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?
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.
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.
#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.
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.