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Father’s Day Is Nearly Here… By Beccy Walsh

“Father’s Day is nearly here….

We wanted to say a massive thanks to all you dads out there. The support dads give is quite often how many mums get through the early days of breastfeeding.

One of our volunteers, Martin, has kindly sent us an introduction to himself and some of his experiences since becoming a dad.

*Hi, I’m Martin and I’m a volunteer at MOBS Stroud and a dad to two former breastfed babies. My wife and I first came to MOBS about 4 and a half years ago with our second child. As a man, I was quite unsure about walking into a room full of breastfeeding women. But what I found was very different to what I had imagined. We found a space full of friendly, supportive people. People who literally saved our lives.*

*As a result my wife and I started volunteering at MOBS. She offers breastfeeding support and I offer cups of tea. I’ve also taken on a role as de facto dad supporter. We love seeing dads at MOBS. Dads are often the main supporter of a breastfeeding mother and being there at 3am using the information given at MOBS, acting as a breastfeeding cheat sheet can make all the difference.*

*Becoming parents is such an amazing experience and being there for each other will make it all so much better.*
*Mums are quite often a little overwhelmed and can need a little help to get them through the early days.*

Here are some top tips for dads to help the breastfeeding journey go as smoothly as possible:

– The most important tip is support. This can be as simple as sitting with your partner and baby while they breastfeed, or going along to your local breastfeeding support group like Martin did, two sets of ears are definitely better than one when tired.

– Listen to the whinges…..sometimes its hard, we just need to moan then we can carry on!

– Bring snacks, breastfeeding can be hungry and thirsty work.

– Help your partner chill and relax. Maybe run a hot bath for mum to enjoy while you get snuggles with the baby – win win for both of you.

– I know everyone is tired but if possible share the household jobs. Even if it’s cooking a couple of nights a week (takeaway works too)

As much as all these are great the most important thing about becoming a parent is helping each other through out this new journey.
Together mums and dads make the best team…always show love for each other.”

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Your Breastfeeding Plan… By Beccy Hooper.

Your breastfeeding plan….

So you’re pregnant with maybe your first or second or even your third baby.
Do you have a plan on how long you want to breastfeed for?
If this is the first time you are feeding you may not have any idea how long you expect to feed for. I would like to start with telling you breastfeeding isn’t always about food. Babies often use feeding for more than just nutrition, being close to each other and feeding brings great comfort and security for our children.

Let’s start at the beginning….think about your breastfeeding journey – the best thing is to educate yourself on each stage of breastfeeding.
Those first few days up to the first week you are giving your baby colostrum which is full of antibodies which protect your baby against infection and disease. These really boost the baby’s immune system.
This first week helps with the baby’s digestive system and gut function, which is essential for your newborn’s health and vitality.
And we must remember that this helps us mums with recovery. Each time you breastfeed the uterus contracts helping your body get back to pre-pregnancy, it also reduces the bleeding after birth.

When you get to weeks four to six you have given enough breastmilk that you have protected your baby from diseases that can result in being hospitalised, you have also decreased the chances of SIDS. This six weeks give your baby a great start in life.

When you get to three to four months you have to congratulate yourself on an amazing journey. Statistics show that at this stage of a baby’s life there are only 17% of mothers are still exclusively breastfeeding, if you are one of these you are not only doing a great job you are protecting your baby against ear, respiratory and gastrointestinal issues.
For a mother, feeding for this amount of time helps lower your risk of post natal depression.

At six months you are continuing to give your baby all the nutrients that they need, without any need to add other food sources. You have also helped protect them from childhood ear nose and sinus infections. Our breastmilk gives them so many antibodies that keep them healthy for many years after you stop feeding.
For the mother you are protecting yourself against breast and ovarian cancer.

At nine months your milk is helping your baby grow through a large mental and physical growth spurt. At this stage of your baby’s life they become far more active and independent. But breastfeeding helps them still feel connected to you and gives them great security.

Congratulations! You have fed your baby for a whole year and you are one of only about 2% to do so! You have also saved yourself £600 in formula.
You have given your baby the best start in life, your baby will feel loved and secure.
You’ve also reduced the risk of childhood cancer and leukaemia.

Your journey may continue and if so at eighteen months you have nurtured your child with all the nutrients it has needed at the beginning of life. You are carrying on protecting your child from childhood illnesses.

Both the WHO code and UNICEF encourage mothers around the world to breast-feed for two years offering the exact energy and protein throughout this time without having to worry about adding anything else to their diet.

So you now are informed, this will help you decide what is best for you as a breastfeeding mother. Each person has a different journey. And however long you feed for that is giving your baby the best start.
But I would say I’d love to see the statistics rise to more than 2% at a year.

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Keeping Our Babies Hydrated During The Summer Months… By Beccy Walsh.

