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Carnival of Breastfeeding - Beginnings and Endings

Welcome Carnival of Breastfeeding readers!

Beginnings and Endings is this month's theme and as I write my post it strikes me that the beginning of my breastfeeding experience seems very long ago now.

Way back in March 2000 I became not only a mother for the very first time, but a breastfeeding mother.

Looking back, although I thought I was ready for my new role, I clearly wasn't in one area... I wasn't at all prepared for breastfeeding!

In the beginning, I found breastfeeding in the early days and weeks very challenging. Mainly I suppose this was due to the sleep I lost as a new mother. However, difficult as I found those early days, I also found them remarkably rewarding and the bond I developed with my daughter was the most intense feeling I think I had ever experienced.

(I know many non-breastfeeders who seem to take exception to the idea that breastfeeding mothers develop a very strong bond with their newborns so soon after birth. Many have said they too felt that bond... but it's a medical fact that physiologically, breastfeeding hormones play a huge part in creating that special feeling!)

Looking back I do wish I'd read some books about breastfeeding just so I was prepared for or able to avoid altogether some of the breastfeeding problems I experienced. But to be honest, pregnancy was all I was interested in while I was pregnant and the baby was all I was interested in after the birth... so it was quite a while before I got around to reading anything at all about breastfeeding!

In the intervening years I've had two more children and breastfeeding for a time became a very normal and acceptable part of my life.

When my second baby was born I began attending a local breastfeeding support group, at first for breastfeeding support but then more-so as a mother offering support to more inexperienced mothers. This in turn led to my pregnancy and breastfeeding website, this blog and a social network for mothers. I could never have foreseen any of these things happen way back in March 2000!

Having weaned each of my three children when they became toddlers (another thing I hadn't prepared for!) I realise that what began as a trial run at breastfeeding became so much more for me and my family.

As I sit and reflect on my time as a breastfeeding mother I realise (with a few tears building up behind my eyes) that my own breastfeeding days are now also most probably a part of my past. And I don't know whether to feel glad or sad about that!

(Maybe I'll have another baby in the future but then again, maybe I won't. Right now my focus is firmly on helping other women who want to breastfeed or who are having some problems with it.)

In the beginning I wasn't really prepared for breastfeeding. Now I'm not really prepared for the end of it.

I guess other things will happen instead in my children's lives that will take my focus off breastfeeding such as exams, school events, growing up, first dates (a long way off yet I hope!) and the such like.

But one thing will always remain constant and that is the everlasting bond I feel with all three of my children, due in large part to breastfeeding.

These days I get more sleep. These days my focus is changing. My life is moving on and so is theirs. Our breastfeeding relationships may have come to an end, but my role as their mother never will...

Don't forget to check out the following Beginnings and Endings Carnival posts from our regular participants and guest bloggers (Updated as they become available!):

How to Be a Badass Dad - A father shares his thoughts on the important role dad's play when their partner is breastfeeding.

Nature Moms - Tiffany discusses her disappointment at stopping breastfeeding her first child before she was ready to due to returning to work and her second child because of cancer. She also reviews the book Mama Knows Breast.

Leche Baby - discusses the benefits of breastfeeding beyond a year and offers some ideas on weaning a toddler.

Mama Knows Breast -  Andi's sister in law shares the difficulties she encountered due to a low milk supply, the lack of professional support she received and her experience of supplementing breastfeeds with formula.

Adventures of Pip and Squeak - looks at looks at how complicated the breastfeeding relationship can be and considers the difficulties encountered when weaning a toddler.

Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog - Using the experience of weaning her son, Tanya discusses the importance of gently pushing your child toward independence once you sense they are ready for it.

Crunchy Domestic Goddess - Amy looks back at inauspicious breastfeeding beginnings!

Tales of Life with a Girl on the Go - Elizabeth tells how breastfeeding support from La Leche League armed her with lots of practical breastfeeding information and showed her some breastfeeding positions she could try out. She also recommends some books she found useful.

Breastfeeding 123 - Angela discusses weaning a breastfed baby during pregnancy.

Time for a Ban Follow-on Formula Advertising

Anyone see the new follow-on milk television advertisement on UK television last night?

