Breastfeeding is the most natural way of nursing an infant. In the early 1900s, the numerous health benefits of human milk were not known; but today we are aware of all its health promoting properties, not just for baby but also for mother.• Nursing baby requires a lot of energy, especially when baby experiences a growth spurt and demands very frequent feeding. As such, breastfeeding is nature’s easiest diet because it uses an extra 500 to 1,000 calories a day. If the mother eats healthily this is the chance to shed those unwanted pounds.

• By feeding baby, the body releases the hormone oxytocin which helps contract the uterus during the first few days after birth. This is extremely helpful as it stops residual bleeding and the uterus regains its former shape much quicker.

• Several studies have shown that breastfeeding is related to developing breast cancer; if a woman has breastfed she is at lower risk for pre menopausal breast cancer.

• Continuous infant feeding prevents contraception by stopping ovulation. This phenomenon has been called “exogestation” – gestation outside the womb – because the female fertility system is programmed as if it was still pregnant. Baby’s suckling sends a message to the body which indicates the baby’s developmental stage: the more baby feeds the higher is the contraceptive protection; however, if baby is breastfed less frequently (less than every two hours), contraceptive protection may be much lower.

• The risk of developing ovarian cancer, osteoporosis and hip fractures in later life has also been shown to be significantly lower when breastfeeding.

• Women who have breastfed are less likely to develop heart disease too, as they tend to have higher levels of good cholesterol (HDL) in their blood.

Mild forms of postnatal depression may be reduced or even prevented because the body’s hormones make mothers feel more positive overall.

Breastfeeding is cheaper: it does not require you to buy a lot of equipment and the savings in formula milk can add up significantly.

Most importantly, nursing mothers all agree that feeding baby is accompanied by an extremely warm, comforting feeling which helps strengthen a deep rooted bond. While baby suckles hormones are released into the mother’s body which calm and relax her in order to make it a very positive experience, especially when she feels tired or stressed.

benefits_mother.jpg

Nurture your baby naturally at www.babysbest.co.uk

breast-feeding-in-culture.jpg

Organisations such as the La Lèche League or the Breastfeeding Network help to promote breastfeeding with all its benefits which, as a result, is becoming increasingly popular.
Fortunately, more and more women decide to at least try to feed their newborn themselves. National statistics show that there is a steady increase in initial infant breastfeeding (66% in 1995 to 69% in 2000). However, statistics also reveal that many new mothers give up breastfeeding after only a few weeks: after only one week, 55% of women breastfeed, after six weeks 43% and after 4 months 28% still feed their babies. In our modern culture, natural feeding is a challenge because bottle feeding still tends to be regarded as “easier”. Generations of parents who bottle fed their babies pass on what they have been sold decades ago. In addition, new breastfeeding problems arise that find appropriate discussion grounds in our civilisation, such as the “insufficient milk” syndrome. Yet, only about 5% of mothers show real physical difficulty to breastfeed, thus confirming that the idea of not making enough milk is a modern invention. Women may actually feel that they do not have enough milk to feed their baby but the reasons are not physical. It is more likely that the early difficulties mother and baby experience together result from stressful birthing environment, such as the hospital, where unknown staff and routine as well as doubtable reputation feed initial anxiety and thus, can add to the overall picture of the insufficient milk syndrome. Breast feeding can be highly influenced by psychosomatic elements, such as stress, anxiety, worries, depression and much more. Feeding is a natural self-regulating and extremely efficient process which is susceptible to how mothers feel, as much as anything. If a new mother does not receive the support she needs, the let-down reflex (milk flows from the ducts towards the nipple) is more difficult to be stimulated.
Besides the modern argument of “lack of sufficient milk”, many more interruptions help reduce the chance of breastfeeding, such as aesthetically motivated breast operations or if a separation of mother and baby after birth is unnecessarily prolonged. In addition, our natural desire for information societies has caused multiple parenting theories to shoot out of the grounds. Instead of helping reduce new parent’s fears they tend to increase and even confuse them. One of the often cited parent strategies is “feeding on schedule”. However, feeding in intervals causes unnecessary stress because the composition of the milk changes in a way that causes baby to feel hungry all the time. As a result, the mother will think that she does not produce enough milk whereas the truth is that she has waited too long.

