Facts of Breastfeeding

It’s a decision that every new mother has to make and it has more than likely been one of the hottest topics discussed within the last 9 months but breastfeeding always circulates mixed reviews. Some mothers will only feed their child breast milk and some mothers have not even been entertained by the thought of breastfeeding and would rather stick to formula milk to feed their newborn.

However there are many distinct advantages of feeding your little one breast milk. Have a think about it, mum’s don’t’ just produce milk for the sake of it, it’s there for a reason and its naturally produced to feed your baby as it’s the only natural food which is readily available for your newborn. It also protects your baby from infections and diseases which is very important, especially if you have a premature baby. Breastfeeding is also more or less hassle free. You are able to feed your baby when and wherever you like, it’s already at the right temperature, it’s free and also provides both you and your little one with wonderful health benefits. The health benefits from breast feeding can range from fewer chest and ear infections along with giving them a lesser chance of having diarrhoea, vomiting, being constipated and developing eczema. Furthermore there are also great health benefits for mums such as it can lower the mothers risk of getting breast and ovarian cancer, it naturally uses up to 500 calories a day which is always handy, it saves a vast amount of money on infant formula milk and feeding equipment and of course it helps you and your child create a strong bond. There just seems to be so many reasons for it!

A child breastfeeding
There are many advantages of breastfeeding

It is recommended that mothers should breastfeed for around the first six months (26 weeks) of their baby’s life. Once this stage has passed, other food should start to be introduced alongside breastfeeding as this will help to continue the strong growth and development of your child. Also, the longer that any child is breastfed, the longer the protection against disease and infections will last. It’s also commonly known that infant formula milk does not give babies the same nutritional ingredients or provide them with the same amount of protection as what natural breast milk does.

Like with most things, there are many myths about breastfeeding yet they are not always true. So here is a few pointers to help put your mind at ease.

Breastfeeding makes your breast saggy
If you decide to breastfeed your child, please do not worry about your boobs suddenly becoming saggy. This only happens purely due to the natural ageing process or because you have drastically put on or lost weight.

If I breast feed, I can’t have a sex life
This is completely untrue. Deciding when you are going to have sex again after the birth of your child is purely down to you and your partner, breastfeeding does not stop this process at all. When you have sex, a hormone called oxytocin is released and this is the same hormone that helps you release milk, so during sex you may leak a little breast milk, however this is totally normal.

Formula milk is basically the same as breast milk
Formula milk is nowhere near the same as breast milk. Firstly, it is not a living product so it doesn’t have the antibodies, living cells, enzymes or natural hormones that help to protect your baby from infections and diseases later on in their life.

Breastfeeding hurts
This is simply not true. You may feel some slight tenderness during the first few days which is relatively common. Any pain that you may feel which is more than mild is abnormal and is usually due to the baby latching on poorly.

You can’t get pregnant if you breastfeed
Breastfeeding can affect ovulation in some women however it cannot be used as a reliable source of birth control.

Smaller breasts will not produce the same amount of milk as larger ones
In fact breast size has absolutely nothing to do with the amount of milk that is produced.

Formula fed babies tend to sleep better
Babies fed on formula milk do not necessarily sleep better but they may sleep longer as bottle milk isn’t digested as quickly.

If your baby is vomiting or has diarrhoea, you should stop breast feeding
The best medicine for a baby’s gut infection is to feed them breast milk

Natural Ways to Induce Labour

It’s always a nerve-racking time when you know that any day now you will endure the life changing experience of child birth. And when the moment comes and nothing happens you can start to feel a little frustrated sometimes. This is why today we would like to discuss some proven ways to induce labour naturally.

You endlessly look online to see what other mothers have been through and how painful it was for them, until you come across the luckiest lady in the world who found it a total breeze and had no complications at all. The realisation of motherhood starts to become a lot more daunting once you reach your due date, especially if you haven’t even felt a slight twinge. You then reach the point where you go back online again and research all the weird and wonderful things you can get up to that will help to bring your labour along a little.

There are many tips that are very well known and some that aren’t so. Sitting there reading these old myths or theory’s you may begin to think why do I have to do these odd tasks? Will it even help in the slightest? Well, unfortunately we are not your fairy god mother, but we can help you understand why some of the daft sounding tasks may actually help you on your way, at least slightly!

Spicy food / Curry

So start with one that we all know and love, even if you are not pregnant, eating a generous portion of wonderfully spicy food, commonly the curry.

