Are they selling the right message?
There is a baby show in the county I work within, this month. I remember visiting one, heavily pregnant with my first born son and I thought of the type of help I needed then.
I didn’t know what I know now, two babes later. At the time, like many of us, I thought I needed the latest X or Y and the reality of it is, I didn’t need any of it.
What might have actually offered improvement on newborn days, would have been meeting a Doula, meeting other breastfeeding mothers, meeting the people who would go on to support me for many months after my breastfeeding struggles smoothed out.
I had to email
So I decided to email the person running the show, find out about a stall and I had so many visions in my head about being the antidote to some of the madness at the events.
The response was generic and the price of £75 a stall had me reeling.
At that price, what local support service for parents could afford to come?
So this was my email back.
Dear generic baby show,
I have had a look though your exhibitor pack and it all looks lovely.
I notice that your shows tour all the large towns and I wonder if have policy for local community engagement?
Whilst I understand that as a business model you are working with big businesses and generating revenue, but as a breastfeeding supporter, I know the impact that parents can experience by being linked up with their local support systems before they have their child. I believe you are well placed to increase many of these services visibility.
As you may know, many of the NHS infant feeding support services are being cut around the country and parents are being left with little support and this is where specialists like myself are trying to fill the gaps in provision with paid and voluntary run services.
Many of the products being sold at events like yours are not essential parts of parenting, they are luxuries. To balance the ethics of this, I urge you to consider engaging with members of the local support communities to balance this out.
I am unable to book a stall at £75 at this time due to finances. Parent support like I give, is not a lucrative business, but it is an essential one.
What are your thoughts?
What do you think? Should baby shows have an obligation to engage in community services? Would have meeting support services in pregnancy made a difference to your post postpartum days?
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 🙂
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.
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.
What happens if someone comes in the dark of night and gifts your the confidence you need to succeed?
💭This is what happened for a family recently and with permission, I share with you what happens within babywearing consultation with me (babywearing consultation).
L I S T E N
First I listen to your needs as a family.
💭This family are planning for adoption and wanted to explore some new options for helping a new family member adjust into their home.
L O O K
We explored safety, responsive parenting & feeding.
This family showed me their sling, I then demonstrated the different slings I had with me.
💭This family wanted to focus on how slings encourage attachment (bonding), responsive parenting and any explore adaptations to use with existing children in their family.
F E E L
The fun bit for us all, parents then try on the slings!
💭For this visit, their kids were in bed so they tried a range of slings, carriers, wraps with teddies.
E V A L U A T E
We asses, have we met their needs?
💭Can you 🌷guess🌷 which each parents favorite?
Hint – it wasn’t the same for each parent!
F O L L O W
As children grow, their carrying needs change. There are adaptations for many challenges & my training helps me navigate them with you.
💭For this family, the process of adoption means the specific needs and preferences of the child are currently unknown. This means we have a few more visits planned so we can adapt as needed in the future.
🌷Service : Beyond Babyhood Consultation
🌷Time :1.5 – 2 hours
🌷Cost : poa
(Available 1hr drive in/around High Wycombe)
If you are ready to explore your babywearing needs, get in touch 🙂