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Essence Volume 42, Number 1

January 2006

The Magazine of the Australian Breastfeeding Association

Extended Breastfeeding Cleft Palate Feeding Stress And Breastfeeding Making Play In Your Own Backyard Why Do Women Judge Each Other? How Did You Find Out About ABA?


Founded as the Nursing Mothers’ Association in 1964 by Mary Paton OAM

The Australian Breastfeeding Association Who are we? The Australian Breastfeeding Association is a voluntary organisation established in 1964 to encourage and support mothers who wish to breastfeed their babies and to promote skilled and loving mothering, while creating in the community an awareness of the importance of human milk. At present, there are over 330 Australian Breastfeeding Association groups nationwide and over 1250 counsellors. In the past 40 years, over 145,000 Australians have become members of the association.

Executive Officer 1818-1822 Malvern Rd, East Malvern VIC PO Box 4000, Glen Iris VIC 3146 Phone: (03) 9885 0855 Fax: (03) 9885 0866 Email: info@breastfeeding.asn.au Web: www.breastfeeding.asn.au

Sales Mothers Direct Pty Ltd PO Box 4500, Glen Iris VIC 3146 Phone: (03) 9886 9399 Fax: (03) 9886 9033 Credit card orders: 1800 032 926 Email: mothersdirect@breastfeeding.asn.au Web: www.mothersdirect.com.au

Lactation Resource Centre PO Box 4000, Glen Iris VIC 3146 Phone: (03) 9885 0855 Fax: (03) 9885 0866 Email: lrc@breastfeeding.asn.au

Essence Advertising

Our vision For babies to breastfeed exclusively for six months, with ongoing breastfeeding for as long as mother and child desire.

Our mission As Australia’s leading authority on breastfeeding, we educate and support mothers, using up-to-date research findings and the practical experiences of many women. We work to influence our society to acknowledge breastfeeding as the norm for infant nutrition.

Contacting an Australian Breastfeeding Association counsellor Voluntary Australian Breastfeeding Association counsellors can help you with breastfeeding information and also with general enquiries including sales. Australiawide Helpline numbers: ACT/SNSW......................................................... (02) 6258 8928 New South Wales............................................. (02) 8853 4999 Northern Territory.............................................. (08) 8411 0301 Queensland...................................................... (07) 3844 8977 ........................................................................... (07) 3844 8166 Townsville........................................................... (07) 4723 5566 South Australia.................................................. (08) 8411 0050 Tasmania (South)............................................. (03) 6223 2609 Tasmania (North).............................................. (03) 6331 2799 Victoria.............................................................. (03) 9885 0653 Western Australia............................................. (08) 9340 1200 Counsellors may be listed under Australian Breastfeeding Association or Nursing Mothers in local phone books. Email contact with a counsellor is also available via www.breastfeeding.asn.au To contact any of the Australian Breastfeeding Association board members please refer to the executive officer.

www.breastfeeding.asn.au 

General Enquiries

Essence • The Australian Breastfeeding Association

Essence advertising c/o Australian Breastfeeding Association, PO Box 4000, Glen Iris VIC 3146 Phone: (03) 9885 0855 Fax: (03) 9885 0866 Email: bookeeper@breastfeeding.asn.au

Essence Editorial (Articles and mailbox letters) Email: essence@breastfeeding.asn.au Angela Spencer 41 Nulsen Cct, Flynn ACT 2615 Phone: (02) 6258 0918 Claire O’Rourke Phone: (02) 9660 8908

Essence Design (Group news and photos) Roxanne Iwinski PO Box 1903, Carindale Qld 4152 Email: rsiwinski@aapt.net.au

© Copyright: Australian Breastfeeding Association No article to be reprinted without the editor’s permission. Personal opinions expressed are not necessarily those of ABA. Products and services advertised in this magazine, with the exception of ABA products, are not necessarily endorsed by the association. Printer: Printgraphics Mount Waverley, VIC. ABN 64 005 081 523

ISSN 0156 0476

YOUR PRIVACY IS IMPORTANT TO US

The Australian Breastfeeding Association collects names, addresses and payment information for the purpose of providing association services. Your personal details will not be given to any other party unless legally required to do so. Our privacy policy can be viewed at www. breastfeeding.asn.au or obtained by calling 03 9885 0855 during business hours. Your personal details may be used for internal fundraising purposes. Should you prefer not to receive these requests, please contact us.


Welcome to

essence The Magazine of the Australian Breastfeeding Association

January 2006 FRONT COVER: Our very new sub-editor for Talking Point, Simone and her son Jed, Coburg, Victoria.

