Interview with Claire: Constant Pain

Claire is a Switzerland-based Australian writer whose passionate, thought-provoking musings and poetry can be found at The clarity and intensity in both her self and her writing is something that I have long admired. Claire's first child was born in London and her second child in Zurich.

What were your thoughts and expectations about breastfeeding before you gave birth? 

I didn’t really think much about breastfeeding before I had kids. While pregnant with my first child in London in 2010-2011, like most women in my position, I was mostly focused on the pregnancy and the impending, terrifying Major Life Event of actually giving birth. It seemed as though the books I was reading and the people I spoke to focused on that too, rather than talking much about what came afterwards. Or maybe I just wasn’t paying attention.

I guess the thoughts I did have about breastfeeding were that it seemed vaguely ick to me personally (ie: while I’m not grossed out by others doing it AT ALL, I didn’t love the thought of doing it myself). I don’t think I’d heard of people having major problems with breastfeeding, apart from mastitis, (which sounded bad enough – but as though most people got through it and went on to bf fine). However, breastfeeding seemed like the Right Thing To Do and if women had been doing this for millennia, why wouldn’t I? I guess I felt much the same about giving birth “naturally” (ie: vaginally, without drugs) – again something that women had been doing since the dawn of time. The natural birth went fine. The breastfeeding did not.

How were those first few days and weeks? Did you feel supported? 


Speaking at the WHO

Last weekend, I travelled to Geneva to speak on a panel at the World Health Organisation's Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative congress. Surrounded by over 300 experts from 137 countries, I shared my story and apparently made a whole bunch of them cry (including myself). 

I am still in disbelief that I can open a blog post with that. Isn't it entirely mind-boggling?! Being able to do this is an absolute dream come true, and absolutely one that I had never envisioned happening -- at least not for the next forty years, anyway. I have never before felt so humbled, such a small fish in a big pond, so incredibly in awe of the power and influence that this group of passionate people held over a subject that is so dear to my heart. It was in my preparation that I truly realised the gravity of what I had been asked to do: 'So you are here, surrounded by the most influential and knowledgeable people in this field, from all corners of the globe. What is it that you think they should be doing differently? What do you want them to do to change the experiences of women in the next generation?' 


Interview with Rachel: "I didn't really breastfeed"

Rachel, an American mother living in Switzerland, writes the inspiring expat lifestyle blog My Mini AdventurerI asked Rachel to be a part of Milk and Motherhood after meeting for coffee and learning that she, in her own words, 'didn't really breastfeed'. 

This beautiful, dedicated mother breastfed her little baby for three months before too many obstacles and difficulties led her to the realisation that continuing was not the best decision for her family. I feel very honoured that she agreed to share her story with me here. 

Did you go into motherhood with a firm idea of how you wanted to feed your baby?

It was doomed from the start, really. The moment they took my little guy away and whisked him off to the NICU, we didn’t stand a chance. I just didn’t know it at the time.


Your friend has low supply?

As someone who has struggled with low supply for both of my babies, who had over forty appointments with lactation consultants throughout Switzerland and also in Australia, who used formula and donor milk through a Supplemental Nursing System for almost six months, who tried seemingly every milk-building remedy from every culture on earth, it's time I write this post.

I had some truly wonderful friends during this time, but I also lost friends during this time, which still breaks my heart.

The first few beads sent to me by friends and family around the world for strength and love during the birth and postnatal period. My most valuable possession. There is so much love right there.
If you find yourself sitting next to your friend who is struggling with low supply, whether you consider it true low supply or merely 'perceived low supply', here's a few tips.

Disclaimer: I am a very sensitive person. During the first six months of each of my baby's lives, I was the most vulnerable and emotionally pained that I have ever been. All I can do is share my own personal experience.


1. 'Do you really have low supply?' This is hard. There is a lot of information out there about how to ensure you truly do have low supply, and that your fussing baby, empty-feeling breasts and bottle-guzzler don't necessarily mean you aren't producing enough milk. But you are her friend, not her lactation consultant. Don't question her, don't expect her to explain to you in detail about all the ways she is (or feels she is) unable to provide for her baby. Don't get her to justify her pain to you.