A new mother holds her newborn whilst the baby's father makes lots of lovely promises about what he will and won't do as his family grows. All the time we see the baby growing bigger and healthier. It's all very sweet and moving... apart from the fact it is a blatant attempt on the part of the manufacturer to make formula feeding appear acceptable from birth onwards. (You see, they're not allowed to advertise formula anymore in the UK, so they have to get around the ban somehow. And as follow-on isn't covered by the ban, they get their message out by manipulating the rules.)

But then what else can we expect from the makers of formula?

It time for an outright ban altogether on all forms of formula... if for no other reason than to stop this sort of stuff once and for all.

By the way... were you aware that there is absolutely no need whatsoever for follow on milk. From 12 months a baby can safely drink cows milk. Follow-on is just the formula companies attempts at playing on parents fears and profiteering from these.

As per usual then!

Help the Mothers Milk Bank of New England

You can save a baby's life.

Yes really! 

Simply help the Mothers Milk Bank of New England raise some much needed funds by spending just 30 seconds of your time voting for them on IdeaBlob!

Tanya at Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog needs as many of us as possible to help her win the funding for this wonderful project which saves babies lives...

Tanya tells us that the Milk Bank needs money for 1) processing and storage equipment, 2) a "Milk Money" fund to help families whose insurance won't cover processing fees, and 3) marketing materials to get the word out about the new bank. 

Here's what to do:

  • Go to the Milk Bank page on IdeaBlob, and vote for this project!  You have to register first and confirm by email, which doesn't take long.
  • Blog or post about this wherever you can to help bring in more votes.


Free Pregnancy Massage for Mothers to Be!

Pregnancy table When I was around six months pregnant with my second daughter, my husband booked me in for a pregnancy massage at a lovely hotel in Dublin. I can honestly say it was one of the most relaxing times in my life!

On days when I feel stressed now, I just have to recall that massage to remember how beneficial massage is when you're feeling completely frazzled by the demands of impending new parenthood...

So I'm delighted to be able to offer visitors to this blog, my website, and my social network a FREE 20 minute pregnancy massage at The Klinik, a wellness clinic in London (Liverpool St). They have a specially made pregnancy bed meaning that mums-to-be can lie flat on their stomachs during their massage, thus taking the weight off their backs!

If you'd like to avail of this offer, simply make an appointment quoting "mums 20 minute offer".

I hope you enjoy your massage... let me know how you get on!

And let them know who sent you...

Join the Breastfeeding Carnival!

It's almost time for the January Carnival of Breastfeeding which this month will be based around the theme "Beginnings and Endings".

You can post about your early experiences of breastfeeding and how you felt as you were weaning and nearing the end of your experience. Perhaps the ending for you was unexpected or unplanned (child-led perhaps!). Perhaps you went from breastfeeding one child to tandem feeding.

If you'd like to submit a post for inclusion please email it to me by January 22nd, 2008.  The Carnival will be on Tuesday, January 29th, 2008.

As usual, when considering posts to include, we're looking for:

  • Well written and grammatically correct posts.
  • Posts which are thoughtful and on topic. 
  • Posts from blogs that are on topics that are of interest to readers of breastfeeding blogs (parenting, breastfeeding, etc.)

Examples of past carnival posts can be seen here.

Please note, if your post is one of those chosen, on the day of the Carnival you will be asked to link to all the other Carnival participants.

Visit BMums, the social network for mothers, to discuss your own experiences of breastfeeding!

Baby Names

Baby Names... How much importance do you place on yours?

I for one fretted and worried so much throughout each of my pregnancies about what to call my children. I worried about whether or not they would fit their names, whether or not I would go off their names, whether or not they would like their names as they grew older, whether or not friends would shorten their names and whether or not our families would approve of their names!

Looking back it seems I did a lot of unnecessary worrying and each of my children has simply grown into their identity. But it's something many parents worry about and some mothers to be even ask for opinions on the baby names they're considering...

And so I decided it was time I jumped into the baby names field and as a result I have begun adding some baby names pages to my website, Breastfeeding Mums!

I did a little research and discovered the top 100 baby names in England and Wales for 2005, 2006 and 2007, the top top 1000 American baby names, top 1000 American girls baby  names, top 1000 American boys baby names and have added these to the site. I've also added some tips on how to choose the right name for your baby!

So if you know anyone who is pregnant and going through the dilemma of chooosing a suitable name, please let them know that Breast Feeding Mums is on the job!