What’s New... A big hello to all the loyal subscribers of the Australian Breastfeeding Association out there who read and enjoy Essence magazine! Claire and I are the new editors and you may have seen our introduction and family pics in the November issue of Essence. If not, here’s a bit of a lowdown – we are both first-time mums with gorgeous little baby girls (Claire has a nine-month-old called Maeve and my little girl, Natalie, is 14 months old). We also share a passion for writing and editing, along with a desire to spread the breastfeeding message. We’d like to acknowledge the wonderful efforts of Roxanne, the previous editor of Essence. We aim to continue her great work in making Essence the informative, down-to-earth, well-respected and intelligent source of ABA news and views, breastfeeding and parenting information. The value of Essence is that it is a great forum for ABA subscribers to share their thoughts and reflections on breastfeeding issues and related topics. Please continue to bombard us with your ideas and questions and feel free to submit articles or emails whenever you get the urge. Submissions are extremely welcome – your views and knowledge can help other readers. So write away! We hope you enjoy the January issue – our first issue as editors. Happy parenting!

Extended Breastfeeding

Volume 42, no.1

features Extended Breastfeeding Sarah Buckley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Breastfeeding After Cleft Palate Repair Alma Boeve-Kroese . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

Breastfeeding After Cleft Palate Repair

Media Watch Ros Kelly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Honorary Members Judy Gifford . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

columns Busy Mums Stress And Breastfeeding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

Honorary Members

Group News New Group Projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Dear Diary Early Arrival . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 At Home Making Play In Your Own Backyard . . . . . 19 Mother To Mother Why Do Women Judge Each Other? . . . . . 22 Talking Point How Did You Find Out About ABA? . . . . . 25

Making Play In The Backyard

From The Lactation Resource Centre Breastfeeding And Schizophrenia . . . . . . . . 29

Claire and Angela

Discovering ABA


In the mailbox... Welcome to the Mailbox again! There have been so many insightful responses to the content of Essence, we have decided to dedicate this page just for your feedback (the good, bad and ugly), photo moments, and the occasional corrections (we are only human too!). You can forward your contributions to: In The Mailbox: essence@breastfeeding.asn.au. Please include permission to use your group name and state.

Isabel feeding Nina, 13 months, VIC.

Mobile membership An ABA subscription is great! A friend from my local group just relocated to a different area quite a distance away. She was pleased to find another local ABA group to transfer her membership to. What a great, ready-made support network for her in her new home! I am fortunate to live in an area with seven ABA groups within easy driving distance and there are some ‘ABA groupies’ (as I have nicknamed them) who do visit more than one group regularly! It is such a great benefit of ABA subscription that members can visit different groups, or even transfer their membership, depending on the convenience of the meeting day or topic. I’m thankful to know that wherever I go, I can’t venture away from ABA! Pip Mercer Kariong group, NSW

Mothers’ Love Rose I just wanted to thank the ABA for the wonderful gift idea of the ‘Mothers’ Love’ rose. I sent it to my mother and she planted it in her garden and just this week she got the first rose and brought it over for me. The rose bush is doing very well and has about four or five other buds. To me, it is a symbol of the special bond and friendship that I share with my mother and I hope to have the same with my three daughters. It is also a great reminder to me that, without the ABA, I would never have made it to 12 months of breastfeeding with my third child. So thanks ABA and to my friend Liz in Tasmania who sent me the gift of an ABA subscription when I was pregnant with Audrey. Also thank you to Sharon, our group leader, for her support. Dianne Atkinson Southern Illawarra Group, NSW All the information Re: ‘I felt like a cow’, (Essence, In the Mailbox, November 2005). I think it is extremely important for women to be quite honest about their feelings regarding breastfeeding. This includes negative feelings. I feel sure that one of the reasons so many women give up on breastfeeding in the first few months and weeks after birth is because they are not prepared for the downsides of breastfeeding. I remember that my pre-lactating impressions were that breastfeeding was pleasant, even sensual and, because it is natural, very easy to do. I didn’t realise that both mother and child actually had to learn how to breastfeed. I had mastitis four times in the first four months of my baby’s life. I was unprepared for how hard breastfeeding was, not to mention

The writer of the winning letter for each issue of Essence will receive a FREE Kyrawear sleep bra courtesy of Nursingwear. These silky-soft bras offer enough support to keep breast pads in place, but are unrestrictive enough for a good night’s sleep. For more information about the Kyrawear sleep bra or to shop online, please visit www. mothersdirect. com.au or www. nursingwear. com.au

the extreme sleep deprivation as a result of hourly feeding. To say that we should raise our opinions of cows to overcome this negativity is naive. Cows should not be seen as symbols of ‘altruistic generosity’. They produce milk for humans because our consumption FORCES them to! My main point is that as long as we suppress women’s complaints about breastfeeding, we will never be able to get the largest possible number of women to appreciate the benefits of breastfeeding for themselves. Only when apprentice breastfeeders are armed with all the information (positive and negative) can they hope to succeed in this very special and ancient art. Ragnii Ingela Grainger Mosman, NSW Natural choice I have just received my first copy of Essence with my ABA subscription. It was a gift to me from a friend who said she would have given her whole baby bonus to have learned about breastfeeding before her baby was born! I am young, recently married and my husband and I are expecting twins for our first pregnancy. Breastfeeding is very important to me and has always been part of the plan. I think the whole concept of Essence and the support groups and advice that have all been set up by the ABA are just wonderful!

