Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Breastfeeding Flashmob London

A huge thanks to the 170 mothers that decended to feed thier babies at Paddington Station.

Bizarly enough I was slowed down with travel issues and arrived 20 minutes late! The nurse-in was all over but I was there just in time to say hello and goodbye to quite a few of the flashmobbers! Gutted is an understatement but I was still very proud to be part of such a special event.

Here is the link to the offical Breastfeeding Flashmob film.



Monday, 13 June 2011

Flash mob Impending!

I have neglected my blog recently, mainly due to the impending breastfeeding flashmob I have been busy organising!

If you are interested in taking part then please join the facebook group:

BREASTFEEDING FLASHMOB to challenge low breastfeeding rates.

Melinda Messenger champions first ever celebration of ‘boobies for babies’

Time: 2pm Friday 24th June, central London.

An expected 100-200 breastfeeding mothers will all nurse their infants together in a flashmob, championed by ex-Page 3 favourite Melinda Messenger and organised by two mothers from Henley-on-Thames.

The mothers want to celebrate National Breastfeeding Awareness Week call for a more breastfeeding friendly UK and aim to improve on the shockingly low breastfeeding rates. Many women feel inhibited about breastfeeding in public despite the equality act passed in 2010 that protects women, allowing them to breastfeed their baby anywhere regardless of the baby’s age. The sight of a nursing woman is rare in the UK.

A recent survey of 1,200 women carried out by the National Childbirth Trust showed 65 per cent intended to not breastfeed for fear of being stared at.

Mother of 3, and winner of 2003 celebrity mum of the year award Melinda Messenger says: “The law says mums have the right to breastfeed anywhere but they can be put off by uncomfortable looks and embarrassed stares so we need to challenge British reserve and celebrate the act of breastfeeding in public.”

Overall, only 35 per cent of UK babies are exclusively breastfed at one week, 21 per cent at six weeks, 7 per cent at four months and only 3 per cent at five months of age (source: Office for National Statistics). This is despite the World Health Organisation recommending exclusive breastfeeding until six months of age. This shows there is something seriously wrong with the breastfeeding culture in the UK.

The flashmob is an independent group of mothers that are passionate enough about breastfeeding to try to improve on these scary statistics. By creating this large collection of nursing mums they hope to achieve the following:

• Encourage mothers to feel confident when they breastfeed in public.
• Help those who do not feel comfortable around nursing mothers to feel more at ease.
• Call for a more open- and healthy-minded attitude to breastfeeding for future generations.
• Remind people of the breast’s primary purpose, a natural part of our existence.
• Get breasts in the media for the right reason.

The originator and main organiser of the flashmob, Rose Tolhurst, says ‘”I was amazed at how the Facebook flashmob group grew so quickly. There are so many passionate breastfeeders out there who all want to do their bit to tackle society’s prudish attitudes towards breasts. If we can encourage even a handful of women to feed confidently in public then it will have been worth it. This is not a breast versus bottle issue, it’s bigger than that, it is breast versus society!”
Co-organiser of the flashmob, Anna Higgs, adds “It’s time for us breastfeeding mothers to take a stand. Boobs are for babies too, and we want to remind the general public that breastfeeding in public is natural and not an antisocial act. This is particularly important since according to a recent BBC documentary ‘Is Breast Best?’ the UK has the second lowest breastfeeding rates out of 36 European countries.”

Rose and Anna recruited the breastfeeding mothers through Facebook and by posting a ‘call to arms’ on various parenting and pro-breastfeeding websites. A straw poll of the flashmobbers reveal that 63% have received uncomfortable looks or comments from strangers while feeding in public.

Some of the mums in the flashmob have been made to feel acutely embarrassed by ill-judged comments from staff in hospitals, famous high street stores and coffee shops. For example, Kelly Parsons was having a cup of tea and feeding her baby in Starbucks. Even with her discreet nursing apron on a member of staff took offence and asked her to do it somewhere else next time!

