Tuesday 22 November 2011

Baby Led Weaning Fun!

In my last post i touched on the subject of baby led weaning. As my BLW journey progresses i thought id share a clip of some of our experiences so far. Rhys is 6mths old next week and following his lead a few weeks ago i let him venture into the world of food. It started with a few sneaky tastes from mums plate to now Rhys being offered family foods when ever we eat.

I thought at first he was so keen and would be eating lots before too long, i think now he understands that this food stuff is quite readily available and he can take it or leave it. He knows he has to hold all his food himself and i think sometimes he just doesn't care to.

He's eating little bits here and there, i can tell as his poos have changed a little. Some days will go by when he doesn't want to eat other foods. His milk intake is unchanged, although as he is getting older he is a fair bit more content to go a few hours without milk.

So i sum up baby lead weaning as a gentle approach to the introduction of family foods, it is baby led in that the baby controls the amount of food taken. Its main focus is food as a learning experience, viewing food as fun until at least twelve months while milk is the main source of nutrition. I love that it protects breastfeeding as the breastfed baby regulates it own appetite, the solids baby is taking are not seen as a meal as such. It's very relaxed in that there is little or no preparation, baby eats what the family eats. 

It is messy! There's no denying that it is messy, i keep telling the inner clean freak in me to "let go and embrace the mess."  When i do, i relax and its just fun.

I hope you enjoy the little clip i have here of Rhys.

Louise :)

Tuesday 8 November 2011

Is he a good baby? 6 to 12 months.

As my little person nears the 6 month mark (insert sad teary face here) I thought to touch on sleep and feeding habits of the slightly older baby, the 6 to 12 month old. In this age of baby there is a much greater societal expectation of “good behaviour”, I think what they mean by good baby is a baby that is sleeping well (and through the night) and breastfeeding less (than when he was new), as well as taking good amounts of solids with out being fussy. Hmmmm expect much?

So what is normal for infant sleep at this age? It’s so very common for this still young baby to be “cat napping” during the day. Also needing comfort measures to get to sleep be them feeding to sleep, rocking or carrying or simply mum or dad’s presence. Night feeds are normal, and important. Night feeds keep up the milk supply and help with continued baby growth and brain development. To ignore your baby’s cry is to ignore its most purest emotion, that cry is your baby expressing his love and need for his mother, why would a baby simply switch this off at any particular age, just because culturally we expect him to.
Is he a good baby? Sure he is settled all night long, he has about 4 boobs through the night, some times more some times less, his needs vary.

This is how we roll, snoozing in the ergo around home.

Babies between these ages can go through many different feeding patterns. One baby may be feeding more than ever as he developmentally is needing the comfort the breast provides as circumstances around him changes (mum starting some part time work for example), or perhaps he’s experiencing a stage of separation anxiety. The next baby might struggle to have a couple of feeds during the day, as he is learning to crawl and experience the world around him, this baby will probably make up for missed feeds at night. They’re clever like that.
Is he a good feeder?  He’s really clever, if I just follow his cues he lets me know when he wants milk, breastfeeding is great like that.

The solid thing gets so much more attention than it deserves at this age, or any stage during the early years for that matter. Babies and children are very clever and regulate their intake to just the right amount for them, this is why feeing the baby according to his need (demand feeding) is all that he needs. Family foods in the second six months of life are all about a learning experience, baby learning textures and tastes and how this eating thing works. Nutritionally the solids between 6 and 12 months and in many cases longer mean very little; provided, once more, the baby is fed according to his need. Baby led solids is a fantastic approach to introducing family foods and is very breastfeeding friendly in that it doesn’t look at foods for this age as meals and maintains breastfeeds as the main nutritional intake.
Is he a good eater? He loves exploring his food; he feeds himself lots of different foods as he plays. Food under one is just for fun.

Rhys looking pretty proud of himself after a play session with a mango seed 5 and a bit mths.

There is no such thing as a bad baby, babies are not manipulative, nor do they exist to have mum be the brunt of an evil baby led conspiracy theory. Our babies are little people we are growing, baby animals that need every thing we can give, love, comfort, food and affection. The freshest newborn needs these things to thrive and be safe and secure in this big wide world, the bigger baby and even bigger child needs them all the same, maybe even more but definitely no less.

