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Breastfeeding wins hands down

This week we have seen how Facebook is controversially banning pictures of breastfeeding mothers from Facebook. It says that they have received complaints and have literally hundreds of women have had photos removed from their profile.

Hard to believe when I was on my profile this morning with an advert at the right hand side of my profile displaying the naked torso of a muscular, photo shopped and tanned male body.

In protest mums have set up the Group called “Hey facebook: Breastfeeding is not Obscene” If you are a mum on Facebook and haven’t come across the group I’d be amazed as it has a nearly 125,000 members already.

In protest mums have been posting themselves breastfeeding their babies as profile picture, but Facebook has no plans to change their existing policy, which I think is obscene.

What it has done though, amidst all the furore, is raised the profile of breastfeeding. It is an amazing feat of nature that we are able to produce everything our baby needs through our breast milk and more women should be supported in their choice to feed their babies. It is a wonderful, intimate experience that has untold benefits for mum and baby.

I fed both mine, although the first time it was extraordinarily challenging and it took about 6 weeks for me to get to grips with it. I’m sure I flashed a nipple more than once in public, but to be honest I didn’t really care I was so absorbed in getting him latched on. My sister has her own carefully perfected technique of managing to feed while under a carefully constructed muslin tent. Which in the Debenham’s cafe was a hoot. It just shows everyone has their own way, so trust in your instincts and find the way that is right for you.

I did nearly give up at four weeks and it was only sibling rivalry with my sister that kept me going. I was stressed, my boobs leaked and leaked, I got thrush, I bought the local shop out of cabbage leaves and when he had a growth spurt I was out of milk and I thought I’d had enough.

Then I learnt how stress can affect the let-down reflex and reduce your flow of milk whereas if you relax, take time and address your diet and fluid intake you can increase your milk flow. At the same time you will be helping your baby become less stressed and anxious in the longer term as children that are breastfed show lower levels of stress as children that have been bottle fed.

If you are struggling to feed, get help from groups such as the NCT or La Leche League. There are even independent breastfeeding counsellors such as Denise Pemberton at Feeding Baby who parents have said, have turned feeding around in a couple of hours.

Breastfeeding protects both you and your baby. Research shows that it can reduce the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, hip fractures and increase bone density. Amongst the innumerable health benefits to baby outline by UNICEF it is also now thought to improve neurological development in a newborn.

Listen to Mindful Mamma’s FREE MP3 to build confidence in breastfeeding and to help you relax and enjoy the experience.

Happy feeding!

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Forget the drugs – skin to skin works

Skin-to-skin contact, or kangaroo mother care (KMC) has been shown to be efficacious in diminishing pain response to heel lance in full term and moderately preterm neonates,” write Celeste Johnston, DEd, RN, from McGill University School of Nursing in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and colleagues. An awful lot of money has gone towards demonstrating what we all know in our hearts. If you cuddle your baby when they are in pain, you reduce the pain. Kangaroo mother care is a fancy term for holding your premature baby a lot, in preference to putting her in an incubator. Attempts have been made to make incubators mimic mother’s care – by making them warm (but they aren’t as good at regulating baby’s temperature as holding is) by making them smell like mum (but not as effective as mum holding baby – obviously), and by making them move like mum (but not as effective as mum carrying baby). It wasn’t until there was no money for expensive incubators that hospitals in Brazil “tried” letting mums hold babies while they recovered from their premature birth. It soon became apparent that holding is more healthy and healing than incubators (in other words, fewer babies died). Another thumbs up for mother nature!