2. 'Have you tried fennel tea?' or any number of remedies... lactation cookies, beer, more skin to skin, checking for tongue tie, staying in bed for a weekend with baby, meditation, domperidone, etc. Again, unless she specifically asks you for advice, don't offer it. Chances are you are the ten-thousandth person that has mentioned this to her, and you might just be the straw that breaks the camel's back and have a box of breastfeeding tea thrown in your face.


Five Tips for Pumping

Andrea, my go-to exclusive pumper, has shared her top five tips for successful pumping! Check out my interview with her over here.
* * * 
Tip #1:
Get yourself a good hospital-grade double pump. I tried two brands and found Medela Symphony to be the best. (Check if your insurance covers a pump! Often it will!)

Tip #2:
Get a pumping bra... Yes I know they are not sexy but they hold the cups well against your skin, create a good suction and you can carry on with emails, calls and even being with your baby.

There it is -- the big Medela Symphony over there.
Tip #3:


Interview with Andrea: Exclusive Pumping

Andrea is the mother of two beautiful girls and has added to the general craziness of life with two littlies by started her own sewing business, Spirited Child.

I asked Andrea to be an interviewee for Milk and Motherhood because I knew that her journey took a bit of a different turn than the 'usual' (upon reflection, though, is there a 'normal' breastfeeding journey?!). After struggling with a variety of problems, she became an exclusive pumper for her daughter and is now the woman I turn to when mothers ask me for advice and tips about pumping! She is an inspiration, and gave so much of herself to be able to give her beautiful little baby what she could. Here is Andrea, talking about her love/hate relationship with breastfeeding, and reminding me once again why I hold exclusive pumpers on the highest of pedestals in this world of baby-feeding. 

Andrea and Amelia
Tell me about your breastfeeding journey and how you found yourself exclusively pumping for your baby.

Breastfeeding…I have a love/hate relationship with it. Before I had my first, Amelia, I never knew how much I would love it. Actually, I didn’t think I would care – my attitude was very matter of fact about it. But I also hated breastfeeding because it didn’t fully work for us in a ‘normal’ way.


My Dreams for a Feeding-Obsessed World

It is World Breastfeeding Week, and... well... I don't know.

As someone who has been on both sides of the breastfeeding 'debate' (and yes, there still is one!), as a mother who was scarred by her inability to breastfeed, and now as a mother who celebrates the joy that is breastfeeding and is even pursuing a career based around it, I remain unsure of how I feel about a week dedicated to breastfeeding awareness.

It is vital that those mothers who feed their babies through other means do not feel shame when this week is promoted. It is vital that they do not see it as another wound to their heart. To me, this week shouldn't only be about celebrating breastfeeding -- it needs to be about education. I'm not even necessarily talking about the education of mothers and mums-to-be here: I have heard too many stories -- hundreds, perhaps -- of women who desperately wanted to breastfeed, but who received ill-informed advice from medical professionals that resulted in the sabotage of their breastfeeding relationship. This week should be about raising awareness in society and within the social and medical systems around these women to allow them to achieve their goals and dreams, whatever they may be. I don't want to talk about the medical benefits of breastfeeding – it has never been about that to me. It is about my instincts; about that burning primal urge in me to be the body that nourishes my child, both inside and outside of my belly; about my dream of motherhood. People need to talk less about the milk and more about what women want.
Feeding my first with love
Feeding my second with love
I want to live in a world where the word 'choice' isn't used to make mothers feel less guilty about a medical system that failed them.

I want to live in a world where nobody feels uncomfortable when they see a woman feeding her child, in whichever way is working for them.

 I want to live in a world where no mother feels uncomfortable feeding their child -- not feeling the need to cover herself and her baby, and not feeling that she wants to hand out pamphlets to everyone that watches her prepare formula, so that they truly can understand what she has been through. 