Although there is no proven evidence to support this theory many women do endure many curry takeaways to help bring on the looming labour. It is said that eating spicy food can begin to stimulate your tummy and therefore fuel your uterus into action, encouraging the start of labour.

However, if you do not eat spicy infused food, you may find that you will suffer with heartburn along with irritating your tummy and let’s say ‘bowel movements’, a point that may be worth keeping in mind when you’re about to push out a little baby. Whether it works for you or if you believe it actually works at all is completely up to you.

Pineapple

Does pineapple induce labour? Well, yes. Another type of food which is also meant to help encourage labour is a selection of exotic fruits. Again there is no scientific evidence to help support this theory but it is known that pineapple contains the enzyme bromelain which is thought to help soften your cervix and therefore bring on labour.

Yet, there are not so pleasant side effects which will come with all of that pineapple eating, if you do eat a great amount; you may find yourself sitting on the toilet for a while. Other tropical fruits which also may work are kiwis, mango’s and papayas.

Walking

It’s the later stage of your pregnancy and all you really want to do is sit down on your sofa, watch T.V and devour pots of ice cream and tend to your ravishing cravings.

But if you have hit the point of your due date and there is still no arrival of your little one, you may have to get out and about for a nice little stroll. It is thought that the pressure of your baby’s head pressing down on your cervix from the inside could stimulate the hormone Oxytocin. Furthermore, the more time you spend upright, the more it will encourage your baby to move down into your cervix.

Having Sex

The one thing that you may want to do the absolute least, but having sex or even better, an orgasm has worked for many women who are desperate to go into labour and get the ball rolling. You may feel completely unattractive, or you may feel at your sexiest, but no matter how you achieve it, you may find it will help as many women swear by this method. Having an orgasm will help to release the hormone Oxytocin and help to stimulate your uterus meaning that you will begin to go into labour! Get creative with your partner, let them do the work!

Nipple Stimulation

Nipple stimulation or gently rubbing your nipples may help to encourage the start of contractions. The idea of this process is that it is meant to stimulate the suckling of a feeding baby. This action will help to release Oxytocin, the hormone which causes contractions and labour to start!

Castor Oil

Years ago, castor oil used to be prescribed by midwives and it is supposedly meant to have the same action as what curry does. However, this is one method which is no longer recommended by many people as it does not taste very nice and it also can greatly upset your stomach. Being stuck on the loo is never a great feeling when you are about to give birth.

Red Raspberry Leaf

Red raspberry leaf is another popular method for mum’s who are desperate to go into labour naturally. Either taken in a natural tablet from or tea, res raspberry leaf helps to stimulate the uterus and preparing the uterine muscles for labour, effectively vastly hurrying up the third part of the labour process. However, like many other methods of inducing labour, this has not been medically or scientifically approved.

Now, while you keep on waiting have a look at all the baby essentials and make sure you have everything ticked off for your baby’s arrival.

If you do not have any luck with all of the above, don’t worry! Your baby will come when it’s good and ready! Do you have any other tips for expectant mothers? Share the with us!

How to wean your baby from bottle

In today’s post we will be covering some basic guidelines for all the new mums who are not very sure what the best practices on how to wean your baby from bottle.

Endless baskets full of sodden crusted dirty bibs and clothes seem to be the only thing you wash when you have a newborn. You could possibly have hundreds of bibs, yet that would not be enough to keep up with the amount of times your wonderful little one decides that they no longer want all that milk in their tummy, and we all know that it has to go somewhere! So when the day comes that your baby begins to show an interest in food, you couldn’t feel happier!

Mother with alot of washing

Endless baskets of washing?

When to start weaning your baby?

Effectively, weaning shouldn’t really start until your baby is at least 6 months old. A baby’s digestive system needs time to develop so that they are able to cope with hot and cold solid food. So for the first six months, your little one will need nothing more than formula or breast milk.

If you still have doubts, please read our guide on how long you should be breastfeeding for.

It’s also important to remember that your little one will also not need the standard three meals a day, at least yet anyway! So do not worry if your child doesn’t seem interested with solid food, there is nothing wrong with that. How much your baby eats is much less important than actually getting them used to the idea of eating solid food for themselves.

You have to let your baby naturally want to eat; you are not going to be able to force them to eat something that they have never seen before. Don’t worry about ending up having a high needs baby. It’s all about getting your child interested in food. Now for most babies, this should not be a hard task at all!

