Breastfeeding Big Babies – Myths Shattered.

 

Today we have a guest blog from Katy from Wittering from the Sofa, on how she managed to bust the preconceptions that she wouldn’t be able to exclusively as she was a large baby…

 My daughter was 9lb 3oz when she was born, a very big surprise for us all as we weren’t expecting her to be big – I’m only 5ft 1!

I was always determined to try to breastfeed her for as long as she wanted me to and was supported well in hospital.  She spent 36 hours in SCBU due to Polycythema (too much haemoglobin) and I stayed on the ward upstairs however my wishes to not give her formula were followed and whenever she needed feeding they called the ward for me to go down (if I wasn’t already there) which lead to me wandering the hospital in my pyjamas in the middle of the night trying to remember where the baby unit was!

When she was allowed back on the ward with me I struggled with the feeding and was encountering toe curling pain whenever I tried to feed her.  I requested help and a midwife watched me feed and tried to help me get my latch correct.  However I was struggling and it was only when a breast feeding consultant happened to pop in while I was feeding did I get some valuable help – she spotted a slight tongue tie and taught me to feed my daughter Rugby Ball style.

From this point things improved dramatically and I started to enjoy my breast feeding journey and the time I had with my daughter uninterrupted just to watch her.  Many times I had comments from people about how big she was and how I would never produce enough milk to feed her sufficiently which just made me more determined to feed her.   At my 6 week check the doctor seemed surprised I was still feeding her and at her 1st set of injections I made the nurse change the form as she had ticked that I was only partially feeding her!

I fed my daughter exclusively until she was 6 months old and it was only when I returned to work when she was 7 months did we introduce formula because I couldn’t seem to express more than the odd oz at a time!

I continued to breast feed my daughter mornings and evenings until she was 20 months old and look back on those times together as a great experience.

You can also find Katy online at  readingtogether.co.uk

Ten Top Tips for New Breastfeeding Mums

A guest post from Lynn Hogg, Owner of More 4 Mums online Maternity & Breastfeeding Store and a Mum of 2 Breastfed Girls. To celebrate World Breastfeeding Week she gives us her top ten tips for new Breastfeeding Mums.

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Be Prepared

I was a proud Girl Guide in my younger days and this is my favourite motto “Be Prepared” ! Find out as much as you can about breastfeeding. Get a book from the library, ask questions at your antenatal class. You can read information from the La Leche League or look for local breastfeeding support groups or breastfeeding cafes. If you have friends or family who have breastfed then ask them all about it.

Get a Comfortable Breastfeeding Bra.

Get yourself one or two comfortable Breastfeeding bras before baby arrives along with a stock of Breast pads. I would suggest a seamless style as these tend to be stretchy enough to cope when your milk comes in and are comfortable for all day and night wear. You will probably need to wear a bra at night as you will be leaking milk in the early days and need to wear breastpads all the time.

Relax, easier said than done !

It all works better if you’re relaxed. You’re body is designed to do this and if you have chosen to then please know that the vast majority of women are physically able to breastfeed, so it is just a case of working out how to make it work for you, your baby and your family.

Think about why you are breastfeeding.

It might help if you do come up against any issues (not everyone does, by the way). It is better for baby, it helps me lose that post-baby weight (your body lays down fat stores in preparation for breastfeeding whether you do it or not), it is cheaper (much cheaper) than formula feeding and it is less faff and hassle! You may have other/different reasons, but if you know why you’re doing it you will know how much energy you want to put into persevering.

Expect to feed a lot in the early days.

Don’t watch the clock in the early days as baby won’t be in a routine and will need to eat little and often. If your baby is rooting around or crying, then feed him or her — even if you just did. As they get older you can expect them to go longer between feeds and they will get into more of a routine making it easier to plan ahead.

Know what is a good latch.

Most problems in breastfeeding are caused by a bad latch and most can be solved by getting a good latch. As much as it would be great if midwives could help us we have to accept that they are often very busy. You know your baby has a good latch if they have a massive mouthful of boob. If they have more of your areola from above the nipple than below. If the baby is making long rhythmic sucks and their cheeks are puffing out, nice and round. If your baby doesn’t have a good latch, use your little finger to break the seal and try again.

Make sure you have support.