A D V E R

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I was actually surprised to find such a wealth of supportive information out there and so many dedicated volunteers who obviously feel so passionate about helping mothers in their choice to breastfeed. It seems to be such a natural choice for me and I hope that by learning from others I am able to make a smooth transition myself. Rachel Nixon Gorokan Group, NSW _



Essence • The Australian Breastfeeding Association


xtended Breastfeeding E The gift of a lifetime

Excerpted from Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering: The wisdom and science of gentle choices in pregnancy, birth, and parenting © Dr Sarah J Buckley, One Moon Press, 2005. www.sarahjbuckley.com

Qld State Conference 2005

Emma, my first-born, was 14 months old. I had enrolled in a course, and, with the feeling of my life opening up again, had begun weaning. It was at that time, a junction between two worlds, that I read a book called Mothering Your Nursing Toddler.1 Starting with the assumption that extended breastfeeding is satisfying for both mother and child, author Norma Jane Bumgarner writes about the security, confidence, and self-esteem that we can give our children when we allow them to breastfeed and wean according to their own schedule. With this new information and a glad and open heart, I recommitted to breastfeeding and continued to breastfeed Emma for three more years. The ease and pleasure of extended breastfeeding continued with Emma’s three younger siblings, who also breastfed to around four years of age.

These four unique, but overlapping, experiences have shown me the benefits of an extended breastfeeding relationship. My children have displayed a physical resilience and emotional independence that comes, I believe, from the access to loving arms and the secure base that breastfeeding provided. Over the years, I have also learned about the more tangible advantages of extended breastfeeding, which is becoming more commonplace as women rediscover the pleasures of devoted mothering in their children’s early years.

Breastfeeding is well accepted here in Australia, with around 80 per cent of babies starting out on the breast. By three months, 54 per cent are still feeding and this has dropped to 32 per cent by six months,2 and to 23 percent by 12 months.3 In the US, 70 per cent of mothers initiate breastfeeding, 33 per cent of babies are still breastfed at six months and 20 per cent are breastfed at 12 months.4 In the UK, 61 per cent of mothers initiate breastfeeding, 21 per cent are still breastfed at six months, and 19 per cent at nine months.5 As these figures show, breastfeeding a toddler is still uncommon in most western countries, but there has also been a recent increase in community awareness and professional support for prolonged breastfeeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends breastfeeding for at least 12 months6 and the World Health Organization recommends that for optimal growth, development and health, breastfeeding should continue for up to two years or beyond. 7 The American Academy of Family Physicians states that “breastfeeding beyond the first year offers considerable benefits to both mother and child, and should continue as long as mutually desired.”8 Extended breastfeeding also has strong historical and cross-cultural support. Mothers in most traditional cultures breastfeed their babies into at least the second year, as did most mothers in western Europe until this century.9 Even in medieval times, the dangers of early weaning were understood and sickly infants, twins and males were breastfed longer than the usual one to two years.10 Katherine A. Dettwyler, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Nutrition at Texas A&M University, estimates from anthropological data that the natural age for weaning is between four and six years of age.9 Extended breastfeeding continues to offer significant benefits for modern mothers and babies. Babies who are breastfed in the first year of life have fewer

Essence • The Australian Breastfeeding Association




One study estimated that our current high rates of breast cancer in western countries would be reduced by almost half if we increased our lifetime duration of breastfeeding. illnesses, both major and minor,11 12 and a lower chance of death.13 These benefits may extend to at least three years of age.14 Breastfeeding gives young children protection from deaths due to SIDS and injuries, as well as infections.13 The American Academy of Family Physicians states that “if the child is younger than two years of age, the child is at increased risk of illness if weaned.”8 The advantages of breastfeeding increase with duration13 and the diseaseprotective effects actually increase as weaning approaches. Some have called

this increased concentration of antibodies, as breastfeeding declines, the “parting gift” to the child, ensuring on-going good health and strong immunity.15 16 Breastfeeding into the second year also gives a strong benefit in terms of nutrition. Research from Kenya, where breastfeeding mothers’ nutrition was judged to be marginal, has estimated that breastmilk can supply up to one-third of a toddler’s daily energy needs, two-thirds of fat requirements, 58 per cent of vitamin A requirements and almost a third of daily calcium needs.17 A US study shows that breastfeeding through the first year has an ongoing dietary benefit, giving a better food intake and less need for maternal persuasion to eat well in the second year.18 Extended breastfeeding also has physical advantages for mothers, partly through the release of hormones in her body as she breastfeeds. Prolactin, also known as the mothering hormone, has been shown in humans and animals to have a relaxing effect on the mother and to enhance her mothering abilities and desire for contact with her young.19 Oxytocin, which is responsible for the let-down reflex during breastfeeding, has been called the love hormone because it brings feelings of calm and connectedness.20 21 Breastfeeding also

releases beta-endorphin, a hormone of pleasure, for both mother and baby, and this hormone may be important in reducing fertility in breastfeeding mothers.22 As well as these immediate advantages, the breastfeeding mother also receives protection against pre-menopausal breast cancer (more so with prolonged breastfeeding) 23 ovarian cancer; and osteoporosis.24 One study estimated that our current high rates of breast cancer in western countries would be reduced by almost half if we increased our lifetime duration of breastfeeding.23 As a GP (family physician), all of these advantages impress me, but as a breastfeeding mother, the best aspects of extended breastfeeding have been the relationships with my nurslings. Breastfeeding has helped me to stay connected and in love, relaxed and open, and reminded me that as big as my nurslings may sometimes seem, they are in reality still young, with strong needs for nurture. Through extended breastfeeding, we can promote health and happiness in our families, and give our children the gift of a lifetime. _ An edited version of this essay was first published in the Courier Mail (Brisbane, Australia), 7 May 1998, as “Breastfeeding and Bonding”. This version updated March 2005.

