#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.
Can I do it in public ? Will I be able to put my baby off ? Can it be banned in public?
Here are more ideas on breastfeeding out and about from LLLGB
I’d love to hear your experiences, send me a voice clip and you might get featured on the podcast 🙂
Listen here on Anchor
Listen here on Apple podcasts
Listen here on Google podcasts
(& many more!)
Email – Hello@beyondbabyhood.com
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.
Did you notice the online chatter recently, about breastfeeding weeks and celebrations?
If this is your first year as a breastfeeding parent, you might wonder what they are all about and why someone might go to an event about it.
Breastfeeding used to be the unquestioned norm of feeding and raising babies but a few generations ago things started to shift.
Why do they exist
This shift (& many other factors) has left parents today without the rich, knowledgeable support networks of the past.
This means not only is their neighbor ill equipped to normalize night time wakefulness, but also your health care professionals are less well informed. Pair this with less funding for services means, there is not enough skilled support available at the time when parents need it most.
And so, less parents are able to reach their breastfeeding goals and they carry those feelings around forever. These weeks are for you too as many of us long to hear parents say, I wanted to breastfeed, & I did!
World Breastfeeding Week
is celebrated around the world in the first week of August every year, since 1992 when a landmark world wide collaboration began to protect and promote breastfeeding.
Another very important week, is Black Breastfeeding Week, do check that out too 🙂
So where do I come in to this?
Last year I hosted the Big Latch on, another global initiative designed to unite breastfeeding patents and supporters within local communities world wide.
It was a low key but well attended event where we met in the Rye park and all latched our breastfeeding kids on at the designated time.
The weather was glorious and parents enjoyed chatting with one another but I knew we could do more this year!
What do parents get?
Aside from meeting other local patents, breastfeeding together in public and eating cake you mean?
Realizing you are not alone
Our workshops aim to normalize birth, breastfeeding and the transition into parenthood. They can be so many feelings, so much conflicting information and it can be hard to know where to turn.
Meeting skilled supporters
So meeting local, skilled supporters in one place is very handy! You can bet we know most of the other people in area too and would be happy to signpost you on 🙂
Meet other breastfeeding families
Many parents also feel quite isolated if they do move beyond their breastfeeding goals as only 1% are still breastfeeding for around 6 months, with even less than 0.5% breastfeeding after 1 year.
Be empowered to meet your goals
So finding other breastfeeding parents can be hard beyond babyhood, but as you might have guessed, I know a fair few 😉
Win a raffle prize
Local business women have donated vouches for their birth and baby related businesses, from baby yoga, to a postnatal support course. A full list is coming soon, but you gotta be in it to win it!
Book me in!
So if you are local to High Wycombe or are willing to travel, (we have a train station) Book here for Big Latch on & Workshops .
Find out about events near you for World Breastfeeding Week .
Find out about the Big Latch On, and find an event near you.
Aunt bossy, nosy neighbors and pushy parents at the school gates all feel like they have a say on when your growing breastfed little one weans.
You might feel pressure to wean due to cultural/historical reasons, religious reasons and even medical reasons. If it doesn’t feel or sound right, I encourage you to question it and seek second, more specialized or culturally appropriate opinion.
Here’s why you can (and probably should) ignore them with confidence.
Spend any time with a breastfeeding family and you will quickly see the many reasons a little one will ask to feed. A loud noise scared them, they bumped their head, someone new is in their home, they are tired, their teeth are sore and on and on. Breastfeeding is more than just food, and for many families its a mothering tool they wouldn’t quickly give up.
Ask any sibling to a breastfed little one what they need at any moment of upset, they will tell you the baby needs boobie, mummy milk, or whatever their phrase for it is. If small children can see this one thing fixes many, why do us grown ups struggle with it so much?
2 years OR beyond.
The World Health Organisation recognize the important part breastfeeding has in a child’s early years, recommending breastfeeding continue to 2 years OR beyond. This is the bit people get stuck on or forget all together.
Most places I go, I will end up talking to someone about breastfeeding in some way or another. I think of it like smokers all getting the urge at once, see a breastfed baby and ops all the other breastfed little ones want some. Similar happens with grown ups wanting to talk about it. Yes you probably hear more about the disapproving public in the media but this has not been my experience.
ABM’s recent social media campaigns #feedon give brilliant visual proof of the many parents feeding beyond babyhood with such tender moments captured.
I remember when a guy saved my toddler from some impending calamity at a conference center. Next it was time for cuddles and milk and we had a long chat about his own nursing toddler at home. I listened as he told me of the wonders of breastfeeding beyond babyhood, how it was a fabulous parenting tool but his wife where fretting how to get her to stop as she was turning two next week.
