While making your decision to breastfeed is a personal matter it is without doubt one of the most important decisions you will ever make. Many have strong views on the topic, but the research keeps demonstrating that it is the best start for both you and your baby. Midwives recommend it … What is all the fuss about?…A day doesn’t go by without some article appearing in the Social Media causing some concern about breastfeeding. While it is something that both you and baby have to learn how to do….….It is a natural process. Why are we complicating it? Let’s explore it further…
What Are the Benefits of Breastfeeding for Your Baby?
Breastmilk provides the best start for your baby. It is the perfect nutrition. It has the perfect mix of vitamins, protein, and fat and is easily digested .Breast milk contains antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria and it lowers your baby’s risk of having asthma, diabetes, respiratory illnesses, and as a result you will have fewer trips to the GP. Childhood obesity is becoming a serious issue in this country and the research has proven that breastfed infants are more likely to gain the right amount of weight as they grow rather than becoming overweight children.
Are There Breastfeeding Benefits for the Mother?
Breastfeeding burns extra calories… at least 500! It releases the hormone oxytocin which helps reduces your risk of bleeding. Breastfeeding also lowers your risk of breast and ovarian cancer and it lowers your risk of osteoporosis too. It saves money and you are helping the carbon footprint. It also helps enhance your bond with your baby!
- Early days are learning days. Give yourself time. Babies quickly learn where their food comes from. Practice makes perfect. Your technique will improve every day.
- Don’t feel confined. You can feed anywhere in a discreet fashion.
- Social support is very important. Join a Breastfeeding Support Group while you are pregnant.
Mother to mother support is invaluable when learning this new skill. You can live in a city and feel lonely. You will make new friends too. All breastfeeding support numbers are available on www.breastfeeding.ie or in your hospital information pack
- A Lactation Consultant is available in the Maternity Unit and she has a Drop In Clinic every Tuesday from 12md to 14.00hrs.
- Breastfeeding even for a short time will help protect your baby’s health. Every breastfeed makes a difference.
- If babies arrive earlier than expected, the best way to help them to adapt to the outside world is to give them breastmilk. The term used for this Breast milk is “LIQUID GOLD” because it is invaluable. It have extra antibodies that helps your baby fight infection!
Breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed your baby. You may meet some challenges but it will be worth it. Preparation is key. There are many groups in your Community who will help and support you in your decision to breastfeed your baby. Give them a call….La Leche League, Cuidiu, Public Health Nurse Groups. Have confidence in your own ability.
- Give It A Go!
You rarely regret what you do
You always regret what you don’t do
Dear Mother to be:
“Feel the fear and do it anyway” – Susan Jeffers
While the journey of pregnancy is an exciting one the thought of the impending labour often brings feelings of fear and dread. Labour like life is a process where there may be some bumps along the way but how we respond is key. Many situations can place us in a state of fear but as a Mother and a Midwife educator I find that while pregnant women may state that they are “afraid of Labour” with a little probing the root cause of the fear is the fear of losing control and not being able to handle it. Childbirth is a normal event. This process has taken place for centuries and it is a remarkable event that will transform your life forever but if you are feeling fearful….This is normal!
It is the fear of the unknown. This is your first experience and while some childbirth programmes on our televisions are helpful some instil fear rather than confidence. You have read and googled everything .Take a moment and Relax. Have confidence in your ability to handle whatever the Labour process brings. With support and encouragement you will take part in an incredible journey of discovery-not just about the labour but you as a person! It is all about having confidence in your ability to deal with whatever your labour brings. Preparation is key and with some simple steps you will handle it! … Your midwife will be with you every step of the way.
The Labour Preparation guide:
1. Rest: It is important to be well rested taking on the challenge of labour. Once you pass 30 weeks you begin to feel very tired. Your baby is taking 7 times more iron from your body once you enter the third trimester.It is not a good idea to work too late into the pregnancy.
2. Attend your Antenatal Classes: You will pick up lots of information and tips for preparation for labour and Parenthood. All pain relief therapies are explored and practiced .Breathing Exercises, Birth positions ,Birthing balls, and back massage skills are all demonstrated. A tour of the Labour Ward is also included and many women are delighted when they see the large spacious rooms and meet some of the midwifery team. You will also get to view the birthing pool. Water is an excellent form of pain relief.The tens machine and all pharmaceutical methods of pain relief are explored. When attending the Antenatal Classes you will make friends and develop a wonderful support network. You can live in a city and feel lonely!