KEEPING OUR BABIES HYDRATED DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS…..

Well what a weekend we’ve had, its been amazing to be out in the sun and the rain to have finally stopped for now! You probably find, if you are breastfeeding your baby, that they may have fed more this weekend.
Like us on these sunny days they become more thirsty and need extra fluids.

Babies are made up of about 75% water which is found in the cells in their bodies. This water helps to control body temperature as well as bodily functions. Babies lose water each day through urination, bowel movements, sweating and crying.
Remember, like us during this warmer weather, they are having to work harder to keep themselves cool.

So what can we do to make sure they are as hydrated as they need to be…?
If your baby is less than 6 months old and exclusively breastfed you just simply offer more feeds throughout the day.
When you get thirsty or hot presume that your baby is too. At this age they do not need any other fluid except for breastmilk.
You may find the extra feeds are very short, do not worry, this is perfectly normal. Just remember these extra feeds are about thirst than hunger.

If your baby is older than 6 months and having solid food too you may want to add a drink of water with their food. Remember this needs to be boiled water that has cooled down.
Your baby will also get extra water from the food they are eating; most fruits and vegetables have a high water content.

It can be a little uncomfortable for both mum and baby being in close proximity during these hotter days so here are a few tips to help you stop getting too sweaty while feeding….

  • Wear loose clothing, you really won’t want anything tight during the hotter days.
  • Use a cloth between you and your baby while feeding. I know that we talk a lot about skin to skin during feeds but in warmer weather this will help you both stay cool.
  • Maybe invest in a fan, even if you have it just cooling the room this will help.
  • Maybe use a lukewarm flannel on your baby’s head while feeding, this will stop them getting too sweaty while they are close to you.
  • Remember to drink more yourself. The last thing you need is to become dehydrated!

But most of all, make the most of this amazing weather ☀️

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Breastfeeding Aversions… What Is It And Why Does It Happen? By Beccy Walsh.

Breastfeeding aversions….. what is it and why does it happen??

When we breastfeed we expect to always feel happy and calm, but for some this is not the case.
For some mothers breastfeeding aversion happens, the symptoms or feelings that come with this are often anger, agitation, disgust or self disgust, irritation, rage, shame, guilt and itchy skin.

Last year Zainab Yate published a book called “when breastfeeding sucks” Zainab Yate is an independent infant feeding researcher and campaigner, based at the medical ethics and law imperial college.
Her book looks at the misconceptions of what aversion means and the effect it can have on the mother and baby.

For many mothers they may have symptoms of aversion but this doesn’t mean that they want to stop breastfeeding their babies. But they may feel that they are in a prison while feeding and have a need to run away.

These feelings can happen at any point within your breastfeeding journey, you may have some of the feelings at the start or it may happen when you start the weaning process. This might be because you are feeling guilty or ashamed that you are no longer going to breastfeed your baby. You may not feel the aversion every time you feed it may only occur when you are ovulating, the hormones in your body cause the symptoms.
For some mothers that have aversion feelings or symptoms could simply be because the start of breastfeeding didn’t go as planned but for some it could come from a trauma in childhood or sexual abuse and if this is the case it seems that when the oxytocin is realised it has the opposite effect. So instead of feeling calm and loving you feel distressed and maybe anger or disgust.

Mothers have been known to self harm to take away the pain they may feel in their beasts, they may bite themselves or dig their nails into their leg.
This symptoms can be misdiagnosed when seeing a health professional, many of the symptoms are the same or similar to post natal depression. But you must remember with PND you would feel it most of the time where as aversion symptoms only show when you are actually breastfeeding.

There has been little research into whether aversion effects the baby long term, but what little has been researched it doesn’t seem to have an effect. If mothers come forward for help then often the trigger of the aversion can be found. So with some thought and a change in lifestyle can help the aversion lessen.

Aversions towards breastfeeding don’t always happen with each breastfeeding experience, you may find you have it with one child but go on to have more and not suffer with the symptoms again.

There are many people that are able to help with this…. You could follow Zainab on twitter @bf_aversion or facebook or instagram @breastfeedingaversion there is often stories from other mums that have struggled with the symptoms.

http://www.breastfeedingaversion.com/what-is-nursing-aversion

http://www.thebadassbreastfeeder.com/7-tips-to-help-cope-with-nursing-aversion/

Image of Zainab Yates’ book.

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What Do You See When You Look In The Mirror? By Beccy Hooper…

When you look in the mirror what do you see, do you see an insta worthy body……or do see a body that grew and fed a baby. 
The silver lines on your stomach, breast and thighs are telling a story of sharing your body with a baby or two, of feeding those babies and watching them grow into strong children and maybe even teenagers now!

So much that we see online shows mums popping back into shape and into their size 10 jeans. But what about the rest of us????
How do we love our bodies that look back at us that didn’t pop back, that are still a bit soft around the middle….