Media enquires to:
Rose Tolhurst – Flashmob Main Organiser rose_tolhurst(at)yahoo(dot)com
Anna Higgs – Flashmob Co-organiser annacolette(at)gmail(dot)com

Additional Information:
Rose Tolhurst blogs at: nurturewithsoul.blogspot.com
Anna Higgs blogs at: http://www.partmummypartme.blogspot.com/

WHO Breastfeeding Facts and Statistics http://www.who.int/topics/breastfeeding/en/
The Office for National Statistics performs its Infant Feeding Survey every five years. The figures from the 2005 survey were published in March 2008. http://www.ic.nhs.uk/statistics-and-data-collections/health-and-lifestyles-related-surveys/infant-feeding-survey/infant-feeding-survey-2005
Mother and Baby survey, carried out in conjunction with NCT. http://nctwatch.wordpress.com/2009/07/24/mother-and-baby-survey-reveals-mothers-worries-about-breastfeeding-in-public/
NCT Document summary: Key Baby Feeding Statistics from the 2005 UK Infant Feeding survey. http://www.nct.org.uk/sites/default/files/related_documents/DS14%20Infant%20Feeding%20Survey%202005%20Key%20Statistics%20%5BUK%5D.pdf
National Breastfeeding Week Info for 2011: http://www.lactivist.net/?p=2768

Friday, 25 February 2011

Fresh Air and Vegetables

I have been brought up vegetarian and therefore have never knowingly eaten meat. It goes without saying that my children will also be veg, and hopefully their children too.
I grew up on an Organic vegetable farm so there were always delicious, fresh veg on my plate & I lived an active & healthy lifestyle. We never had a house full of gadgets, I think a t.v and eventually a c.d player was about the extent of it. Yeah I watched t.v when I got in from school, especially on a rainy day, but I also spent hours & hours in the woods building camps, climbing trees, in the garden playing with rope swings. Inside play consisted of lots and lots of arts and crafts!
I hope to encourage a similar life style for Josie but this screen generation does worry me, especially as baby Josie has an older half brother & sister that have the usual selection, x-box, wii, psp, ipod, mobile phone & they are not even in their teens yet! In an ideal 'Rose' world we'd have a computer game free home... What am I to do!?
We are planning to find a tree in the nearby woodland to rig up a swing so we have something to cart the big kids off to as sometimes they just don't know what to do with themselves outside. Hopefully this should encourage them to spend more time filling their lungs with lovely fresh air this coming season.
It will be a few more years until Josie will be climbing trees but she will be enjoying toddling around the garden, paddling pool and maybe some sand fun this summer, oh and of course lots of yummy fruit and veg!

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

How I overcame my struggle with breastfeeding.

After the shock of giving birth I think I was expecting a slightly easier time in the weeks following. I couldn't have been more wrong. Yes I was prepared for sore bits, sleepless nights, baby brain, only ever having one hand free. However I was not prepared for the agonizing pain of severely cracked nipples & the stress of the struggle. Breastfeeding is natural, any woman can do it... can't they!? I remember during my 6 week struggle with breastfeeding thinking that I would give birth 10 times to be able to feed my baby without pain! On hindsight no I wouldn't, but the on going pain and heart ache of not being able to feed my baby successfully was bar far much harder than giving birth to her!

For the first few days of Josie's life feeding was quite easy. I put her to my boob every time she made a noise & the milk came in on her second day. My nipples were big and awkward, Josie had a tiny mouth and was quite a lazy sucker. The result was a very bad latch, severley cracked nipples and failure of the letdown reflex.

