Category Archives: Breastfeeding

Having A Moment Of Milk Doubt? How Often To Nurse Past 1 Year Old.

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Every so often I have a breast milk fuelled wobble.

I start thinking about pouring the little guy a couple of cups of milk a day. I worry that his calcium intake is not sufficient for his bone development. Should I be supplementing with vitamin drops, am I really doing the best thing letting him feed several times daily still.

At times like this, I need to find reassurance that I am still doing the right thing for my guy, that I am not depriving him of any vital nourishment, and that in fact he is getting the fullest of fattiest milk to develop his brain and the most bioavailable source of vitamins and minerals possible.

There isn’t an enormous amount of information out there about extended breastfeeding, even less of it is properly researched…so it took some time to find rthe reassurance I was seeking.

You can read some of my previous research here, I looked into exactly why breast milk is so good past one year…

But how much should a toddler be drinking?

There is no official minimum intake guideline for milk. Form what I managed to round up from various sources, it seems like between 1-3 years of age, 15-18 oz of cows milk is a good amount (400-500ml). But how does that translate to the invisible measures of breast milk.

According to KellyMom, as long as your toddler is nursing at least 3-4 times a day then there is no need add cups of cows milk.

The reasoning…milk-splash.jpg

Cows milk is just a convenience, a convenient source of calcium, vitamin D and fat.

Check out my detailed research here to see exactly why breast milk is more than adequate, but just quickly, it is super full fat, with high levels of vitamins and minerals designed specifically to be easily absorbed by the human child.

So if your child is nursing regularly still, then go with it, combined with the varied diet that he will be getting, then all should be good in the brain and bone!!

If you want the figures in detail, the NHS website recommends the following as a guideline daily intake, but it can be averaged out over a week:

Ages 1 to 3 years: 700 milligrams (mg) per day
Ages 4 to 8 years: 1,000 mg per day

Here are some serving recommendations:

  • 1/4 cup raw tofu prepared with calcium sulphate: 217 mg (The calcium content of tofu varies, depending on how it’s processed. Check the label.)
  • 1/2 cup plain yoghurt: 207 mg
  • 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses: 172 mg
  • 1/2 cup fruit yoghurt: 122 to 192 mg
  • 1/2 cup calcium-fortified orange juice: 133 to 250 mg
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese: 167 mg
  • 1/2 cup milk: 150 mg
  • 1/2 cup chocolate milk: 144 mg
  • 1/2 ounce Swiss cheese: 112 mg
  • 1/2 cup vanilla frozen yoghurt, soft-serve: 102 mg
  • 1/2 ounce cheddar cheese: 102 mg
  • 1 slice whole grain bread: 24 mg
  • 1/2 ounce mozzarella cheese: 103 mg
  • 1/4 cup collard greens: 66 mg
  • 1/4 cup homemade pudding (from mix or scratch): 76 mg
  • 1 tablespoon tahini (sesame seed butter): 64 mg
  • 1/4 cup turnip greens: 50 mg
  • 1/4 cup cooked spinach: 60 mg
  • 1/2 cup calcium-fortified cereal (ready to eat): 51 mg
  • 1/2 cup calcium-fortified soy beverage: 40 to 250 mg

 

An Apple A Day, Growth Vs Nutrition.

20131114-103413.jpgWas the first year of your baby’s life blighted by that WHO growth chart. Each weigh in, exciting, but tinged with just a little fear…failure to thrive, dropping off the curve, supplementing suggestions, early weaning…

Then the solids start, and the mission to bulk up continues.

Food becomes such a focus, but is it for the right reasons?

There are many reasons why a healthy, varied and fun diet is so important in those first months and years…but only at the bottom of my list of reasons will you find the growth chart.

Here are a few of the reasons why I try to focus on variety and enjoyment of food, rather than pure old weight gain.

Variety is the spice of life…

It is believed that the taste for flavour begins in the womb, literally, by flavouring the amniotic fluid! What you eat in pregnancy supposedly going on to affect you baby’s tastes as the grow up. The idea continues with breast milk, not only a constantly evolving source of nutrition but of changing flavour too. It is another way of potentially influencing tiny taste buds and preparing them for a variety of foods.

