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January 2007
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March 2007

Should a Mother Avoid Breastfeeding if she has a Peanut Allergy?

It never fails to annoy me how much misinformation is still circulating regarding breastfeeding.

Just yesterday my mother was chatting to a childhood friend who told her that her daughter, who has a severe peanut allergy, had recently given birth.

This young mum wanted to breastfeed.

Her GP's words of wisdom? Don't breastfeed because breastfeeding can make peanut allergies worse! ARRRRGH...

Now you would think that before offering such blatant "advice" the GP would have checked he had got his facts right.

Before I go off on one, let me make it very clear that I am not out to slag off all GP's. I have the utmost respect for GP's and fortunately my own has always given me wonderful breastfeeding advice.

I am also acutely aware that GP's have extremely demanding jobs and can't possibly be expected to know everything about everything.

But surely the fact that breastfeeding is being so widely promoted at the moment should have made him question himself. By telling this mother not to breastfeed he has quite possibly condemned the baby in question to the very same allergy that has blighted her mother's life.

If the doctor in question had known even the basics about breastfeeding he would have advised the mum to avoid the foods to which she was allergic or sensitive, especially before a breastfeed. (Some schools of thought further suggest that mother's with a family history of allergies should also avoid other common allergens.) And he would have been able to reassure her that breastfeeding may actually help to protect her baby from developing the same nut allergy - or at the very least have lessened the severity of any allergies the baby may have inherited.

I am not a GP but I am a breastfeeding mother who has read and researched a lot of freely available breastfeeding information.

Since this particular GP obviously didn't know the answer to the mum's query about whether or not to breastfeed, couldn't he instead have referred her to a breastfeeding support group, counsellor or advice line where her question could have been answered correctly?

That way everyone would have been much wiser and happier - and the baby much healthier.

Plus the damaging rumour he instigated (and which is now rapidly circulating around this young mum's friends, family and community) would never have started in the first place...

For more information on food allergies, Dr Sear's has a great article here .


Motherwear Winner!

Jack's Lovely New Jumper! Hat-trick! I won a prize!! Another one to add to my recent winnings of a patchwork blanket and a Christmas hamper...

This time I won a $25 gift voucher courtesy of Motherwear. I entered their monthly contest via the Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog in December which asked mums to submit breastfeeding tips that they found helpful. (My advice was for mums not to put pressure on themselves to breastfeed for a set length of time but to take it one feed at a time and one day at a time instead.)

Since I live in the UK and was unsure about US adult sizes, I opted to use the voucher to purchase a little jumper and hat for Jack - after all if it wasn't for him and my other children I never would have begun this breastfeeding journey in the first place!

So what did I think of the jumper? I loved it and Jack appeared very comfortable in it too...  But best of all it looks really cute, doesn't mark easily and washes very well!

I have a sneaking suspicion that my lucky winning streak has reached its end now... but hey, it was nice while it lasted!


MySpace Bans Breastfeeding Image

Myspace_banned_photo Thanks to Tanya at Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog for this story.

MySpace.com has banned a Washington woman's MySpace page showing a picture of her breastfeeding baby (picture to the left) because it apparently "violates MySpace policies against nudity and sexually suggestive images".

Can you believe it?

And not only that but furthermore they have also issued a threat to her stating that they will delete her page if she continues to post the image!

Please show your support for breastfeeding and sign the e-petition asking MySpace to reverse their unacceptable actions. Remember the power of the breastfeeding community does make change happen and every signature will put further pressure on MySpace to review their ridiculous behaviour.


My Husband's Rantings!

I've finally driven him to distraction with all the blogging I've been doing lately. So hubby has thrown in the towel and declared if you can't beat 'em, join 'em! He has started his own blog, ROTD: Rant of the Day and already he's showing signs of blogger's eye (symptoms: red rimmed, tired and puffy!)

He has just put up his first three posts and I'd love to send a few visitors his way - so go and check it out and see what I've got to put up with...

(And they say women grumble?)


Breastfeeding Blog Carnival - Submissions Invited!

It's hard to believe it's time again for submissions to the Breastfeeding Blog Carnival.

The theme for March is Breastfeeding Advice.

Was the advice you received on the whole good or bad?

If you are a blogger then you are hereby invited to share your story by submitting a post to the Carnival!

All submissions will be voted on by the other four permanent bloggers and me (ie  Angela at Breastfeeding 123, Andi at Mama Knows Breast, Tanya at Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog, Jennifer at The Lactivist Breastfeeding Blog and Sinead from BreastFeedingMums Blog) - and the best of the bunch will be added to the Carnival as guest bloggers.

