Here in the UK, there is a pervasive thought that breastfeeding will happen naturally and if it doesn’t, the help being offered must be the best.
Parents often then conclude that if that hasn’t worked, nothing will.
Here is where many parents trip up with their new kids, and the health care system fails them.
The sooner you seek help, the less work it’ll be to get back on track, to meeting your feeding goals.
Have you ever forgotten a major ingredient in some food you making? Depending on what is is, and how you act, can make or break it.
For many, the same is true of meeting their feeding goals.
I’d love it if every new parent was cared for by passionate and skilled feeding professionals but the reality is often quite different.
The levels of training and enthusiasm between health care professionals vary greatly, and even those parents wise enough to link up with skilled support before the baby arrives, often forget to utilize it until things have got really quite messy.
So if we go back to that food you where preparing, if you forget something like the salt, you can add it at the end, no worries! But if you miss out a binding ingredient like egg, You can just add it in at the end and still expect to get the original desired food.
Now how you act with breastfeeding problems, and cooking ones, are the same. If you find someone who knows about it, they often not only know how to fix it, they will usually have a few options for you.
Wait until the end, muddle through on your own of ask a less skilled person, and you might get told to start again.
100’s of breastfeeding solutions
There is a saying within the breastfeeding support world, that there are 101 breastfeeding solutions to any feeding problem. Is this the impression you have? or did you think the next step with a feeding issue, is to give breast milk substitutes?
You can see some of my favorites resources here..
Find out who the local skilled supporters in your area?
Try, ‘breastfeeding support’ & ‘your town’
Find out who the infant feeding lead is, within the local hospital & health visiting teams, do they have breastfeeding specialists?
Ask other parents if there are peer supporters & breastfeeding counselors within your town?
Is there an IBCLC near you?
The beginning of September marks a week focusing on reducing our waste in the UK and what better time is there to think more about how infant feeding habits might be adapted to reduce waste.
In May 2019, the UK declared a climate emergency. Many in power are focusing on the big things, but what about the small things parents can do, and make a difference within in every house hold?
The International Baby Food Action explain their idea of Green Feeding;
it means promoting, protecting and supporting optimal breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is a valuable natural resource that leaves almost no carbon or water footprints, needs no packaging and creates no air pollution from manufacturing and transport.
There is a common misconception, that breastfeeding is free. This assumption leans to another, that it’s environmentally friendly, or Zero waste, but this simply is not true. Here are some common things that go along with the modern UK feeding experience and what you can do to lessen the impact.
Growing bodies usually necessitate a set of larger clothes for a time, but do they need to be new?
Many maternity and nursing friendly clothes are lightly worn and could be passed on to a friend, or sold to another family.
The top pictured, a snazy going out top has been through many owners before me and I didn’t pay a penny for it 🙂
Beyond Babyhood, many parents find themselves wearing normal clothes and lifting up / pulling down clothes to feed/pump – nothing special needed!
Asking friends for their unused items
Second hand clothes groups – Can I breastfeed in it
I cant think of many other things in new parentdom that are covered in more excessive plastic. There is another way..
There are ones made from cotton, silk, bamboo, hemp, wool even. Some people make their own and others buy second hand. All wash and last longer than you really need them for breastfeeding journey.
They are reused in this house on bums and faces and much more 😅
Reusable cloth breast pads
Another ‘must have’ item that generates much waste, are the single use milk storage bags. Whilst they do offer a level of convience, do they to be disposable for the healthy baby?
Many patents are using multiple use items, some even recycling food jars for short term storage.
reusing plastic storage bottles
switching to glass jars for storage (not in the freezer!)
With 100’s of thousands of babies born every year, imagen how many ‘just in case’ purchases are made before birth.
See the size of the new baby’s stomach, then look at the size of the bottles above, and the ore made bottles with formula in them..
Cup feeding is safe and a green feeding alternative to bottles. Many babies over 6 months can go straight to using spouted cups & skip bottles all together.
If you do need them, often there are loved ones just waiting to do something to help you out, use them!
