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January 2008
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Funny Things Kids Say!

A few days ago Jack, aged 2, soaked his shirt sleeves playing at the sink. So, I did what any mother does and changed his shirt. All I had that was ironed was a short-sleeved one so, as it's cold, I put a cardigan on over the top.

Being Jack, he soon pulled the cardigan off and got on with playing.

A little later we were getting ready to go out and I told everyone to get their coats.

Jack suddenly let a shriek out of him and announced, "Oh no, my fweebs (sleeves) are rubbed out!"

He had earlier watched his big sister rubbing out a mistake in her homework book!

What funny things have your kids said?

For more funnies visit BMums, the friendship network for mothers...


Ever heard of Childbed Fever?

JessicaChildbed Fever. Do you know the symptoms? Well neither did Jessica, the young mother in the picture. She died just a few days after the birth of her second baby.

Her death was entirely avoidable.

If you're pregnant or a new mum, or know someone who is, you need to learn about Childbed Fever...

Pop over to Jessica's Trust and fill out a quick awareness survey. Then stay there and find out all about Childbed Fever: maybe you'll save your own or another young mother's life.


Motherwear Podcasts

Check out the wonderful podcasts Tanya at Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog has been putting together lately. I think they're fantastic and apart from anything else show Tanya has a real talent for interviewing people!

The first podcast features a fascinating interview with Cate Colburn Smith, co-author of The Milk Memos, whilst the most recent one looks at Postpartum depression, breastfeeding, and why you need your Omega 3's.

Make time to listen to both... they give a great insight into many of the breastfeeding issues that affect lots of new mothers.


Designer Breastfeeding!

Those clever researchers at my old University have been busy helping new mothers in Northern Ireland to breastfeed for longer! What it basically boils down to is giving couples much more breastfeeding support before, during and after birth and additional training for hospital and community midwives.

I'm so excited by this project and hope it becomes widely integrated...

Here's the Press Release they published:

Ulster Researchers Develop Designer Breastfeeding Programme

A programme devised by researchers at the University of Ulster has been shown to significantly increase the length of time new mothers breastfeed their infants.

Ideally mothers should breastfeed their children for the first six months of life, but only a negligible percentage of mothers persist for that duration.

Northern Ireland has both the lowest initial take up of breastfeeding and the poorest duration. According to the Infant Breastfeeding Survey 2005 63% of Northern Ireland mothers began breastfeeding in hospital, compared to 78% in England, 70% in Scotland and 67% in Wales.

At six weeks the rate of exclusive breastfeeding was 22% in England compared to 13% in Northern Ireland. At four months the Northern Ireland rate had fallen to 4% compared to 8% in England.

However a clinical trial of the programme devised by Ulster researchers – called Designer Breastfeeding - showed that dramatic improvements are possible.

A total of 144 women who had their first baby took part in the trial at the Ulster Hospital maternity unit. They were split into two groups – one taking part in the Designer Breastfeeding programme and the other using the normal support services of the “Baby-Friendly” maternity unit.

The results showed that 82% of those taking part in the new programme began breastfeeding, compared to 70% in the other group.  On discharge from hospital 64% of those on the programme were still breastfeeding exclusively compared to 44% in the other group and at three weeks the figures were 53% and 20% respectively.

The Designer Breastfeeding programme – which was devised after five years of research funded by the Northern Ireland Research and Development Office – consists of four parts:

  • A breastfeeding book covering all aspects of breastfeeding instruction.
  • An electronic version on CD-Rom.
  • Breastfeeding antenatal workshop for couples
  • Breastfeeding postnatal support which involved additional training for hospital and community midwives.

Researcher Professor Marlene Sinclair, Professor of Midwifery Research at Ulster, said: “Designer Breastfeeding is an unique, home-grown breastfeeding programme that closes the gap between what women want to know about breastfeeding and what health professionals think they need to know.

"Using existing NHS structures, Designer Breastfeeding takes a 360 degree approach to increasing women’s commitment to breastfeeding by providing them with what they need to take control over their individual experience”.

She pointed out that while the percentage of mothers who begin breastfeeding in hospital continues to rise, around a fifth will stop breastfeeding before they leave hospital.

Professor Sinclair added: “We know the preventative health benefits of breastfeeding are dose-related and the longer a mother breastfeeds, the better it is for her health and the health of her baby. Therefore, helping women find the motivation to breastfeeding has immense potential for health gains that will directly impact on the mother and baby and, indirectly, on the overall health of the nation”.

“I have no doubt that we will see the further success of Designer Breastfeeding evidenced through visible reductions in the incidence of childhood infections, obesity, diabetes, eczema and asthma. It is a great pleasure to be recommending this home-grown research undertaken by a local midwife, Dr Janine Stockdale for dissemination and implementation.”

Dr Stockdale said: “I would like to thank the NI R&D Office for funding the research and staff at the Ulster Maternity Unit for their support in carrying it out”.

Note to editors:

The other member of the Ulster research team was:

Professor George Kernohan, Professor of Health Research.

For further information, please contact:

Press Office, Department of Communication and Development
Tel: 028 9036 6178
Email: pressoffice@ulster.ac.uk