I listened as he (mis quoted) the WHO guidance for breastfeeding duration and validated his feelings and concerns. I let him into the secrete that over the next 48 hours, the conference center was going to be filled with very normal, very well adjusted breastfeeding 3,4,5 + year olds who all still breastfeed.
These families knew the ease of breastfeeding though Chicken pox, travel on airplanes, though to reducing sibling rivalry with tandem nursing.
When ever we passed each other over the weekend, we shared a smile, I hope I gave him the gift of another perspective.
Science measures for us the nutritional reasons why breast milk continues to be designed to continue beyond babyhood, but when we look at only this, we are missing how as a parenting or mothering tool, there is nothing that can do so much within one package!
Learning to Dance
Many parents find as their little ones grow, the breastfeeding relationship becomes more like a dance with both a partnership element and need for your own boundaries. Without them, parents can get to a point of feeling so overwhelmed that they want to give up breastfeeding all together. This is rarely necessary and by working alongside a skilled breastfeeding supporter, it’s nearly always possible to find some adjustments to try to maintain all the benefits of breastfeeding a little longer.
Wherever you are at, I encourage you to acknowledge all the ways breastfeeding is the seamless answer to so many parenting problems. Don’t be in a hurry to give it up for someone else’s reasons.
La Leche League – Still Nursing?
Kelly Mom – Breastfeeding Past Infancy
La Leche League – Thinking of Weaning?
Have you listened to the Beyond Babyhood podcast yet?
We are standing in our uniforms and she interrupts my conversation to ask, “Is that even a real thing? This lactation thingy? “
There is no attempt to hide the contempt in her voice, neither the less, I reply with confidence.
“Yes! My full title will be an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) when I pass the exam in October. “
I puff with pride with anticipation of my impending status.
A medical consultant in the room, back turned to me, shares a joke at my expense with the questioning lady. They both laugh and I falter.
I have been carting my 1000+ word textbook around with me for over a year now, fitting study into every available moment of downtime.
Once a shiny new, this expensive textbook now sports pages that are scared with notes and the spine that held it together, gave out a while ago.
Standing in a room of moking health professionals, I feel like the glue holding us both together evaporated in an instant.
This is not an uncommon experience I am told as in the UK, IBCLC’s are not a recognised professional group. A lactation consultant is not a protected term either. Yet all around the world, it is the premier, gold standard in lacation education & support.
Through their training, an IBCLC has the skills to support every parent, from the normal course of breastfeeding to helping a family navigate the complexities of lactation during cancer treatment. You will find them working as Midwives, leading Infant feeding teams within NHS trusts, and running drop in clinics within the community.
Some IBCLC’s work even harder, to enter the field as a non health care professional investing even more time and money that their health care counter parts. It is a much needed profession, with much research backing up their value.
I have been on the journey here since the first mother-baby duo I supported on a maternity ward as a college student. Since then, I have spent 1000’s of hours (paid and voluntary) & thousands of pounds working towards this goal.
Parents want to breastfeed
Here in the UK, 80% of mothers start breastfeeding, but by 6 months 1% remains breastfeeding. That’s a sharp drop off and its not down to just one thing.
Since starting this job, I have heard all the staff feeding journeys and in their vulnerable moments even seen their tears. Very few met their breastfeeding goals and even though it’s not in my job description as a Paediatric nurse to listen, it’s in my nature as a Breastfeeding Counsellor, so listen I do.
So I hear the grief behind the words, I see how it translates into resentment and undermining of other professionals & parents alike. This is not sustainable.
It’s time for change
I remember a conversation with one member of staff, who was so angry about the levels of training of health professionals helping her family. She was enraged the IBCLC they had eventually seen, said they did not fail, it was the system that failed them.
I shared with her the amount of training on breastfeeding in the various health care professionals education and we both agreed, parents & health care workers desedrve better.
There is no one easy way to change the systemic bias above but what if we rethink our approach?
What if our next efforts to normative breastfeeding start with the next generation in schools. The Association of Breastfeeding Mothers has released free lesson plans for teachers & I love this idea.
Reading through some of the exercises though, I realised that some of the content would be news to people I work within hospitals.
But if generations of children know the basics of breastfeeding, the ones who enter healthcare will already be better breastfeeding advocates without any change in training. It might just work.
Either way, the next time someone asks me,
“Is that even a real thing? This lactation thingy? “
I shall reply;
“Why yes it is, and the fact you asked illustrates perfectly why.”
Then again, maybe not 😉
Tessa Clark BSc, RNc
Balances being a Paediatric nurse, Breastfeeding counselor (private and voluntary) & IBCLC exam candidate Oct 2019 with motherhood.