The grandparents offered to babysit for a rare night out with the husband. Our first date since Isla was born 9 months ago. The first thought on my mind should had been what to wear, instead I worried about missing the 10 pm (ish) feed, what if I flooded the cinema with milk? Continue reading
This week, UK based charity Save the Children launched a new campaign, and it’s one which has already gathered support and raised a few eyebrows.
The “Power of the first hour” campaign is a simple one. Save the Children claim that if every mother breastfed her child in the first hour after birth, 830,000 babies every year (the equivalent of 95 an hour) could be saved from death by malnutrition or infection. Breastfeeding is effectively a child’s first vaccination and the choice to breastfeed or not can mean the difference between life and death.
Save the Children have reported that the number of mothers who breastfeed in poor and developing countries has seen a sharp downturn in recent years. Their research shows that in 2012, 29% of all mothers in Asia and East Pacific were breastfeeding, compared to 45% in 2006; a huge drop in a short time.
Save the Children blames this decrease on a number of factors. They believe there is a lack of information and support for new mothers. And they also believe that the multi-national conglomerates that produce formula milk have a part to play in the decline.
Nestlé and Danone are two of the giants whose inappropriate marketing campaigns in emerging markets and misleading labels may have led mothers to believe that breastfeeding is unsuitable, bad and even dangerous for their babies and so have turned to bottled formula instead. Save the Children estimate that Asia, for example, is a lucrative new market for the formula giants, worth an estimated £16billion, and growing. Mothers with little education and no access to health care can become confused about what is best for their baby and in some cases the wrong choice can put babies lives at risk.
Save the Children is calling on Nestlé and Danone to act responsibly, and to make mothers aware of the benefits of breast milk. In a bid to bring in clear and factual labels, Save the Children want a third of formula milk packaging to be used to warn of the potential risks and dangers of not breastfeeding.
This campaign is about raising awareness of the decline of breastfeeding in poorer countries and the effects this has on the health of newborn babies. This campaign is about putting pressure on Nestlé and Danone to stop promoting formula milk in emerging markets, to act ethically and make labelling clear in an effort to curb the decrease in breastfeeding.
It’s disappointing to see small sections of the press and internet chatter claiming the campaign is unfair and makes non breastfeeding mothers in the UK feel unnecessarily guilty. In the developed world we can make informed choices, we have access to clean safe water and good health care. In my experience mothers in the UK offer each other great support and friendship whether they breastfeed or not. Trying to twist a great campaign into a breast vs bottle, mother’s guilt story is pretty sad.
Find out more about the campaign on the Save the Children website and click here to sign Save the Children’s petition against Nestlé and Danone. The food giant Nestlé have been sighted for unethical marketing practices in the developing world for many years with a campaign all of its own to boycott the firm, you can view the boycott Nestlé site here
What do you think? We asked a friend of ours to give her opinion.
Save The Children’s brilliant new campaign with their slogan The Power of the First Hour, along with their brilliantly-named report Superfood for Babies, tells us in no uncertain terms that, “If every new-born baby was breastfed and got the support they needed in the first hour of life, 830,000 tiny lives could be saved every year”.
Incredibly, this remains a contentious issue. It isn’t until you delve into the politics and the cultural ins and outs of feeding babies that you realise just how bonkers the whole situation is.
From where I stand:
Breast milk= the best, healthiest, cheapest and most reliable food for a baby
Formula milk= a sufficient alternative for those who cannot successfully breastfeed
Job done, isn’t science brilliant?
But for the sake of profit, women have been told for generations that formula milk has this benefit and that, and we got hooked…
Now breastfeeding is undergoing a much-needed resurgence in our affluent West. And mummies all over the UK are taking pride in their ability to nourish their child – heck, it’s even fashionable. Where breast-feeding was seen as ‘quirky’ or odd, and the bottle feeding majority felt comfortable dissaproving, now we see the bottle-feeding mothers feeling slightly embasassed by their ‘choice’.
The boot is on the other foot. And the potential force of nature that is Mother remains divided. This makes it so much easier for the formula giants to thrive – we’re too busy bickering amongst ourselves to unite and fight for the rights of our sisters worldwide and their babies. Call me a conspiracy theorist… but isn’t this just what Nestle (etc) want?
So, women, let’s keep our judgment and our anger aimed at the Formula giants, not at each other. It’s time for Governments, NGOs and people everywhere to stand up and say NO to unfair practices and YES to empowering mothers to nourish their babies without being exploited for profit, at the expense of their health and their children’s.
I will finish by mentioning that we bottle-fed our son. And I’ve just crossed out the paragraph where I defend my actions because, actually, I don’t have to.
One would be forgiven for thinking that perfect health would be expected after the birth of a child but this isn’t always to case.
14 weeks after the birth of Megan; I find myself in the back of an ambulance on the way to A&E with breathing difficulties resulting from a Chest Infection which had also aggravated my asthma.
Where did we go from here, well Megan couldn’t travel in the ambulance with me due to safety concerns and as a breastfeeding mother, her presence would be forthcoming to ensure she was well nourished.