References 1. Bumgarner N. Mothering Your Nursing Toddler. Schaumburg IL: La Leche League International, 2000 www.myntoddler.com. 2. Australian Breastfeeding Association. Australian Breastfeeding Leadership Plan. Melbourne: Australian Breastfeeding Association, 2004 http://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/advocacy/ 030804abastrategy.pdf. 3. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Breastfeeding in Australia, Publication No. 4810.0.55.001, 2003. 4. Abbott Laboratories. Mothers Survey, Ross Products Division, Abbott Laboratories: Abbott Laboratories, 2003 http://www.ross. com/images/library/BF_Trends_2002.pdf. 5. Hamlyn B, et al. Infant Feeding 2000: A survey conducted on behalf of the Department of Health, the Scottish Executive, the National Assembly for Wales and the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety in Northern Ireland. London: Crown Copyright, 2003 http://www.dh.gov.uk/ assetRoot/04/05/97/62/04059762.pdf. 6. Gartner LM, et al. Breastfeeding and the use of human milk. Pediatrics 2005;115(2):496-506. 7. World Health Organization. Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding. Geneva: World Health Organization, 2003 http:// www.who.int/child-adolescent-health/New_Publications/NUTRITION/ gs_iycf.pdf. 8. American Academy of Family Physicians. AAFP Policy Statement on Breastfeeding. 2005 http://www.aafp.org/x6633.xml. 9. Dettwyler K. A Time to Wean: the hominid (is this correct or should it be hominoid)(I think hominid.)blueprint for the natural age of weaning in modern human populations. In: Stuart-Macadam P, Dettwyler K, eds. Breastfeeding; Biocultural Perspectives. New York: Aldine de Gruyter, 1995. 10. Filds V. The Culture and Biology of Breastfeeding: an historical review of Western Europe. In: Stuart-Macadam P, Dettwyler K, eds. Breastfeeding; Biocultural Perspectives. New York: Aldine de Gruyter, 1995.



Essence • The Australian Breastfeeding Association

11. Cunningham AS. Morbidity in breast-fed and artificially fed infants. J Pediatr 1977;90(5):726-9. 12. Dewey KG, et al. Differences in morbidity between breast-fed and formula-fed infants. J Pediatr 1995;126(5 Pt 1):696-702. 13. Chen A, Rogan WJ. Breastfeeding and the risk of post-neonatal death in the United States. Pediatrics 2004;113(5):e435-9. 14. van den Bogaard C, et al. The relationship between breastfeeding and early childhood morbidity in a general population. Fam Med 1991;23(7):510-5. 15. Lawrence R, Lawrence R. Breastfeeding: A guide for the medical profession. 5th ed. Sydney: Mosby, 1999. 16. Hatherley P. The Homeopathic Physician’s guide to Lactation. Brisbane: Luminoz, 2004. 17. Onyango AW, et al. The contribution of breast milk to toddler diets in western Kenya. Bull World Health Organ 2002;80(4):292-9. 18. Fisher JO, et al. Breast-feeding through the first year predicts maternal control in feeding and subsequent toddler energy intakes. J Am Diet Assoc 2000;100(6):641-6. 19. Grattan DR. The actions of prolactin in the brain during pregnancy and lactation. Prog Brain Res 2001;133:153-71. 20. Uvnas-Moberg K. The Oxytocin Factor. Cambridge MA: Da Capo Press, 2003. 21. Uvnas-Moberg K. Oxytocin linked antistress effects-the relaxation and growth response. Acta Physiol Scand Suppl 1997;640:38-42. 22. Tay CC. Mechanisms controlling lactational infertility. J Hum Lact 1991;7(1):15-8. 23. Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer. Breast cancer and breastfeeding: collaborative reanalysis of individual data from 47 epidemiological studies in 30 countries, including 50302 women with breast cancer and 96973 women without the disease. Lancet 2002;360(9328):187-95. 24. Labbok MH. Effects of breastfeeding on the mother. Pediatr Clin North Am 2001;48(1):143-58.


