Breastfeeding Norfolk Blog

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The challenge of the bottle

Nikki Adlam

Mothers who breastfeed give themselves wholly to their babies; physically, mentally, hormonally as they give complete nurture in food and security day after day, and night after night. I will never stop being in awe of mums who do all this, plus have difficulties that have lasted for many weeks, maybe even since their babies’ births. These mums are simply amazing, and some would even think they defy all logic, wondering why on earth they continue to breastfeed when there is an alternative.  A lady I supported a few years back had been in such a position; painful feeds, worries about milk supply and baby’s weight, crying baby, sad mum, anxious dad, bouncy toddler. Everything chaotic. Everyone being so kind to her and the formula solution was uppermost in that extended kindness. I asked how she felt about offering formula and she responded that something strong inside her said she was the breastfeeding mum, not the bottle feeding mum.  I’ve only related that to illustrate that the decision to bottle feed as a top-up, or to replace one feed, or to switch entirely to bottle feeding is one that can be so painful emotionally for some mums, even when things are very tough with breastfeeding. Getting support as early as possible is so important. Identifying why the difficulty has arisen, and then overcoming that difficulty is so much simpler the earlier support arrives. We know that breastfeeding is normal, and the thing that classifies us as mammals is that we feed our young. Breastfeeding can be so hard in our culture for some. If you know anyone who would like some support, West Pottergate Breastfeeding Support Centre drop-in sessions are held on Thursdays 10.00-12.00. Private consultations are also available. 

Breastfeeding and Single

Nikki Adlam

Hi all – Jan here. Supportive partners are wonderful to have but what about single breastfeeding mums? Where can that approval and support come from? This may seem really hard to figure out, especially when grandmothers didn’t have the personal breastfeeding experience, or it was a negative one. There are some families where nobody can remember any baby born to them being breastfed, or breastfed happily.  

Well, here it goes; the ante-natal period can be a good time to seek out support when any mum knows that she wants to breastfeed. Single mums are no exception. Making friends may sound a bit “playgroundy”, but there’s nothing needy about seeking out like-minded pregnant mums. There are many women who met during this time who remain good friends for many years to follow. Support to breastfeed comes in all kinds of packages. Sometimes that support is not “instructional” and needn’t be, once the so called technique has been practiced and “learned”. The other kind of support – a kind of “wallpaper” is having that consistent loop of emotionally uplifting reassurance that breastfeeding mums are doing wonderful stuff. Magnified, when single. Breastfeeding mums gain so much from friendships with other breastfeeding mums, whatever their status and backgrounds. Maybe it’s their lovely oxytocin that does it; that caring, sharing, and acceptance of each other. They can empathise with the rough times, and when those little steps towards progress, then turning into mammoth ones are made.

It may seem like too much of an effort to strike out and be determined to go to places where other mums might congregate. This is where the online breastfeeding community is so good. Sometimes the breastfeeding information can be a bit dodgy (!), but it’s great for finding out where to go to get more information and support if things are becoming difficult, or where to go to socialise. Of course Children’s Centre are everywhere and these can provide all kinds of activities, and well worth checking out.   

I’m being very careful here. In some cases, a baby may have mum and partner living together, granny around the corner and big sis with children up the road – but Little House on the Prairie it ain’t! There can be all kinds of disharmony about the mum and baby breastfeeding from significant others, and this can be so hurtful. Again; thank goodness for other breastfeeding mums. It’s worth remembering that from the second half of the 20th Century, we’ve been awash with formula milk and bottle feeding. It has become the norm. So much so that the UK has the lowest breastfeeding rates in Europe and the world. The pendulum has swung to great professional promotion and health advice to breastfeed, yet the practical support and information to achieve it hasn’t quite caught up.

West Pottergate Breastfeeding Support Centre meets every Thursday morning 10.00-12.00. You will be helped with practical information and support for breastfeeding, along with other mums who are breastfeeding. Private Lactation Consultant appointments with me and Nikki are also available:

Mums unite – Please know that you are fantastic. We do!

A little About Breastmilk and the Mother's Diet

Nikki Adlam

Breastfeeding mums don't need any special foods to make the perfect milk for their babies. Eating fattier foods does not create more fatty milk, and drinking more water does not make breastmilk more watery. This is just a small sample of the things that some mums have to deal with that are told to them by others and then fed back to me. I'm sorry if that sounded a bit ranty! 
As far as extra calories go its reckoned that on the basis of most women producing at most 750mls per day for one baby that approx 500 extra calories daily are needed. Fat is laid down over pregnancy too so some of these calories come from this "depo" fat. Really though; the best thing is for each mum to drink to thirst and eat as needed as the food and liquid intake will certainly rise. Those fat deposits (or depo fat) being gobbled up through breastfeeding is an amazing process. It's the reason why breastfeeding mums generally return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster than mums who don't breastfeed. This process really kicks in and tends to show itself physically in mums from about 4 months post-natally. 
Some mums suspect that their babies may have a cows' milk or soy protein allergy caused by her own diet, and transferred via her milk. Their babies may be very unsettled with lots of wind and frothy green poos consistently, as well as being sick after feeds. For those mums I would suggest that the first thing to do would be to get her positioning and her baby's attachment at her breast checked, rather than the first response being to rush to withdraw dairy and soy from her diet. 
I will add here a few words about lactose intolerance in breastfed babies. This is rare. Babies are born with lactase which is the enzyme that breaks down the key component in breastmilk, lactose for digestion. If a baby doesn't have enough or any of this he or she will be very poorly indeed with very little or any weight gain from birth. Breastfeeding Network has a really nicely put together and referenced document. To download this go to:…/lactose%20intolerance.…
Come and see us at the Thursday 10.00-12.00 group session at West Pottergate Breastfeeding Support Centre, Off Earlham Rd, Norwich, NR2 4BX. Private consultations are also available. Just get in touch.
Breastfeeding mothers are doing the most incredible things with their own bodies for their babies. Just think about that for a second or two :) 
With all good wishes