Modern ways of living can make it extremely difficult for new mothers to embrace breast feeding. Their cultural background, lack of support within their own family or friends and misleading parenting information facilitate the return to bottle feeding. Moreover, cultural expectations of women who often have to return to work early in order to earn a living or pursue a career do not improve early parenting conditions.

While breast feeding is part of our natural survival strategy, bottle feeding is part of our modern culture. It gives new mothers the chance to cope easier with expectations and to help handle natural infant needs in an over-regulated world. We are aware of the fact that human milk is best for baby. Thus, it is the mother’s individual choice of how to feed her infant and to build a strong bond.

For more breastfeeding tips visit http://www.babysbest.co.uk/

The History of Bottle Feeding

February 25, 2008

Archaeological findings have shown that breast feeding substitutes were used thousands of years ago. Historically, substitute milk was given to infants whose mothers died or were too sick to feed their babies, usually with limited possibility of wet nursing at hand. Cow’s milk or goat’s milk were commonly used to replace mother’s milk. In addition, babies were sometimes given supplementary solid food, such as a paste made of bread or flour mixed with milk or water. Needless to say that infant mortality rate was extremely high – from 50 to 99% . History and cross-cultural studies have revealed that the increase in bottle feeding resulted in an increase in infant deaths, especially where standards of hygiene were not met. It is a fact, that artificial infant feeding can hold more risks for baby.

During the industrial revolution artificial feeding became popular in Britain as women had to leave their children behind to work in the factories. The first scientific breast milk substitute was invented in 1867 by a German chemist. It was a combination of cow’s milk, flour, potassium bicarbonate and malt. However, the popularity of bottle feeding increased when condensed milk was developed in the late 19th century. The social consensus about how best to feed baby in a modern world which was filled with new scientific achievements, changed towards artificial infant feeding. Bottle feeding was sold as nutritious, safe and easy to prepare with no need for refrigeration. More importantly, pasteurization of milk and sterilization of feeding equipment made artificial infant feeding a safer alternative; thus, making bottle feeding more popular. In addition, medical representatives and scientists celebrated this new supposedly convenient way of feeding baby. As a result, breast feeding became comparatively unpopular as figures show that only 20 to 30% of babies were actually breastfed during WWII in the USA. However, the 1980s proved difficult for companies such as Nestlé when their involvement with medical establishments in order to sell formula feeding in the third world was revealed.

Bottle feeding is still the number one choice for many new mothers. This can have different personal or even medical reasons, although modern living standards are mainly to blame for the change in maternal attitude over the past century.

For more information about breast- and bottle feeding visit www.babysbest.co.uk

This is a list of essentials for a new baby. Depending on your individual circumstances, you might find that you need more or less of certain items.

arrivalchecklist.jpg

Clothing

6 bodies (short or long sleeved, depending on the season)

4 T-Shirts (short or long sleeved, depending on the season)

2 hats (lightweight cotton for summer; warm material for winter)

3 complete outfits

4 pairs of socks

2 matinee coats

outdoor clothing (hooded jacket for summer; warm padded snowsuit for winter – try to find one which opens up wide as its much easier to get baby in and out)

2 stretchy blankets for swaddling (also useful when feeding)

For the Nursery

Suitable cot/crib with approved safety mattress

3 sheets

2 blankets

Sleeping bag (for winter use)

2 hooded towels

Wash cloths/baby sponge

Baby bath

Digital thermometer

Soft hair brush

Nappy cream

Nappy bucket

Nappy sterilizer

Nappies for newborns (a supply of disposable nappies is helpful during the first days at home even if you are going to use traditional nappies)