I want to live in a world where no mother feels shame when feeding, and sadly that is currently so far from the truth, with both breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding mothers. All mamas need to feel proud of having gone through what they have in order to keep their babies fed and healthy.  

Busting my gut and pushing myself to the brink in order to achieve a breastfeeding relationship with my baby is a choice of mine; it is personal, it is deeply emotional in ways that are impossible to articulate, and I thank every person who has supported me throughout, whether that be through actively offering hugs and high fives, or through choosing to omit criticism.

Next time you see a bottle feeding mama, know that there is a chance that she is just like I was -- that a system failed her, that she is sad and stressed beyond belief, that she is heartbroken at not being able to fulfil her dreams, that she feels judged for not being able to do what is deemed as 'best'. Send her love, send her support.

Next time you see a breastfeeding mama, know that there is a chance that she is just like me -- that she is filled with doubts and never knows if she is doing the right thing, that it is so very far from easy, that she has been through so much to even be able to bring that baby to her breast, and that she hopes that one day she won't regret how hard she has worked to get to this point. Send her love, send her support.


Hurricanes, War and Dystopia

One of the reasons that I cried early in the life of my first boy, when met with the reality of being unable to exclusively breastfeed him, was that I was unable to keep him alive with nothing but myself. I imagined that if he has been born a century ago, he would not survive. It was months before I acknowledged this thought and voiced it to my husband, who immediately reminded me that there were wet-nurses for such a situation, and of course he wouldn't have died.

That made me feel a lot better, until I realised that we were considering only a world where there exists such resources, where women would be available and willing to provide such support to each other, or where I had money to be able to pay them if needed; a world free of extreme crises. If we suddenly were to find ourselves thrown into a wartime situation, running for our lives, I would not have enough milk to be able to sustain my baby. Yes, these are the things I thought about. And these are still the things I think about! Perhaps this is my bizarre way of feeling gratitude for the situation that we are in, for the resources that are so freely available to us to ensure the health of our children and ourselves.

Us, comfortable, warm, safe.
A friend recently asked if anybody else is feeling the need to start honing skills and hoarding supplies in preparation for the world to become "a bad (but very real and less glitzy) version of Mad Max". I was reminded of a novel I read in preparation for the Zurich Writer's Workshop a few years ago, where a Polish woman was breastfeeding her nine-year-old son while living in the forest during the Second World War. Having a milk supply is handy.  

I am then, though, curious about the effects of stress on milk supply (but there's a whole other post there...). There exists many stories among mothers where stress has 'dried up' their milk, or at least significantly reduced their supply, like Sharon's weaning story after the loss of her sister-in-law,  or my own mother's description of her milk drying up when I was a few weeks old, after my dad's stepfather died.  And there does exist a real study (!) that demonstrate that "various types of stressful stimuli can depress lactation". Surely being thrown into a life-or-death wartime situation is as stressful as it can get, right?

When I was in Berlin for a breastfeeding study day recently, there was the mention of Hurricane Katrina and some of the horrific stories that emerged. There was a discussion of the importance of breastfeeding for survival in emergency situations, and how the risks to a not-exclusively-breastfed baby in such situations is incredibly high -- lack of a reliably constant source of formula, lack of a reliably constant source of clean water, and lack of guaranteed sterility of bottles and teats. Breastfeeding in emergency situations ensures a baby's nutritional security, so long as the mother has enough food and water to ensure her own survival. I mentioned that I had heard that formula samples were being handed out to Syrian refugee mothers. As such, a flurry of lactation support headed to landing sites to assist mothers by providing education, support, ensuring good nutrition and hydration, and a safe place for them to breastfeed, and potentially even the education and support necessary to allow relactation.