Till next time

lou x

Tuesday 13 September 2011

So Tuesdays are my favorite day of the week

This has been a long time coming, My birth story. I've been reliving this day over the last 3 and a half months and slowly put it in words to share. Its the start of a series of positive and inspiring birth stories im going to share here. If you have one i'd love to read and share, email me at louisedavidlc@gmail.com


So Tuesdays are my favourite day of the week. I have a beautiful little community of mums and their little ones with whom we gather weekly and talk of all things birth and breastfeeding while we crochet.

                     my village...

I had planned a homebirth; my care provider was a beautiful midwife with the local hospital midwife program. In order for my dream homebirth to become a reality with this program I had to remain low risk, I had to not be GDM and be GBS negative, not preterm, not postdates, to name a few, these things I was and I declined a 34 week scan. I could have avoided this hoop jumping and had my homebirth lined up with out question had I chosen a private midwife. But for financial reasons I decided to go with the publicly funded option, and I committed my self to this fully until there was some reason for me to do otherwise, I had faith my body would manage this pregnancy and birth “normally” and it did.

my inspiration wall...

This particular Tuesday, a wet miserable day, I was 39 weeks and 3 days pregnant; I was so excited for this birth to finally happen and to meet this new little person. I slept like a baby the night before and woke up disappointed that it wasn’t going to happen today. Not because I was over it at all, just cause I couldn’t contain my excitement much longer. This excitement only grew as I found myself discovering the slightest ever pink show when I went to the toilet after I got up. I told my self I was getting my hopes up to think it would all happen this day, although deep down I felt it starting. I left the house for my crochet day. I thought, “Maybe I should take some spare trackies?” I decided no, that was wishful thinking.

The kids had just settled into play and the crochet was out, the coffee machine heating when I bounded off the couch, the girls laughed with delight when I told them my water just broke. My baggy genie pants caught all the fluid and I changed into Kim’s spare daggy trackies. I returned to my crochet and fresh cuppa and we joked that I should go get the pool and birth in the company of the girls, the kids and the crochet.
Soon contractions were coming gently but steadily and I was thrilled that this time had finally arrived. Once the contractions were catching my breath a little the girls encouragingly said “maybe you should make a move home while you can still drive” so they sent me on my way with some food and the big boys who were upset they were missing out on their play day with their friends.

On the short journey home I phoned my hubby and arranged my birth support Cindy and photographer Michelle to make their way over. I also phoned the kids grandma to come and pick them up so mummy could have the birth and mental space all to herself. At this time I felt ready to phone the midwife and let her know what was happening, she offered to come but I told her I’d phone when I felt I needed her. So with my birth support around me I kissed the boys and a teary grandma good bye. The boys concerned with what would be when they returned. Now I could enjoy the time ahead.

It’s about midday now, an hour and half from my membranes rupturing, and over the next couple of hours we plod around the house, tidying, plastic laying the couch, preparing as the time between contractions gets briefer and the contractions more intense. The midwife phones to see if she’s needed yet, I decline again, at this time we’re just filling the birth pool.

We said my labour established at 1pm. I had been coping well, breathing, moving all around the lounge room. Ty and Cindy massaged my back but the biggest help so far and as it turned out for the rest of my labour was my music. A small select playlist I’d been listening to for relaxation over the last months. Now it was my focus during the pains, Jack Johnson sings “this is how it’s supposed to be”, Renee and Jeremy sing “don’t you worry about a thing” and Tracy Chapman sings “deliver me”. I sing. Closer to 2pm with the encouragement of Cindy and Michelle I decided to call the midwife and her back up to attend. I climb in to the pool, this can only be referd to as heaven, and the midwives arrive. I am offered and internal to check my progress. I politely decline, having no idea at this time how this simple choice will save my birth outcome.

my playlist...

I swim and I sing, I blow bubbles and the people around me while pretty silent help me through with the odd hand hold or question but mostly with water pouring over my back.

I near transition and I feel like i've had enough, I decided within myself that the next contraction i'm just going to give up, let go, pass out if I can. My body had other plans and instead began to involuntarily push. It took a few contractions for these pushes to really take hold and feel good. For the contraction pain to be taken over by useful working pushes that felt good.