Changing mat

Baby listening monitor

Lambskin inlay for cold days

Breast Feeding

Breast pads (either disposable or reusable)

Curved feeding pillow

2 bottles

Bottle brush

Bottle Feeding

Curved feeding pillow

6 bottles

Bottle brush

Sterilizer

Mobility

Car seat (always go to a reputable store that will advise you on the best seat for your car and show you how to fit it properly)

Buggy with rain cover, shopping tray, foot cover, parasol

It’s a good idea to try a buggy first to make sure you like it and your baby is happy in it – so borrow one for a week or two if you can – it can save you from making an expensive mistake.

Baby sling – again, see if you can borrow one first, to make sure you like it.

What Else?

You will also need a good supply of food. The last thing on you mind will be shopping. Dads will not want to be bothered as he will want to spend time with his family. Certainly, you need a supply of fresh milk, bread, fruit and vegetables. Why don’t you try out one of the organic home box schemes? Try http://www.alotoforganics.co.uk/cats/organic-vegetables.php (Please copy this link into your browser) for an overview. They can deliver to your door vegetables, fruit, milk and other fresh produce. If you have a freezer, stock up with yummy home made meals before baby arrives. This will save you time and effort.

For more information about best to prepare for the new arrival visit http://www.babysbest.co.uk/Articles/

Breastfeeding Basics

February 18, 2008

Mother’s milk is best for baby! The composition is perfect for baby’s developmental needs. It is also the most convenient “fast food” we can think of: always at hand without having to warm it up or sterilize unnecessary feeding equipment and it is also the cheapest kind of food. No wonder the World Health Organisation promotes breastfeeding with the slogan “Breast is Best”. It is recommended to breastfeed for a minimum of 6 months to give baby the best start in life. This will greatly reduce the risk of SIDS, help reduce the risk of allergies in later life, support baby’s physical maturation and it will help develop a strong immune system.

basics.jpg

How to get started

Whether you decide to give birth in hospital or at home, your midwife is trained to help you get started with confidence. Right after baby’s arrival he is put to the breast. This is important because baby’s sucking reflex is strongest in the first hour after delivery. Baby starts to suck on the nipple automatically because this is an inborn reflex. When looking at earlier ultrasound scans you may even be able to see your baby sucking his thumb. This shows you how early this reflex naturally develops! As soon as baby starts to suck at the breast, the hormone oxytocin is released which is responsible for the milk flow.

During the first days after baby’s birth, mother’s milk is yellowish and has a unique composition: it is very high in protein, vitamins, minerals and has less fat. So-called colostrum is particularly good for baby’s underdeveloped gestational system. Colostrum is also very high in antibodies which help keep baby’s immune system prepared to cope with the outside world.

After a few days, mother’s milk changes to eventually increase the caloric intake of the baby with a higher proportion of carbohydrates and fat. This change in composition is essential for baby’s growth.

For more valuable breastfeeding tips visit http://www.babysbest.co.uk/Articles/The-Miracle-of-Breastfeeding/

Common Sense in Breastfeeding

February 15, 2008

For many, breastfeeding is a very controversial topic. Future parents often don’t give it any thought until they discover that they are expecting. Suddenly their whole world changes and they have to make their minds up about parenting styles, personal expectations and what they “feel” is right for their offspring. The choice of breastfeeding is one decision to take that does not come easily. Parent’s choice is generally guided by their expectations of themselves and by what they think others may expect from them. Depending on the level of personal support around them the decision to breastfeed may come easily or instead may be accompanied by lots of research and information gathering. In other words, infant-feeding is essentially shaped by culture and the way society has evolved to understand and accept it.

common_sense.jpg

In the late nineteenth century when it was common practice for women to work long hours in industrial factories, artificial formula found its way into the shops. Around WWI bottle feeding started to become fashionable as it was widely promoted by scientists and doctors. In addition, large companies sold it as a safe, nutritious and supposedly easy way to feed infants. In the 1940s only 20 to 30% of babies were actually breastfed. This practice was questioned in the eighties when a boycott against Nestlé was initiated. Today breastfeeding is actively encouraged by medical professional and organisations such as UNICEF, LaLècheLeague, The Breastfeeding Network and others.