Image from here
'The culture of bottle feeding in Syria and Jordan was perpetuated through the untargeted distribution of breastmilk substitutes (BMS) in the early days of the response and the concept that poor diet among lactating women negatively impacted on their ability to breastfeed. Especially during the first phase of the influx of refugees into Jordan (end of 2012 and through the first half of 2013), many non-governmental organisations (NGOs), community-based organisations and well-meaning donors from Gulf countries distributed huge amounts of BMS to refugees in camps and host communities. BMS products were not distributed according to assessed needs, for example to mothers who were unable to breastfeed. BMS were usually included as a general item in food baskets distributed to refugee families. Those distributions were in general ‘once-off’ distributions with no provision for sustained supply to infants established on these products.' (Reference)

Am I the only person that thinks of these things? 

(Edit: I found an interesting post here, on the page The Fearless Formula Feeder, about feeding in emergency situations. It's an interesting read, and worth mentioning.)

Interview with Sharon: Breastfeeding Twins

Meet Sharon. Sharon wears an invisible cape every single day that signifies her strength in this world of babies and motherhood. She has been through the ringer. We are incredibly lucky that Sharon is also an 'oversharer' (the best people are, right? ;) and revealed the often gut-wrenching pain of five years of unexplained infertility and resultant invasive fertility treatments on her blog.

She and her husband now have two beautiful girls, Lillian and Matilda. Among all the joy and tumult that new babies bring, they have also had to navigate their way through Matilda's diagnosis of CysticFibrosis, and the incredibly tragic loss of a very close family member.

Read about Sharon's breastfeeding journey here, and how she “didn't realize it would also be kind of a delight!”:

Tell me about your breastfeeding experience

My twin girls were born a day before 37 weeks and were just over 4 pounds each, so we supplemented breast milk with formula from day one to ensure they didn't lose the ounces that newborn babies often lose. We were in a hospital that really understood and encouraged breastfeeding and they had me feed them formula via a Supplemental Nursing System and had me pumping immediately to get my milk flowing. My girls took to the breast right away, even though they were so tiny, and before we left the hospital I was comfortable tandem feeding them. They never were exclusively breast fed and we went through phases where they got more milk and phases where they got more formula, but I loved our breastfeeding relationship. We breastfed until they were 8 months old, moving slowly from exclusively tandem feeding to exclusively individual feeding by the end (as their size and development changed).


Look at this photo! What are we missing?

This is a photo of my friend Vanessa's great-grandmother, publicly breastfeeding her son,Vanessa's grandfather, ninety years ago. How amazing is it that she is in possession of such a photo?! What a snippet of social history right there!
When I looked at this photo, there were a few things that jumped out at me immediately, so I decided to take a look at a few historical images of breastfeeding.

Look what I found:


Supplementation – It's all about the HOW

So. Your baby needs some extra milk (Not sure if this is the case? Check here.). I know that sometimes this realisation is hard, sometimes very very hard. First things first: know that you are an amazing mama! You are now taking steps to ensure that your baby grows and is healthy, and have made that your priority. You are doing the absolute best thing for your baby.
Now let's presume that you still hope to breastfeed, and just need to give a top-ups. There's not many catch-phrases that I use when discussing the feeding of a baby; I'm certainly not one to throw out a 'breast-is-best' anywhere whatsoever. But there is one that I do use, and I think it's one of the most important ones. It has to do with supplementing.

It's not the what, it's the how. *

The problem is that supplements are almost always given with a bottle. This still makes me sigh. There exists so many risks to long-term breastfeeding when a bottle is introduced, and there are so many stories where babies were given bottles in the hospital and subsequent breastfeeding problems have emerged. Yes, there are families who easily alternate bottle and breast all throughout the day with no problem whatsoever, but it is risky, and this ability to switch between the two easily is not a common situation. 
Using my Supplemental Nursing System
(I'd like to point out here that I didn't know any of this with my first boy, and we had to supplement from the first week. He was six weeks when he first began to refuse the breast, eight weeks when this was becoming more and more common, and eleven weeks when I finally had to give in and stop trying. Potentially, supplementing in a different manner would have resulted in a different story for us.)