Contributing to the Carnival is a great way to gain extra visitors and links for your blog. And your blog doesn't have to be a breastfeeding blog in order to contribute - any parenting or mom blog is welcome to post a submission.

If you are interested, please email your submission to me by 26th February 2007 for the Carnival which will take place on 12th March 2007.

Before submission please read the following pointers carefully in order to improve your chances of becoming a guest blogger in March:

    1. Please write your post in a clear and concise manner.
    2. Check your grammar and spellings.
    3. Stay on topic.
    4. The overall quality of the rest of your blog and its relevance to our readers will be taken into account when choosing participants.
    5. If your blog post is chosen, on the day of the Carnival you will be reminded to include permalinks in a summary post to each of the other permanent blogs in the Carnival  (ie. BreastFeedingMums Blog, Breastfeeding 123, Mama Knows Breast, Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog and The Lactivist Breastfeeding Blog) and to also include links to the other guest bloggers.

Wishing you lots of fun composing your post!

Good Luck...


Growing Pains - A Mum's Eye View!

Children grow up so quickly.

I remember when Tara was just a tiny newborn and I was carrying her in my arms from a local supermarket one day. An elderly lady stopped me and commented, "Enjoy every precious moment; it all passes by so quickly."

I thanked her and thought to myself, "If only she realised just how much I love this baby..." At that stage I couldn't take my eyes off Tara - even just having a shower was separating us for too long! I truly treasured her!

As time has passed obviously I have had to let a healthy separation happen and with two other children in the meantime I couldn't possibly devote myself so fully to just one child - all three of my children are equally precious to me.

But the little old lady was so right with her observation. It doesn't seem like yesterday, never mind almost seven years ago, that Tara was my newborn firstborn!

Just yesterday I got up to a very quiet house. Initially I thought all the children were still asleep. But when I peeped into the girls' room I got the shock of my life to see Sarah, aged three, sitting up in bed looking at a picture book! Not only that, but Tara was nowhere to be seen. Sarah briefly glanced up, announced that Tara was downstairs and promptly continued "reading" her book!

Downstairs Tara was watching television. I asked if she was ready for breakfast whereupon she stated matter of factly, "Oh mummy, I've already had my breakfast. I poured myself a bowl of cereal and a glass of orange juice..."

Well I didn't know whether to smile or sob!

My babies are growing up... and it is happening so quickly... and I'm not sure I'm ready for it...


Snug As a Bug

Regular readers of my blog will be aware that occasionally I review books that have a breastfeeding or parenting theme. These are books that both I and my children have enjoyed and which I believe other parents and their children will appreciate.

And so this month Snug As a BugI am reviewing another wonderful story book for children by renowned author and naturalist, Michael Elsohn Ross.

Having recently reviewed a couple of books by the same author, Mama's Milk and Baby Bear Isn't Hungry, when this latest book arrived there was great excitement in our household as the children had really enjoyed the previous books. And again, unsurprisingly, this book didn't disappoint and thoroughly delighted all three children.

In fact as I attempted my review this evening I was battling with Jack, my youngest, who was determined to get it off me!

Anyway, on with the review...

Snug As a Bug is one of those rare childrens stories that capture the imagination and which your children will emplore you to read over and over again.

A bedtime classic of the future, comparable with the wonderful Goodnight Moon, the story explores bedtime in a bug's world.

With its soothing rhythm and soft lulling rhyme, Snug As a Bug familiarises young children with the bedtime scenario and helps gently settle them for sleep!

Throughout the story we witness a medley of adorable little bugs listening to bedtime stories, kissing goodnight, going to bed, snuggling up and falling asleep.

Skillfully illustrated by renowned artist Sylvia Long, the vivid, colourful characters and tenderly conveyed scenes personify the bugs beautifully; bugs in cosy pyjamas getting into their beds of leaves, branches, an old cap and the suchlike!

With Michael Elsohn Ross' eloquent and simple text and Sylvia Long's intricately detailed illustrations, Snug As a Bug effectively captures the tenderness of  the bedtime hour.

Snug As a Bug is a valuable, and dare I suggest necessary, addition to every child's bookshelf.

Whilst Snug As a Bug will be appreciated by young and old alike, I highly recommend it for children from 12 months to approximately six years of age.

Published by Chronicle Books, Snug As a Bug is available here from Amazon.com ($11.86) and Amazon.co.uk (£8.99)

For more information on Michael Elsohn Ross or to explore more of his books, visit his website, BugAuthor.com.