Breastfeeding after cleft palate repair;

Don’t say it is impossible! Alma feeding Cornelius

Cornelius did not attach on my breast properly, which scared me. I wondered how I could bond with a baby who wouldn’t breastfeed. However, despite his very wide cleft, he eventually attached and began feeding properly by himself. He did not have a strong suck and sometimes I was not sure that he was feeding properly, but was just grateful he was feeding at all. While we were in hospital, his feeds were sometimes supplemented with expressed breastmilk through a tube, due to his low nappy count and lack of desire to feed. Some midwives preferred to use a dropper to feed Cornelius, but that seemed to distress him much more than a feeding tube. I hand-expressed some milk as I was determined to avoid using artificial baby milk. The paediatrician would not give us permission to leave the hospital until Cornelius was able to drink his expressed breastmilk supplements with a special bottle designed by CleftPals* — it was a squeeze bottle with a valved teat. Finally, I was able to bring Cornelius home when he was nine days old. In hospital we used the teat without the valve but at home I used the valve, as it stopped the milk from flowing back into the bottle. This feeding system was not ideal, as Cornelius did not like drinking at all and fought against feeding, often choking several times each feed. So we investigated other feeding options. We

the lactation history of Cornelius Boevé Cornelius was born in Cairns in July 2003 with a very wide unilateral complete cleft lip and palate. He also had club foot and an extra thumb. In the subsequent days and weeks he was also diagnosed with Down Syndrome and holes in his heart... also tried a variety of teats but they all disappeared completely into his cleft. When Cornelius was two weeks old, he was diagnosed with a serious heart condition. We were told he needed openheart surgery within two months and we were hoping to fatten him up to four kilograms before the operation. The aim was to maximise the amount of nutrition Cornelius got and this became our top priority. Fiddling with breastfeeding was a waste of his energy, so the bottle was not a supplement anymore — it became his only food. I was still determined to breastfeed Cornelius, especially considering he had a higher risk for infections. So I kept expressing breastmilk. Due to Cornelius’ increasing demand for milk (and therefore my depleting energy levels to express), I found I needed a breast pump — I had not previously liked the idea of using one. I breastfed my three older children for about a year each, but wasn’t ever able to express enough for a feed. It’s a very personal thing — electric pumps didn’t work for me at all as I could not trigger the let-down. Luckily, I finally found a manual breast pump that worked for me. I managed to keep expressing by taking it one day at a time and somehow managed to express until after Cornelius’ palate repair when he was eight months old. But it wasn’t easy and it is so much harder when your baby is not at the breast at all. Your body is programmed differently — for example, when I heard Cornelius crying, I had trouble expressing as I felt the urge to go to him and couldn’t relax to trigger milk let-down.

My husband’s support was crucial — it was so strong that sometimes it felt like he was pushing me to keep going against my will. There was one incident that made expressing easier for me. We were out on a day trip for too long and I started feeling engorged as I was long overdue to express. When I finally found a convenient place to express (parenting rooms are prolific in Australia), my ‘catch’ was an all-time record! From then on, I reduced the frequency of expressing to four times a day, would only express if I was relaxed and would wait until my breasts were full to ensure a proper let-down. If I needed to increase my supply, I would stay up late to get more milk — mornings were never a problem for supply. Gradually, my days did not revolve as much around expressing — I expressed four times a day and each expressing session was over within 20 minutes. Expressing became a much-needed ‘time out’.

Cornelius at one week

Essence • The Australian Breastfeeding Association




Cornelius before and after lip repair

Another positive step in the feeding process came when Cornelius was four weeks old and we started feeding him positioned on his side. The Child Developmental Unit in Cairns lent us a circular feeding cushion. Using this, he was positioned both upwards and sideways, with the good side of his mouth down. We had less physical contact (but we made up for this in other baby activities) but it allowed for one free hand and it was a good position for burping as he couldn’t vomit or choke. When feeding this way, I even had one hand free for a cuppa! This positioning was also better for his heart condition. Sometimes it seemed as if we were in a vicious cycle — his heart condition affected his energy to feed yet we needed to get his weight up to a safe level to operate. On top of this, the cleft operation couldn’t be performed until his heart was repaired. Feeding was a tremendous struggle and caused a lot of heartache. Most of his bottle-fed life, we have been the only ones able to feed him, as feeding required persistence. Other people tried, but usually gave up before he could drink 40ml. At the time I had never heard of the term ‘oral defensiveness’ so feeding the little guy seemed cruel. His heart condition didn’t make things any easier. He failed to thrive and even though we supplemented each expressed breastmilk feed with Polyjoule (extra carbohydrates), he was still only 3.14kg at 10 weeks old when we went to Brisbane for his openheart surgery. Three weeks after his open-heart surgery, Cornelius was ready to have his lip-repair procedure. What a joy to finally see him with a complete face — it 

felt as if he had just been born! We were so proud. After the surgery we used his own bottle to feed him. It was fitted with a dropper attachment* (witch’s peak) and also a ‘bean-scoop’ attachment* (both available through CleftPALS). The dropper seemed easier at first, but we were glad we also had the bean-scoop attachment as this helped make the milk flow visible before it entered Cornelius’ mouth. When Cornelius got used to this feeding method, it was easier for us to match his feeding pace. Unfortunately, the bean-scoop attachment was not the miracle we were waiting for, as Cornelius continued to fight being fed. We switched back to the original teat and as he became older and more aware of what was going on, we needed to find new ways to feed him. As soon as Cornelius realised he was drinking, he would scream and stop feeding. The only way we could cope was to feed him in the dark (when he