You need support from your family, especially your partner. It will be very hard to make breastfeeding work if they are constantly reaching for the formula bottle. Also, you need to know you have somewhere to go if you run into problems (if you are struggling with that latch, for example) so look up local breastfeeding cafes (most surestart centres should be able to point you in the right direction, even if they don’t run one themselves), or find a peer supporter near you (la leche league should be able to help you find someone local).

Do I need a Breast Pump ?

You won’t need a breast pump in the early days, you can ask your midwife to show you how to hand express if you want to release some excess milk. Once Breastfeeding is established you may want to pump some extra milk so that you have a store. Some people use a manual pump however I never managed to get a lot of milk out. You can then use the milk if you are planning on going out without baby and will be leaving them with some one. You can also freeze the milk just incase. If you are planning on this I suggest you try and get baby to take a bottle before you go out as many babies don’t take to it straight away.

Work out how you are going to breastfeed in public.

Breastfeeding in public doesn’t have to mean getting both your boobs out for all to see. It is easy to Breastfeed when out and about if you think about your outfit beforehand, either with an easy to access top or a special Breastfeeding top. Many mums like to use a Nursing Cover or Supersize Muslin Cloth which will allow baby to latch on in comfort and give you more confidence. If you are really worried about feeding in public then plan ahead as many shopping centres and larger stores have specific rooms you can use however never feel you should be feeding in the toilet, your rights to breastfeed are a legal right.

Enjoy

Having a brand new baby is the most magical time in the world. Don’t get stressed and worry, you should enjoy the time and the closeness with baby.

mum and baby supersize muslin

Peer Support for Breastfeeding Mothers

Today we have a guest post from Mandi, who not only blogs at HexMum but is also a peer supporter for Breast friends Great Yarmouth and Waveney Breastfeeding Team.

To celebrate World Breastfeeding week 2013, the focus is on Good Peer Support for breastfeeding mothers.

When I began my breastfeeding journey over fifteen years ago, the level of information and support was very limited. I attended a breastfeeding workshop, which was a two hour group session with my midwife, who happened to be the breastfeeding expert in our area.

I knew that I wanted to breastfeed and was adamant that I would, regardless, I never bought any bottles, or a steriliser. I am one of those people that needs to know as much information as I can about a subject beforehand, so I went to the local library and found as many books as I could about childbirth and breastfeeding, and spent the pregnancy reading them all.

Many things have changed over the past fifteen years, and the level of support and information about breastfeeding has increased quite significantly.

When Tyrus was born in 2011, I was offered a telephone call from the local breastfeeding team, however I felt quite well equipped to deal with my sixth, but it was nice to know if I did have any problems that someone was at the end of a telephone.

The breastfeeding team consists of a group of trained practitioners who are always on hand to answer any questions or queries; they arrange visits to see new breastfeeding mums and their babies, if ever there is a problem someone is always available to help. They also have a number of voluntary peer supporters who work alongside them.

As the months went by, I made the decision that I had been very fortunate with my breastfeeding journey, although I knew many that hadn’t and as it is something I am very passionate about, I enquired about using my knowledge and experience to help others.
In March 2012 I undertook a two day UNICEF training course to become a Breastfeeding Peer Supporter. The area that I am in is Great Yarmouth & Waveney, and the group of supporters that we have are just fab.

Breast Friends are a dedicated group of peer supporters, trained in Breastfeeding Management by the UNICEF trained NHS East Coast Community Healthcare Breastfeeding Team.

We are all mothers with personal experience of breastfeeding who come from a variety of backgrounds with very different experiences of our breastfeeding journey.

We are always available at the local Baby Cafes to support mums before and during their breastfeeding experience. You will also find us offering help and advice at the local hospital, on the maternity ward, delivery suite and Special Care Baby unit.

I love visiting the Baby Cafe and spending time with the new mums and their bundles of joy, and love helping in any way I can. I also help to run a breastfeeding workshop once a month to provide information for mums to be and their partners, very much like the original one I attended and also with the same midwife that supported me all those years ago, so I know they are being given the best support. I am also on the postnatal ward every Monday morning, helping new mums with any breastfeeding problems or queries or just to offer support. I adore being a Peer Supporter and once this little bundle is born I shall definitely look to doing this as a full time career.

