To decrease the risk of SIDS, current advice recommends:
putting your baby to sleep on their back – the safest place for them to sleep is in a cot in a room with you for the first six months
do not smoke
do not share a bed with your baby, particularly if you have been drinking or have taken drugs
never sleep with your baby on a sofa
do not let your baby get too hot and keep your baby’s head uncovered
if possible, breastfeed your baby
This is what Laura emailed:
Just wondered if you’d seen the ‘new’ research being put forward by the NHS concerning co-sleeping? Basically it argues that the safest place for baby to sleep is in their parents’ room but in their own cot. UNICEF also appear to be agreeing. I am unsure how they can ignore all of the other research to the contrary but there you go! How is it that the lowest SIDS rate is in Japan where bed sharing is the societal norm? And what about all of breast feeding/mother awareness/biofeedback links? As a breast feeder and co-sleeper I can 100% without a show of a doubt say that I am most comfortable with my LO SAFELY bed-sharing. I cannot begin to recall the number of occasions where I have woke up for supposedly no reason and realised that it was because my little man was starting to experience a rise in his temperature etc. The long and short of it for me is that co-sleeping has provided me with such an immensely valuable and close feedback system that no other sleeping arrangement could come anywhere near providing. How could I possibly be so ‘in tune’ with his every movement if he was in a cot? What do you think to it all? I for one will still be putting my son proudly in his ‘I let my parents sleep in the big bed with me,’ t-shirt!!!
I let my parents sleep in the big bed with me – T-shirt from www.lactivist.co.uk
The researchers importantly did not consider whether the bedsharing was planned. Previous research from Venneman (2009) showed
no increased risk in planned bedsharing (versus unplanned). This is an incredibly important omission.
The paper did not consider the effects of the mother smoking during pregnancy,only smoking post birth.
Breastfeeding information is too limited to draw conclusions. No difference has been drawn between frequency and percentage of breastfeeds versus formula feeds for those ‘partially feeding’.
The paper only considered ‘illegal drug use’. Many postnatal mothers (0-12weeksafter the birth) are prescribed analgesic medication for related birth induced injuries including but not limited to Caesarean healing, known to have a sedative effect. This was not considered at all.
Prematurity was not considered at all.
Parental exhaustion was not considered at all. Some experts suggest this is considered to be less than 4-5 hours of sleep in the past 24 hour period, other experts advise parents to use their instincts. Parental exhaustion naturally impactson responsive to infant cues.
The researchers did not examine the effect of maternal (and paternal) obesity.
No differentiation was made between having one or both parents in the bed and
importantly the location of the baby. It is advisable that the mother sleeps in between the father and infant. Equally it was not noted if older siblings were also present in the bed.
The researchers did not consider fully the impact of alcohol consumption by the father when bedsharing.
No mention was made of whether parents were aware of the risks of bedsharing and how to minimize these before sharing a bed with their infant.
“We know from our work that many new parents bed share with breastfeeding infants because it feels instinctively the place where babies want to be. It can be a genuine struggle to get young babies to sleep separately from their parents. Any blanket ban on bed-sharing kills dialogue and encourages parents to behave secretly rather than have open communication with their healthcare professionals. If we accept the premise of this research, a clear message is that further funding is required for our midwifery services so families are able to build up relationships with individual midwives and effective support can happen. Some breastfeeding families will still choose to bring their babies into their bed and need to be given information about how to do this as safely as possible. A crude message of ‘Don’t do it!’ will simply put lives at risk. It is also vital to note that all researchers agree that not breastfeeding elevates the risk of cot death. It can also be stated that in the absence of other risk factors, such as smoking and use of alcohol, the risks of bed sharing for a breastfed term infant are tiny “
And me personally? As a mother who shared a bed, and still sometimes does even though my son is 9 now. I believe I did the right thing. I don’t smoke or take drugs. I have the odd glass of wine but I wouldn’t have ever been drunk with him when he was little. I could monitor his temperature, reach over to feed him in the night (this was a child who fed every 2 hours for almost 2 years) and having him close kept me together so I could mother better.
I’m not telling you it’s right or wrong, I do think that there is no rule for all of us and people need to research and make their own decisions. But I am saying that bedsharing was right for us and personally I think it is safer (when done safely) than having a baby in a cot.
I asked people to post their pictures of not boobs onto the Lactivist Facebook page – I copied them over to this post and now the voting is open to win a £10 gift voucher to spend on anything they like at www.lactivist.co.uk.