Essence • The Australian Breastfeeding Association

was drowsy) and limit his feeds to four times per day. When Cornelius was eight months old, we travelled to Brisbane again for his palate repair operation. I was still expressing breastmilk and had decided to introduce solids after his operation. On the trip we carried our usual assortment of feeding paraphernalia — a cooler bag with frozen milk stock, bottles and a breast pump. During the whole process we moved a total of 14 times – to hospitals, motels, guesthouses and accommodation offered by our newlymade friends. We had never been in Australia before Cornelius was born and initially only planned an eight-week trip for the birth, intending to return home to Papua New Guinea after that. After the palate repair operation, the first thing Cornelius was able to tolerate was custard. We got the doctor’s approval to continue using Cornelius’ feeding teat after the surgery, as he saw how soft and flexible it was. With the newly-closed palate, Cornelius was now able to create proper suction. The teat was now too fast for him, maybe because swallowing hurt. Feeding continued to upset Cornelius and our method was to catch him unawares. My husband Marco discovered the ‘bib trick’. Cornelius began sucking on everything other than bottles, with a preference for material things such as his bib. While he was doing this, Marco would slip the bottle into his mouth so he wouldn’t notice and gently replace the bib with the bottle teat. I wanted to try breastfeeding again, even though I didn’t get any good advice. I read in an Australian Breastfeeding Association brochure* about a woman

Tina Evans feeding Cornelius


A few days later I took Cornelius to the hospital yet again, this time to get another grommet put in his ear. This had not been possible during his palate surgery as he had an ear infection. It was great not having to carry a bag of frozen milk with me to the hospital — all I needed was me! When we left Brisbane, I poured my excess expressed breastmilk down the sink — nothing to declare at Customs this time! I felt like a brand new mum and my body responded as if I was breastfeeding for the first time, adjusting to baby’s demand, feeling engorged and leaking! It is hard to describe the joy we experienced when breastfeeding finally worked. As I write this, Cornelius is 18 months old and still enjoys an early morning and a bedtime breastfeed. _

Cornelius at 18 months

who tried for six weeks and finally succeeded. I read about a woman in the US on the Internet who lasted only a week before switching to bottles. I got a ‘Supply Line’ (see note) planning to use it once we were back in PNG. Cornelius’ sucking ability gradually improved during the first week after surgery. Within that first week he needed

We then tried the ‘bib trick’ but with the breast instead of the bottle. Sure enough, after a few attempts it worked! He sucked for a long time, as if this was the most normal thing in the world for him to do. Each attempt at breastfeeding for the rest of the day was a struggle, but eventually we succeeded and he had four successful breastfeeding sessions that

The ‘feeding gear’

Alma Boeve-Kroese Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea

Notes and further information: • Alma says that amongst other conditions, Cornelius also had clubfoot and an extra thumb. She says that “not only did he look weird, he also felt weird, floppy like a rag doll”. Later, he was diagnosed with Down Syndrome and then a serious heart condition. • The Supplyline is no longer available and has been replaced by a breastmilk supplementer, which is available through Mothers Direct.

to have another anaesthetic for a hearing test. As he recovered from the anaesthetic, I noticed his sucking motion became quite vigorous and I was hoping that it was strong enough for breastfeeding. I decided to attempt switching back to the breast ‘cold turkey’, that is, I would not give him anything else or feed him in another way. Maybe it sounds cruel, but so far in Cornelius’ short life, it has been the feeding rather than the fasting that has been cruel. Two days later we attempted the experiment, as our three-year-old was staying with a friend. We tried early in the morning when he was least resistant to feeding. I attempted to use the Supply Line, but it upset Cornelius so I gave up.

day! To be honest, I was almost ready to give up in the evening just before his fourth breastfeed, but the next morning he continued to breastfeed as if it came naturally and he has loved it ever since! It was as if he realised this was the proper way to feed. After eight months of difficult bottle feeding, Cornelius had managed to switch from the bottle to the breast in under 24 hours! I hadn’t even realised that there were other rewards from breastfeeding for Cornelius, such as the excellent oral stimulation from comfort sucking that he didn’t get from bottle feeds. Our little boy also became a totally different person personality wise and the bonding from breastfeeding was wonderful.

CleftPALS stands for Cleft Palate and Lip Society. CleftPALS Qld Inc. PO Box 346, Red Hill Qld 4059 Australia Email: cleftpal@powerup.com.au CleftPALS National office: PO Box 475, Lane Cove NSW 2066. Website: www.cleftpals.org.au CleftPals have a range of feeding equipment for babies with Cleft Palates.

Essence • The Australian Breastfeeding Association




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ASSOCIATION

Australian Breastfeeding Association

Calendar 2006

Profiles

Name: Julie Patricia Smith Date joined ABA: 1992 Branch: ACT/SNW Group: North Canberra ABA roles: Board member, honorary treasurer, board advocacy committee chair,

12 beautiful colour and black and white photographs celebrating the beauty and spirit of babies and breastfeeding. $15 each. Order your calendar online at www.mothersdirect.com.au or send this order form to: ABA Calendar 37 Scenic Dr, Koroit, VIC 3282

Payment Details

O Postage 1 – 4 calendars $5.00 O Postage 5 – 20 calendars $8.00 O Enclosed is a cheque/money order (payable to the Australian Breastfeeding Association) for the total $...............................

