Muddies To Be: How to feed a baby

As we feed ourselves with marshmallows, tea, and biscuits, session five of Muddies To Be will be all about how to feed your newborn baby.  It’s an issue that has a range of factors that can affect your decision, and we will be discussing the benefits and drawbacks of infant feeding by breast, bottle and doing a bit of both. 

And then there is the literal how of how to feed your baby.  We’ll discuss the way in which the body makes breastmilk, and how it responds to the frequency your baby breastfeeds.  This will once again be Fran’s time to shine as Demonstration Diva (we’ll come up with a better name by the start of the course!) to show you the many positions you can hold a baby to breastfeed (they all have a few crucial things in common).  And I will get in on the act to give you an idea of how to promote bonding when bottlefeeding a baby.

We’ll talk about how to make up bottles, and your options for sterilising the equipment.  Hand and pump expressing will also be discussed (and likely be demonstrated using one of our bizarrely fluorescent knitted breasts!).  We are working on a ‘Play Your Cards Right’ style game as a fun yet informative way of discussing how long you can store expressed milk and formula milk.

So you know how to feed your baby, but what about when to feed your baby?  We’ll talk about feeding cues, and roughly how often you can expect to be woken up at night by a hungry baby. 

And we’ll also talk about how you can tell if your baby is feeding well, as well as when to get help and support if the baby is not getting enough milk, or you have sore or painful breasts.  There is plenty of support out there from health professionals such as your midwife and health visitor, to specialist infant feeding groups and helplines.

Finally we’ll look at how you as parents can look after yourselves when it comes to infant feeding – ways you can support each other and help make dinner time for your baby an enjoyable time for all and not a stressful part of your day.

As always, if you have any comments of questions, please get in touch through the website or Facebook.

Muddies To Be: Giving birth (part one)

Continuing our Muddies To Be blog posts, this one will look at the second session of our outdoor antenatal classes – giving birth (part one).

The human body is amazing in so many different ways, but I think childbirth might just be the body at its most magnificent.  We will talk about how contractions work to change the cervix from a closed firm tube around 4 cm long to being paper-thin, fully dilated and no longer holding back the baby.  Then it’s time to push, and the body has some neat tricks to aid this as well – the tail bone at the end of the spine will actually flip backwards to make more room for the baby to come through the pelvis.

As a midwife, I have seen women and birth partners use a range of techniques to aid labour, and it is such an individual thing as to what will work for you. This will be an opportunity to talk through the pros and cons of baths, TENS machines, epidurals, and everything in between.  At Muddies to Be, we want to support you in exploring your options and thinking about what is going to be most helpful to you in childbirth.  Little does Fran know it, but this may involve some active demonstration from her (and when I say may involve, I mean will definitely involve!).

There will be a chance for me to show off my lovely but old-school Pinard stethoscope when we talk about monitoring the baby and the mother during labour.  (There might also be some more modern technology as well!)  As with many of the other topics we will talk about what the guidelines are, and why they recommend what they recommend, and what your choices are.

Our outdoor antenatal classes will feature both a soft toy pelvis and a Pinard stethoscope!

Some key questions of the whole process will also be covered.  When do you call a midwife?  What will they want to know?  At what point do you go into hospital, or have the homebirth midwife come to you?  What will happen when you first get to hospital, or when the midwife first gets to your home?  How does covid-19 affect this process?  You should have all these answers by the end of the session!

Part two of our giving birth sessions will be discussed in the next post – we will look at induction of labour, instrumental delivery and caesarean section.  Though I say so myself, there’s also some cracking historical facts in there!  In the meantime, any questions or comments, please get in touch via the contact form or our Facebook page!