This brief historical overview shows how Western societies have grown from what was absolutely normal and, in fact, vital to human survival to a complete change in human behaviour in order to favour scientific achievements. Infant bottle feeding evolved into fashionable practice which proved deadly for thousands of newborns. Those scientific trials counted for and still do count for thousands of infant deaths annually worldwide. Unfortunately, the question of what is best for baby has long been put aside to give space to what is more profitable.

However, all information about the historical and cultural background of infant feeding disregards the importance of how the individual new mother feels in today’s world when it comes to finding the best way for her newborn. Here, support is a key factor to happy parenting. As many families live apart from their parents and close friends, support is often not present. In fact, a study has shown that 53% say they don’t see their family enough and 58% would like more friends to share problems and experiences. With not only a little baby but also great personal expectations, new parents face an extreme challenge.

Parenting is a life long task and thus, gives enough time for every parent to find their right parenting strategies, for themselves. Babies are very strong and adaptive to what their parents understand to be best for them.

Most importantly, new parents have to trust their instincts and common sense when responding to baby’s needs. It can be difficult to navigate everyday life with all the energy and care that parenting demands. The choice of breastfeeding or bottle feeding is one of them: we all know breastfeeding is best for baby; however, in our isolating society it can be difficult to overcome first hurdles, especially when going it alone. New mothers should not be made to feel guilty if they cannot breastfeed or if they doubt their own ability. Equally, new mothers should not be made to feel guilty if they decide from the start to bottle feed. Instead, they should be able to speak to breastfeeding counsellors or other mums who have been in the same situation to get the advice and support they desperately need.

For more common sense tips visit http://www.babysbest.co.uk/Articles/Family-Forum/

arrivalchecklist.jpgarrivalchecklist.jpg

Nowadays, we wouldn’t even leave the house without it: the changing bag! Some parents cannot imagine leaving the house with a big bag full of necessities. This basic phenomenon can be particularly daunting for new parents as they feel insecure and don’t know yet what to expect from day to day life with their new offspring. They feel pressured to take everything they can in order to anticipate every possible scenario.

Let us investigate what can be found in a changing bag:

For each baby/toddler:

2-3 nappies (dependent on how long you go out for)
nappy wipes
nappy bags
a changing mat
nappy rash cream
tissues
1-2 bottles of water
the equivalence of milk powder in a dispenser for 1-2 bottles
a jar
some fruit (fresh & dried)
some snacks like rice cake or cookies
a spoon
a bib
muslins
breast pads (if breastfeeding)
a spare bra and top for mum (if breastfeeding)
a blanket
some toys
2 dummies
a book
spare clothes in case of accident
a portable potty
anti-bacterial handwash/wipes
a mini first aid kit
a
ppropriate outdoor clothing (coat, hat, gloves in winter, sunhat and sun cream in summer)

This list depends on whether you breastfeed, the age of your child and his developmental stage.

By the time we get home there seems to be even more in our bag: everything needs to be sorted and a new bag packed for the next day.

It is a steep learning curve to start cutting down on things we take out. Eventually, the frustration of having to run around the house in order to find all the things to pack, the weight of the bag and the chances of missing your appointment are increased by 150%! This makes parents start to think about the changing bag again. Do we need all this? Can we survive going out for an hour without anything but a drink? The answer is: yes, of course! We have to learn it though. Over time we get to know our little ones better and understand their needs so that we can adjust accordingly. Planning our trips around our baby’s routine can help reduce the size of the bag significantly.

As the saying goes: “Little people, little problems – big people, big problems”. New parents tend to make little peoples’ problems too big!

Keep it simple at www.babysbest.co.uk