I asked people to post their pictures of not boobs onto the Lactivist Facebook page – I copied them over to this post and now the voting is open to win a £10 gift voucher to spend on anything they like at www.lactivist.co.uk.
Arabella Greatorex, owner of The Natural Nursery, reports on the rapidly rising demand for natural, environmentally friendly and ethically sound parenting products and highlights some of the concerns that have fuelled these demands.
There has been much media debate around the promotion of heavily processed foods to children, part of a long standing concern about the quality of food on offer in the UK. While some say the jury is still out on issues such as pesticide residues in fruit and vegetables, it is worth noting that only 30 additives are allowed in organic food, compared to over 300 in non-organic. Specifically, organic food bans the use of tartrazine (linked to hyperactivity in children) and GM ingredients.
The Soil Association reports that sales in organic food grew by 10% last year overall and purchases from farm shops and box schemes by a whopping 16%. This means that over 75% of households bought some organic food during 2004.
Organic baby and toddler foods now account for nearly half of total baby foods in the UK, with its market share growing rapidly, highlighting the level of concern felt by parents, and is a trend that looks set to continue.
Modern cloth nappies bear no resemblance to the old-fashioned terry squares you probably wore as a child. They are cheaper and more hygienic to use than their disposable counterparts and parents are fast cottoning on to this. Ten years ago, only 2% of parents used cloth nappies; that figure has now grown to over 15% and is rising steadily.
Despite this growth in cloth nappy use, Bristol City Council still spends around £500,000 each year dealing with disposable nappies. Conventional disposable nappies can contain up to 200 chemicals and some estimates say they will take over 200 years to decompose.
The alternative is to use cloth nappies, which are now available in a wide range of shapes and sizes and can be just as easy to use as disposables. You can choose from so soft organic terry or a natural eco-look or funky fleece prints or even retro patterns to really make a statement. They can be flat, shaped or stuffed, depending upon your child’s personal needs and you will find other ‘clothies’ are more than happy to help you decide which nappy is right for you.
They could help you save money as well; the Women’s Environmental Network estimate that savings will be around £500 for the first child and more for subsequent children, even taking into account the cost of home laundering.
Chemical Free Toiletries
Your skin will absorb around 60% of products applied to it and Green People estimates that the average woman will absorb about 2kg of chemicals through toiletries and cosmetics over one year, up to 75,000 different chemicals! We all know how sensitive a baby’s skin is and rates of eczema are rising fast with almost a third of babies now suffering from it.
Many people believe that the chemicals in the lotions and potions that we use are to blame. Even some so called ‘natural’ products contain a range of chemicals that are believed to cause or exacerbate skin conditions or be carcinogenic, even if they are originally plant derived. Worryingly, a product needs to contain only 1% natural ingredients to be legally labelled ‘natural’.
Natural, organic and chemical free toiletries are no longer the preserve of the health food shop but are widely available on the high street or from specialist internet companies. The Soil Association estimate that there will be a 20% increase in the number of licensed organic manufacturers this year, reflecting the huge surge in demand, especially amongst families with young children.
When you are buying clothes or toys for your baby, international trade may seem like a remote issue but by choosing carefully, you could make all the difference to someone else’s life. Farmers in the developing world are ill-equipped to cope with dramatic changes in commodity prices, which are caused by factors outside the control of the individuals most concerned.
Parents are being offered an increasing range of fairly or ethically traded products, including clothes, shoes, toys, toiletries and nappies. Sales of ‘Fairtrade’ marked goods are now well over £100m per year in the UK alone, up 46% on last year and we eat a third of a million fair trade bananas every DAY!
The growth in organic cotton
Most people assume that as cotton is a natural product, it is produced naturally, unfortunately, this is not the case. Around 150 grams of hazardous chemical pesticides will be used to grow enough cotton to make one t-shirt. The cotton farming industry accounts for about 1/4 of the world’s insecticide use as well as huge amounts of fertilisers that can end up in the water system and food chain.
The World Health Organisation estimates that 20,000 people die every year in developing countries as a result of poisoning from pesticides used on non-organic cotton. Worryingly, much of the world’s cotton production comes from genetically modified crops: over 2/3rds of China’s cotton crop is GM.
Luckily, more and more organic textiles are now available and there has been an 80% increase in the worldwide production of organic cotton in the last 2 years, with sales in the UK alone now worth over £20m from almost zero a couple of years ago. You can now buy organic clothes, bedding, towels, sheepskins and nappies from a range of suppliers – even good old Marks and Spencer sell a range of organic cotton yoga clothes.
