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Baby's Own Breastfeeding Style!

Any mum thinking about breastfeeding for the first time realises soon after she begins her wonderful journey that it's not just a matter of putting baby to the breast and sitting back as baby gets on with it.

Before too long it becomes apparent that both mum and baby have a preferred breastfeeding position.

And often when breastfeeding problems such as mastitis and blocked ducts rear their ugly heads, the first thing mums are asked by other breastfeeding mums or health consultants is whether the baby is positioned correctly.

Unbeknownst to me first time around, and I'm sure this is the case for most first-timers, there are quite a few "set in stone" positions to choose from and ways to ensure that the baby is latched on correctly, thereby avoiding the aforementioned problems.

Positions such as The Cross-Over Hold , The Clutch or Football Hold , Reclining Position, The Cradle (or cuddle) Hold and others are commonly suggested and recommended to new mums...

But what about the positions that babies create for themselves as they get older?

Well, today as I browsed the web looking for inspiration for this post, I stumbled upon Lexicon of Breastfeeding Styles, by Tania Krueger, over on Breastfeeding.com.

It reminded me that as I breastfed Jack recently, my daughters were rolling around laughing at his new "Acrobatic" style of breastfeeding. This is when he straightens his legs, lifts his bum in the air and wiggles it whilst guzzling away happily!

Then I started thinking about all the other techniques he has mastered along the way:

There's the TV Head Roll where he tries to breastfeed and watch television at the same time;

The Rhythm's Gonna Get Ya where he hears music and starts vigorously nodding his head to the beat;

the Let's Talk when he babbles and giggles as he feeds and waits for a response;

the Only Joking where he starts feeding, then stops, gets up and toddles off;

The Head Butt where every time I sit at my laptop he comes up behind me and uses the crown of his head to open a space between my back and my arm trying to get between it to his feed;

and The Smack where out of the blue he slaps my face as he feeds... to name but a few!

The article  made me realise that  my little boy's behaviour is very common and just as we adults like to have a different meal every evening, eat out at a different restaurant occasionally or sit in a different chair sometimes so too do babies!

What style does your baby prefer when he/ she is feeding?


Irish Breastfeeding Mum is Miss Great Britain Finalist

Thanks to Tanya at Motherwear Blog for this story!

An Irish mum, Siobhan O'Loughlin, who has breastfed all three of her children, has reached the finals of Miss Great Britain. At twenty six years old she decided to enter the contest to raise breastfeeding awareness.

The competition will take place on Monday May 21st  and coincides with Breastfeeding Awareness Week in the UK, so Siobhan will certainly be helping to draw attention to the cause.

To read more or find out how to offer your support visit the full story here.


Breastfeeding in Public

Breastfeeding in Public A few weeks ago Tanya from Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog contacted me to ask if I'd put together a few thoughts on my experiences of breastfeeding in public in Northern Ireland.

The reason for this request was that she was putting together a couple of posts focusing on nursing in public around the world.

Considering I have been breastfeeding around the clock for the last 22 months, I was more than happy to oblige... you can read my piece here!


BreastfeedingMums Blog Nominated for Blogger's Choice Awards!

Hey, I've been nominated for the Blogger's Choice Awards!

Actually, to tell the truth my carnival friends and I all nominated one another for a bit of fun...

Anyway, I've been nominated for three catagories and you can vote for me (if you like!) in either or all of those catagories!

Best Health Blog

Best Parenting Blog

Hottest Mommy Blogger

So go on, (please, pretty please!) make this mommy blogger a really happy mommy blogger by giving me, or one of my breastfeeding blogger buddies, your vote!

And in anticipation of your support, and to quote Jack after each breastfeed (because it's so cute), "Sank ooooh"! :)


Carnival Time - What I Wish I'd Known about Breastfeeding!

Welcome to the sixth Carnival of  Breastfeeding! This month we have some excellent contributions on the theme of "What I didn't expect when I was expecting..." covering mums' expectations of breastfeeding and the reality.

Here's my contribution and don't forget to check out the other posts listed below!

What I Wish I'd Known about Breastfeeding!

Breastfeed! It was a decision that came easily to me when I was pregnant. I knew I would give it a try and that was that. I never thought to read about it or to ask other mums if they'd breastfed - I just knew it was best for my baby and there was no more to be said or thought about it. Don't get me wrong, I didn't intentionally set out not to research it. I just didn't think to!