3. PMA-Positive Mental Attitude: This helps in all life’s journeys .Your thoughts frame your behaviour and in labour the more positive they are the better .Positive affirmations and accepting that each pain/contraction/surge whatever you wish to call it is bringing you nearer the birth has been proven to be helpful . It will also increase your confidence in your body’s ability to cope with this natural process.
4. The Partner: The role of the partner is very important during the labour process.Your Birthing Partner is your advocate in labour. You will be invited to bring a partner with you to the labour ward.
5. Trust: You need to trust the midwives and the Medical team that are taking care of you.Midwife means “with woman” and you will develop a special relationship with your midwife.The team work under a very strict code of practice and all care is based on the best evidence available. You need to trust in your own ability to give birth. It is one day that will come and go and look at what you will have at the end of it….A Baby.It is also important to keep an open mind as baby dictates the pace in labour.Things can change from minute to minute.If decisions need to be made it is a two way process and once you feel informed and in control you will have an excellent recovery both physically and mentally. There is no standard to be achieved in labour and all anyone is expected to do is their best. Good Luck and I know you can do it!
The role of the partner
The role of the partner is very important during the labour process. Your Birthing Partner is your advocate in labour. You will be invited to bring a partner with you to the labour ward. This partner may be your husband, partner, mother, sister, or friend. It is your choice. Sometimes women choose to have their babies alone with the Midwife present. As long as you are comfortable that is all that matters .A relaxed mother often means a relaxed baby! Society puts a lot of pressure on mothers and partners and they feel under pressure to conform to current trends. There is no pressure to conform in the labour ward. There is no standard to be achieved! The midwives are very kind and supportive.
When you arrive in labour it can be both daunting and overwhelming.
Tips for your partner:
Be positive at all times. While you may have read all the books and googled everything when your partner is in labour it is quite different! Labour is hard work and you may see some slight personality changes. This is normal!
- Some partners describe feeling a little “in the way” in the labour ward. You will feel a little out of your comfort zone initially but just relax and everything settles as the labour progresses. The midwives are very reassuring.
- It is the simple things that count .Carry the bags as she moves from one Department to another.
- Have snacks throughout the day. Keep your sugars up as it may be a long day.
- During the early stages of labour the neck of the womb(cervix) will need to thin out (effacement)and open(dilate).The neck of the womb has to open to 10cms before the baby is born. Walk with your partner as she works through each contraction. Practice the breathing techniques you have learned in your antenatal classes. Ensure that nobody disturbs your partner as she breathes through a contraction. You may have to count her through the initial contractions. Remember each contraction is bringing you closer to the birth!
- When in labour a woman goes into her own world. Sometimes she will want you to touch her i.e -back massage and sometimes she won’t feel comfortable with you touching her at all! Be ready. This is normal too.
- A cold facecloth on her forehead is magic!
There are no do’s and dont’s for labour. The fact that you are present is what counts . Everyone tries their best. It will be worth it!
Hanging on by your fingertips? A new Mums Guide
Nothing can prepare you for motherhood. Is this true? While your new baby is a gift the lack of sleep is quite challenging and as a result you may feel both overwhelmed and exhausted! There is so much to learn. It is normal at times to feel that you are hanging on by your fingertips.
Prepare for the rollercoaster ride of emotions. Many mothers ask the question “will any part of me return to normal”? The sheer excitement when you finally get back into your normal jeans. Why are we putting ourselves under so much pressure to fit into size 10 so quickly?! As a mother and a midwife Educator I have experienced this both personally and professionally. Forget the front page of the glossy magazines…The reality is different. Be kind to yourself, and give your body time to recover both physically and mentally.
You don’t have to be superwoman. That is for the Movies!
I have devised a New Parents Daily survival plan.
- Sleep when your baby sleeps- Rest is important in the initial weeks
- Accept any offer of help. You can return the kindness again!
- Have a strategy for managing your visitors. (Mother and baby sleeping signs may help!)
- Go for a short walk every day.
- Eat well-Don’t skip mealtimes.
- Try and learn one new thing every day.
- Keep Positive and take one day at a time.
- Be Kind to yourself.
- No housework for six weeks.
- Have a good sense of humour. Everyone made mistakes.
- The most important people in your life during this transition is your GP, your Pharmacist, your community midwife, your public health nurse, your partner and your baby.
- Don’t be afraid to cry…You are human.
- The books are a guide only. Some chapters haven’t been invented yet.
- This is going to be your best journey ever- ENJOY!