Katharine Hamnett, fashion designer, says: “This is part of a rapidly growing trend reflecting increasing consumer awareness and concern over global issues to do with the impact of pesticides, herbicides, dioxins and toxic chemicals used in textiles, on the environment and human heath. The good news is that this shows people are actually looking for positive alternatives.”
And for the daddies
The Ecologist Magazine recently studied the contents of a can of shaving gel and found it to contain ‘several skin irritants, four potential carcinogens, three central nervous system poisons and two reproductive toxins’ – and all this before breakfast!
Arabella Greatorex is the owner of www.naturalnursery.co.uk, an online store selling organic and fairly traded products for families including organic clothing and nappies, fairly traded toys and natural toiletries.
Babywearing is exactly as it sounds – wearing your baby in a sling or baby carrier. These days, most parents own some sort of baby carrier as part of their repertoire of baby equipment, but why is it such a useful thing to have? There are obviously times when a baby carrier can be more convenient than a pushchair but there is also evidence that using a sling has great impact on your baby’s well-being.
Why Wear your Baby?
Babies who are carried cry less
Most babies love to be carried, and babies who spend a lot of time in a sling or carrier tend to cry less than those who don’t. Many new parents can find it overwhelming when their baby demands constant contact and people often worry that they are ‘spoiling them’ or ‘making a rod for their own back’. But a newborn baby is incapable of being manipulative. When they cry at being separated from you they are simply acting in accordance with their instincts for survival.
All newborn animals exhibit a protest-despair response when separated from their primary caregivers. First they cry – to bring their mother back to them. Then if their cries are not heeded they stop crying, in order to conserve the energy needed for their survival. This whole process releases huge amounts of stress hormones into the baby’s body.
If you use a sling around the house this can help you to be mobile and get things done while still meeting your baby’s instinctive need for your touch. This is obviously a good thing for your baby, but is also great for you. A crying baby who can’t settle is extremely stressful for the whole family.
As for spoiling them and building bad habits – as your baby grows and develops they will naturally want to separate and explore their environment. There is plenty of time for them to do this in confidence and security once the bond of trust has been established between you. I don’t know many babies of 9 months who want to be carried all day when they can be crawling!
It’s good for your baby’s development
Research shows that baby-wearing has many benefits for your baby’s health and development. Keeping your baby close to you provides your baby with physical contact, security, stimulation and movement. All of these things provide your baby with the ideal conditions for development. Babies in a sling spend more time in the state known as ‘quiet alertness’ so they are awake but contented. This is the optimal state for learning for a newborn.
As your baby gets older being carried in a sling keeps them closely involved in your life. They are close to your face so can observe your expressions, hear your voice clearly. They are also given more opportunities to interact with other people as they are up high and on the same level as other adults. Whenever I’m carrying my daughter in the sling I always notice how much more other people chat to her and she loves it!
It’s good for your baby’s health
Newborn or premature babies who are carried in a sling against their mother’s body adapt to the environment outside the womb more quickly. The close contact helps to regulate their body temperature, heartbeat and respiration.
Being held in an upright or semi-upright position can help some babies with wind or colic. If you carry your baby in a sling for a while after feeding it can help them to get any wind up and prevent any pain caused by it passing through their system.
Babywearing promotes bonding
Carrying your baby close to you helps them to recognize your unique smell and the sound of your voice. The close contact enables you to learn to recognise your baby’s signals more quickly which helps you to be more responsive to their needs. Babywearing can also be a special way for fathers to bond with their newborn babies. As your baby cuddles up to his Dad in a sling he learns the different sound of his voice and the feel of his body.
Your baby is only going to need you in this way for such a short time. The changes in your child from birth to a year are quite remarkable. Carry your baby close while you can and make the early months calmer and more enjoyable for all of you!
I clearly remember pinning down my youngest sister with my elbow while she screamed, wriggled and kicked away my carefully origamied terry nappy. She swears you can still see where I accidentally impaled her with safety pins to this day, and I didn’t do it on purpose no matter what she says. Some years on, real nappies don’t use pins and it’s almost impossible to scar someone for life with Velcro. These days you don’t even have to wash them yourself. In civilised 21st century Bristol there are people who swap dirty nappies for clean. I call them the poo fairies and they don’t cost as much as you would expect.