I could feel baby moving down and soon felt him under my pubic bone. I felt what I thought was a big mucous plug come away; id had my eyes closed for about 2 hours now. It turned out to be a big plug of meconium. On seeing this the midwife asked to feel the babies position vaginally because she could see the mec. I tried to suggest it was my poo and she laughed and asked again more seriously “please can I check?” first I checked my self and the presenting part was less than 2cm inside my vagina. She felt gently and briefly and simply said “ok, this is breech. That’s a bottom” my jaw dropped, I processed the info instantly, thinking ok how does this change things, my answer to myself was, it doesn’t, “ok lets do this” I blurted out and I rolled over on all fours.

The midwives asked that I hop out of the pool, I was happy to oblige if it made them more comfortable. My husband said this is where he panicked, because the midwives went into action mode from the calm observatory persons they were before. I’m continuing to push all the while the second midwife is on the phone to the hospital and then the ambulance (hospital protocol means transfer in). I was not put off in the slightest by the happenings around me. I pushed my heart out and it felt so good.  Cindy was filming the birth and her words of encouragement spurred me on. The midwife listened to the baby’s heart beat that was ever so slow, it didn’t phase me; I knew baby would be out the next contraction. He was out to his chest now, feet still inside. The midwife didn’t like what she heard and said come on Lou push, and I calmly said “the contractions gone, let it be”. We waited. Slowly the next contraction built up, the push came back, one foot, two feet, one arm, two arms, I built my courage up for the last push of the head, but it took only half the energy id mustered, to my surprise.

The relief was bliss, I rested to the couch with my new little bundle, and I discovered that my gut feeling of this growing person in me is a boy was correct. The feeling of accomplishment is indescribable, proud, empowered, stoked, surprised, and delighted. There’s not one that fits right, its all of them.

I settled in and stayed skin to skin with this new little man, he fed straight away and wide eyed took it all in. His mummy couldn’t wipe the smile of her face, and still hasn’t.

Rhys was 3450g and 52 cm long he had a big bruise on his bum. His breach birth was undiagnosed till 2nd stage and I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m so grateful to have experienced this wonderful birth. If I had accepted that internal when the midwife arrived it would have been an instant transfer in when the breech was discovered and ultimately resulted in a caesarean section. The reason my birth resulted in a beautiful, safe vaginal breech birth was because I simply trusted and let go.

So now every Tuesday as baby Rhys turns a week older, I relive this amazing day, I join my wonderful crochet friends and we talk birth and boobs and I am full filled. My heart is warmed with what I have achieved and I am happy.    

The beautiful birth photography is by Michelle at Inspired Images. I am so happy to have these memories, check out her work. http://www.inspired-images.com.au/

Again if you have a birth story to share, email me at louisedavidlc@gmail.com

Thursday 25 August 2011

Lazy mum

I’m the first to admit that i'm a lazy person, if I can get out of doing something, I will, if I can do something half heartedly but get the same result I will. I’ve now realised I parent the way I do because is slips in just perfectly with my tendency to be a lazy bum.

I believe the way I parent my baby  is the best of both worlds, for him, meeting his every need and for me least physical effort, allowing me the most rest making us both chilled out happy people.

I’m going to break down the three biggest features in my parenting life at the moment and share the laziness they behold.

Breastfeeding – the lazy feeding choice. Breastfeeding something only a mum can do for her baby (except in case of cross nursing) therefore mum can take every opportunity her bub feeds to sit down and put her feet up. In the early days when bub is feeding all the time it can be easy to have the thought ‘oh no not feeding again’ but once you learn to embrace the fact that feeding means, happy quite bub, rest and comfy couch, tv/laptop one will quickly drop those thoughts and learn to look forward to the next feed time. Even better when babe cluster feeds of an evening. When else can you set up there on the couch, snuggling your suckling babe totally guilt free and let go all that needs doing or palm it off to others around you. This breastfeeding thing can really be “milked” and used to your advantage ;)

                                                                   Photo by Inspired Images

Bed sharing – ultimate in lazy night time parenting. How can something that results in optimum amounts of sleep for mum and babes every possible need being met, being right there next to mum and her milk be forgotten in our culture today. I was planning to co sleep (sharing the same room, babe in arms reach) with my baby from birth, this however very quickly turned into bed sharing (sharing the same sleeping surface as your baby) as to sit up and pick baby up out of his bassinette, feed then return him to bed simply required too much effort and awake time on my behalf. I decided to ditch the bassinette, I side cared the cot and never looked back. I get the regulatory “is he sleeping through the night?” from family or strangers and I can respond, “no, but I am” and go on to explain that he feeds and sleeps and I sleep, rouse to help and mouth find a nipple in the dark and drift off again. Maximum sleep, maximum happy mum. I truly wonder where I’d be if I hadn’t discovered this mothering bliss this time round.