So the idea continues from birth to 12 months. This is a time when baby is most receptive to new tastes and textures, the theory being that exposing them to as many flavours and foods as possible in these early months means that they will continue with all of these recognisable foods and hopefully be as adventurous going forward in life.

Iron deficiency

Quite a major reason for a varied diet, particularly in a breast fed child, is the lack of iron in breast milk. Around six months when the digestive system is fully formed (please read my article on the virgin gut) and baby’s reserves of iron are all but gone, it is important to introduce some good sources of iron like beans, peas, lentils, broccoli, green leafy vegetables and dried fruit. Knowing you need to incorporate such specific foods can make you quite creative, my guy loved this spinach and lentil dahl for an iron boost and a more exotic alternative to broccoli!!

Strong skeleton, strong mind…

The adult skeleton normally contains 206 bones.  Babies on the other hand have a different mix of over 300 different bones and cartilage parts. One you probably know about, the cranium, start off as three separate plates which shift and move to allow for passage of the baby’s head through the birth canal.  As the baby grows, these plates fuse into one cranium, that soft fontanelle disappears.

All bones start off as cartilage, but many are still cartilage at the time of birth. Cartilage turns into bone over time through a process called ossification.

Calcium is obviously the big factor in bone development.  A diet rich in calcium is vital for your child.  But bones are a made up of more than just calcium…collagen water, phosphorus, magnesium, and other minerals are all found in bone…so they are all as important as calcium in making bone!

Vitamin C from citrus fruits, tomatoes, peppers, and other fruits and vegetables is essential for making collagen, the connective tissue that minerals cling to when bone is formed.

Vitamin K is thought to stimulate bone formation. It is found mainly in dark leafy greens like kale and spinach, but is also available in beans, soy, and some fruits and vegetables.

Potassium decreases the loss of calcium from the body and increases the rate of bone building. Oranges, bananas, potatoes, and many other fruits, vegetables, and beans are all rich sources of potassium.

Magnesium, like calcium, is an important bone mineral. Studies have shown higher magnesium intakes to be associated with stronger bones. “Beans and greens”—legumes and green leafy vegetables—are excellent sources of magnesium.

Fruits and vegetables are also important for what they don’t do. Some foods—especially cheeses, meats, fish, and some grains—make the blood more acidic when digested and metabolized. These foods add to the body’s “acid load.” When this happens, bone minerals, especially calcium, are often pulled from the bones to neutralize these acids.  Diets high in fruits and vegetables actually tip the acid-base scales in the opposite direction and make it easier for bones to hold onto their calcium. (Source: PCRM)

So variety really is more important than quantity?

When you understand the importance of developing good lifelong eating habits and growing bones and growing every other element of a child’s body, it becomes clear that pure weight gain is just a by-product of all of this.

Were you a slave to the growth chart, were you terrified of dropping down a percentile??  Do you think less importance should be placed on that growth chart, or do you think it is an important indication of a healthy child.  Please comment to let me know your thoughts.

Sources

http://pcrm.org/health/health-topics/parents-guide-to-building-better-bones

http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_info/Bone/Bone_Health/Juvenile/default.asp

Nursing At Sixteen Months, Feeling The Pressure!

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Where are my boobs??

Entering into the world of extended breastfeeding wasn’t as terrifying as you might imagine.

The little guy gradually started nursing less often, it became more about comfort and less about quantity. Nursing seemed confined to home, perhaps it was boredom feeding, more often than not it was me using my milk to get him to settle for sleep. We were rarely feeding on the run or while out and about because the world is so much more exciting to look at than the same old boobs!

At sixteen months old, breastfeeding a fully fledged toddler with twelve teeth and a few words in his vocabulary seems perfectly normal to both of us. To close friends and family, it isn’t that strange either, maybe just a little bit, but not strange enough for them to question me about my choice.

And then totally out of the blue, in the middle of a busy playgroup, he came running over to me and began tugging at my shirt. Of course without thinking, we started feeding perched on a windowsill. I looked out across the room to watch the other kids splattering shaving creme and glitter up the walls and all of a sudden…there they were

Two women, crossed arms, staring at me feeding my toddler!