A prefold is a pad made from layers of cotton that folds into a waterproof outer cover, known as a wrap. Babies grow so quickly that you can hire the first two sizes of wraps and there are several types to fit different bums. Because the wraps fasten with Velcro you can bodge the nappy onto a wriggling baby and adjust it as many times as the baby will put up with. It’s simple to open up one side to check if it really was a poo or just the loudest fart ever. The wraps are the only thing you need to wash big poos go down the loo, or in the compost bin and the prefold goes into a bag in a bin that comes with the service. When I go out I just take a plastic bag to stick the dirties in until I get home.
Ordinary disposables they cost around 13p a nappy, the nappy service is 16p a nappy, 21p if you include wrap hire. The cost to the environment of ordinary disposables is well documented, according to the Women’s Environmental Network they have ‘over two and a half times the impact of service washed nappies’. Eco friendly disposables work out at about 20p a nappy but are either bleached or contain gel and are not 100% biodegradable, also none of them are made locally so you can add poo miles onto their ecological impact. Also, real nappies are supposed to be better for babies hips and may make it easier to potty train as the child is very aware of a soggy real nappy and wants to get out of it, instead of languishing in disposable dry gel oblivion.
Real nappies are not as time consuming as you might think. I have secretly raced other mothers changing their babies with disposables and won.
Breastfeeding menu, when all course are Boobs and house left or house right is an excellent vintage. This slogan is available worldwide on Cafe Press and Zazzle on many different products including mugs, hats, t-shirts for adults and a lot more!
Aunty Lactivist is all of us, mums who can help with experience, advice or links to websites they have found useful.
Please leave a comment below if you can help.
Dear Aunty Lactivist
I’m currently feeding my 4month old son who is my second child (my first was booby fed until she was 20 months) and I LOVE breastfeeding with a passion! Mummy milk truly does rock.
But I have a secret…Every time I have ever fed either of my babies, breastfeeding has made me feel depressed
I know what you’re thinking, how can I love it and be depressed at the same time? Well I only feel depressed for the first 30 seconds – 1 minute of each feed. I also feel nauseous and excessively thirsty. These feelings overwhelm me when I begin feeding. They literally hit me like a ton of bricks. But then after a minute they start to go away gradually and I can enjoy the time with my baby. At the beginning of each feed I can feel a variety of feelings from depression and anxiety to anger and frustration for no apparent reason! I often find myself just closing my eyes and breathing deeply until it passes. I also experience this right before each spontaneous let down. But I have nothing to feel upset or depressed about! I am generally quite a happy person.
What is wrong with me? Am I alone?
Why is this happening and can I fix it? Or am I just a freak of nature?
This is what the Kiddies games site has to say about these brilliant games for small children.
“Babies, with their special newborn reflexes, usually pick up breastfeeding very quickly, especially if they nurse in the first hour after birth when they are in a special period of alertness. These games are not for teaching breastfeeding to babies!
Paraphenalia and images about babies these days usually involve bottles, diaper pins and pacifiers for sucking. A more natural and lovelier image however is that of breastfeeding.
The following games practise fun concepts and with their beautiful happy images of breastfeeding babies, they also present more natural images of babies than what they may see in mainstream media or products.
Many babies are breastfeed these days. However, with the amount of research into the overwhelming amount of breastfeeding benefits, educational levels and availability of information in our societies, it is surprising that many babies are still not breastfed, or are not breastfed for very long.
Perhaps some people and their entourage still find breastfeeding not quite natural or convenient.
KiddiesGames.com is making its small contribution to this situation by featuring breastfeeding games! Children will see breastfeeding in the decor of these games, as if it is a natural every day activity, which it is.
Or, you can ignore the above musings. Just put your infant on your lap and have fun clicking colors and learning left and right!”
There are games to teach colours in English, French and Spanish and one to teach left and right in different languages too. Great idea!
Thank you to everyone who joined in the fun on Real Nappy Week, I’m so impressed with Clothopoly.
I’ll be picking the winner of the £20 voucher to spend at www.lactivist.co.uk at the end of this week so if you have a picture of your child in the ‘Happy in my cloth nappy’ t-shirts and you are happy for me to use it for publicity all you need to do is email it to me, firstname.lastname@example.org or pop it on the Lactivist Facebook page.