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You can follow Mandi on Facebook and on Twitter too.

From reluctant Breastfeeding to Extended Breastfeeding

Today, carrying on World Breastfeeding Week 2013, we have a guest post from Anna who blogs at www.intheplayroom.co.uk, this is her honest Breastfeeding experiences.

It’s world breastfeeding week and to help raise awareness of breastfeeding I would like to share my experiences with you all here at the Minene blog.

I have three boys, and am still breastfeeding my youngest who turns two next week. You could be forgiven for thinking I must have taken to breastfeeding really easily and had a really smooth journey to still be breastfeeding at this stage. Although that is true enough for this particular child, it was a really different story with my other two babies.

With my first baby, I just assumed that I would breastfeed and that it would all be plain sailing. I had heard all about the difficulties but I naively thought that as I had been to the breastfeeding workshop and learned all about them, that they would not affect me! Reality was different and it came as a shock how hard it was for me to get to grips with feeding. My baby had a few problems at birth, although not serious they resulted in him being separated from me immediately at birth and taken to the neonatal unit, and he was not fed for quite some time after that. I do feel that could have effected our breastfeeding experience, as I never really managed to get breastfeeding established with him. Throughout the weeks I tried it always seemed to be a battle. It lasted one month and I gave in to an emergency trip to the Supermarket for formula as I was worried he just was not feeding at all! By that time, I can honestly say it was a relief to give up, although at the same time I did feel really sad knowing that it had not worked out.

With my second baby, born under 18 months later, my previous breastfeeding experience was still fresh in my mind. I said I would give breastfeeding another go, and I did. But as he was a big baby I started mixed feeding very early and I don’t think my heart was really in the breastfeeding, so after 2 months he was fully moved over to formula.

By the time I had my third, I thought to myself that maybe I am just more of a formula feeding mum. I was willing to give it another try, but I was not expecting to carry on much longer than the other two. This time, maybe due to be a slightly more experienced mum or maybe just due to luck, I just found that breastfeeding seemed to be going really well. Feeding was easy, my baby would feed and fall asleep. He was happy, I was happy and time just went on and being busy with the three of them I just never really got around to introducing any formula to him. Before I knew it, breastfeeding had been well established and I realised that I did not want to stop any more!

So it is totally by accident that I became a long term breastfeeding mum, rather than the reluctant breastfeeding mum I was before – but I am really glad I have now had the chance to experience the positive side of breastfeeding. Having seen both sides of it, I would never judge another mum whatever way they choose to feed but I hope my experience can give some encouragement to any mums who have had a difficult experience the first time round and are hoping for things to go better in the future!

You can also follow Anna on Twitter and Facebook.

Extended and Tandem Breastfeeding

Continuing our series of real life experiences from mums, today we have Ruth who blogs at www.rocknrollerbaby.co.uk

Breastfeeding is strange; it’s both incredibly hard and unbelievably easy! I appreciate that’s a contradiction but it’s true…

It’s often hard to get started in the first place and can take weeks for your milk supply to come in. My first baby didn’t latch properly and from cracked nipples I got mastitis which made me feel super poorly and required antibiotics. But from the beginning of my long breastfeeding journey, which is still travelling, I have never regretted my choice, even on really tough days (and there are still some, even now)! Once it has been established, the baby latches properly and your milk is in regular supply, I can’t imagine anything easier, lovelier or more bonding. It is something to treasure and a time which is special for both you and the baby. I guess as with anything worth doing it just has to be worked at but as with anything worth having, it is worth the effort!

Florence was always a feeder and although not properly latched, (which was only a problem for me and my poorly nipples) she fed all day long. From the word go. Almost from the minute she popped out! I never got a rest and was up all night just lying on the sofa feeding, feeding, feeding. Eventually, with lots of help and a fortnight of expressing and finger feeding so that my boobs could heal, she learned how to latch on properly and then neither of us looked back. In those dark early days where I thought one of my nipples might actually fall off, I did ask my husband to go and buy some formula. He refused. He knew if we bought it I would give up and he knew I would be disappointed in myself. I’m glad he stuck to that otherwise I might have missed out on breast feeding.