Not buying before you need them
Not changing that sizes
Breastfeeded Beyond Babyhood
Continuing to breastfeed along side the introduction of home foods, locally grown and made can reduce the carbon footprint of infant feeding even more.
First steps nutrition have lots of resources on eating well for little ones, with breastfeeding alongside of course 🙂
Scientific research by Katherine A. Dettwyler, PhD shows that 2.5 to 7.0 years of nursing is what our children have been designed to expect (Dettwyler 1995).Kelly Mom
In the second year (12-23 months), 448 mL of breastmilk provides:
29% of energy requirements
43% of protein requirements
36% of calcium requirements
75% of vitamin A requirements
76% of folate requirements
94% of vitamin B12 requirements
60% of vitamin C requirements
— Dewey 2001
Breastfeeding beyond babyhood
So is breastfeeding Zero waste?
Not quite.. But maybe now you have some ideas about how to move closer towards it 🙂
What will you change? Let us know on Facebook and Instagram.
Ps.. Did you know about…
These are a new way of offering feeding & parenting support in High Wycombe, run by me a Breastfeeding Specialist and Paediatric nurse.
There are two parts, a drop-in Breastfeeding Support Session
& an Antenatal Breastfeeding Workshop.
This blog is born out of the conversations I have had / seen about about Black Breastfeeding Week in September 2019.
If you have thoughts like these, read on.
- Black breastfeeding week is a USA thing.
- I support everyone who seeks my support.
- I do enough, this week does not apply to me.
It is uncomfortable
If you meet me in real life, or online, you will know I am willing to have the uncomfortable conversations and as such, I have had requests for resources from others like me, who want to work through the issues around undeserved populations and parenting / breastfeeding support in the UK.
I do not write this blog to stoke my own ego ( although it is cathartic!), I write it to share things that helped me on my journey of self discovery so far. Please do share with me what helps you on yours, let us learn together and change the unacceptable.
From the beginning
Familiarize your self why black breastfeeding week has come to the UK.
Bais (see video) needs active self reflection to unpack – this is NORMAL and a continuous process & takes time.
Understand the lack of representation in supporters affects us all, from the angle of the text books to the ‘accepted wisdom’ of breastfeeding support.
Now, if you are ready, read on.
Last year, the first UK black breastfeeding week caught my attention. I was transfixed but unsure of it’s relevance to me, confused by what it all meant and still wrapped comfortably in my own privilege.
I read blogs about why black breastfeeding week was coming to the UK and I felt unsure what I could do to effect the change needed. I started conversations that met walls. I retreated, for a while.
Roll forward to the 2018 MBRACE report, and I was firstly aghast at the statistics before us. Black women where 5 times more likely to die in the perinatal period than white women, and for no obvious reason.
I repeated steps above, hit walls and retreated again. As time passed, I became confused by the lack of public outrage. I saw more voices in the circles I enhabit, talking louder and louder about bias, racial in equality and it just couldn’t keep it in along longer.
It became clear to me that I needed to know more and so began my own personal journey into the world of my own bias, privilege as a white, middle class, woman in the UK.
In April, I poured my energy into a poster about bias, I took it to a a place with many breastfeeding supporters and I met silence. I cannot know what this means, but I assume that it means, they where not ready to do the work. You can see the poster in its full glory, by downloading it bellow.
Maybe now you are a bit further along and think..
- I don’t know where to begin
- I want to fix this
Here are some things I found helpful and you might want to look at ;
Blog – a 2019 piece, with lots to think on. Good if you feel you need to ACT NOW.
Dear white women are you behind whats suppressing black breastfeeding rates by Kimberly Seals Allers
Food for thought
Why people of color need spaces without white people by Kelsey Blackwell
Work book – Unpacking White Privilege in her book (formally downloadable workbook) – Me and White Supremacy by Laya F Saad
Book/ Audio Book – Fabulous book about the UK perspective of being a person of color, in the UK Why I am no longer talking to white people about race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
In person events
Attend a Black Breastfeeding Week event near you, this one is streaming online for £5 tomorrow !
