Category Archives: Breastfeeding

Silent Reflux & Tongue Tie – The Real Reason for Unhappy Babies?

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Why are the simplest solutions often kept hidden from us when we become mothers? With my firstborn (my son, Jackson) I did as I was told and have many regrets these days that I didn’t trust my instincts over the advice of health professionals, friends and family. In those days I had no one to tell me otherwise.

With Lola, things changed, although the journey was very tough. When she was two weeks old the babymoon ended abruptly and she became an unhappy baby. Unhappy, that is, when she wasn’t with me. Her latch became poor, she fed very very frequently, and she hated being laid down- I was either carrying her, or bouncing her to sleep in a bouncy chair- she couldn’t sleep in a basket etc. By 10 weeks old she was finally diagnosed as having Gastro Oesophageal Reflux (the “silent” type- not so-called because of a silent newborn, far from it. The silence refers to the fact that baby doesn’t actually vomit) and a posterior tongue-tie, and the medical advice I received (and took) was to give her infant Gaviscon for the reflux, and a tongue-tie release.

One dose of Gaviscon later, my poor baby was completely constipated and in distress. That was stopped immediately. I carried her about and rocked or fed her to sleep or just to calm her- all the stuff we’re not “meant” to do.

The tongue-tie release was done professionally and compassionately at a private hospital with a peaceful paediatric wing, on the NHS! Lolly fed immediately after, but I couldn’t say I noticed a difference in her latch. In fact, I think it “regrew” if anything- at nearly two (and still feeding) she still has it to a degree, even though the TTR was “successful”. I went to La Leche League, local breastfeeding counsellors and actually got great help from a couple of my peer supporter-trained Hypnobirthing clients, and so we continued- we plodded on, from one day to the next. I wasn’t going to quit whatever happened, but I wanted to try and make the whole thing easier on us both.

Lola was not that “good” baby people like to coo over and pat you on the back for. People called her “clingy” and “hard work”, unlike my “good” baby, Jackson- it made me very protective of her. She made my Hypnobirthing work a real trial, even though I worked from home! I had gone back to work a week after she was born, feeling fine in myself, but obviously knowing nothing about how to bed-in and set up good breastfeeding habits! At 11 weeks old we tried osteopathy- and for the first time, someone else calmed her. Sue, a wonderful osteo who I now refer all of my clients to, laid her hands gently and respectfully on Lola and did some gentle manipulation on her skull and diaphragm. It was truly miraculous, Sue explaining what she was doing (very refreshing after having various health professionals just manhandle my precious baby without a word of explanation) and Lola relaxing and sleeping on the treatment table- lying down! After one more treatment the reflux was vastly improved- Lola never liked traditional tummy time (BabyCalm have a solution for these babies!) but she could at least have her nappy changed without getting distressed!

And then, after finally cracking (my mother in law often commented on how patient she thought I was with Lola) and bursting into tears while on the phone to one of my previous Hypnobirthing clients who is also a peer supporter and a lovely friend, she suggested I brought Lola over to her house as she had an idea.

I’d heard about slings, but had no real idea what they would be used for other than maybe taking your baby hiking?! Chris had always wanted a carrier, so he’d bought a BabyBjorn when Jackson was a baby. I’d stopped him using it because I always thought it looked entirely wrong for a baby to be supported by his crotch! So I went to my friend’s house and she showed me her collection (a library in fact!) of wraps and soft carriers. I was worried I wouldn’t know how to put one on so she reassured me that a Close Carrier would be a good thing to try “babywearing” out with and wouldn’t get me in a muddle. So, feeling silly, I let her show me how to get myself into this odd, jersey cotton contraption with metal D-rings either side of my hips, and she showed me how to lower Lolly in (who was characteristically malhumoured by now) and tighten it. “That tight?”, “Yes, and close enough to kiss”…

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The Close Caboo Carrier

Just as she did in the osteopathic clinic, Lola was calmed, instantly. I moved around a little, she nestled in, feeling closer to me than ever before (hence the product name I guess) and actually, she seemed happier than when actually being held. It’s like she should have been supplied with a sling at birth! It was honestly the missing ingredient! Since then we really turned a corner. I knew a marvellous way of helping her sleep, helping her stay calm so she fed more efficiently and therefore less frequently, keeping her safe and being able to get time to brush my teeth without listening to a screaming fit, not to mention being so much more mobile- I like to travel light, never been a handbag girl, so being able to go shopping without a pram (getting all of that “isn’t she a good baby!”, “oh how cute is she!” that she’d previously missed out on!) simply changed our lives. We used a couple of other types and still have a Connecta for the odd times I want to back carry her, and for all the carrying and feeling safe, secure and close to her mother, Lola is a very happy, sociable little girl- very much braver than her big brother too!

