I hear the breath catch in your throat, of course, it is you think! ⠀
But is it? I ask you.⠀
You’ve read it in all the online info you accessed for your own #breastfeeding journey. ⠀
You’ve read it in all the textbooks you used to study to help lactating parents. ⠀
Yet this diagnostic indictor (redness) doesn’t work for everyone. ⠀
For a large group of people, it’s unhelpful and even damaging to their health. ⠀
The reason why is ‘text book’ version of mastitis centres the experience of lighter skin tones. ⠀
When those supporting parents with feeding difficulties, focus on signs of redness to assess for mastitis, parents with darker skin tones are at a disadvantage. ⠀
More universal indicators of mastitis are heat, soreness, localised swelling that is often hard, & generally feeling unwell.⠀
Now you know, what other things might you need to double-check are universal?
You are the holder of the puzzle pieces.
I got all emotional last time I taught an introduction to #slings #workshop with @villagemidwife.
Talking about these puzzle pieces, made me well up with emotion, remembering one of the times I #knew I meant for this work.
As I passed around a box of puzzle prices, explained how you as the parent are gathering them all. This was my gift to them to remind them.
At the same time, in my head, I remembered meeting a parent for the second time, who told me I had changed the course of her breastfeeding journey. She said, I am here 6 months on, though all our trauma, because of this idea you gave us. I had forgotten I’d even said it, but the awe of the rippless of parent to parent support caught me in that moment.
Now I share it with you too.
Many supporters and loved ones will offer you support and advice. They offer you pieces of their puzzles, only YOU will know which pieces of puzzle you are offered, actually fit.
Some won’t. That’s ok. But please keep searching until your instincts are quiet again. They are powerful and will lead you. Keep asking new people until all feels well.
In case you need reminding, YOU GOT THIS
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?
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
New podcast episode
What lies have you beloved about yourself?
This will be hard? You can’t do this? The other way is easier?
This weeks podcast episode I wonder about the lies we believe in parenthood
“We are the only species of mammals that doubts our ability to give birth” or – feed our babies! (Ina Gaskin May)
Listen now here