Back To Work And Feeding… By Beccy Walsh.

Back to work and feeding

You maybe thinking it’s time to go back to work; what does this mean for you and your baby? You might be thinking this is the end of breastfeeding, but it doesn’t have to be!
You can still breastfeed and return to work. For some this maybe a feed in the morning and one at bed time, for others you may still be pumping during the day for the next day as well as breastfeeding when you are home. Whatever you’d like it’s possible.

With well established breastfeeding your body will cope with the change in routine, being able to carry on breastfeeding will continue the close bond that you have with your baby. This will help comfort and make your baby feel secure within your relationship with each other. For many mothers and babies this would have been the first time you have spent long periods of time away from each other. Being able to feed when you are together will make both of you feel happier with the new situation.

The WHO guidelines are to breastfeed up to two years old to help fight against infections such as gastro-enteritis, respirating infections, urinary tract infections and ear infections as well as long term risks such as eczema, asthma and diabetes. By carrying on feeding even if it’s just the morning and evening feeds will help lower the risk of any of these.

You may want to express during the day, if so you will need to discuss with your employer about a place to express and store the milk. Some larger companies may even have a mother/baby room available to you.
The approved code of practice which has been put in place by the Health and Safety Executives asks employers to provide a suitable facility for mothers to be able to rest and be able to express and store breast milk.
If you are expressing milk through the day here are some helpful tips on storing your milk….

For babies under six months you will need to express enough milk for up to four feeds during the day. After six months if you have introduced solid food you may find the need for breast milk will go down, your baby may just make up for it during the evening and night with an extra feed.

Make sure all equipment is sterilised before expressing, and once you have expressed you will need to store the milk at the back of the fridge to keep it at 4 degrees. When transporting the milk home or to your child’s place of care you will need to keep it chilled in a carrier.
Milk can be stored for up to five days in the fridge and six months in the freezer. When defrosting the milk make sure it slowly defrosts in the fridge and use as soon a possible, you must not re-freeze breastmilk.

Ultimately the goal is to carry on your breastfeeding journey for as long as you would like. For some this is until maternity leave is over, for others this journey is longer. Whatever you choose, we are here to help you navigate through it.


Black Maternal Health Awareness Week… By Beccy Walsh.

Black Maternal Health Awareness week…..
This week is hosted by ‘Fivexmore’ which are a group set up by two women: Tinuke, who is a mum of four and Clotilde, who is a mum of two.  Both these women are founders of support groups and spaces for mums; they work to help wellbeing during pregnancy and birth.

 Fivexmore was set up to support mothers through campaigning work and recommendations which focus on empowering black women to make informed choices through pregnancy and birth. They are committed to making sure petitions are signed and sent to local governments to change the disparities between black and white women. 

The awareness week is to help all people understand that black women are four times more likely to die in childbirth than white women. This is often because they are not given the same level of informative care during pregnancy and birth. 

Throughout the week the focus is on empowering black women to make informed choices and to advocate themselves throughout their own pregnancy and birth. It’s also to educate health professionals with their practice in supporting black mothers. 

Throughout the week each day will focus on a different theme and resources will be shared on the website and instagram account. 

The 13th September started with encouraging everyone to write or tweet their local MP asking to sign the ‘Black Maternal health pledge’.

  The 14th will encourage everyone who works with maternity services to get involved in supporting all women within pregnancy and birth.

 The 15th is all about health; this is focusing on good practice and wellness strategies to encourage better mental health.

The 16th is celebrating D’lissa Parkes who would have been 32 years old on this day but unfortunately she died during childbirth due to the lack of care.

Please read the blog shared here so you understand why all of this is so important: this day is about the untold stories and focusing on fertility.

The 17th will look at the WHO world patient day.  This years theme is based on “safe maternal and new born care” this is to encourage best practice for all women, helping the risk and harm to women and babies to lower and ultimately disappear. 

The last day is the 18th September and on this day there will be an online event which will share the early findings of the black maternal experience survey that has been held. 

Please go to fivexmore website to read up on what we can do to help


Fourth Trimester…By Beccy Hooper…

Fourth trimester…
You’ll be pleased to know that this week’s blog is much shorter than the last few, and a little more light hearted! I just wanted a quick chat about the first few months after having your baby and breastfeeding.Obviously this is such an important time for you and your baby for so many reasons, one of the biggest being establishing breastfeeding. For some this may feel as if all you do is sit on the sofa and feed. But that’s ok, in fact it’s great, your body gets to heal from growing and birthing this amazing baby. But it also gives the opportunity to get to know your baby, and to learn how to breastfeed. It’s not always as easy as we think it’s going to be. 

And maybe for you mums over the last 6 months the lockdown has helped you achieve this. As much as it’s been difficult not being able to go to groups and socialise it has given mums the opportunity to spend time at home, and to give your breastfeeding journey a good start. It seems that the babies born in the last six months have had smaller drops in birth weight, or it has taken less time for them to put the weight back on. From what I’ve read and seen this seems to be because new mums are not juggling so much in the early stages of motherhood.So often we feel like we need to be welcoming visitors and getting out of the house to make the most of maternity leave. But just maybe we are better off spending those first few months on the sofa with our babies. 

With a quick google it seems that this year there has been a small increase in breastfeeding rates. And while there may not be true evidence as to why, I can’t help but think it is probably because of the lack of distraction and so many visitors to the house. So often mothers are uncomfortable in feeding in public and this has not been an issue with so little open. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next few months with so many more things opening and more movement within the country. 

I feel so much can be taken from the way we’ve been living this year, I know we have missed holidays and being able to do as we please. But just maybe a quieter pace of life can bring many other achievements and allow us to cherish the smaller things in life. Being able to watch our children grow strong from breastfeeding is a true miracle. 
As always thanks for reading this….. 