I passed this amazing knowledge on to my wonderful Hypnobirthing parents who come from all different walks of life, and like me, some of them never would have known about how the right sling can transform your everyday life. In time I read more, learned more, passed more knowledge on, to the point where I needed to make it official. Having spoken to Sarah a couple of times for professional advice before, the subject of BabyCalm came up, and Sarah suggested I train up as a teacher and help her and the other brilliant BabyCalm teachers rev up the Maternal Revolution. So I did! And amongst all of the amazing things that BabyCalm is, and does, I look at what we do and think, “if only it was around for my little Jackson and Lola, we could have had access to easier and simpler solutions to the problems we faced in those early days of their babyhood”.

By Melissa Wadey – Mother and BabyCalm & ToddlerCalm Teacher in Kent

Find out more about Melissa and her baby and toddler classes HERE.

Why You Should Celebrate International Babywearing Week – Guest Post by Babywearing UK

Many thanks to Victoria Ward from Babywearing UK for this guest blog post:

 

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Celebrate International Babywearing Week Oct 8-14th, 2012

Every year, families around the world get together to celebrate ‘International Babywearing Week‘. What is it, you might ask? And why the need to celebrate what is actually something simple: carrying your child? Is there anything novel about that?

For thousands of years, women carried their babies everywhere: in the house, at work, outside… It was the best – and possibly the only way – to keep them safe and warm. Then it became usual to place babies in various contraptions away from their mothers – from buggies to car seats, rocking chairs, cots, even walkers. As usual with these things, you might have noticed that the tide is turning. More and more parents (re)-discover that it is practical and convenient to carry their baby. And it is actually a good thing.

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Above image Copyright Calin Bleu

Parents can be at a loss to understand their newborn. Why is he fussing? Is he hungry, tired, does he need a clean nappy? Carrying your baby close helps you understand his signs much quicker, establishing the early foundations of communication and satisfying his needs before he gets to the full-on cries. A much nicer experience for the whole family.

The extra cuddles and closeness give the baby just the reassurance he needs to transition from the womb to the outside world. It can be bright and noisy out there but snuggled up against mummy or daddy’s chest, it’s alright. The closeness allows baby to sense his parents’ reactions much better and gradually makes sense of his experiences.

If you have to be separated from your baby for work or other reasons, carrying him closely in a baby sling while you are with him – perhaps on the way to nursery – is a good way to catch up on closeness. It is also true for working fathers who might not be able to see their little one as much as they want during the week. A baby sling is not just for parents: try lending a baby carrier to your childminder and show her how you use it. She will be able to comfort your baby throughout the day even if she has other children to care for.

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Above image copyright Moby Wrap

‘Babywearing’ is not just for newborns and babies. There are numerous child carriers who have been designed to fit toddlers. They allow you to carry your child right up to about 20kg (45lb). You can help him catch a nap on your back in the middle of a busy day, or encourage him to walk independently knowing that if he gets too tired, you can pop him on your back. A baby sling is a good way to keep young children safe in busy surroundings – at the market or when you’re travelling on public transport for example. Perched on your back, they have a good view of their surroundings (probably less scary that if they were much lower on the ground, surrounded by what must surely seem like giants!).

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Above Image: Copyright. Connecta Baby Carrier.

So why celebrate International Babywearing Week? Because parents all around the world are choosing to parent their children a different way, a way that suits the whole family. Because carrying their baby or their toddler in a comfortable baby carrier allows parents to live the life they want to live with their child.

To find a babywearing event near you visit: www.babywearing.co.uk

 

A Guest blog by Victoria Ward from Babywearing UK.

Should bedsharing/ co-sleeping only be for breastfed babies?

I think it’s time to look at this issue a little more, of all the things I write about unbelievably the most contentious is my suggestion that only mothers who are breastfeeding should share a bed with their baby. In fact I have received a fair deal of angry backlash in response to this, mostly by mothers who think I am being “anti formula feeding” and spreading incorrect information, so I think the time has come for this idea to have it’s own blog post.

