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The trials and tribulations...

Feeding. Breastfeeding? Bottle Feeding? Weaning? Food Tantrums (yours and theirs). It’s a tricky subject for many and not without its politics and navigating your way through poses a few questions and concerns for many.

How much should they be getting? What works for you? How do you know if they’re getting a balanced diet?

We covered a range of issues surrounding feeding and shared our experiences with helpful advice we’ve been given as well as some unwelcome opinions when it came to how we choose to feed them.

For the newbies, breast and bottle feeding both came with a range of experiences. Mums bottle-feeding felt a lack of support online and in person when it came to midwives, NHS & Health Visitors with little information around to help combat a feeling of guilt and anxiety but also relief and comfort knowing they could share the load. Mums breastfeeding explored feelings of pain (bleeding, chaffed nipples), cluster feeding and ease of transportation (can’t leave those boobies at home) for required top ups. Many also expressed feelings of being let down by some around them when opinions were forced on them (‘baby will latch, just persevere’, ‘you should really think about stopping breastfeeding now they can ask for it’) along with undiagnosed tongue ties and medical issues.

Useful advice was in abundance this week, such as remaining calm and focussed on the needs of you and your baby rather than the opinions of others. RBH offers a highly attentive infant Feeding Clinic on a weekly basis where private screening is available if you’re uncomfortable or new or just prefer a little help that doesn’t involve displaying your boobs (if Breastfeeding) to everyone else in the room (see RBH infant feeding link here). Facebook also have several groups, primarily Breastfeeding Berkshire with over 2000 members who can offer support and point you in the direction if you are having difficulty or particular issues.

We also discussed Britain’s attitudes and facts surrounding Breastfeeding with 34% of British babies being breastfed at 6 months, compared with Swedens 62% (Independent article can be read here) and shame associated with feeding in public. Some of us had been audited by the NHS postpartum as part of a national drive to encourage more mums with breastfeeding, some had received calls on a regular basis to see how they were coping and some had received no help or advice at all, relying on privately covered lactation specialists and clinics.

As for weaning, a plethora of topics were covered. How much should they eat? How do we get them to eat their vegetables? What were external attitudes to those who chose to raise their little ones on vegetarian or vegan diets (in short, not overly positive). Helpful advice was to just keep offering the more nutritious (but often green) foods, even if they were refused, hiding them in smoothies or baking them in cakes. We also discussed the excellent Young Gums website (Young Gums) and book for helpful tips with anything to do with feeding children (fussy or not), as well as easy, nutritious recipes that don’t take hours to prepare.

Some members expressed stress at their little ones rarely eating what’s put in front of them, relying on a pasta, chicken nugget, spaghetti hoop laden diet when fresh meals have been lovingly prepared. The overriding consensus was to remain calm and persevere with serving foods, even if they don’t eat them, remembering that it is important to offer, even if it is not gratefully received!

Without being able to communicate effectively and telling us when they are hungry, it’s impossible to know what and how much they want. What are your thoughts? Have you found anything particularly useful in your journey so far? 

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