How breastfeeding and bottle-feeding differ

Bottle feeding my first little baby with love.
When you give a bottle, the milk comes immediately. When you give a breast, your baby has to work hard for a while before any milk comes. When you give a bottle, the milk comes continuously. When you give a breast, your milk varies in flow as you have multiple letdowns throughout a feed. When you give a bottle, the baby often doesn't have to work for milk at all and a very slow stream is slowly pouring into their mouth. Breastfeeding doesn't work like this.

I liken it to my dinner-making procedure. Kids are in bed, I'm shattered, and I haven't yet cooked anything for myself and my husband. Sigh. We could get food delivered, or I could make us something. If I knew that nutritionally rich, delicious food was going to be delivered at my door for free, immediately, surely I'd choose that option! Every time, right?And after a week of choosing delivery, I don't even have any food left in the fridge to make dinner with in the first place. But if delivery was never an option, then I would just have to cook -- no other possibility would ever enter my mind.

Avoiding the Bottle 

If you need to supplement, I personally think it is best to avoid a bottle for as long as possible, and particularly when the baby is very very young. There are so many other ways that you can give additional milk.
  • You can feed your baby using an at-breast-supplementer, like the  Supplemental Nursing System (SNS -- which was my supplementer of choice for almost six months). Here, a tube is taped to your breast and baby latches with the tube and your nipple. While breastfeeding, supplemental milk and simultaneously be released via the tube, from a bottle of milk hanging from your neck. 
  • You can feed your baby milk from a small cup, like a shot glass. Watch this video for how -- it is important not to pour the milk in, but let them control the flow of milk themselves with their tongue. 
  • You could try finger feeding, where a feeding tube is attached to the end of your finger and milk is released through the tube while they suckle on your finger -- similar to the SNS, but with your finger. 
  • You can syringe feed your baby, filling a 10ml or 20ml syringe with milk and slowly, in a controlled manner, release some milk into the inside of their cheek, giving them time to swallow it before releasing some more. 
  • You can give milk with a small soft spoon in a similar, controlled manner. 

Six months of supplementing, and we made it through.
If you do choose to use a bottle to supplement your feeds, make sure you look into 'paced bottlefeeding', which attempts to imitate the variable flow of breastfeeding and increases the likelihood that your baby will come back to the breast. Aim for a bottle-feeding session to take between 20 and 45 minutes.

Supplementing does not have to be the beginning of the end. Remember that you are being a great mum, ensuring that your baby thrives as your number one priority, while still searching for ways to continue to breastfeed -- high five to you. 

* I know, I know. I used donor milk, I am running the Swiss page of Human Milk 4 Human Babies, I'm passionate about enabling women to connect and share milk when they choose to. So therefore surely I must be all about the 'what'. But I'm not. This was the right decision for me, but it's definitely not for everyone. Mums can choose to supplement with whatever they feel comfortable, as long as they are aware that milk donation is an option available to them (Hmm. I'm thinking that 'informed choice' is potentially another catch-phrase I use... ha.).


Interview with Danica: Breast Cancer and Donor Milk

This is Danica.

Danica, a member of my breastfeeding support group, found a lump in her breast when her little boy, Ellington, was only eleven weeks old, and was diagnosed with breast cancer three weeks later. Get your tissues ready and read about this incredible woman's strength and determination, and embrace her positivity, despite being thrown one of the greatest curve balls.