I spent the first few hours of my hospital experience in A&E, ensuring that all parties that were attending my care were aware of my nursing status and ensure that suitable medications and procedures were carried out that would support the continuation of breastfeeding. Not always easier said than done when the doctors are more concerned with the immediate needs of their patient – in this case me.
However, My wishes were attended and as the day progressed I was moved to an emergency day care ward for various tests and treatments, we aimed to limit Megan’s exposure to infections etc during this phase of my journey by only on ward for short bursts of time whilst I nursed her. As the day progressed it was becoming clear that I would be admitted for a stay.
This was when the battle began, Megan has never had Formula or even take milk from a bottle, Various Doctors and consultants couldn’t tell me for sure whether Megan would be able to be admitted with me. Infection Risks and procedures can differ widely in the various hospital trusts and although they would do their utmost to accommodate my needs if the ward was currently with any contagious infections then the likelihood of Megan being allowed to stay would be lower.
Thankfully our local hospital has recently been rebuilt and the room/ward ratio is 60% in favour to private rooms. I was admitted to the ward about 13hrs after my arrival. Initially the arrival of myself with Baby in arms surprised the nursing staff and suitable accommodation was quickly arranged with a little re-shuffle of the beds/rooms and a cot was acquired from the maternity ward for Megan.
To support the wishes of the nursing staff who were encouraging me to have a break, I did express a feed for Megan so Daddy could take her home for a few hours so I could rest. It was apparent by day 2 that my body had indeed had a bad turn and recovery was going to take some time. Megan wasn’t too keen on the bottle but after the care staff accepted that we had at least tried, Megan was allowed on the ward with me full time.
She has been the absolute best medicine I could of had in time a like this, she has provided me with purpose, company and the cutest coos and goos you could even need.
The Ward staff have been tremendously supportive male and female alike, if I’m honest she’s become quiet a celebrity on the ward. Shift changes were bringing in new faces to see her and it gave me pleasure as well. In a ward with the general population of over 60’s she’s caused quiet a stir.
I’ve certainly learned a lot from my hospital experience; don’t be scared to push for your right to breastfeed, by rights they can’t deny you the opportunity; just be sure that the care staff understand your reservations about alternative feeding methods etc, repeat things as necessary – don’t always assume they’ve read all your notes, check that they are administering new meds with caution. Not all medication is suitable for breastfeeding mothers, and there will be safe levels they can administer.
If your concerned – online references can help like kellymom, and various Facebook groups can help as well
I’m writing this in bed. Why? Because I have the dreaded mastitis.
I love breastfeeding, but I think a lot of people find that it isn’t as easy or instinctive as they may at first think. So today, while boobs are on my mind, I thought I’d put my peer supporter hat on and share some of common breastfeeding issues.
1. Poor latch – Poor latch gives rise to an unbelievable range of problems. From sore cracked nipples, pain while feeding, clicking noises, babies pulling off the breast or being windy; the whole specturum can be attributed to problems with positioning/latch.
First port of call should be you Health Visitor or Midwife, but if they check your latch, think its fine and you still experience problems it would be worth asking for an appointment with your local lactation consultant/breastfeeding counsellor. Lactation consultants should also be able to advise whether there are any underlying issues such as tounge tie.
2. Thrush – If you’ve ever had to take antibiotics while breastfeeding its worth keeping an eye out for thrush. As its a yeast infection, it gets worse over time and can be a nightmare to get rid of, so early treatment is key.
Thrush makes nipples incredibly sensitive, especially to the cold. They become itchy, often blanch after a feed, and are really, really painful to feed through; they best way I can describe it is that its like feeding through broken glass. Shooting pains after feeding are also common. For babies, thrush manifests itself as a furry white covering over the inside of the mouth.
As thrush can be passed from baby to mother and back again, it is essential that both are treated at the same time, with a topical cream for mum and and oral gel for baby. If these fail it is possible to take an oral anti-fungal tablet which can help. An anti-candida diet can also help, which includes omitting refined sugars, products containing yeast and fungi.
3. Engorgement – Engorgement is when boobs become so full of milk that they are hard and solid; like rocks. This is very common as supply becomes established in the early days and is usually relieved by putting baby on the boob. If the breast if too hard for them to be able to latch, then expressing a little milk off, either by hand or pump should help soften the breast enough for them to get on. If the breast is not emptying properly, there may be a blocked duct.
4. Blocked ducts – A blocked duct is, basically exactly what it sounds like, one of the milk passages being blocked. They can become sore and swollen but it is very important that you keep trying to feed from the affected breast, as painful as it is. Paracetamol can be used to relieve the pain (never use asprin while breastfeeding).
Often a baby’s suction is enough to get things going again, especially if you always offer the affected breast first so that they go it it hammer and tongs. Another good bit of advice is to massage towards the nipple while baby is feeding to try and get the milk moving. Warn compresses can also help soften things up, as can a warm bath. Its important, if you have a blockage, to keep feeding, expressing, massaging as much as you can because if its not cleared a blocked duct can turn into mastitis.