I fed Florence exclusively until she was 6 months and remember crying because I thought it was all about to come to an end and I was sad to say goodbye to our breast feeding time. Little did I know… Oh how little did I know! A year passed and my family and friends would ask ‘when are you going to stop feeding that baby?’ I would reply ‘She will self wean…’ I know some of them didn’t like it and judged me for feeding a baby over one but I was adamant that she would finish when she was ready. She didn’t…

I carried on feeding her and when she turned 19 months old I fell pregnant for the second time with Jimmy. My boobs were so sore that when she latched on it was like knives going in me but she was not just reluctant to stop – she physically refused. Ok, so perhaps if I was stronger and could bear leaving her to cry and I’d have stopped it but I did what I thought was best for her and continued to feed through the pain. About half way through the pregnancy and it finally stopped hurting but my milk supply shot up! Florence then thought it was absolute game on! She started to feed more than ever and I knew I had to do something!

Just before Jimmy was born we moved her into a toddler bed from our breastfeeding and co-sleeping pattern. Co-sleeping isn’t for everyone but when you’re lazy like me, then breast feeding and not having to get up at all in the night is SO welcome! She was just ready and thankfully started to sleep through the night feeding only before bed! I know she wasn’t ready before then and would never have tried to insist on it. We’d tried various things before but she just wasn’t in the right place. It was simply luck that meant she finally slept just in time for a new baby.

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She didn’t stop feeding entirely and continued to have ‘milk, milk’ before bed every night for quite some time. I never thought I’d be the sort of person to still be feeding a three and a half year old but somehow I am? I don’t wear hemp skirts and nor am I a hippy. That stereotype of a prolonged breast feeder is not who I see myself as…

Perhaps people laugh at me but I don’t care. Perhaps people are disgusted but I REALLY don’t care about that! I do what’s right for us and for Florence. I still believe she’ll self wean and indeed these days she’s well on her way. She hasn’t breast fed in nearly a week as I write this so it’s going in the right direction. Gone is it a nightly occurrence and only now and then does she ask but when she asks she really wants it and I’m not really all that fussed about giving it to her. My friends and family may be so but it isn’t up to them now is it!

With Jimmy there were never any breast feeding problems and at 14 months he is still feeding too. He’s different to Florence and more feeds for the sustenance and then gets on with what he’s doing. She was and is, much more about comfort! He is very similar to her in lots of his feeding ways though and will squeeze my other nipple while he feeds which is excruciating. I had months of Florence doing the exact same and I’d love that element to stop but it won’t make me give up breast feeding because it’s so special. It’s worth a bit of pain and a bit of work and although I’ve been breast feeding without a break for three and a half years, I wouldn’t change it!

Breast milk is like magic. Babies get rashes and creams just do not work. Pop a bit of breast milk on a baby rash and it will disappear in a matter of hours! I was prescribed all sorts of creams for spots on Florence’s face when she was tiny then someone in a feeding room told me that! It worked and I have to think, if it does that on the outside then whatever kind of wonderful things is it doing on the inside!

 

You can find Ruth online at www.rocknrollerbaby.co.uk,  and also on Twitter.

Gaining confidence Breastfeeding

Today we have another Guest Post from a mum who is sharing her real life experience of Breastfeeding….Written by Becky who blogs at http://www.themummyadventure.com/

Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world, but it doesn’t always come naturally to us.  With both children I have had it easy, but that doesn’t mean that we haven’t been on a constant journey, learning all along the way.

I still remember the early weeks with Dylan, hiding in public toilets as I learnt how to latch him on properly, and panicking the whole time that I would walk out to a long queue of wheelchairs waiting to come in.  It took me weeks before I would feed Dylan in public and as soon as I mustered up the confidence, I discovered the handy feeding rooms located all over our local shopping centre.  By this point I had cracked it though, a muslin tucked into a bra strap, the layers to pull up and down and the art of eating cake as I fed (making the most of those extra calories I was allowed!)
When I had a second baby, that confidence was already there and luckily my little man took to breastfeeding as naturally as his brother had.  I saw no reason why my baby should feed in a smelly toilet and from the very first days, I have fed him wherever and whenever he is hungry.  I still prefer to cover up, but after feeding in front of mirror I am very aware of quite how big a baby’s head is and how much it covers!
It took me a few weeks to work out that a relaxed mum makes for a relaxed baby and breastfeeding is so much easier when you stop worrying about what anyone thinks.  It is the most natural thing in the world, so if it works for you then make sure you eat that extra slice of cake you are allowed!
You can find Becky on Facebook, and on Twitter too.

breastfeeding Archie

World Breastfeeding Week Giveaway!

