might be visible after a feed/pumping session.
Read more? Plugged Ducts and Mastitis – Kelly Mom (US IBCLC)
A book worth waiting for (2020)- I am Not your Baby Mother by Candice Brathwaite
Black Breastfeeding Week Celebration – Breaking Barriers & Uplifting Education – 1-2-1 Doula
Why are black mothers at more risk of dying? – BBC News 2019
Can you REALLY make breast milk if you are adopting a newborn and haven’t had kid previously? How does it work?
The short answer is, yes you can! Many of these parents are experts at defining their own success with a range of options and a range of amounts of milk supply reached.
As we know even a few drops, at any stage of lactation will contain thousands of immune factors. It literally is liquid gold!
Some parents will choose to offer comfort at their breast/chest and not try to induce a supply specifically, where as others will embark upon a regime of simulation and sometimes hormones before the baby is due. Just with anything in life, parents do what works for them and their family.
Sweat Pea Breastfeeding support is run by a US IBCLC, she also co-hosts a fab podcast, Breastfeeding outside the box
Breastfeeding Without Birthing: A Breastfeeding Guide for Mothers through Adoption, Surrogacy, and Other Special Circumstances – Alyssa Schnell
Where’s the Mother?: Stories from a Transgender Dad – Trevor MacDonald . A compelling read.
What to do when baby has tongue tie?
What else about the physiology of a babies mouth can hinder breastfeeding / other issues?
Breastfeeding with a Tongue Tie, is a complex subject and one that often requires specially trained individuals to diagnose and ideally ongoing skilled help to help you both re learn how to latch and attach more effectively.
All of this is best done 1:1, with a skilled helper and this is also where other physical issues (differential diagnosis) can be explored. You can read more general information in the links bellow.
Some general tips
Research and talk to other parents who have been affected too.
Many parents find the flipple or exaggerated latch helpful
Ask for help when you need it.
Tongue-tie in Babies: A Guide for Parents - Sarah Okley (IBCLC) a direct pdf download.
Tongue Tie - La Leche Leauge
Association of Tongue-tie Practitioners to find trained individuals (Link ATP)
Supporting Sucking Skills - For supporters and medically minded parents.
Flipple - Milk Meg (IBCLC)
So someone gave you their sling. Maybe they loved it, maybe they hated it, but either way, you are probably not sure what to do with it.
Here are 5 things to try first.
1. Find manufacturers instructions
This is the best place to start. Most brands tend to have a video or picture tutorial on how their sling works these days.
This is one of the times Google is your friend 😉
2. Practice with a teddy
Whilst you are getting to grips with clips, straps and the instructions, use a teddy in place of your baby.
This can help to remove some anxiety around hurting your baby, until you feel more confident with the steps to get your baby secure.
3. Try different slings
Just like we know the same bra style will not suit everyone, the same sling will also not be universally loved.
Even within the same family, care givers have different body shapes and needs. A sling that works with mum in the new born days might not work with another carer on a long walk.
There are lots of types available, and many traditions all around the world.
4. Look within your own community
There might be people within your own community who are skilled in traditional carrying or experienced with their own children.
Ask your communities elders, or approach someone who looks confident with a sling.
Most humans will be happy to help another parent master new ways to enjoy their little ones, honestly.
I love this Facebook page for an insight into traditional slings world wide.
5. Find Skilled help
If you are still struggling, finding skilled help can save you some time and frustration.
Think of a sling educator as someone who has been there, seen the common pitfalls and is trained to help find a solution that works best for you and your family.
Find your local skilled help here.
Or search your location with terms such as
Babywearing consultant /educator
Infant carrying consultant /educator
What ever you do, enjoy holding your little one. Food spoils, but little ones do not.
Find out more about me or how to work with me here.
#1 thing parents of many babies misunderstand (inc some health professionals).
😭crying😭 is the last hunger cue, and consistently missing it can affect your milk supply.
If you wait for crying or consistently settle a baby in a way other than breastfeeding them (dummies, rocking, slings), the supply and demand system gets disrupted.
Less milk removed = signals to make less milk = problems!
It’s not uncommon to meet mothers with plugged ducts, mastitis who have fallen into this trap.
You can’t over feed breastfed babies!
If you are avoiding feeds due to cracked, sore nipples, it’s time for face to face skilled help. Most problems can be helped if not fixed with attention to positioning and attachment alone.
Or feeling touched out? Find someone to talk to, there is always a new #breastfeedingsolotion to try out 🙂
#beyondbabyhood The hunger cues get a bit more obvious, with tapping breasts, all the way to shouting ‘BOOBIES’ in the supermarket.
How does your little (or not so little) one tell you that they are ready for milk? I’d love to know 🙂
Your little one does not stop expecting their needs to be met, just because its hot outside but you might have questions about caring for you little one when those needs seem harder to meet in the heat
It is just as important as ever to read and meet your little peoples needs. Here are some adjustments you can make to carry on parenting responsively.
Breastfeed on cue
Your breastfeed milk is already adapting to be more watery in the heat. Babies under 6 months, who are yet to start eating solid foods do not need any extra water.
You might hear about formula fed babies needing extra water in the heat, this is due to the limitations of formula. Your babies milk is a living, constantly adapting and personalized food that will take a heat wave in it’s stride.
More from the NHS
Over 6 months, offer water to thirst and your little ones, what ever age, will usually prefer to feed little and often. This is normal, go with it 🙂
When carrying in arms, breastfeeding or using a sling, placing a muslin between you and a sweaty baby can improve both of your comfort. It will also stop them slipping around in slings.
Make sure your babies face remains clear of the cloth, gently turning their head to the side works with babies who are yet to gain head control.
If you are using a stretchy wrap, you can use a single layer carry like this Kangaroo Carry in a Stretchy Wrap which is cooler with less layers of the baby.
If you have woven wraps, you can do this too 🙂 Many find silk blend wraps are cool and light weight to carry in the heat. Read more on blends.
If you are using a carrier with buckles to secure it, you have little option but to strip baby off to a nappy under the sling. There are more breathable summer slings available. Go have a google 😉
Read more about Carrying in the Heat here too.
It is ok to say no to plans that have you and fractious little ones out in the heat. Don’t get caught in the trap of thinking anything but your presence is enough. You got this 🥰
If you want personalized support, get in touch
Beyond Babyhood is more than just a name, a business handle or a hashtag. It is a statement of purpose, a promise and an evolutionary normality.
It is not one size fits all care.
It is not half hearted assistance.
It is care with a conscious focus on being inclusive and adjusting for inequalities in care.
It is meeting you where you are at, and empowering you to move towards your goal with confidence.
It is about lack of ego, if I am not the right person to work with you, we shall find the person who is.
It is skilled support, at the time you need it, for as long as you need it.
You do not need to feel lost, alone, over whelmed, or wonder where to turn.
I am not afraid to say, I do not know, but I will find out for you. Puzzles fascinate me and there is always a way to move forward. Some times, that looks like redefining your version of success.
How ever long you aim to feed, it is A ok with me. If you learn to love what you are doing and want to keep going longer? I’m here for you too.
It is both normal, and natural to feed well beyond babyhood but most support and public opinion drop off after the early months.
Beyond Babyhood does not.
online community of parents committed to breastfeeding Beyond Babyhood on Facebook.
face to face @ The Big Latch On & Workshops (2ns Aug)
Visit my packages page to find out how to work with me.