5. Mastitis – Mastitis is basically a blocked duct that has become infected. You know when mastitis hits; if you’ve had a blocked duct for a while and then you suddenly begin to feel very unwell – shivery, shaky and with horrible cramps and aches all over, basically like a bad flu. Often there will be a red, hot area of the breast, usually wedge shaped.
If you get mastitis there is little you can do apart from taking to your bed, it makes you feel really poorly. The treatment is much the same as with a blocked duct, although you can alternate ibuprofen with paracetamol to try and help with the inflammation, take your temperature down and relieve aches and chills. If however, things don’t start to get better within 24 hours I would recommend a trip to the GP, you may well need antibiotics to clear it up. Untreated, mastitis can turn into a breast abcess or at worst septicemia.
This happened to me when I was feeding DW. I was dangerously ill, kept refusing an ambulance because I insisted it was just mastitis and I needed to rest. Later I found out that I was hours away from shuffling off this mortal coil, which is a very frightening thing.
Mine is an extreme story, and I don’t want to end this on a low note because, well, even though I had loads of problems, some of them extreme, I still chose to breastfeed my second baby and I still love it. I love the fact that my baby needs me, I love the fact that I am able to provide for him, I love the sensation of feeding and I love that lovely release of oxytocin (the mothering/love hormone) you get with every feed.
Breastfeeding is a very special thing; and although it can throw a few curve balls your way, if you know where to find support, then you can get through it and it can beome a truly magical experience.
Other than your HV/Midwife/Lactation consultant support can also be found via the Breastfeeding Network (who also have loads of useful factsheets on their website, such as which drugs are safe to take while feeding), the La Leche League, NCT and the kellymom website.
Happy feeding mommas, I’m off to sleep!xxxx
I’ve been planning for ages to talk you about cloth nappies, but somehow life seems to get in the way. Lots of cloth stuff coming soon, but for now I have to give you an update on little NW’s progress.
You may remember that my first post was about NW’s colic. I keep expecting to be able to tell you it’s better, but it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster, and I’m afraid we’re still on it.
Following the wonderful advice from you ladies, I cut dairy out of my diet, and he seemed to get better. Then after a couple of weeks he got worse again, so I took him to see a lovely cranial osteopath, and again he seemed to get better. I though he was sorted so reintroduced dairy into my diet and he got significantly worse.
He was demonstrating a lot of the symptoms of dairy intolerance; mucus in his poo, a bubbling stomach when feeding, colic, reflux and a runny nose, and poor weight gain, and given that I was allergic to milk when I was younger I became convinced again that the problem is down to dairy. So last week the GP referred him toPaediatric care.
But over the weekend he took a turn for the worse when he started projectile vomiting, and after he only kept down 3 feeds all weekend we took him to see the GP on Monday who sent him straight up to the hospital, hence no Llun Dydd Llun.
The conclusion at the hospital was that the new vomiting was down to a bug (confirmed by the fact that DW started that evening), and that his general failure in thriving would very likely be down to a dairy intolerance.
The Registrar who saw us had a son with dairy intolerance and was full of useful information. It seems I may well have not been strict enough with the dairy. For example, if I were out for the day I may well have bought a (non-dairy) sandwich, which would of course have traces of dairy in the spread or bread, or I wouldn’t have thought of checking for dairy in things like crisps or snacks.
Now I’m on a super strict no dairy or eggs diet which involves checking labels on everything and not eating out just in case. Then, we’ll be back at the hospital in three weeks to see how it goes.
The strange thing is that while he was vomiting he was actually better in himself. The registrar pointed out that this would be because whatever was in my breastmilk that was aggravating his digestive system was being expelled.
I’ve been feeling for quite some time like my breastmilk was causing him pain, and this confirms it. Emotionally, its hard to deal with the fact that something that is so natural and absolutely the best for your baby causes them so much pain, and I have flagged a few times and thought about switching to formula.
But dairy free formula is supposed to have a nasty taste and smell, and having fully breastfed DW through loads of problems, I don’t think I could live with the guilt if I give up. I also know that breast milk still provides the best balance of nutrients for my child, which makes me more determined to eliminate whatever is n my diet that aggravates him.
I’m finding it hard though. No meals out, no cups of tea with friends, having to check absolutely every label, and worse of all, no pasta (my favourite staple) because of the eggs! So my question to those of you who are or have been dairy free, any hints or tips on coping? Do you have any scrummy dairy free recipes you could share, or can you recommend any nice dairy free products?
One good thing in all this; cutting out cheese and butter (both of which I eat far too much of) may well have a positive effect on my attempt to shift the baby weight!
Our little boy Quentin has recently turned one. A huge milestone in his life so far.
I look back on our first 12 months with wonder. So much has happened!
He is now the proud owner of 12 pearly white teeth. He is happily crawling & cruising. He is both adventurous and daring. He Babbles away endlessly and happily eats whatever food we offer and has even started using his own fork & spoon.