Probably for the first time in my breastfeeding experience, I felt slightly awkward!

It occurred to me that they may find the whole scene slightly awkward…embarrassing…odd?!?

Anyway, not one to be deterred, I gave myself a quick reality check, flashed them a big smile and a giggle and carried on.

A recently published report came to mind, one stating that the confidence of a mother may affect breastfeeding success. The Journal of Advanced Nursing published a report that found that mothers who are more extroverted and less anxious are more likely to breastfeed and to continue to breastfeed than mothers who are introverted or anxious. (Source: Wiley)

So do you feel that a mums personality may go some way towards her breastfeeding success and longevity?

I certainly felt a fleeting pang of embarrassment, but another mum may have been totally mortified and quit breastfeeding then and there.

Generally, I feel inclined to disagree with the findings of the report, that less confident personality traits mean breastfeeding failure is imminent. Myself, the shyest, most private kind of mother, I became totally liberated by the experience of breastfeeding, and make a point of publicly feeding with the hope of inspiring another shy mum to do the same for her child.

I do agree that emotional stability is a more likely contributing factor, health professionals need to tune into all of these underlying personality traits in order to offer the best support and advice.

Let me know about your experience, are you shy, did it affect your confidence to breastfeed, did you lose all inhibitions to do what you felt had to be done?  I also did some research into the benefits of breast milk past one year which you can read here.

Packing Away A Few Memories…Bye Bye Breast Pump!

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It’s a sad(ish) day! I have just packed away the breast pump and the steriliser bits.

While there is plenty of milk still flowing, the breast pump just isn’t collecting as well as it used to. My milk donation days are up, and the steriliser needs an industrial de-scaling. It doesn’t seem worth it for 4 pacifiers!

So a clean up was in order, of all those things collected over the last year, the essentials…that never got used, and all those newborn inserts that had long be discarded.

Just one brown box. If it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t stay, it needs to find another home and luckily we have a friend of a friend with twins ever grateful for anything going spare. I am not the most sentimental of people, so I applied my ruthless streak to all those wonderful baby memories and got packing!

Imagine opening this box of treats when the time comes, if you are blessed with another baby. Will I want new things for the new arrival, or will I be as thrifty as I was with my first and revel in how little I need to buy the second time around?

For that reason I packed everything beautifully, wrapped, cleaned, polished and labelled so neatly that it would be a kind of tombola, a lucky dip, reaching in and discovering it all again.

Bye bye baby days! Hello to my grown up tiny guy!

It got me thinking about how differently we all approach ‘stuff’…I have friends who see the value in pre-loved everything, some who spent a small fortune on the nursery, some with homes full to the rafters with toys, and others whole lot more frugal.

Honestly, I felt a bit guilty that I didn’t buy more new stuff when he was born, so I had a little splurge on a few nice bits and then felt guilty about that.

I never felt guilty about splurging on Dino!

2 foot tall fun…for mummy!

Anyway, if the next time comes, I will be armed and ready to pump and freeze all of the milk that got wasted first time round. There was so much milk at the beginning I just didn’t know what to do with it all!
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You Bit Me…Ouch…Don’t Bite Me!

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So as you can see, my son has a lovely set of eight teeth.  Eight tiny, pearly white, eagerly awaited, razor sharp teeth.

As you can also see, he has developed a penchant for biting me!

If I ask for a kiss, he comes steaming towards me, mouth wide open, and starts trying to clamp my mouth between his teeth.   Or if he is in a particularly boisterous mood, he will merrily bash against me with his head and start trying to gnaw away at my leg or tummy, or arm.

It was something I wasn’t expecting until he was a little older, maybe at pre-school where you hear stories of that kid who bites!  At 13 months old, I got a little bit worried that the little guy was doing something he shouldn’t have been…I pretty quickly discovered it was totally normal…

So what should I do about it?  I am pretty sure my current approach, giggling madly, giving a puny yelp of an ouch, and laughing some more as he goes in for a second bite may not be the conventional route!  And saying ”no” is something I talked about trying not to do (check it out here).