Seven years on and currently breastfeeding my third child (Yep, right now as I type!) the fact that I did no research at all seems incomprehensible to me. And considering that I devoured books about getting pregnant, being pregnant and birth choices I feel in hindsight that it was just something I overlooked in all my excitement.

So when my first daughter was handed to me, it was with a strange sense of trepidation that I asked the midwife if I could breastfeed her. And when she didn't latch on immediately I assumed I was doing something wrong. However, rather than seeking medical help, I just kept trying until she did. After all, I reasoned, everyone was busy and it's supposed to come naturally. And later on that day when I was getting a little sore and asked the midwife if I was doing it right she more or less stuffed my nipple into the baby's mouth, told me that I was doing great - and off she went!

Only now,  looking back and remembering that I did persevere makes me realise that I am very strong-willed when I set my mind on something. But it also makes me a little tearful to think that many new mums would have given up at that precise point. And would have felt that somehow they had failed themselves and their babies.

Within days of Tara's birth I was blistering, raw and bleeding - but even this didn't stop me! I dreaded every feed and sat with clenched teeth and tear-stung eyes as Tara latched on and the milk came in.

Believe it or not I simply believed that what I was going through was perfectly normal!

By the time Tara was four weeks old, rather unsurprisingly, I was in the throes of a painful bout of Mastitis, the first of many!

Anyway, to cut a very long story a little shorter, there are many things things I really wish I had known about breastfeeding, if for no other reason than to have reassured me I was not alone in experiencing problems and that breastfeeding shouldn't be difficult or painful...

I wish I'd known that breastfeeding was never going to be an easy option. Yes, it's much healthier for mums and babies and extremely convenient during the night, but on the other hand mum is responsible for all the feeding and breastfeeding can be utterly exhausting.

I wish I had prepared for this side of things well in advance.

I wish I had allowed other family members to help out more. (Instead I tried to do it all, to prove I was coping, which looking back, I clearly wasn't and ended up exhausted, tearful and even resentful on occasion!)

I wish I had sought guidance about how to express milk so that I could get the occasional break.

I wish I had known how important it is to insist upon getting help with positioning the baby so that problems such as blocked milk ducts and mastitis are avoided.

I wish I'd known that breastfed babies get colic too! And that baby massage is great for relieving the symptoms.

I wish I'd known that there are good and not so good nursing pads (that would really have helped!).

I wish I had been much more confident and adept about nursing in public so that other mums would have seen breastfeeding in action.

I wish that I'd known that there are myriad support groups, websites and blogs that offer help and advice to pregnant and nursing mothers.

I wish someone had warned me how strong the breastfeeding bond is! And how hard it can be mentally to quit!!

And I really wish I'd been able to breastfeed for the WHO's recommended two years.

But I did breastfeed Tara for sixteen months... and as a first time mum who truly had very little knowledge about breastfeeding I feel proud that I managed that. I had a great and very sympathetic health visitor, plenty of immediate family support and a fabulously supportive husband who all helped me through the moments when I felt like throwing the towel in...

Breastfeeding, what I wish I had known all those years ago, I soon learnt  by trial and error. As a result by the time numbers two and three arrived I was a proficient breastfeeder.

And these days, as an active member of a local breastfeeding support group and the owner of a breastfeeding website and blog, I hope my own experiences have helped other mums prepare for breastfeeding prenatally and offered them helpful and useful advice postnatally!

So how was it for you? Please leave a comment below and share your experiences!

Check out these great contributions from the regular Carnival of Breastfeeding bloggers on the same theme:

Angela at Breastfeeding 123 tells us about the things she didn't expect about breastfeeding.

Andi at Mama Knows Breast lists the top 10 things she didn't expect when breastfeeding.

Tanya at the Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog recalls how breastfeeding changed her life in ways she never expected.

Jennifer at The Lactivist gives us Nursing isn't Quite What I Expected.

This month we also have the some fantastic contributions from the following guest bloggers:

Shelly at Adventures of a Breastfeeding Mother tells us what she didn't expect about breastfeeding.

Leisa at Down With the Kids gives us "Goodbye Booby", a heartwarming post discussing her feelings about weaning.
Ashlee at  New Mama’s Nest shares her experience of breastfeeding her premature baby.
Heather at The Spice Choir talks about how breastfeeding changed her life.
Melanie from Spit-Up on My Shoulder, writes about why Education is Key. (She is also a postpartum doula who has written a book entitled Why Didn’t Anyone Tell Me? True Stories of New Motherhood).
Rixa at The True Face of Birth explains how preparation pre-birth helped her succeed with breastfeeding.