Baby wearing – don’t settle your baby, cruise with your baby! I’m forever hearing mums discuss their frustrations that their baby only settles when they’re held or rocked. Naturally this is where bub wants to be, close to mum, warm and secure. In an attempt to be as lazy as possible I’ve resigned this time round to give in to that and not waste one ounce of energy on settling my bub. I think of these mums, and myself with my twins, who would wrap and rock and shush and dummy and half an hour later still find us doing the same thing and frustrations building. Bub finally goes off, only to wake however long after and repeat the whole process next sleep round. So, to wear your baby, baby either feeds to sleep and slips in to the carrier undisturbed and you carry on about your day (or you just stay snuggled on the couch in the first place) or bub is full as a goog and getting tired, pops in the sling/wrap/woven etc carrier and as you plod around he checks out his surroundings, you unpack the dishwasher, put a load of nappies on and the next time you look down he has drifted off with absolutely zero effort on your behalf.

I hope I’ve inspired you to be a little lazier in your parenting. I think the point, if nothing else, is, slow it down. Chill out and take all of your baby in, look at him or her, its going too fast isn’t it?

Untill next time,

ps please check out http://www.inspired-images.com.au/

Thursday 4 August 2011

Happy world breastfeeding week ;)

Just wanted to wish all mamma's, currently, previously or planning on breastfeeding a happy world breastfeeding week.

Today was the most glorious of days and i spent much of it mothering my little one nuzzled at the breast, what a joy; today and for the next days months and years, ill cherish each and every feed.

This is what breastfeeding means to me, not just food, but comfort, love, laughter (new to my 9week old), joy, pleasure. It could be the most pleasant thing in the world....

I'm feeling the love, i hope you share some of this joy with your loved ones today and every other day too.


Louise x

Thursday 28 July 2011

Sleep when baby sleeps.....but my baby doesn't sleep?????

This post is dedicated to Anonymous who posted this comment after reading my last blog post,

"Fantastic article. As soon as I started reading about Rhys's feeding patterns I thought 'Oh my god, that's me!!!'. My baby sounds very much like Rhys. I am happy to accept his feeding patterns, but I find it very difficult finding time to sleep/eat/dress myself, and get quite distressed. I have a wonderful husband but no other real support and am home alone most of the day. Any tips to cope physically and emotionally with such demanding feeding? My baby is 6 weeks old now and I am starting to feel I can't possibly go on like this for much longer! :("

After reading this i had a light bulb moment, i thought, feeding baby according to need is truly demanding on mum, what do i do to cope day to day?

What i realised I've been doing for the last 8weeks (Rhys is 8weeks old) is the absolute opposite to what every mother is told. Mums for so long now have been told "sleep while baby sleeps"....problem, my baby hardly sleeps....I've been practising "go nuts while baby sleeps, rest the rest of the time "....hear me out...

The bottle feeding culture we've all grown up in lead to the idea of 4th hourly feeding, that all babies should follow bottle fed or not. We as health professionals have done our darnedest to undo this thinking and re teach mothers the idea if feeding according to need (commonly known as demand feeding). I think we're slowly getting there.

The thing that didn't catch on is that with feeding according to need and not to a schedule means very sporadic, unpredictable and often brief sleep from baby, so to say sleep when baby sleeps is impractical to say the least.

Heres how my theory works, go nuts when baby is sleeping and take every other opportunity to either interact and enjoy baby or rest/sleep.