Black Breastfeeding Week 25th-31st… By Beccy Walsh.

Black Breastfeeding week 25th-31st

I know it has only been a few weeks since World Breastfeeding week but it’s important to celebrate Black Breastfeeding week and show support and encouragement within the black and brown communities.
Black Breastfeeding awareness week was founded by Kimberly Seals Allers, Kiddada Green and Anayah Sangodele-Ayoka. These three amazing women believe that black and brown women should be given individual support to allow pregnancy and motherhood to be the respectful and equal experience that white women receive.
This year the theme is, “The big pause. Collective rest for the collective power”, the focus is to encourage rest within breastfeeding, maternal health and social justice.
This week the team at BBFW would like us all to honour how important rest is in the early stages of breastfeeding. To help mothers that are so often under supported within pregnancy and motherhood.

I really wanted to focus on what has happened over the last year within the black and brown community. Last summer I spent a few weeks looking at the support that mums within these communities receive. When researching, the majority of the information found is within the black communities in America, but it’s still great to see what has changed.

My first search shows that Kimberly’s app has been released and is being used. The IRTH app helps mums to find the right doctors, hospitals and support that is on offer to black and brown women within America. This app has been produced so that women can find the right doctors and health professionals that will treat all women with the same respect. Many black and brown women have received very poor medical care during pregnancy and birth.
This app shares information about where and whom are giving equal and empowering experiences.

Kiddada has been working with the surgeon generals call, to action the support for breastfeeding. This group offers help to individual women and communities in America. Their focus is to help mothers receive support and peer counselling for breastfeeding; it is also helping within the community to help fathers and grandparents receive education on the importance of breastfeeding.
They are working with organisations to help promote and encourage breastfeeding within the black communities and to ensure infant formula marketing is at a minimum within the community.

Ananyah’s works with which is an organisation that helps women and mothers share their voices and bring important health issues to the media and Capital Hill. Many black and brown women are treated differently and without these organisations their voices are lost.

I wanted to see what effect Black Breastfeeding week has in then UK. The woman responsible for bringing it to the UK is Ruth Dennison, she is a Doula and Maternal Health Educator. She has worked within the NHS since 2007 and found that she wanted to educate herself to be able to help and educate more black and brown women with breastfeeding and the only way this was possible was by paying for it herself! Once this had happened she went on to start 1-2-1 breastfeeding support in 2015 and then Doula and breastfeeding support in 2017.
In 2019 Ruth started ‘Breaking Breastfeeding Barriers’ which is non-profit making and helps and educations black African and Caribbean mothers with antenatal and postnatal breastfeeding education and support. The focus is to encourage more mothers to breastfeed beyond 6 weeks….

All of these women are helping to bring more knowledge and support to black and brown mothers. Within each year, month and day that passes we should be helping mothers become more comfortable with breastfeeding; so many black mothers are unsupported with breastfeeding and this needs to stop!!


Can You Still Feel Sexy When Breastfeeding… By Beccy Walsh.

Can you still feel sexy while breastfeeding….

Through pregnancy and motherhood our bodies change dramatically, quite often making us feel very different about our bodies. This is not always a bad thing: some embrace the change of a fuller body! Especially fuller breasts. Others struggle with the way they look.

Quite often motherhood can change how we feel as women. Our focus changes from being a partner or wife to only seeing ourselves as mothers. Keeping a solid relationship with our partners can be tricky at times. The changes are not just because we are tired (even though that does have a big effect) it is mostly to do with the changes in our hormones.

Our estrogen levels decrease, which can affect our sex drive. It may also take longer to feel aroused. The hormones prolactin and oxytocin rise in our bodies during breastfeeding which can give us the feeling of pleasure or satisfaction while nursing, which often gives us our fix of emotional and our physical need that we would normally desire from a partner.

Each and every one of us will react differently to this new role and body. In recent months we have seen more on TV and social media encouraging women to embrace who they are as women not just mothers.

For years mothers have been seen as just that – mothers – people often forgetting who they may of been before and if they have a desire to still be that person.

Anna a fellow Trustee sent me the link to Ann Summers breastfeeding bras this afternoon. Neither of us knew that Ann Summers had a nursing bra range! This may not be your thing but I guess not all Mums are looking for what might be seen as dull underwear during their feeding journey.

Personally, I always had a thing about wearing matching underwear, so having to wear nursing bras really bothered me, to the point I gave up on them (but not on breastfeeding) pretty quickly. So I guess this might have been ideal for me back when I needed one!

Netflix have released the a few series showing motherhood and relationship dynamics over the last few years. I recently watched the new series of Working Moms and Sex/life. Both these programmes are showing the two sides to being a mum, and a women’s desire to still be sexy or in a sexual relationship. Working Moms is perhaps more realistic than Sex/life but both show that mothers may not just see ourselves as only mums.

The musician Halsey has released her latest album, the cover being a picture of her sat holding a baby with her breast on show. She wanted to show co-existence between sexuality and the gift of motherhood. Halsey has been very forward in sharing her views on pregnancy and postpartum bodies saying they are beautiful and should be admired. She has also said that society has a long way to go to rid social stigma around the female body and breastfeeding.

Also last week saw Coco Austin sharing that she is still breastfeeding her 5 year old daughter, while always dressing in tight sexy outfits. I would definitely say that Coco comes across as both a mother and sexy!

If you are looking for new nursing/breastfeeding bras, feel free to ask about the bras we sell at GBSN. They are super comfy and a great price, and the small mark-up we make on them helps cover our costs, including paying for expert Breastfeeding Counsellors at our groups! For those looking for a bit of lace you can always try Ann Summers….let us know how you get on.