For the duration of World Breastfeeding Week 2013 (1st August – 7th August) we shall be running lots of guest posts from real life mums, who will be sharing their experiences. We also have this little lot to giveaway!

Breastfeeding week 2013 giveaway

Nursing Poncho £18

Nursing Shawl £18

Supersize Muslin £12

To be in with a chance of winning one of these items, simply fill out the Rafflecopter widget below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Back to Work and still Breastfeeding

Today kicking off World Breastfeeding Week, we have the lovely Jennifer Dixon from My Mummies Pennies, giving her experiences of Breastfeeding and juggling returning to work….

When I had my son I really struggled with breastfeeding and ended up feeling like I’d let both him and myself down when I stopped after just two months.

Therefore with my daughter, 3 years later I was determined to take each day as it came, I would breastfeed for as long as I could but not put myself under too much pressure. I would be proud to have fed her for however long I could manage.

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So as you can imagine, I was quite surprised when 11 months later, as I was getting prepared  to go back to work , I was still going strong and realised I’d still be feeding her when I returned to working eight hour days in the office.  I hadn’t planned for it but now I would have to figure out how I would combine being both a working mother and a breastfeeding one…

After chatting to friends and checking out some really useful websites, I built up the courage to call HR and was really surprised about how open and encouraging they were about the idea of me expressing in the office! I knew that as my employer, they had legal obligations but I had prepared myself for some resistance.

For a few weeks before I started back I arranged for a relative to take my daughter out for the afternoon so she was used to spending some time away from me and I could get expressing. By this point I had tried a few different pumps but hadn’t been able to produce more than a few ounces at a time until I invested in a double electric pump which felt so strange at first but soon I was pumping for England and the freezer started to fill up…

It wasn’t just work that I had been worried about but also my daughter’s childcare, after a long search I had found what I believed to be the perfect nursery, the facilities were great, the staff were friendly and approachable and they were happy to use cloth nappies and encourage BLW, but how would they react to me sending in bags of frozen breastmilk for my one year old daughter?  Would this be a step too far?

I needn’t have worried at all as they were great about it and really put my mind at rest by confiding that my daughter would not be the only child at nursery still nursing.

It wasn’t long before my maternity leave was over and my first day back at work had arrived! After dropping my almost one year old at nursery with no tears (from her anyway!) off I trotted to the bus stop, loaded up bags filled to the brim with my breastpump, milk storage bags, a cool bag with ice blocks and a spare top (just in case!)

It went quite smoothly and I actually enjoyed my ‘pumping time’ in the quiet room, it was time to reflect on my day and think about my children. I had thought that my colleagues may resent this time and as skiving, however their reaction was really positive and I found that a few of them had breastfed their children past a year too!

I continued to nurse my daughter until she self-weaned at 23 months and I know that the support I got on my return to working life helped this wonderful journey.

Guest post from Jen who blogs at My Mummy’s Pennies.

 You can also find Jen on Facebook and Twitter.

World Breastfeeding Week 2013

Starting tomorrow, World Breastfeeding Week runs from 1st August through to 7th August, with lots of planned activities and even the  world record attempt ‘Big Latch On 2013‘ , we think this is a fantastic way to raise awareness of Breastfeeding and the support there is available for women.

At Minene we shall be joining in the week, with giveaways, guest posts from real life mothers, and even a post from a ‘peer support volunteer’. There will be lots going on and you can read all about it here: http://worldbreastfeedingweek.org/

Pyjama Party!

After a long day playing, there is nothing better than getting the little people in the bath and getting them washed clean, before popping them into clean pyjamas.

Pyjamas have not only got to look lovely, but they have an important function…they have to be comfortable for little people to wear for a good 12 hours! Minene pyjamas are made from 100% cotton, so they help keep the children comfortable.

They come in a very cute organza bag and bow, so make they make the perfect gift too.

minene pyjamas collage

 

You can find the full range online at:  http://www.minene.co.uk/shopdetails/cid/clothing/pid/346