One to wait for…
I am Not your Baby Mother by Candice Brathwaite
To sum up…
When we stop and examine our own behaviors, we can check ourselves having different expectations of and reactions to people who do not look like us. It is unethical, once a harmful practice or action has been pointed out to us, to continue to act in the same wayTessa Clark April 2019
Social Media accounts to follow..
Nov Reid – Anti Racism speaker
Abuela Doula – Doula trainer for BAME familes
1-2-1 Doula – Doula, educator, running BBW 2919 in London
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.
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
Here are my top 6 sleep resources, good for parents and professionals alike.
I use these often and found many of them helpful personally too. Is your favourite here?
Reasons why night waking is the biological norm by LLL Greast Britain
Baby Sleep Information Scource (BASIS) –
This website presents research evidence about biologically normal sleep for human babies.
Why your baby’s sleep matters by Sarah Ockwell-Smith
A pocket sized, both filled with research and real stories to empower and erasure you.
Sweet Sleep by LLLi
How to get more sleep, safely, what ever stage you are at.
Holistic Sleep Coaching by Lyndsey Hookway
Alternatives to sleep training, aimed at supporters.
Boobin’ all nigh, boobin’ all day by Meg Negal
Normaling nightime patenting from the Milk Meg.
In this blog:
Outgrowing first sling
Holidaying with slings
The title of this blog is a typical query for a babywearing consultant. Like most of the parents I work with, this mum has chosen to tune into her child’s needs, not turn away from them. She has met a challenge and bravely, seeks help.
Beyond Babyhood Consultation
Fast forward to our first meeting, mum explains she has a last minute invite to a holiday with friends and there is absolutely no space for a buggy.
She has seen a woven wrap back carry and wants to learn how to do it for her holiday. Maybe you have already notices, this isn’t where she ends up!
Mama explains further how her sons differing physical abilities, translates into extra cuddles when they are out and about. He is used to resting his tired legs within a pushchair or a much loved sling.
Outgrowing first sling
The problem is, this sling is now a wee bit small., no longer supporting his growing body.
It works in a pinch, and her son chimes in to show me how it digs into his legs and hurts.
We talk a bit more around safety, skill, budget and time available before the holiday.
This mum was keen to see the carry her friend had shown her, so I show her how it’s done.
Together we notice the how it’s not the right solution for them.
At this point mum and big boy seem to deflate a little. It’s not uncommon for the end result to not match the parents initial idea. Options and troubleshooting however are what I am trained to work around.
Adapting what you have already
So next I show her how she could wrap a scarf around the bottom of her existing sling to spread the weight of her son’s bottom. This seems like a workable emergency solution and we talk about the possibility of visiting the local sling library, who I know have a dedicated sling for older, diversely abled children .
Visit a sling library
I then float the idea of looking at the preschool sized Connecta/Integras and mum admits she has been looking at them but didn’t like the patterns available at the time. Ah I think, I bet this is where her heart lies. It’s like a bell goes off in my head and I know we have reached both the ‘ah ha’ moment and the limit of our time together.
Buying a larger carrier
We part and I follow up with the links I promised and a willingness to keep in touch. A few days later, I hear the Connecta is on its way to her, just in time for their trip.
Holidaying with slings
Just today, I get these photos in my inbox of this glorious duo. Look at their smiling faces, their glowing skin and hooray for accessing the places untouchable by pushchair!
6 Top reasons to use a sling on holiday;
💜 pack up small
💙 carry tired legs
💚 access remote places
💛 a place to nap
🧡 reconnect whilst moving
❤ a safe space in new surroundings
Meeting our children’s needs beyond babyhood can feel like a struggle sometimes, but with a bit of skilled troubleshooting, there is often a way that can meet most needs and situations.
You are quite unlikely to regret choosing to meet your child’s need for closeness and connection as, lets face it, we all crave it too right?
What has worked for you in the past? I’d love to hear your stories too, please get in touch.
Story shared with permission
Find a sling library near you.
Book with me today and you too will have a smile this big 💚