O Please charge the total payable to my credit card $.......................................................

O Bankcard O Mastercard O Visa Credit Card No.

Expiry Date.......................... /............................. Cardholder’s name................................................... Cardholder’s signature ............................................

Delivery Details Title .............. Given name....................................... Surname ................................................................... Address .................................................................... ................................................................................... Suburb...................................................................... State.......................................... P/C ........................ Telephone:................................................................

ACT/NSW branch public relations officer, advocacy working group member Family: Wonderful partner of 21 years — Mark (age, 21 and a bit he says!). Kids, Cathy (24), Gareth (15) and Roan (9). Why I joined ABA: I received support from the Nursing Mothers’ Association when I was a young single mum. After reading Maureen Minchin’s Breastfeeding Matters and Palmer’s Politics of Breastfeeding when Gareth was born in 1991, I decided this was what I wanted to be involved in for the next few years. Why are you still in ABA? Because the organisation is so full of capable, dynamic caring women who are fun to be with. Also because our unique role as women in birthing and breastfeeding our babies is such a fundamental feminist issue, yet society puts so many barriers in the way of feeding babies ‘our way’. Best thing about being a mum: The immense variety, richness and unpredictability that it brings to your life and the stark reminders that life events are not always within your control. Your tip for new parents: Relax and enjoy. The hard bits don’t last forever and it’s worth making the investment of time and effort. You won’t regret it. Your tip for successful breastfeeding: ‘Feed like a gypsy’ — that is, when in doubt, offer a feed! And talk to women who really know about it — as a young mum I got lots of very helpful information from talking to Nursing Mothers’ counsellors and learned heaps from other mothers’ experience in the national Newsletter (now Essence). If you knew then what you know now: I would have taken a few months unpaid maternity leave (I didn’t know I could) instead of starting my first graduate job full-time when my first child was just 12 weeks old (and doing the expressing/storing bit). I also would have taken her into bed from the start instead of pacing the floor at 2am. Took six months before I got it! Most used appliance: The car. Most hated chore: Phoning teachers when the kids are in trouble at school. Favourite room: We live in Canberra, which has cold winters, and there is nothing like lounging in the lounge room with a good book, music and the log fire burning. Who deals with spiders: Mark views them as pets of a kind (they kill any flies he says), so they deal with themselves, unless they are in the bedroom in which case I relocate them to his study or outside. Favourite sport: Judo and motorcycle racing. But too old to do that now — I just watch.

Email.........................................................................

Thanks Julie! 10

Essence • The Australian Breastfeeding Association


Welcome to a new year and a fresh beginning — again!

Change is inevitable in a progressive country. Change is constant. Benjamin Disraeli, 1867. How often do we find ourselves humanly yearning for stability and consolidation in our lives? Yet, I see myself nodding when I stumble across these age-old quotes and smile at their wisdom and truth. How staid and ordinary we would be if there was no change in our lives. The Australian Breastfeeding Association is no exception. To remain a vital and relevant association in this contemporary world we need to expect constant and challenging change within our membership, our visions and our sought outcomes. As I write this message, we have just farewelled our executive officer of two years and are in the midst of welcoming in the new. It can be unsettling to leave the security of an established relationship, particularly when there are successes to acknowledge and celebrate. But, at the same time there is a sense of excitement at the opportunity to build new relationships, skills and goals. We look forward to the pending changes that a new executive officer inevitably offers our association. Another heartfelt change is a personal one, as my term as president drew to a close at the November board meeting. I look back in awe at the opportunities and challenges that the Australian Breastfeeding Association has provided me over the past two years (and indeed the last 19!). What an immense privilege it has been to serve the association as president and I thank you sincerely - my big ABA team spanning the nation - for the support and encouragement you have generously shown me during this time. While I know I will miss many aspects of the job, I look forward to remaining on the board as a director, taking up some new tasks and still having the chance to finish off all the things I set out to achieve in the first place! This brings me to yet another change at the national level - the imminent new constitution that has been written to replace our memorandum and articles of association. If you haven’t seen a draft of this document, I encourage you to have a read. We are planning to finalise the document in readiness for an extraordinary general meeting to accept the new constitution during June 2006. We will be depending on your vote, so please watch out for further news of developments. I know sometimes it is easy to think that the ‘national stuff ’ isn’t that relevant to us, as ABA subscribers or members at the busy local level. But, it is crucial to our overall success, viability and effective functioning. We can all have an active part in ensuring that we embrace the inevitable changes with confidence. My sincere thanks for all that you do, believe in and share, in the name of the Australian Breastfeeding Association. May you continue to enjoy your precious parenting. _ Wendy Burge – Outgoing President