Here's a typical day of mine of late:
Bub wakes we feed as we muster the energy to get out of bed, bub slings it as i do breaky for the big boys and then we sit and feed while some morning cartoons are happening.
Bub sleeps and will either sling in or transfer to rocker, ill run around put a wash on, do dishes, put clothes away etc, then sit and rest, maybe another feed.
Head out for the day, bub slings and feeds as he wants.
We get home and i usually settle on couch for the rest of afternoon, everything in reach and bub can feed and doze as he wants.
Come dinnertime, bub gets slinged up once more and snoozes as dinner is made and kitchen sorted as i go. Then bath and last couch time for the day as he goes of to hit his bed for the first time of the day at about 7pm.
He wakes at around midnight at which time i slide him over to me (his cot is side carred next to my bed) and he feeds almost 2nd houky for the rest of the night (I'm awake for probably 20mins all up these feeds combined) .

I view this day as a potential for a whole lot of rest, if you can learn to put your feet up at every feed and enjoy it as quiet rest time you'll soon appreciate how frequently she feeds. I think since Rhys has been born I've only had a couple of daytime naps, because my days allow the maximum amount of rest and by co sleeping at night I'm hardly lacking any sleep. I'm simply not all that tired. If i do nap, i doze while feeding and Rhys is sleeping at the breast, allowing for many potential naps if i want them.

As i write this I'm on the couch, recliner back, lap top on knee, remotes and phones at hand, sandwich, drink, even nappy and wipes. I don't have to move till preschool pick up time. (but i did just this once cause i couldn't leave the chocolate in the fridge)

I get that this is a bit trickier if you have other littlies, but its something you could deffinatly practice if you have someone else around, kids at daycare or on the weekend.

I challenge you this weekend if your struggling like the post above, parent from the couch this weekend, get a good baby sling so you can settle on the run. See if it changes your perspective a little.

My biggest concern now is how much longer  i can milk this for, he's soon going to be feeding less frequently and getting active, until then, my couch recliner will be getting a workout.

Hope this helps you Anonymous, good luck :)

Untill next time.


Sunday 17 July 2011

Perceived low milk supply and Frequent feeding.....

So here is my first written article as a Certified Lactation Consultant.... appriciate your thoughts ;)

Are you feeding again? You mustn’t have enough milk? Maybe I don’t have enough?

These are frequently heard comments and thoughts by mums who are simply experiencing normal newborn feeding behaviours. Many mothers are quick to jump to the conclusion they must have a low milk supply. There are however quite a few factors to consider when we look at feeding frequency; the capacity of the breast to hold milk is one that could do with more consideration. It could be easy for a mother to think she has a low milk supply when in fact her breast capacity is simply that of a smaller volume. The mother with a small breast capacity is very capable of making the perfect amount of breastmilk for her baby but because the breast holds a smaller volume of milk the baby requires feeding at the breast much more frequently[1].

The mother, if not understanding of this, may easily mistake her baby who wants to feed as frequently as he does (hourly or 2nd hourly) as a hungry baby whose nutritional needs are not being met. In fact the opposite is true. Case in point, my 3rd child baby Rhys, he was a healthy 3.4kg born, lost only 100g on day 4 and was well and truly over his birth weight at one week. At 4 weeks he is a whole kilo over his birth weight. Rhys has had unrestricted access to the breast since birth, at 4 weeks of age he had developed a pattern to his days where he cluster feeds all morning, has a bigger sleep towards the early afternoon then cluster feeds in the evening, when he goes to bed to feed about 2nd hourly overnight. A very normal feeding pattern of a breastfeeding infant[2].
On one of these mornings the thought came to me, that if I were a new mum who didn’t know any better I would truly believe I did not have enough milk for my little man, I brushed this thought off instantly as I watched him gulp his milk, even if the gulping only lasted a minute or so, and relished in his contentedness and his toes that now were stretching his once loose bonds suit to its limits.
My concern was for those new mums that don’t understand normal infant feeding habits, or breastmilk production and intake by the baby. For if they did understand or at least expect these behaviours perhaps new mums might be more forgiving of their 2nd hourly (or more frequent) feeding babes and not try to manage or fix them.

When the baby feeds as frequently as it wants the breast doesn’t have to hold large volumes of milk, because the breast is frequently being emptied the breastmilk production is at its most[3]. Furthermore, these babies have the potential to have more than adequate weight gain as they are frequently feeding on milk that has a higher fat content. As we know,  the smaller volume of milk in the breast the higher the fat content contained in the milk[4].