My sister was still feeding her little one and for a couple of nights I stayed with her so she could help and nurse Josie for me. I was only nursing from one nipple at the time as the other was too damaged and needed time to heal. Without time to build up my milk supply one breast wouldn't have been sufficient and I was desperate not to give formula! However I couldn't live for ever at my sisters and my baby continued to loose weight. I had to come to terms with the fact that I had to introduce a bottle to keep her fed. I was so disappointed it had gotten to that but at the same time at the same time so relieved she was getting a proper feed! I consoled myself with the thought of the sooner she gets big and strong the sooner we'll crack the breastfeeding! So that was the start of the breastfeeding, expressing (by hand as my nipples were too painful to use the pump) & bottle feeding. I was so envious of other women saying how easy it was to be able to just pull their babies into bed at night & feed them! I had to get up, go down stares and set myself up with: cushions, foot stool, breast sling, lanolin, water. Then, attach, re-attach, re-attach, stop, deep breath, re-attach. After about an hour i'd express, top her up with a bottle & back to bed to snatch a little sleep before it all started again...

I cried everyday for about a month, my poor partner thought I was having a major break down! Anyway I continued to seek help, I visited a feeding clinic twice and had numerous visits from a fantastic midwife and health visitor that were so supportive. I had information through the post from Le leshe league and other organisations. I spoke to other mums and soldered on. During the hardest moments I even though 'what if I gave up, what would that mean...', then I saw myself in the future sat on a bench by the river having to reach for a bottle, & I could't bare the thought, I'd be ashamed to be seen 'not breastfeeding', so I never gave up.

After the longest 6 weeks of my life I was left with just a mild burning sensation & it wasn't long until that had faded too. I could finally enjoy my baby! I felt so free, I could go out with out panicking that Josie would wake and need feeding. I could go out without having to pack a bottle (just in case). Finally I could feed where ever I wanted and however I wanted, truly amazing!

I'm still breastfeeding now at 10 months and have no intention of giving up soon. I can see myself feeding until Josie is about 15 - 18 months. It is such a wonderful thing, knowing that she is getting the best possible start in life.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

An introduction & the birth of my baby!


my name is Rose and I am mother to 10 month old Josie. I intend to share some of my experiences of being a new mum and hope that you may be interested in my natural approach.

I gave birth to Josie in April 2010. I had a wonderful home, water birth with my partner Laurence, my sister Gena and her youngest baby Jemima by the pool side with me. Josie was caught by a lovely midwife named Linda (who also delivered Jemima 8 months previous).

The transition from a woman to a mother was softened by my close relationship with my sister. She is a mother of three and I have been able to learn from her. I had an amazing insight into child birth by being with her for the birth of her second and third children, both home births and both utterly lovely! These experiences were invaluable, so much so I didn't feel the need to do any NCT classes, my plan was to simply follow my instincts. They served me well and after about 12 hours of labor Josie was born into water at 10.40 am weighing 8lb 2oz!
Ouch! The relief I felt was indescribable!

Pain relief consisted of the birth pool, which was lovely, on the odd occasion I got out I was soon back in again! I inhaled lavender oil off a tissue, which during the less intense contractions did help to sooth and calm me. I used rescue remedy (although in the end I almost necked the whole bottle down in one), and my sister was popping various other homeopathic remedies in my mouth too. During the later stage gas & air was made available to me and i did indulge in a few puffs. The first time I used it it helped but after that I found the contractions so full on that I gave up on it. Focusing and directing all my energy inwards was the only was through it for me. But wow feeling that kind of positive pain is quite an experience!
I understand why some women opt for stronger pain relief or an epidural because it frikin huuuurts!!! However I look at it like pulling off a plaster, just get on and do it fast. Intervention almost always leads to more intervention, and a downward spiral that ends in the demise of the 'ideal' birth of your baby. Many women report feeling like they had their birth experiences 'taken over' by the medical professionals. I think this is quite sad, it is something we will only do a few times (if that) in our lives and it is important to feel satisfied with the experience.

So the birth went well and my 'natural mothering' was off to a good start... next was to master the breast feeding... little did I know it was not going to be a walk in the park!