‘Mummy milk is better than milk from just any old cow’ Big Organic Bag Printed on organic cotton bags with handles long enough to go over your shoulder. Organic cotton is farmed without pesticides, using natural methods. This means that it is…
Care Instructions Handwash only Love unconditionally Breastfeed as required Printed in black ink on large organic shopping bags. Organic cotton is farmed without pesticides, using natural methods. This means that it is better for the health of the…
“Mummy Milk Rocks” Big Organic Bag Red/Orange Printed on organic cotton bags with handles long enough to go over your shoulder. This is a blended print, red going into orange. Organic cotton is farmed without pesticides, using natural…
Care Instructions: Hand wash only, Love unconditionally, Breastfeed as required translated into many different languages! Click on the image to make it bigger – it is 1000px wide, or click on the links below to get the same poster with a purple or black background A3 size and the same with the black background in handy printable A4 size.
I designed the orginal (English) Care Instructions (Handwash only, Love unconditionally, Breastfeed as required) when my son was tiny, in 2007. I just woke up thinking, ‘I wish babies came with care instructions’, so I wrote some I’ve been meaning to get it translated since then but finally, with a LOT of help from the Lactivist Facebook page here are some translations. If you would like it in a different language just let me know what it needs to say – with capitals and accents in the right place so I don’t get it wrong!
Click on the image to make it bigger, share as much as you like!
This is such a fantastic idea, please share it widely!
Last year we tried to get the folks at Google to make a Doodle (creative manipulation of the Google logo) to commemorate 20 years of the World Breastfeeding Week. Unfortunately, our efforts were over shadowed by the Summer Olympics!
This year we will celebrate the 21st Birthday of World Breastfeeding Week! So let’s get the momentum going again to get Google to make a Doodle to commemorate WBW 2013, and give the campaign worldwide coverage! (See more about Google Doodles at: http://www.google.com/doodles/about)
WHAT YOU CAN DO!
Please send an email to the people who create the Google Doodles at: email@example.com
Ask them to make a Google Doodle for WBW 1-7 August 2013!
Here’s a Sample of email you could send:
Dear Google Doodle people,
We — the breastfeeding support and promotion community — would be delighted if Google would create a Doodle for World Breastfeeding Week (WBW), 1-7 August 2013. WBW is celebrated every year in over 176 countries around the world. This year, World Breastfeeding Week celebrates its 21st Birthday! (More information at: http://worldbreastfeedingweek.org/ and http://www.worldbreastfeedingweek.net/)
We really hope you will consider this proposal.
Thanks and Best regards,
“There is growing evidence that media porn affects breastfeeding rates in the UK and hopefully if we are successful we can reduce the impact of media.
Sexual media has crept into our society and is affecting breastfeeding rates in the UK. The breastfeeding network says that sexual images are, “undoubtedly an important factor in whether breastfeeding is treated as normal in society, which in turn, affects uptake”.
The La Leche League says, “Many women in today’s society feel that their bodies belong to men rather than babies, which is such a difference to previous generations of women”.
Please would you consider supporting this petition to make it illegal to display porn around children which will in turn mean that such images will be less frequent and hopefully the rates of breastfeeding will improve.
This is written by Arabella Greatorex who runs the Natural Nursery – fantastic Lactivist Sponsors!
The ERGObaby Heart2Heart Infant Insert is a specially padded and shaped cushion that can be quickly and easily placed in the carrier and readjusted as needed. This design easily enables parents to ensure that their newborn is positioned correctly on the pillow, keeping pressure off the developing sacrum, and supports the development of the spine and hips. It snaps closed around the infant, holding the baby in a cozy, protected environment close to the heart, as well as in an ergonomically correct natural sitting position.
We used this with our newborn when we went to Portugal. It was superb and I was pleasantly surprised that she didn’t get too hot in it either. Also washed very well.
Great product, well made and seems comfortable for my baby. Service excellent!
The Natural Nursery is run by me, Arabella, Devon born on-off resident of Exeter for many years.
I am mum to 2 cloth nappy’ed, babyworn girls aged nearly 10 and 2 years.
In a past life I was a solicitor but have been running my business, The Natural Nursery, for 8 years.
I just love cloth nappies and baby slings and have been happily spreading the fluffy love via demos in baby and toddler groups, sling meets, ante natal classes, breastfeeding support groups, shops, libraries, other people’s homes, my home and our shops since 2005.
Over the past 7 years, I have helped hundreds of parents find the right baby sling or cloth nappy for their family and many customers have turned into friends too.
If you want any help finding the right baby carrier or washable nappy, just get in touch.