The Baby Bug

A very enterprising cyber- friend of mine has just launched a new website after discovering a niche in the market. And, oh boy, what a niche!

How many times have you discovered a parenting post that you really love and want to share with other parents? Where do you go to share it?

Well, for me, most of the time it's Digg I turn to. However, it has one blinding omission - its lack of a parenting category for users to submit their stories can be very off-putting. As a result I often find I end up posting my finds under "Off Beat News"!

Not ideal, I'm sure you'll agree!

Well, step forward Csara, happy owner of  The Baby Bug with her husband!

The Baby Bug is just the place to go and share your parenting posts with people who are genuinely interested in breastfeeding, sleep deprivation, first words stories...

I just thought you might enjoy getting in on a site that I'm sure is just about to be the next big thing!!


Baby Talkers

There's a new blog in town... or make that a new blog-forum,  Baby Talkers.

Well, to be honest, it's not new exactly but it is for me! I only discovered it in the last week or so although it's been around a lot longer than that!

Now, if you know anything at all about me it's that I generally avoid forums like the plague (as I was badly bitten by some not very nice "ladies" in the very early stages of setting up my website, BreastFeedingMums.)

However, since then there are two forum style communities which I feel I can safely recommend for moms.

One is an absolute favourite of mine which I have mentioned here before, Maya's Mom where the moms (and dads) are the friendliest and most helpful bunch of people on the planet.

The other is the aforementioned Baby Talkers. And although I haven't yet posted on any of the threads, from reading through a few of them I'd thought I'd share it as it looks to be a very welcoming and informative place where moms can post messages and chat about all things baby, from pre-pregnancy to baby fashion, adoption to gardening!

So go check it out - and let me know what you think!!


Tee Hee!

Something funny today - my husband was chatting with a former colleague who told him everyone in the office reads his blog... and then went on to state that they are really much more interested in mine!

I wonder why... ;)

Anyway, my message to them is this - Visit my website to find out why breast is best for babies and for mums too and then spread your newfound knowledge to your wives, girlfriends, co-workers, mates... After all, knowledge is power and all that!


The Weaning Project!

Finally weaning is going quite well.

As I mentioned before, I decided to slow things down a little and take the weaning more gradually. And thankfully, over the past week, Jack has been quite amenable to this plan of action. Ironically he has adapted to it more quickly than I expected and is now fairly content to drink from a cup during the day.

A trick I employed was to buy him a few special cups - one of which features a picture of his favourite character, Thomas the Tank Engine. I've also said to him on a few occasions that he's a big boy now and big boys drink from big cups and pointed out how daddy and his sisters drink from their cups! That has worked a treat!

As for the night-time feeding, Jack has moved from wakening for a feed three times a night to between once and twice. I still let him feed once at night but if he awakens a second time I turn away from him and he just holds onto my hair for a few moments before falling back to sleep. He doesn't even cry as he seems to have accepted that that is the way it is now!

So like I said, it's going well. He usually has a breastfeed on waking, one mid-morning,  once in the afternoon, one in the evening , another just before bed and then one during the night.

And he doesn't have one every single time I sit down anymore!!

However, that said, this new routine is not strictly adhered to. For example, we went to Belfast Zoo during the week and he didn't have a breastfeed at all that day - just when he woke up in the morning and again at bedtime. So I had almost a whole day off! And on other occasions if I think he really wants a feed during the day I just let him. The daytime feeding has never really been the issue, just the night-time - and it looks like we may have finally got that sussed!

I now feel at long last that I am the one in control of the feeds. If Jack wants a feed and it's inconvenient then he is now happily accepting a cup. On the other hand if convenience isn't a problem then I oblige and again he's happy!

Bingo!! One happy mummy and one happy and still breastfed toddler... I just hope now that I haven't spoken too soon! And who knows - we might even make it to the two year mark after all?


Calling All Bloggers - It's Carnival Time!

Yes, doesn't time fly! Already it's almost time again for our next Breastfeeding Carnival.

So if you are a blogger with a breastfeeding or parenting blog  and would like to share your story about breastfeeding, then please take note that the theme for this month's Carnival is "What I didn't expect when I was expecting..."  ie, the expectations you had about breastfeeding  and what your experience was really like? 

The deadline for entries is Saturday, April 14th, 2007 and the Carnival will take place on Thursday, April 19th, 2007.

If you would like your post to be considered for inclusion, then please  email me  with your entry and ensure that you follow the criterion below to improve your chances for selection:

  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.

Good Luck!