Resistence is futile little one

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We bought a new car seat.

W seemed to like it when it sat in the living room as we practised securing the impact shield.

“Seat, seat,” she exclaimed.

Sitting in it was a game.

Her fists banged down on the impact cushion with delight.

“Hurrah,” I thought. The Kiddy Phoenixfix brings happier times than Maxi Cosi.

Then we put it in the car and her attitude changed.

W has a history with car seats. She hates going in them. Her back arches as her body goes convex and rigid.

Once we get going she is usually fine.

What really galled me was she started sitting in the old Maxi Cosi left in the hallway.

“Seat, seat!”

Yes, just as long as it isn’t in the car.

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Comforting sucks

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Sleep deprivation Is something most parents are far too familiar with.

Here is my confession. I often feed W to sleep.

She falls asleep on the breast. Sometimes we co-sleep. Shock horror!

This goes against most of the advice to mothers but I feel it is the natural way humans have survived for centuries.

I also take great care to ensure W is not under the covers and we are in a safe position.

It makes life so much easier I wish I had done it from the start.

Sucking is also a natural way to sooth babies. It was why dummies were invented.

This is why I feel annoyed whenever someone says, “she’s using you as a dummy.” No, she’s using me as a breast.

When babies are bottle fed the official NHS guidelines state a cup should be introduced at six months and bottles phased out completely once they are a year old.

Talking to one of my mummy friends, we agreed this was a pretty mean idea.

Her son has a bottle at bedtime. This sends him to sleep within minutes.

It is no surprise really as he is relaxed and soothed by the whole process.

When I shared the no bottle after one policy with the mother of a teenager, I was amused by her response.

“But they make formula for older babies, how are they supposed to drink that?” She said.

She was quite stunned my my response.

Follow on and toddler milk are marketing ploys to get around formula advertising bans.

These milks are not needed.

Image by Mark and Allegra Jaroski-Biava licenced by Creative Commons on Flickr.

Catholic priest’s pro-breastfeeding sermon

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On special occasions I join my husband and W at church.

I used to go nearly every week when W needed regular breast feeds but now she can go a while without mum it is down to daddy.

It was Christmas Day and Father Ray Blake at St Mary Magdalen in Brighton, made me smile.

Fr Ray is quite a traditionalist and at the conservative end of the Catholic Church. He is often criticised for some of his views but in the years I’ve got to know him a little I would say he is a kind and humorous man.

In his sermon he came out as pro breastfeeding.

First of all he criticised Claridges for wrapping a mother in a “ridiculous table cloth”, or words to that effect.

My heart was leaping with joy, particularly as W was snacking on mummy at the time.

He pointed out how before Victorian “prudishness” there were many images of the Virgin Mary suckling Jesus with her bare breast (I picked a Da Vinci one to illustrate).

In reality I feel breastfeeding has been considered shameful since the 50s when formulas were aggressively marketed.

My mother really questioned my choice to breastfeed and seemed to constantly ask when W would have a bottle.

Hers and my grandmother’s generation seem to be obsessed with artificial feeding.

No wonder breastfeeding rates are so low when so many women feel pressured by the older generation to be “normal”.

Update: it seems the Pope is back voicing his pro-breastfeeding message to young mums.

I am a mother, therefore I am judged

Sling baby

Here I am spoiling my child by wearing her in a sling.
Isn’t it and she pretty.

In the two years since I announced my pregnancy I have discovered just how many people judge you for your choices as a mother.

They can be anyone, family, friends, strangers in the street and most of all other mums.

None of us can deny it, we all judge. I cannot cast the first stone.

What is important is I am as relaxed and calm as possible and this ensures W is a happy child. I want the same thing for other mums. No parent could want more than that.

Here are a few comments I’ve experienced just to show how mummy bashing comes from all parenting styles and random strangers:

  • “You should avoid medical intervention.” – I’m diabetic, I’d rather my baby lived thanks.
  • “Why were you induced early? Were you scanned?” – Every two weeks from week six. Diabetic placentas degrade early. I would rather have a living baby.
  • “Giving your child formula changes the flora in their stomach.” – She had low blood sugar and wasn’t interested in feeding. I had to do something.
  • “Why didn’t you express?” – I bloody well tried from week 37 of pregnancy but even after she was born only beads came out.
  • “Has your milk been tested for its nutritional value.” – Oh just f-off.
  • “Don’t let her use you like a dummy.” – Breasts predate dummies (also see response above).
  • “Don’t pick her up every time she makes a noise.” – My child is content.
  • “You don’t want her getting into a habit of sleeping with you.” – We’re both sleeping better.
  • “Are you feeding her again?” – Yes, or maybe she’s sucking for comfort, she’s happy.
  • “You shouldn’t use breastfeeding as comfort.” – Oh just f-off.
  • “I thought breastfeeding stopped at six months. Why are you still doing it?” – If you can then the ideal is exclusively breastfeed for six months and then feed solids and breastmilk until the child weans naturally. This can be at any time until their milk teeth fall out.
  • “You’ll get more sleep if you give her a bottle.” – Not according to some of my friends.
  • “She really enjoyed that formula.” – Oh just f-off and stop undermining my choices.
  • “Bitty.” – Again, just f-off.
  • “It’s disgusting the way you just take your boob out.” – I’m at home!
  • “Urgh you’re washing cloth nappies in a machine. There’s poo in your washing machine.” – At least it’s not going into landfill.
  • “Do you know how long it takes for a disposable to degrade in landfill.” – Do you know how much that cloth nappy cost I put in the nappy disposal unit? Plus I’m pissed off with getting weighed down carrying dirty nappies around. Cloth at home.
  • “You’ll spoil that child.” – She’s six weeks old in a sling and I have two hands. How can she be spoilt?
  • “You’re spoiling that child.” – She’s 15 months old and now she’s in the sling she isn’t screaming her head off and annoying everyone in the shop. How is this spoiling her?
  • “When are you going to give her a bottle?” – She’s had a few and rejects them now. Plus making up bottles is a right pain with all the cleaning, sterilising, boiling water.
  • “Why don’t you give her cow’s milk instead?” – Because she’s not a calf.
  • “It’s so nice to see a baby facing mummy in a pram.” – Yes it is nice, but when they’re older babies want to see out into the world, too.
  • “She should be eating mush fed from a spoon.” – We’re following baby led weaning thanks.
  • “You let her eat chips?” – She has eaten one chip. This does not mean my child lives on a diet exclusively of chips.
  • “You let her eat chocolate?” – She tried a chocolate button at 14 months. This does not mean my child lives on a diet of chocolate. Strangely enough she’s not very keen on chocolate.
  • “You let her watch television.” – She sometimes watches In The Night Garden and Something Special. This does not mean my child sits in front of the television all day, every day. She watches less than an hour a week.
  • “Why did you give her such an awful name?” – It is a beautiful name and she is named after two of her ancestors who are loved and missed.

I really try not to bash anyone. Unfortunately some people saw my post yesterday  as bashing formula feeding mums. What really annoyed me was Tesco breaking the law. I am just as annoyed about Tesco promoting Stella Artois price drop, but sadly it is not against the law.

Tesco breaking formula promotion law

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Today I popped into Tesco with my sister. I don’t live near one so rarely shop there.

Therefore I was surprised to see SMA stage one and two formulas alongside other food items as part of a price drop promotion.

The law for promoting formula aimed at babies under six months is the same as tobacco, no advertising, price deals or promotion.

Formula is a miracle that has saved thousands of babies since safer versions were created, but artificial feeding should not be the norm.

This is why formula aimed at children under six months is not advertised. As it is follow on milks were created just to get around the ban.

It makes me angry how decades of aggressive promotion made formula feeding the norm for my mother’s generation.

She made it clear from day one she thought I was wrong to breastfeed W.

“Have you had your milk tested for its nutritional value?” She asked me when W was 24 hours old.

I was stunned, but this is the result of being told how great formula is.

It is great for women who cannot feed because their milk does not come in, or their child has extreme food allergies so even donor milk is a risk, there are many reasons why it is needed.

So many babies failed to thrive or died because they could not feed. Even wet nursing result in a baby not getting enough food.

What does concern me is how many women don’t breastfeed because they think it is weird.

If your body makes free food then use it rather than spend £10 a pop on a tin.

Update: It seems Tesco has received a number of complains and is withdrawing the promotion. However, the company should know better. The Baby Feeding Law Group has published how Tesco has made this mistake in the past. I wonder how often the company thinks it can get away with it.

Update two: Tesco tweeted me back to say it will be removed.

Baby led weaning is not a bit weird

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When I started weaning W at Christmas 2013 both my mother and mother-in-law were skeptical.

“How can she eat such big lumps without any teeth?”

“Will you feed her anything with a spoon?”

“How will she learn to eat with cutlery?”

I avoided the purée route completely and embraced baby-led weaning.

When I showed my mother the Gill Rapley book she said: “This is wrong.”

W started out eating boiled veg and tucked into broccoli and carrots with particular gusto.

Now at 18 months she enjoys a wide variety of foods and strong flavours.

Olives are a particular favourite and this Christmas we discovered Stilton goes down a treat.

She is not a big fan of salami and sweet potato is a no no.

During the summer my parents took W down to the park and my father was quite taken back by the snacking going on around him.

“All the mums had tubs of cooked veg like you do,” he said.

This was when my parents realised I was not a complete weirdo and other parents were doing the same thing.

We have rarely struggled at meal times, apart from when W is teething and out of sorts.

On New Years Day she tucked into a pork pie.

My in-laws had my sister-in-laws in-laws around for tea, too.

They are concerned their nine-month-old granddaughter is eating sandwiches rather than purée.

I had to smile when my mother-in-law said: “It’s okay, it does look strange but it does work and W is fine.

“It’s not the way we did it but it works.”