So – why do I believe that mothers should only share a bed with their baby if they are breastfeeding? Particularly when most of the safe co-sleeping/bedsharing guidelines omit this point.

Let me start by saying I believe this is an area that is in desperate need of further research, I am still saddened that bedsharing research misses the most important points, it is VITAL that well constructed research is undertaken accounting for all of these variables, but most importantly accounting for feeding method.

Before I go further I would like to quickly point out the following:

Bedsharing – sharing a bed with your infant

Co-Sleeping – sharing a room with your infant

I have used the term co-sleeping in the title of this post purely for SEO purposes.

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The following are reasons you may want to think again if you you formula feed and share a bed with your baby:

1) Formula fed babies are at greater risk of SIDS than breastfed babies (wherever they sleep). See here for more. It makes sense to me then to be warier of introducing anything that may further compound this risk, with this in mind alone it is vital that if sharing a bed with a formula fed baby every single safety recommendation for bedsharing is followed exactly.

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2) Formula fed babies are in general less arousable than breastfed babies during certain phases of sleep, this means that babies who are formula fed tend to awaken less readily than those who are breastfed if there is a threat to their life during certain sleep phases (this may be in part a reason for point 1 above). In particular this difference is seen the most during active sleep states at 2-3mths, which is the peak SIDS risk period.

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3) Mothers who breastfeed experience different sleep to those who formula feed and awaken more regularly than formula feeding mothers during the night. Breastfeeding mothers seem to be more in tune with their baby during the night and as such may be more arousable than mothers who formula feed and may be more likely to awaken if there baby stops breathing/falls etc.

I guess the problem comes when we feed our babies via another method than nature intended – nature understandably does not then provide the same protection and it is important we respect that.

To quote from University of Notre-Dame’s Sleep Lab’s website:

“all else being safe, bed-sharing among nonsmoking mothers who sleep on firm mattresses specifically for purposes of breast feeding, may be the most ideal form of bed-sharing where both mother and baby can benefit by, among other things, the baby getting more of mother’s precious milk and both mothers and babies getting more sleep – two findings which emerged from our own studies.”

Here’s a great video interview with Dr. James McKenna where he speaks more about breastfeeding mothers bedsharing and SIDS:

4) Mothers who breastfeed are far more likely to adopt a cradling/side laying position with their baby (the advised position to adopt when sharing a bed with your baby) and are more responsive to their baby’s movements in the night – this is currently being researched by two centres – Durham University sleep lab in the UK and James McKenna’s sleep laboratory in the University of Notre Dame.

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For all of the reasons above I personally only feel confident in advocating bedsharing if the mother is breastfeeding, however unpopular my opinion may be, it has nothing to do with my opinions on breastfeeding V formula feeding (for the record I don’t have one – I have 4 kids, one was breastfed for 4mths, then moved onto formula, one was breastfed for 8wks, then moved onto formula, one was breastfed until 6mths and the last I breastfed for 4yrs!) and everything to do with keeping babies safe.

by:

Sarah (Founder of BabyCalm)

You can read more of Sarah’s articles HERE.

 

References.

  1. Horne RSParslow PMHarding R. Respiratory control and arousal in sleeping infants. Paediatr Respir Rev. 2004 Sep;5(3):190-8.
  2. McKenna JJ, McDade T. Why babies should never sleep alone: a review of the co-sleeping controversy in relation to SIDS, bedsharing and breast feeding. Paediatr Respir Rev. 2005 Jun;6(2):134-52.
  3. http://www.nd.edu/~jmckenn1/lab/articles/USBC-SIDS-PR-10-17-2005.pdf
  4. Parslow PMFerens DWatts AMAdamson TM. Comparison of evoked arousability in breast and formula fed infants. Arch Dis Child. 2004 Jan;89(1):22-5.
  5. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/100/2/214.abstract
  6. http://jhl.sagepub.com/content/16/1/13.short
  7. Kahn AGroswasser JFranco PScaillet SSawaguchi TKelmanson IDan B. Sudden infant deaths: stress, arousal and SIDS. Early Hum Dev. 2003 Dec;75 Suppl:S147-66.
  8. http://www.ibreastfeeding.com/content/newsletter/nighttime-breastfeeding-and-maternal-mental-health
  9. http://www.nd.edu/~jmckenn1/lab/articles/Canada%20safe%20Sleep.pdf