I never knew, but each bite is just an expression of his excitement, his love, his enthusiasm and his energy in life.  There is no way I am going to bite him back like someone recommended a friend try doing with her son.

Why do toddlers bite?

A bite is a way of expressing something without words, be it happiness, excitement, joy, or anger, frustration or hurt.

It could also be down to the usual suspects…teething, tiredness, boredom or just plain old experimentation.

How to react when your toddler bites you.

Stay calm!  Try not to laugh! Use the serious voice to say something like ‘bites hurt, ouch’ and use it consistently.

Shift the focus to a different activity, not biting mum fun time…a distraction is invaluable.

Understand why your toddler is biting.

If you can figure out what your little person is trying to tell you with a bite, it might go some way to calming the situation down.  If they could be teething, bring the teething toys out.  If they are over tired, try and get a nap in or nap earlier for the future.  If they are in need of more activity, try and give more time to entertaining them.

Each scenario has an obvious solution, but especially if your toddler is older it may be harder to deal with the situation.  Zerotothree.org has some great advice here to help you deal with your situation.

So what age did your child start to bite?  Or did they never go through this phase at all.  How did you handle it?  Would love to hear your thoughts…

I only hope my boob isn’t the next victim!!!

 

 

 

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Surprise…It’s A Baby! Kate, Wills And Some Breastfeeding Stats.

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It’s a baby!  The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcomed a son into the world on Monday, July 22nd, 2013 weighing 8lb 6oz.

There will be all manner of overexposure for weeks to come, TV specials, post baby body watch, mum and baby fashion updates…In fact, as I write this, the royal hairdresser has entered the Lindow wing!!!!  Cue papparazzi scrum…

Of course, being totally obsessed with boobs, what really excites me is the prospect of Kate publicly breast feeding her new born baby for years to come.  What better way to inspire a new wave of support for breast feeding than with the highest profile advocate the world may see for generations to come.

Ok, that’s a lot of pressure for one first time young mum!

It is unlikely that Kate will be flashing her breasts in public, but I do wish her luck in her private breast feeding challenge.  Should she take it up, there is a wealth of information, supportive blogs and inspirational posts by thousands of mums being shared through this wonderful online community.

It got me wondering about the statistics.  NHS published the findings of the Infant Feeding Survey which takes place every 5 years.  The last survey published in 2012 shows the following points for the UK as a whole:

At Birth     Exclusive    69%     Mixed    81%
1 Week      Exclusive   46%      Mixed 69%
6 Weeks    Exclusive   23%      Mixed 55%
3 Months  Exclusive   17%
4 Months  Exclusive   12%
6 Months  Exclusive   1%        Mixed 34%

Although all of the figures show a small increase on the previous survey,  the six month mark has remained as small a percentage as ever.  Just a tiny 1%.   The trend for mixed breast and formula feeding is encouraging to a point, but suggests that mothers may not have total confidence in their milk production, and health professionals may be fuelling these worries and encouraging supplementation (one of my many theories.)

Maybe Kate will start her own blog!  I wonder if she knows about breast milk donation? Did you feel the pressure to breast feed and was it an external pressure, or a personal determination?

If You Have To Fly With A Baby…Read My Advice!

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It has been nearly two weeks since landing in the UK after a 10 hour flight from California.  I am still suffering the effects of jet lag, and meanwhile, the little guy is still enjoying the effects of his jet lag playing at all hours of the night.

It isn’t rocket science, I’ve done it many times over the last 8 years of long distance love, the sooner you get back into the new time zone routine, the sooner you can shake that all day groggy feeling and that all night wide awake feeling.  Aargh.

The whole ordeal is completely different with a kid!  I am in no rush to get back on a plane any time soon, which is a bit of a problem as my husband and I are on different sides of the Atlantic at the moment.

I think I have had a little meltdown on every flight with the little guy so far, he is so lovely, but, I would definitely not class him as an easy child on a plane..and so far, as my experiences go, airlines and airports have not made it any easier to deal with the situation.