With my first children, premature twins I was constantly doubting my supply; I took herbs and medication to help my milk production and attended a residential program at a sleep school. As I look back now, armed with new knowledge and experience, I most probably didn’t ever have a low supply; my babies just weren’t ready to be put on the 3rd hourly feeding schedule that I was so earnestly encouraged to put them on by most of the well meaning health professionals.
If I were in the head space to be able to feed them as frequently as they needed feeding they would have had their milk intake adequately met exclusively by myself and not needed complementary feeding with formula and would have managed to gain weight at a steady pace. How could I not see that  by simply putting babies back to the breast for a “top up” was the same as giving the extra milk via the bottle? I’ve since learnt that it isn’t the same, it can be better.
By topping baby up at the breast, mum foregoes all the bottle and pumping/formula paraphernalia and associated complications, baby is stimulating mum’s milk supply, baby is happy and contented from the breastfeed and the suckling. It may be the case for some mums (certainly for baby Rhys) for “a feed” to consist more or less of 6 breasts; babe happily finishing one side, to  switch to the other and repeat this over and over and even over again. Note here BABY initiates the swap by indicating he is finished the one side.

“He’ll get a tummy ache if you feed him again!” Does this frequent switching lead to aches and pains, wind or even colic as so commonly thought? My response is no, not if as I first mentioned the breast capacity is smaller. Now if a mum with copious amounts of milk, frequently switches sides during a feed, baby will receive lots of high lactose thinner milk that comes at the start of a feed (sometimes known as foremilk) this milk can lead to a windy baby as gases are produced in the bowel from the breakdown of the lactose[5]. It is therefore very important for the baby feeding on this (full) breast to drink as much as possible from that first side so that as the volume reduces the fat content increases and baby gets that good creamy milk at the end of the feed. This baby may frequently only feed on one side, or have a little of the other and be contented for some time.
So in the breast that holds smaller amounts of milk, baby gets the fattier milk more quickly therefore avoiding lactose overload that may lead to a windy upset baby. As the breast is always making milk and is never truly empty, you can go on switching sides as many times as baby indicates, till eventually you have a satiated milk drunk babe.
After a big session of cluster feeding like this babe may just treat you to a nice big sleep, longer than the hour or so that he or she might do usually. Maybe.

I wish mums the wisdom to have faith in their bodies ability to nurture their babies, their body or baby may not fit the cultural norm of fourth hourly feeding, neither simply weren’t meant to. Formula is a scientific creation that is exactly the same every time (provided it’s made up correctly), baby drinks the same amount and drinks it at the same time. Breastmilk doesn’t work that way, it’s a living fluid, it changes composition day by day, feed by feed and as indicated previously throughout a feed[6]. This is why scheduled feeds and breastfeeding just don’t go hand in hand, you might be able to get your breastfed baby on to a schedule but it could be an uphill battle that is essentially going against nature. What a lot of energy to win that fight! If you just go with it, your newborn might be feeding round the clock, but I can nearly guarantee you that your 3 month old will be feeding less frequently, and your 6 month old less than that and your 1 year old less again and so on. Provided they have unrestricted access to the breast you can safely be assured their needs are being met. Beside, this time is ever so fleeting, do you want him anywhere else other than at your breast?

[1] Riordan J, Breastfeeding and Human Lactation p. 123
[2] Day J, Breastfeeding Naturally p. 46-47
[3] Riordan J, Breastfeeding and Human Lactation p. 267
[4] Lawrence R and Lawrence R, Breastfeeding A Guide For The Medical Profession,p.120
[5] Day J, Breastfeeding Naturally p. 139
[6] Wilson Clay and Hoover, The Breastfeeding Atlas, p. 30

Friday 15 July 2011

Welcome :)

If you dont already know me, im Louise David, Midwife, Lactation Consultant, Childbirth Educator, but first and foremost im a mum. Mum of 3 boys, nearly 5 yr old twins and 6 week old new baby.

Ive decided i need a blog, I have this new baby who is teaching me all these new things, or he's probably just showing me how to put in to practise all the things a already knew. I have new and old ideas racing round my head so here is my vehicle to get them out. Hopefully get them right out and share with others, mums new and old, mums who might read my thoughts and think or do something a little bit differently because of what they read.

I'll be posting thoughts of all things breastfeeding, baby or birth. I hope to be on the same page as some and challenge the thinking of others.

I'm just proofing my first article i've written so stay tuned for my first official post.

take care,

Louise, with babe in arms <3