Can you tell me a bit about your breastfeeding experience? I knew that breastfeeding would be challenging for myself because when I was in my early 20’s my OBGYN told me that breastfeeding would be challenging because I have one inverted nipple. At the time, I laughed and didn't think much about it. When I got pregnant, I immediately remembered what my OBGYN told me many years ago and unfortunately I was scared and nervous about my ability to breastfeed. As a first time mom, I had done my reading and I was looking forward to this beautiful, natural crawl that all babies “know” to do when placed on their mother’s stomach. Ellington and I did not have that beautiful, natural crawl. He wasn’t interested in eating. I wasn't producing a lot of milk. A lactation consultant visited me and recommended that I pump every two hours, 20 minutes on each side and to eat dates to help my milk come in. Ellington was fed my breastmilk with a small drinking cup or spoon for the first day or so. I used nipple shields for the first month of breastfeeding and had to continue to use a nipple shield on my inverted nipple for another month. At this point, I thought I was in the clear and I would meet my breastfeeding goals. I wanted to breastfeed Ellington for the first six months of his life and up to one year. When Ellington was about 2.5 months old, I discovered a small knot, what I thought was a clogged milk duct. I went online and searched for ways to unclog a milk duct. Trust me when I tell you that I tried all of them and had no success at unclogging the milk duct. I scheduled an appointment with my doctor. My doctor referred me to another doctor for an ultrasound of the knot. The doctor informed me that the knot looked mostly ok, but there was an area which concerned him. He wanted to do a biopsy of the knot and informed me that I would receive the results in a few days. On Friday afternoon, my doctor called me and told me she need to schedule an appointment with me and my husband first thing on Monday morning. I knew it was not good and asked for her to share what information she knew. She informed me that I had breast cancer and she would meet with me on Monday to discuss next steps. I did research over the weekend regarding mothers who continued to pump and dump through chemotherapy and radiation and was hoping that would be something I could do. My doctor informed me that pumping and dumping wasn't an option because my surgery and treatment would basically take up the next year of my life. I was and still am more upset that I had to stop breastfeeding my son, than I am about having cancer. Within one week, I had to stop breastfeeding my son and prepare myself for surgery and my upcoming treatment plan.
The last time Danica breastfed Ellington


For Dads

Whenever I ask new mums what they need from their husbands/partners, the overwhelming response is 'support'. But what does that really mean? What concrete things do new mothers need from their partners?

Our first baby's first morning

I remember having a conversation with my wonderful man back in the day about needing more support from him, and watching him slowly come apart at the implication that this was somehow lacking. His role in the births of my two boys was so vital -- he was my partner, my advocate, my masseuse, my hypnotherapist, my yoga instructor, my everything (I have no memory of him eating, sleeping or even going to the toilet for the seemingly infinite hours of my first birth, nor my second...), and he has always been my anchor amidst the furious storms of postnatal depression. I began to realise that he couldn't do everything, and as much as he tried, he couldn't be my everything. I needed women with experience and knowledge, women who truly understood the instincts and primal need deep within me to sustain my babies on my milk alone. Slowly I began finding knowledgeable support elsewhere, through my breastfeeding support group and a few other places online, but I still needed this man of mine, this man who was so excited to become a dad.

First time with bubba in the wrap. Happiness!
Here are some ways that dads (or partners) can support a new mama:


Interview with Lindsey

Lindsey McLean (writer of the blog Swiss Lark) is one of the mothers I met very early in the life of my first-born boy, back when breastfeeding was failing for us. I remember watching her breastfeed Coco and being in awe; being filled with envy at her ability to do this magical, unattainable thing; being the mother that I had dreamt of being my whole life. I doubt that she has any idea of the impact that she had on me at that time, but she has always been a mother that I admire -- for her confidence to follow her heart when it tells her to try new things, for her openness to making a change, and for her continued hunt for happiness. 

Lindsey is the first of hopefully many mamas I will interview about their breastfeeding experience. Here she is, fully exposed, in all her vulnerable, beautiful glory: 

Why do you breastfeed? 

I LOVE breastfeeding. In my view, there is nothing more beautiful than a contented baby (or toddler!) at the breast. I am a big believer that “breast is best” and I love the bonding it provides for mother and baby. Theo is 21 months. His older sister Coco is 4 ½. I nursed Coco until she was 2 ½ and plan to do the same for Theo. My allergies are off-the-charts horrible, so I also want to do everything I can to prevent that for my children. Long-term breastfeeding is supposed to decrease allergy severity. It may not be true because mine are so bad – or, they might have been even worse if my mom hadn't nursed me for two years!


Where to from here?