Mum on a Musical Mission

Have you ever had one of those days where you wake up with a song going around and around inside your head? For me it usually happens if I've heard a new song that I particularly like a couple of times over a number of days. And then I absolutely have to buy it and I keep hoping I'll hear it on the radio and discover who sings it!

Well over the last few weeks it has happened again. The first time I was parking my car outside my local College of Further Education. I was running late for my Photoshop class but the song on the radio demanded I sit until it was over. I waited for the DJ to say who had sung it but of course she didn't and I had to run along to my class. I didn't think too much about it again until I heard snippets of the song a few times more and by now I was really starting to love the voice singing it. It was something very unique and special.

So this past Thursday I made a point of calling into my local record store to try to buy it.

The big problem was that I still didn't know who the artist was or the name of the song or any of the words, just the tune. I just hoped I might intuitively find it!

I felt a bit stupid though when the manager asked if he could assist! Explaining my predicament to him I hastily assured him I wasn't going to hum it to him!

He kindly offered to let me hear the couple of albums I was clutching and joy oh joy I had picked the right artist first time. So who was it?

Well, he's a young fellow named Paulo Nutini and the song is called Last Request from an album entitled These Streets.

Born and raised in Paisley, Scotland, Paolo Nutini is a 19-year-old singer/ songwriter blessed with a soulful, passionate voice and the natural gift of being able to tell a story in a song. Like many of the truly inspired singer/songwriters before him, Nutini has absorbed the soul of classic artist from both sides of the Atlantic and channeled it into something original, captivating, and dynamic. (MySpace)

A Rootsy debut from the 19-year-old Scot, whose soulful voice sounds like he has swallowed Otis Redding. It's all fairly low-key, laid-back and acoustic, with lyrics to match ... Nutini is the real deal, not just another trumped-up excuse for a photo opportunity. (The Express)
I absolutely love the whole album, not just the song I set out to find. Watch my words - he is going to be BIG! The whole album is fantastic and even my children love it - we've all been dancing around the living room to it.

Normally, I don't buy a lot of music (Stan's reaction on being told I'd bought a CD: What! But you never buy music!) and when I do I usually only listen to it a couple of times before forgetting about it. But I've been listening to this one over and over and loving it more each time.

I've even been listing family members who I know would love it too - to buy a copy of it for them...

And I know this post has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with breastfeeding (although I do believe everytime I hear this song in the future I will be reminded of my time as a crazy breastfeeding mother on a mission to buy a CD from a nameless artist!) but I just had to spread the word about this young lad's amazing talent!

And if you do decide to buy it I really hope you'll get the same satisfaction out of listening to it that I do!

Find out more about Paolo Nutini www.paolonutini.com and listen to the song I fell for on http://www.myspace.com/paolonutini!


Love Is All Around Me...

Hey, it's Carnival Time again and as Valentine's Day approaches this month's topic is appropriately entitled Baby Love!

This month I offer you a glimpse into my life with "Love Is All Around Me" a post which traces my own relationship with my husband from teenage sweethearts to adoring parents.

And don't forget to visit the other bloggers' posts in the Baby Love Carnival which I have listed below!

Love Is All Around Me...

As a child I loved playing with “boys” toys and spent hours racing my little brother’s cars around the house. I recall cycling in the rain daydreaming about how much fun it would be if my bicycle had a “roof” on it.  I devoured books, especially Enid Blyton's Secret Seven and Famous Five series.

Very occasionally I played with a few Barbie dolls - but I was never really a doll sort of girl, in sharp contrast to my little sister who just adored her Tiny Tears and yearned for a Cabbage Patch Kid.

So, my parents, naturally, thought I would grow up to be a career girl and my sister, the maternal one.

But oh how the years change us.

When I hit thirteen suddenly I started dreaming about my future in the sort of romantic way only a teenager can. And in some ways my story was romantic.

When I first met my now husband it was during an open day at Queen’s University, Belfast.  I was as the song goes "only sixteen"; he was seventeen. I saw him strolling across the quad and suddenly knew, "I’m going to marry him!"

I giggled to myself as I hadn’t even spoken to him at that point much less had a date! But we got chatting and by the end of the day I was in love. We met up again the following weekend… and that was the beginning of "us"!

When he went off to university a few months later I was heartbroken as it meant I could only see him at weekends and he wouldn’t be able to walk me home from school anymore!

However,  love prevailed and we stayed together all through college (although I attended University of Ulster, Coleraine) and the intervening years, eventually marrying in 1998.

