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Health Visitors… aaaaaaargh….

Seriously the level of conflicting, or just plain wrong, advice out there is appalling…

Two gems from a trained professional health visitor today at a weaning workshop for 6 month olds:

1) Add juice to their beaker to encourage them to drink water.

2) Try giving them marmite on toast for extra flavour.

Extra sugar and extra salt at 6 months. Shocking.

That is all.

The changing face of Motherhood

I have always been quite a straightforward person, some might say harsh.  People say things like “at least when I ask you I get an honest answer”… which I know is a back handed statement about my inability to put up with idiots.  But since having BabBee opinions appear to have changed and I was recently described as an Earth Mother.  DaBee laughed his head off at that (and said I was as much of an Earth Mother as Hitler!) but it got me thinking about how having children changes you…. hmm…

I knew that after having BabBee I “would change” as 46,000 people had told me this, but how far does it go?  Now I am very pro breastfeeding, baby wearing, baby calm and use cloth nappies – that’s all pretty Earth Mother.  I walk most places – I was definitely too busy (and too lazy!) before.  But most of this is down to the gift of time on maternity leave, not the new “spiritual” connection I have made with the world.  I still get annoyed with people but knowing how small the mummy circuit is I think it is wise not to piss people off, and therefore try harder to be diplomatic.  What I would really like is for my non-baby and my baby friends to fill out a questionnaire but lets be honest this is all getting a little self obsessed…  I think I am supposed to be obsessed with my baby – mot the inner workings of my own mind!!

I guess the ultimate change is all that love you have for the new little person in your life and no one can doubt or deny that.  I guess the impact of the Bigger Change will emerge later – does anyone feel they have been intrinsically changed by the occasion of birth… I am interested?!

Weaning… already?

Hmm weaning – a common area of discussion, argument and opinion – yet I must confess that I don’t know very much about it and people are irritating me already…

BabBee is 17 weeks and therefore technically old enough to wean… are people insane?  He is pretty advanced at holding up his head (even if I do say so myself) but shows no inclination to sit independently and every time I have tried he flops sideways like a bag of potatoes.  He has on occasion shown interest and  grabbed towards a piece of food, but he has also grabbed towards the TV remote… I can’t imagine BabBee would any clue what to do if I thrust food in his mouth and is certainly not missing out by not having any.

What about the other “reason” people give to wean?  Correct me if I am wrong but there are far more calories in breastmilk than half a pureed carrot. BabBee is exclusively breastfed, on the 91st centile and currently wakes once a night (fingers crossed!) he doesn’t appear starving to me? And when he is hungrier I feed him more in the day.  No problem.  And that’s what research tells me to do.

Incidently, he’s interested in the washing machine – is it time for him to do his own laundry?

Why do women stop feeding so soon?

This blog is not supposed to be exclusively about breastfeeding but something happened today that made me want to post again on the topic so it’s on the agenda twice in a row (sorry!)

I went to a mummy group that i enjoy this morning and was sitting with 4 other women that i have seen about but am not “friends” with.  Bits of the conversation were swirling around breastfeeding as 4 out of the 5 of us were feeding, yet the one other mother – lets call her Wasp – has switched to formula said we made her feel bad as she no longer breastfed.

I am pro breastfeeding. Fact.  I intend to breastfeed as long as possible. Fact. I do not see why I should have to make a woman who has chosen to formula feed “feel better”

Wasp’s son is 11 weeks old.  She stopped breastfeeding around 2 weeks ago as “it is better for him” although I think she moved away from the idea longer ago as she explained how she gradually swapped by adding in an extra bottle of formula every few days. She told us how hard it was for her as she missed it and their special bond – but in the same breath how much easier life was now.

Wasp’s reasons for stopping are:

1) It’s better for him to feed every 3 hours as he is more settled. If this was actually true, I can’t see why she doesn’t breastfeed every 3 hours.

2) He no longer has colic… don’t get me started on people’s obsession with colic – IT’S A SYMPTOM NOT AN ILLNESS

3) Her baby can get fuller as there are more calories in formula as she’s seen breast milk separates in the fridge and “there’s loads of water” in it – What the hell does she make her formula with ?!?!?!

I actually had to point this out to her, whilst holding my 91st centile, exclusively breastfed baby.

Wasp is educated, polite and friendly.  Wasp is capable of breastfeeding. Wasp appears to be either ill informed or stupid.

Why doesn’t every woman want to feed her baby and give them them the possible start in life? This is a massive beeeee in my bonnet 😦

My Breastfeeding Journey

Everyone knows breast is best.  The government is shoveling this opinion down our throats at every opportunity… but here’s the thing I found…  Where is all the support?

The hospital were dreadful – one midwife literally tried to force my nipple into newborn BabBee’s mouth. Not the beautiful latching on moment I had been led to hope for.  I was in my hospital bed, desperately on my phone googling images of proper latching, is that the best this developed country can offer me?

And after discharge, at 8 days old I went to a breastfeeding support group and the La Leche volunteer was away on holiday.  At 9 days old I went to a Surestart meeting and honestly, I knew more than them. At 12 days old a Health visitor sat at the end of my sofa and said the latch looked ok.  I was in pain, my nipples hurt, there was no way I was giving up but I was wishing that a little less had been spent on a shiny advertising campaign and a little more spent on practical help.

98% of women CAN breastfeed plus according to the infant feeding survey (2010) :

Across the UK, the prevalence of breastfeeding fell from 81% at birth to 69% at one week, and to 55% at six weeks. At six months, just over a third of mothers (34%) were still breastfeeding

That’s low.  That’s shocking.  But actually maybe if all these new mummies had more practical support it would be higher. My bee in my bonnet is against the government here – not against all the new mothers; (most) mothers want the absolute best for that tiny little thing that has just arrived in their world. Every other woman in my ward gave formula in the hospital – the midwives encouraged it. Those midwives should be ashamed… Fact.

Why is this happening in this “developed” country we live in? It’s not normal practice worldwide.

There’s no conclusion here but a massive question.  My sister SibBee was amazing and that traditional female network made the difference as no professionals seemed to care.  Finally, thank goodness for the leaky boob, it still makes me cry and motivates me beyond belief!

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