For most of their life’s already they have been either munching on their own hand or trying to gobble yours up, so introducing a soft piece of pear may be a welcome difference to them. Eating for the first time will be exciting for them, they will be touching, smelling and tasting something which they never would have experienced before. Let your little one discover and explore the new flavours and textures of the wonderful thing we call food.

Baby Eating food

Let your little one discover and explore new flavours

So when will you know that your baby is ready to eat solid food? There are usually three signs to look out for. One being that they can now stay sitting up unaided and hold their head steady. They should also be able to fully coordinate themselves, this meaning that they are able to use their eyes, hands and mouth to successfully pick up the food and eat themselves. Thirdly, your baby should be able to swallow food. If your little one is not ready or able to do this, they will simply push the food back out.

If you are about to wean your child, there are some important points to remember to help you get started. Make sure that whenever you feed your child, you never leave them alone as they could begin to choke whilst you are not in the room with them. A big key pointer of getting your child to feed on solid food is that they need to be interested in what they eat. They need to be interested in food (which I’m pretty sure they will be!)

Let your baby grab hold of the food themselves and chew and nibble on it as much as they like. They need to experience it! Don’t force your little one food if they do not want it as you can always try again another day. Always give your baby a small portion of food. Remember, they are only little and they have been so used to just drinking milk, solid food may fill them up quite quickly at first. Offer them small weaning spoons sized portions at a time and if it’s hot, always cool it down or check before they munch away!

When you are ready to start to introduce your baby into solid food, make sure you have the right equipment to do it.

What are weaning spoons?

Weaning spoons are the tool to introduce a baby to solid food, like soups. Silicone tipped ones are the most recommended type.

What portion should your baby have?

From 6 months they should have 5 to 10 spoonfuls per meal (weaning spoons), in 2 to 3 meals a day.

Average feeding portion

The average feeding portion size

Here is a few handy tips for when you begin to wean your child.

  • Be careful when you introduce food as they may be allergic to nuts, soya, wheat etc…
  • Carry on feeding your child milk alongside the introduction of solid food
  • Introduce food such as mashed or soft fruit such as apple, pears or banana’s or vegetables such as parsnips, potatoes, sweet potato or even baby food.
  • If you are looking to introduce more interesting foods you could prepare soft cooked meat, chicken or fish.
  • Introduce drinking cups which is filled with water to have with meals.
  • Most importantly, get them used to eat healthily at a young age

Potty Training – Wee Can Do It!

Potty training, all parents will have to go through it with their little one. An often difficult and sometimes a messy task, it will differ from child to child, so if you begin to become frustrated, try not to compare your child with others. Children are only able to control their bladder and bowel when they’re physically ready and when they want to be dry and clean. It may be frustrating and time consuming for you, but your child is still growing, developing and learning. In addition, it’s often quite common that children will learn to control their bowel before they can control their bladder.

potty-training
Children often learn to control their bowel before their bladder

You may think about starting to potty train your little one when your child is around 18 to 24 months but realistically there is no perfect time of when this should actually begin. It’s advisable to start during the warmer months, just because of several reasons such as fewer clothes will have to be rushed off and also washed nappies will dry much quicker in the summer sun. Once your child reaches the age of two, they may start to become dry during the day, yet this is still quite early age for them. By the age of 3, nine out of ten of children are dry most days. However, it is still common for a child to have a little accident every now and then and even more so if they become excited, upset or distracted by something else. It will often take a little longer for your child to stay dry throughout the night, and again it is very common for young children to wet the bed. It’s estimated that a quarter of 3 year old’s and one in six 5 year old’s will regularly wet the bed.

A product which you may hear about regularly very soon is the My Carry Potty, founded by Amanda Jenner, who was very recently just on The One Show promoting the Carry Potty. On top of the great T.V exposure, Amanda has now been chosen to front a potty training initiative which will allow you as parents to share your stories and experiences of potty training.

potty[1]
My Carry Potty

From next week (Monday 15th July), a 6 week campaign titled ‘Wee Can Do It’ will start. The campaign will kick off with the results of a survey stating the highs and lows of teaching your little one how to use a potty. It is hoped that the campaign will create a real sense of enjoyment around potty training as well as getting parents to share their experiences of what they have had to go through. Wee Can Do It will include the nation’s largest potty training survey results, week by week themes, downloadable fact sheets, live web chats, competitions and much more! The whole aim of the campaign is to get parents to share their tips and experiences with one another, concluding that all together, potty training will become a much more pleasant and happier experience for all that are involved.

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