Our baby girl, Tara, was born in 2000. And nothing in this world could have prepared me for the immediate and overpowering love I felt for her when she was handed to me, ten years after that fateful day in QUB!

Baby Love brought with it so many unexpected emotions. I never doubted I would love my baby but the potency of that love astounded me. I adored her tiny little features, her milky scent, her silky soft skin, her fine blonde hair, her button nose and her bright blue eyes. I marvelled at her absolute perfection every time she breastfed. She was so beautiful, so precious and the most photographed baby in the world!

And as a first time mum, I documented every single milestone, every new tooth, every new word, every outfit she wore, every new sound she made, the nursery rhymes she liked and the toys she enjoyed! I treasured every second I spent with her.

Of course I also had darker moments when I wept for her future life. I imagined us, her parents, dying and her being left alone. I saw her as an old lady with no mummy and daddy to look after her, I worried for all the broken hearts she would suffer as a teenager, all the trials life would fling at her!

My heart physically ached for her when she was ill or in pain.

But each time I whispered into her tiny perfect little ears that I would always love her and care for her and do my very best to keep her safe and happy.

I never imagined that I could possibly feel those same feelings for any other babies I might have. In fact I didn’t really want to think about increasing our family for fear I would have to share my Baby Love with another baby!

However, as time moved on and she began to grow into a busy independent toddler I found myself yearning for another baby to shower with love...

Sarah arrived after a wonderful birth in 2003 and much to my relief my Baby Love swamped me all over again! I was fascinated by the physical resemblance she shared with her big sister and thoroughly delighted in her. The love I had worried about sharing simply expanded to embrace her too. And when Jack joined us in 2005 again Baby Love rippled through me!

I didn’t fret so much about Tara’s future once she had siblings; I knew the children would always have each other.  And I didn’t have time to keep just so many records of developmental milestones the second and third time around …

Instead these days I revel in the joy and love I feel as my three children bond with one another and their relationships with each other blossom.

Now when I look at my children, aged six, three and one, I see the beautiful little people they are becoming, each with a very distinctive personality of their own.

And I also see that they are three very lucky children. They are lucky to have each other to share their lives with, lucky to have four grandparents who dote on them, lucky to have lots of aunts and uncles who delight in them and lucky to have two parents who love one another and who will always strive to do whatever we can for them.

So, I never really took to the whole career girl thing. Sure, I became a teacher but as soon as my fist-born arrived I quickly realised I couldn’t be parted from her, looking after other people’s children. And I acknowledge that I have been extremely lucky to have been able to stay at home with my children for the past three and a half years.

But oh boy, Baby Love - it’s so much more than falling in love. It overpowers you completely and forever! Baby Love is all-consuming and neither Stan nor I can ever imagine that fading; it is a love which entwines all five of us together forever.

What started as our own little love story, spanning our teens and twenties, changed into something so much more when our first baby was born; as the years have passed and our family has grown, our love for each other envelops our family and holds us all tightly together.

And what of my sister, the maternal one?

Well, although she is the doting mama of a darling little boy, her career has thrived alongside her baby love. She freely admits she would feel suffocated by my lifestyle. She enjoys her freedom, her career, her independence. But she also more than cherishes every single magical moment she spends with her little son.

Baby Love; it’s what you make it. What works for one may not work for another but so long as you are happy with your choice then surely that is the most important thing…

Baby Love - Phew!

Don't forget to visit the following blogs for more insights into Baby Love:

Angela from Breastfeeding 123 writes about helping a big brother or sister welcome a new baby into the family.

Andi from Mama Knows Breast shares her review of the book "Babyproofing Your Marriage."

Tanya from Motherwear Blog discusses in her post, "Baby Love:  How my body loved my baby when my mind could not" how it sometimes takes a while to fall in love with your baby if there are other things going on after/related to birth, becoming a mother, etc.

Jennifer from The Lactivist Breastfeeding Blog contemplates how love makes you do crazy things.

Also participating this month we have three new guest bloggers:

Melissa from Booby Juice posts "In Love With My Babies" depicting the happiest days of her life with her boys.

Karen at Cairo Mama details in her post, "Great Expectations and First Impressions:  The Beginning of Love" how loving her baby helps her to love herself.

Colleen from My Baby and More posts her entry entitled "Baby Lust...er...Love" leaving a big question mark at the end!

Please remember, if you enjoy our carnival posts and run your own breastfeeding or parenting blog why not send us your submissions for the next one. Details will follow shortly!