Articles

The joy of laid-back breastfeeding

One of the best things about my job is helping new mothers and babies to feed in a relaxed, comfortable and pain free position. It is such a joy to see a woman’s shoulders drop as she breathes more easily, gently stroking and whispering to her baby as they are both...

Why standard advice does NOT work for breastfeeding

“A midwife walked up the bed, tutted at me and told me I was feeding her all wrong.  Five minutes later another one came in and told me the opposite!” As healthcare professionals, we know that new parents get confused and frustrated by contradictory advice around baby...

Signs that your newborn baby is not getting enough milk

Worried that your newborn baby is not getting enough milk? Here is a checklist Warning signs Talk to your midwife as soon as possible (within a couple of hours) if: Baby is sleepy and has less than six feeds in 24 hours Baby consistently feeds for under 5 mins or...

What could cause low milk supply?

Milk supply is complicated. A mother’s body, breasts and her baby need to play their part. The milk factory It can help to think about the breasts as a milk factory, each part of the system needs to work well in order to make enough milk for your baby. The controls of...

Am I making enough milk for my baby?

Many new breastfeeding mothers are concerned that their little one is not drinking enough. This article covers what is normal, ways to tell how feeding is going, and what to do if low milk supply is an issue for you. Is supply really low? Lots of women who worry about...

Confused about expressing?

This article answers many of the questions asked by mothers who want or need to express breastmilk for their little one.

Is breastfeeding meant to hurt?

“My sister told me that breastfeeding was hideous for a fortnight” “I read that a correct latch should be painless” “Everyone says that breastfeeding hurts for the first few weeks and then your nipples settle down” “The midwife explained that sore nipples are normal...

When baby bites!

I receive a lot of calls from mothers whose older babies have bitten them.  They are, understandably, upset and dreading the next feed.  Some are concerned that they might have to stop breastfeeding before they feel ready, others ring me to ask how to stop...

Colic, gas, reflux or allergy?

I meet many mothers with unsettled babies, who often describe symptoms of “reflux,” “gas,” “colic” or an allergy.  It is miserable for both the babies and their care-givers. Mothers are heart-broken at the distress of their precious babies, they are trying everything...

The truth about baby sleep

Many new parents believe that feeds should not be linked with sleep, that they must teach their baby to go to sleep on its own, and that schedules and routines will improve everyone’s happiness in the end.  Is any of it true? Is it OK for my baby to feed to sleep? We...

Mastitis in a crisis

It is a scary time for new mums.  Most of us don’t want to “bother” the NHS with anything and definitely don’t want to leave our homes for support. However, I am hearing from a number of women who are battling severe mastitis (and worse) at home and not seeking the...

Everyone else is coping

Becoming a new mum can be totally overwhelming at the best of times. Add in a global pandemic, and the sense of loss, isolation and sadness is palpable. In my work supporting women with feeding, I am hearing from many mothers who feel like they are the only ones not...

Breastfeed, top up, express, repeat

When a newborn baby is not putting on as much weight as expected, or has lost more than about 8% of birth weight by day 5, mothers are often advised to “top up” after feeds. A typical pattern is to spend a set amount of time attempting to breastfeed and then offer...

Overwhelmed with advice?

“My mother in law insists that I put my baby down so that he learns to fall asleep on his own.  But I don’t want to, I like cuddling my baby to sleep.” Mothers regularly talk about the (often conflicting) advice they receive from family, friends, online and from and...

But the app says…

“Cathy, my app says he has been at the breast for a total of 4.5 hours today.  Is that enough?” “Sorry I missed the drop in, the app says that he is meant to be sleeping right now” There are so many baby tracker apps available to new parents these days.  In the first...

I dread breastfeeding

“I hate the feeling that he’s on me all the time. I dread breastfeeding him. It makes me feel really low.  People keep telling me that breast is best.  I want to give him formula but I feel like I am letting him down.” This was whispered to me by a tearful mum with a...

Do babies get confused between breast and bottle?

There is a lot of opinion about this, but precious little actual evidence. Many babies switch between breast and bottle seamlessly even from the early days, but you will meet mothers whose babies refused to go back to the breast after some bottles, and breastfed...

My baby won’t take a bottle!

This can be a huge challenge for parents and there is no simple solution. Choosing a bottle and teat for a reluctant bottle feeder You might try several different bottle and teat combinations until you find one that works. Many babies will do best with a teat...

Is this thrush?

Do you have shooting pains in your breast? Are your nipples pink and sore? Does baby have a white coating on their tongue? If the answer is yes and you go to the GP, chances are that you will leave with a prescription of thrush mediation for you both. Over the years I...

I’ve got too much milk!

You would think it would be a nice problem to have.  Loads of lovely milk for your baby, rather than struggling to get the last drop with a baby who is never satisfied.  To be honest, mums that over produce milk or have a really forceful flow can often dread...

When can I get my new baby into a routine?

A routine.  It sounds like such a wonderful idea.  Just apply this set of rules, and your baby will become happy, predictable, and sleep much more at night. Of course you want some control back in your life.  It is only natural.  Every day I hear the frustration of...

How do I know when my baby is hungry?

When babies are ready to feed they will show some signs, such as licking their lips, turning their head, trying to suck their hands and searching for a nipple with their mouth open!  After some time they get agitated, go red and start to do that hungry baby "mwaaahhh...

Someone in the hospital gave my baby formula!

This is an issue that really divides new mothers.  I am equally likely to hear “This amazing midwife came and took my baby away for a bottle of formula so that I could sleep” versus “I can’t believe it! The midwife gave my baby formula without asking me! She has...

Help! My newborn wants to be held ALL THE TIME

I can’t tell you how many new parents ring me in desperation in the first few days at home with their newborn. Their baby has been feeding at the breast for what feels like ages, and then the instant they try to put the sleepy baby down in its moses basket it wakes up...

Is my baby feeding or using me for comfort?

There is nothing wrong with baby coming to the breast for comfort – it is a brilliant way to calm and soothe your baby. In fact, breasts really are your primary “mothering tool” and can be used to settle your baby in most situations. However, there will be times when...

How to choose bottles and infant formula

Choosing feeding bottles New parents often worry about what to buy for their baby, and there is an almost overwhelming amount of choice out there.  Each baby bottle claims to be closer to breastfeeding, to prevent colic or wind, to keep your baby comfortable. Should...

Is it OK for my baby’s nose to touch the breast?

We know that baby needs to be close to mum and have as much breast as possible in their mouth to feed well.  Babies often seem to "face plant" on the breast, especially in reclined feeding positions. But what will happen to baby’s nose? Many new mothers ask whether...

How long should a breastfeed take?

Ah, the “should” questions.  They start from day 0 on the postnatal ward, when I am most often asked “how long should I feed my baby for?”  Then at every age and stage after that.  Of course you want a guide to this crazy, unpredictable time, but I cannot possibly say...

When should I switch sides during a breastfeed?

When do I switch sides during a breastfeed? “I was told that my baby must spend 20/30/40 mins on the same breast so that he gets the hindmilk/pudding milk”  Many popular baby care books and well-meaning health visitors advise women to “drain” one breast before...

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