I've been thinking a lot recently about what I want this blog to become, as I no longer have the need to write about my breastfeeding journey every single day, often multiple times a day. As unbelievable as it is, breastfeeding is normal now. The day to day variation is very little, and unremarkable. I am not plagued with insecurity about my milk supply (though wowsers, yes it is low. Some days it seems nonexistent. And yet at 19 months old, I am okay with that.). That doesn't mean that I don't often have questions, but the wonderful support network that I have built -- initially primarily for my own support, though now there are over 500 mums! -- does a great job at brainstorming and discussing these, so much so that I don't have the need to offload here.

Look how big he is! It astounds me! 


Five Tips for Pregnant Mamas-to-be!

My sister is pregnant, and she has a blog post request! How exciting is that?! She has asked me to write a post discussing the top five things that a pregnant mother should know about breastfeeding.

It is always quite the balancing act when speaking with pregnant mamas. How much information do you provide? Which pieces of information will actually sink in and be relevant when a little baby is still happily inside its mama's tummy? Should we really discuss potential difficulties or simply go with the positive affirmations and self-belief concept? So I've decided to focus on only the first few hours and days after birth. Have you imagined your first breastfeed? Imagine it! It will be beautiful.

My Top Five Tips

1. The breast crawl
My second little bubba, after his first breastfeed. 
Immediately after birth, babies are capable of a 'breast crawl'. They use their surprisingly strong little feet and legs to push their way up to your breast, and then bob their little head around until they land on your breast, latching on themselves to your nipple entirely unassisted. It is incredible to watch! The only thing that would make me consider a third baby is the chance to try a breast-crawl after birth -- babies are such incredible things! Allow your baby to have uninterrupted skin-to-skin time with you post-birth (no weighing, measuring, bathing, etc), and give it a try! There is a lot of in-depth information on the benefits and importance of allowing babies to attempt a breast crawl here. ("Of 17 babies kept in the Breast Crawl position and kept in uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact for 1 hour, 16 attached to the breast correctly. Fifteen babies in the other group were separated after about 20 minutes for routine measuring and weighing procedures. After an interval of approximately 20 minutes, they were returned to the mother. Only seven babies in this group attached correctly. These findings are crucial because the early suckling pattern is of prognostic value for the duration and success of breastfeeding."  Reference 


A Night Away, Alone.

It is 5.40am and I am on a train, on the way to the airport, alone. With a breast pump in my suitcase.

I know, right? Alone! And a pump is right there on the seat next to me, and I actually have a plan to use it.

There are not many things that could convince me to attempt my first weekend without my little breastfed boy, but it seems that a day of intensive breastfeeding training with Indira Lopez Bassols in Berlin is one of them. It's quite fitting, then, that this should see me face my fear of the pump and reach a few new personal milestones.

I will be away from my little one (and my big one! And my husband!) from 5am Saturday until 2pm Sunday. As yet, my husband has only managed to put my little one into bed twice in eighteen months – and not for lack of trying. As yet, my husband has never been able to settle him when he wakes in the night, which is usually at least four times, sometimes still hourly (though last night, he only woke at 2am, and was still yet to wake again when I snuck out the door at 5!). I am worried about the one night that I'll be away; I'm worried just because I am a mama who loves my boys and my husband and who doesn't want to see them in distress. I know, though, that they will all be okay, and will fumble through it in whatever way they discover works for them.

I've worked hard to get this little one to find comfort from
something aside from me, and this teddy 'Basil' is it! 


Slowing down at 15 months

All is quiet and smooth on the breastfeeding road of late. It's a lovely way to be, where breastfeeding is just normal and easy and a part of our day-to-day existence.

In the lead-up the Christmas, Harvey went through a week or so where he was breastfeeding every two hours, day and night. I don't know why that was, really... there was a lot going on, and potentially it was a way to stay connected to me when we were always busy, we had visitors, etc. It makes me really feel wonderful to be able to provide what he needs, though, and to just trust him to take the lead. Sometimes, of course, I just needed my body back for more than two hours at a time... and I'm learning that it is totally okay too, and putting boundaries up where I need to. This is a two-way-relationship, after all.

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