When I became pregnant I couldn’t do my jeans up within 10 weeks, I seemed to just balloon. I still walked everyday and swam a few times a week but the weight just piled on.
I felt so massive and gross, then once I had Jake I just felt so squidgy but with lots of breastfeeding and running the weight fell off me, I definitely changed shape though. My body did not look at all like it had. 
My limbs became very slim but I had a bit of a tummy and great big boobs. 
While breastfeeding generally our bodies hold on to fat around our chest and tummy, these are fat stores to help with production of milk.
Once I finished breastfeeding Jake at 18 months I lost the last bit of weight and more. People would tell me I was too thin. I loved it no one had ever said this to me.
But slowly once my body got used to not making milk my weight went back to what I guess I would be classed as normal for me. 

It’s weird though I’ve always been very much in the mind set as long as I’m healthy and fit I’m ok with whatever size I am, which is a 14. But with all the social media photos of the perfect body it’s hard not to be critical of our bodies. 
And I feel like I notice my stretch marks more when I’m bigger, but those stretch marks are because I have a lovely son. And I have to remember my body changed to accommodate the growth of another human even if it was a long time ago.

But recently there has been a change on Instagram with more women and mothers showing their bodies after babies, wobbly bits and all. I follow an amazing woman who’s Instagram name is “thebirdspapaya” her story is amazing, she was a mum at 24 has 3 children the eldest being 14, after her children she made sure she was back in her little jeans, but realised after years of struggling she would be happier if she didn’t worry so much about her weight. 
Her tummy is covered in stretch marks from carrying her babies. And she is proud of what her body has been capable of and shares daily photos of her in her bikini and her children in the pool. 
There are many other women and mums encouraging other women to feel more comfortable in their skin. 
Ashley Graham has been sharing women that aren’t that perfect size 10 in their swim wear over the last week, they all have smiles on their faces because they too are comfortable with who they are. 

I know I’ve said this many times but we as women are truly amazing we are super women… we carry our babies, we produce the perfect food for them, and our bodies change and show that journey. 

Thank you to my body for doing this amazing job. Be proud of what you have achieved and be proud of those silver lines covering your body.

What do you see when you look in the mirror?

When you look in the mirror what do you see, do you see an insta worthy body……or do see a body that grew and fed a baby. 
The silver lines on your stomach, breast and thighs are telling a story of sharing your body with a baby or two, of feeding those babies and watching them grow into strong children and maybe even teenagers now!

So much that we see online shows mums popping back into shape and into their size 10 jeans. But what about the rest of us????
How do we love our bodies that look back at us that didn’t pop back, that are still a bit soft around the middle….

When I became pregnant I couldn’t do my jeans up within 10 weeks, I seemed to just balloon. I still walked everyday and swam a few times a week but the weight just piled on.
I felt so massive and gross, then once I had Jake I just felt so squidgy but with lots of breastfeeding and running the weight fell off me, I definitely changed shape though. My body did not look at all like it had. 
My limbs became very slim but I had a bit of a tummy and great big boobs. 
While breastfeeding generally our bodies hold on to fat around our chest and tummy, these are fat stores to help with production of milk.
Once I finished breastfeeding Jake at 18 months I lost the last bit of weight and more. People would tell me I was too thin. I loved it no one had ever said this to me.
But slowly once my body got used to not making milk my weight went back to what I guess I would be classed as normal for me. 

It’s weird though I’ve always been very much in the mind set as long as I’m healthy and fit I’m ok with whatever size I am, which is a 14. But with all the social media photos of the perfect body it’s hard not to be critical of our bodies. 
And I feel like I notice my stretch marks more when I’m bigger, but those stretch marks are because I have a lovely son. And I have to remember my body changed to accommodate the growth of another human even if it was a long time ago.

But recently there has been a change on Instagram with more women and mothers showing their bodies after babies, wobbly bits and all. I follow an amazing woman who’s Instagram name is “thebirdspapaya” her story is amazing, she was a mum at 24 has 3 children the eldest being 14, after her children she made sure she was back in her little jeans, but realised after years of struggling she would be happier if she didn’t worry so much about her weight. 
Her tummy is covered in stretch marks from carrying her babies. And she is proud of what her body has been capable of and shares daily photos of her in her bikini and her children in the pool. 
There are many other women and mums encouraging other women to feel more comfortable in their skin. 
Ashley Graham has been sharing women that aren’t that perfect size 10 in their swim wear over the last week, they all have smiles on their faces because they too are comfortable with who they are. 

I know I’ve said this many times but we as women are truly amazing we are super women… we carry our babies, we produce the perfect food for them, and our bodies change and show that journey. 

Thank you to my body for doing this amazing job. Be proud of what you have achieved and be proud of those silver lines covering your body.