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
Many new parents (& many health care professionals) assume, the further away from new born days they get, the less breastfeeding questions they will have.
It is not uncommon, however, for a parent to suddenly realise the surpassed their goals and beyond babyhood, new challenges and questions arise. Then it can be hard to find answers you can trust, in a world of internet searches and lack of access to peers who might have continued breastfeeding.
So here today, I am sharing with you a question and my response that, I hope will help some of you 🙂
I hope you don’t mind me asking, but do you have any advice for breastfeeding gymnastics? Little one just can’t stay still and it’s making me sore. Its at it’s worse when he’s settling for his midday nap.Breastfeeding mum & >1 year old
This lovely coined phrase describes the usually mobile feeding little one, who wants to access milk in a variety of poses, often without unlactching.
Not to be confused with the cuter, younger baby who might grab legs and wiggle away whilst feeding, it is often the full body movers that get the patents most frustrated.
Not all little ones will do this, but for many parents, it’s like someone informed their little ones that milk can be drank at any of the 360° of the breast. These budding scientists/ gymnasts must discover if this is true!
For some, it’s an amusing phase that is over before long, but for others, like our questioner, it can cause some problems. Here are somethings to consider & keep you on track to meet your feeding goals.
Although latching IS possible from all angles, it’s quite likely that by the time whole body has moved to get over a shoulder, the nipple is no longer far back within the little ones mouth where it needs to be for pain free feeding.
It’s probably wise at this point to break the seal of the latch (a little finger in the corner of their mouth/ over their teeth) should allow you to remove your nipple safely. They can relatch in the new position and this might be ok. It’s the best way to avoid damage at least.
Some patents will find in addition to the gymnastics, their kid is on and off all day long. La Leche League Canada set out why this is normal, and some strategies you can try to combat it here.
New baby, new rules
Every parent and little one, have a set of norms, rythems and rules unique to just them. For a seasoned parent, they will learn how their children differ to one another. For the new parent, they will notice their norms might be different to peers.
In this context, especially with the growing little ones, for many, a shift occurs with feeding. A truly balanced, happy breastfeeding relationship beyond babyhood, is an evolving process give and take.
Think about the first 6 months of your baby’s life, where you fed them every time they moved and and some of us thought it might never end. Then before long, food is on the table and your little one has the ever expanding ability to communicate their feelings, desires and needs.
Many parents can start to feel touched out, overwhelmed by the constant need for closeness, milk and play. Adding in gymnastics can push parents to their limits and this is where nursing manners come in.
This is something that comes up often, when a parent contacts a supporter and says they are done with breastfeeding. Many times, they are only fed up, touched out, and setting a new limit can help.
This link contains a page I have re read often & sent out even more often. When though it’s written in the context of breastfeeding more than one little one at a time, it’s wisdom is applicable to all parents breastfeeding beyond babyhood.
They will look different for everyone, for some it might have been there from the start (no nipple tweaking!) Or it might develop over time into something like, no climbing with nap time feeds.
It’s a journey not a race
Where ever life takes you and your little ones, breastfeeding gymnastics is likely to be a short phase within it. Do what feels right to you and reach out to other parents who get it, for support. You got this 💪
Please leave you tips and comments below & for personised support, get in touch.
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?
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.
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 🙂
The WHO code & your business.
So you run a baby business and some has mentioned the WHO code on marketing baby milk. They might have suggested that you are unintentionally violating it.
You are confused right? You are passionate about breastfeeding, how could you be doing something unhelpful?
Here’s what you need to know. This is COMPLEX issue. This is brief .
Thing 1 This is not just about hippies boycotting Nestle
Thing 2 Protects all, not just breastfeeding families
Parents need impartial information about feeding their babies, free from misleading or idealised marketing. It is available here via First Steps Nutrition
Thing 3 Advertising influences our behaviours
In the new age of sponsorship and social media, companies are finding even more inventive ways to reach parents. If you are paid by a code violating company to advertise their product, you are complicit in their sneaky ways. Do you mean to be?
Thing 4 When you know better, you can do better.
What you say and do online will reach many people. Make sure the partnerships and giveaways you do, are inline with your personal values.
The British Medical Journal just ended their advertising agreements with baby milk companies , its an interesting read.
Thing 5 There are good companies out there!
The Global Big Latch on have a fab recent blog with examples,
Think of a big brand in the baby world, there is a large chance they are
Known violators, Medela, Lansinoh, Mothercare.
Thing 6 Parents are being misled
All Party Parliamentary Group on Infant Feeding and Inequalities (APPGIFI) was formed to address these issues. You can invite your local MP to attend.
Thing 7 The ripples spread
The lure of a network of breastfeeding events with freebies is a sneaky way of increasing brand loyalty. You have a platform, why not use it to explain why you will *not participate in, or partner with events & companies who undermine breastfeeding?
Thing 8 Ethical sources of funding matter
There are many sources of funding for small businesses, other than the comity coin types. Usually, getting in contact with your local council will have resources. There is national lottery funding and many more. Yes this will take more effort, but it is honestly the right thing to do.
Thing 9 Supermarket community schemes
The WHO code and UK LAW prohibit a number of commonly ignored practices around sales of baby milk & food. For this reason, many organizations prohibit the use of their schemes. If you use one, you may find yourself being turned away from events who need to be WHO code compliant.
Thing 10 Closing off collatorations
Be mindful of your partnerships when you are seeking collaborative projects with other organisations. You may find, that Baby friendly healthcare teams refuse to work with you if you are unaware of the WHO code. An International Board certified Lactation Consultant would not be able to work with any known code violators or with someone who is in breach of their code of ethics. (Conflict of interests)
An International Board certified Lactation Consultant would not be able to work with any known code violators or with someone who is in breach of their code of ethics. (Conflict of interests)
Baby Milk Action (UK), Baby Feeding Law Group, The International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN0 for reports and monitoring
First Steps Nutrition Impartial information on baby milk & food <5 years
Unicef Baby Friendly Health care teams