So to turn a negative experience into a positive I thought I would write down a few things that might help others to learn from my mistakes, plus, share some of the things that I have got right on a long haul flight!!

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  • Breast feeding is a life saver, on take off and landing it is the best remedy for pressure sensitive ears.  It is also the perfect way to quieten a screaming child, fill a gap for a hungry child, lull a wired child to the edge of sleep (before the ping back wide awake), and if nothing else, keep the little wriggler still for a couple of minutes! Phew!!  Quite simply, don’t forget your boobs, they are an essential part of your in flight enjoyment.
  • Don’t bother packing an entire bag of toys and books and games and new exciting gadgets.  I read somewhere, to buy a small toy, something new and interesting for every 30 minutes of a flight, in an attempt to keep your child interested and entertained.  Wrong…A rustling bag of complementary pretzels, a plastic cup from the drinks trolley, the fold up tray table, an overpriced plastic bottle of water and the duty free magazine…these are the stars of the show.  You can save a lot of money and hand luggage just collecting these things along the journey for hours of fun!!
  • Do pack a ten course  feast of snacks, that is, for baby of course.  They make you pay a tax to have bubba on your lap, but they don’t give them anything to eat.  Nothing too messy obviously, cubes of cheese, ham, tomato (minus juicy pips), cucumber, mashed avocado sandwiches, fruit, sugar free biscuits, pots and pots of the stuff, keep it coming, because once your tray table comes down and you are loaded up with a pile of over salted microwave dinner, little fingers will NOT let you enjoy anything unless they have their own supply of snacks.(It sounds silly but take the time to cut blueberries in half and grapes in quarters because it might just entertain them and last a little longer than whole sizes that they can pop in and moan immediately for more.)
  • Do not get your hopes up for one of those cots that people always mention, hanging from the bulk head.  I have never seen, nor been offered one, but I hear that they are filthy and that they only fit the smallest of babes, mainly only those under six months weighing up to 14kg.  All airlines differ, but where they are the same, is mixing up your seat reservation and having no cot available on the flight!  If you are pinning your hopes on a cot and it doesn’t work out, you will have a meltdown, guaranteed!  Practice with a ring sling or know that you will be cradling your child for however many hours, anything else like a spare seat, a bulkhead seat or a carry cot will be a pleasant, bonus, surprise at that point.
  • This was a great tip from supporting breastfeeding (have a look at their tips here) which I had never even considered doing…I am always so eager to pre-board that I get myself into a bit of a frenzy, I want to get on first, as if the plane is going to leave sooner if I am on board earlier.   Why did it never occur to me that the earlier I get on the plane, the longer I will be confined to that tiny little seat??  Next time I will do as suggested, and hang back for as long as possible, stretching legs and waving arms, just because I can in the lovely spacious gate waiting area!!
  • Practise getting your baby to sleep standing or sitting in a confined space with very little movement.  If your baby is used to getting to sleep on their own in a cot, getting them to sleep in your arms is a massive challenge.  Take three or four days before the flight to cradle your little one to sleep for a few naps.  If you are not in an aisle seat or you have irritating elbows either side of you, even if you are walking up and down the aisle with bubba, wildly rocking them to sleep isn’t an option.  Try more of a bouncy action up and down on one spot at home, this is more like what you will be doing on a cramped plane, and if you can get them to nod off even for 20 minutes you will feel like a new woman for the peace and stillness!
  • Antibacterial wipes!  The first thing I do when I sit down is wipe everything over, the TV screen, the tray table, the window, the shutter, the arm rests…what else…I think that’s it.  Bubba can grab everything after that and it all just feels a little less grubby!
  • Finally, take as many people as you can afford a ticket for!  The bigger the entourage, the better!  More seats in a row is a valuable commodity if you can get it.  You can elbow those nearest and dearest to you without getting a disapproving look, you can pass the baby over at every opportunity and you may even get a moment to eat drink or sleep with all of their help!  Sorry, probably not my most helpful advice but

Thanks to my family for helping us get off the plane in one piece!!!

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How have your travel experiences worked out.  Will you ever brave a plane again, or was it a breeze for you?  Did you travel alone or with support?  Let me Know…