Invitation to members A new constitution for ABA – your chance to comment

Over the last two years, the Constitution Task Group has been working with lawyers to develop a new constitution for the association, to replace the existing memorandum and articles of association. The change is necessary for the association to conform to the requirements of the Tax Act and the Corporations Act and to accommodate advances in technology, which have altered the way the association operates in some areas. Other significant proposed changes are a reduction in the maximum size of the board of directors (from the current twelve to ten), provision for up to three directors to be appointed positions (rather than elected positions), recognition of subscribers within the constitution and greater provision for decisions to be made by member postal votes. The Constitution Task Group welcomes the opportunity for consultation on the

draft, before it is finalised and ready for presentation to the membership for voting. Explanatory notes have been written to accompany the document. The voting process is planned for an extraordinary general meeting to coincide with the June 2006 board meeting. Any current subscribers who would like to upgrade to full membership status to enable participation in the voting process are encouraged to do so. This involves signing an agreement to be bound by the memorandum and articles of association. There is no additional cost involved. Contact your local group or head office for details. Interested members who would like to view and comment on the draft are invited to do so. Please email Wendy Burge at mwburge@capri.net.au for your draft electronic copy of the constitution. Paper copies may also be requested by contacting Wendy at PO Box 206, Farrell Flat, SA, 5416. The deadline for comments is February 10, 2006. _ Constitution Task Group, Australian Breastfeeding Association

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Funky & Functional Feeding By Jayne D’Arcy

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The breaking point had broken. I felt like I had exposed my stretch-marked tummy to the world one too many times. So I started timing my outings so I wouldn’t have to feed in public. I just felt so obvious; T-shirt pulled up, skin showing, trying to breathe in and feed at the same time. Then my son would suddenly leap off the breast, to look at whoever was walking past. I was tired of the exposure! Then I bought a new top. I cannot believe how much difference a piece of clothing can make. Now I don’t care where I am when it’s feeding time. On the beach, in the main street, at the shopping centre. Yes, I’ve discovered the world of breastfeeding tops. I know, they’ve been around for a while, but I’d considered them as an unnecessary luxury. I bought a few size 16 singlet tops from a cheap underwear store. But they didn’t fit right. My boobs literally hung over one of them, and another’s elastic almost sawed me in half. And, I was not only exposing myself to the world when I was feeding, I was exposing myself when I wasn’t! Purpose-made breastfeeding clothes have inspired me to get back out there and feed in public. It’s much more fun, kind of like “Hey, I’m feeding my baby and you can’t even tell!’ and ‘Look, you can’t see my tummy!’. So what’s available, and what style might suit you? Australian company Fresh Mums makes a series of heavy cotton tops. I’d suggest at least one for your wardrobe. The black widestrap top is my summer favourite, and it’s supportive enough to wear bra-free. There’s also a long-sleeve fitted top and a singlet top. All open for feeding via press-studs under the bust. The tops have breast pad ‘holes’, well hidden by a seam in both the long-sleeved and wide-strap versions. Heading down to the gym? The Blissfulbabes ‘Anna’ style has a sporty back and is lightweight. It has a lift up panel at the front (no zips or clips) and you can also feed by pulling across the crossover. If your bust size has increased dramatically since you started breastfeeding (I exploded from a C cup to an E), you might need more support at the gym. I’ve found that a combination of two tops is ideal. Try the Fresh

Mums singlet under the Lovable Yummy Mummy Cami. Great support and still possible to feed while wearing both! Built-in bra-wise, the Lovable Yummy Mummy Cami, the new and very different ‘nursing bra upgrade’ Corsierre and Glamourmom’s nursing tank will all do the trick. Lovable and Glamourmom both open from bra clips on the straps, differing from the wider-strapped Corsierre which opens underneath the bust for easy feeding. They’ve all got plusses; the Glamourmom is made from ‘Green Cotton’, and now comes in cute baby pink or baby blue, and the Cami is well-priced and comes in a twin pack. The Corsierre has no zips or clips, is very easy to operate and minimises exposure.

Breastfeeding Sleepwear

Who would have thought that breastfeeding sleepwear is necessary? Well, you can make night and morning feeds a lot easier with two essentials, the Blissfulbabes ‘Lori’ pyjamas and the Kyrawear Sleep Bra. The lightweight flowing pjs (with shorts for summer) have two feeding holes hidden in the front pleats, and the shorts are so comfortable you’ll want to stay in them all day! The Kyrawear Sleep Bra is a soft cotton bra which is a breeze to feed in, just push aside the cup; there are no clips or hooks to make half-asleep feeding difficult. The wide elastic band under the bust doesn’t cut into you but keeps the bra in place. In summer I can tell that this Sleep Bra, combined with my nice and baggy pj shorts, will be perfect for comfortable sleeping! Now if only my son would sleep too... Note: Jayne D’Arcy is a freelance journalist who has no connection to any of the brand names or businesses mentioned here.

Available from www.nursingwear.com.au and www.mothersdirect.com.au

Essence • The Australian Breastfeeding Association


StreSS

and Breastfeeding

Stress can be physical or psychological and triggered by happy or sad events. We can feel stressed by happy events, such as planning a wedding or expecting a first baby, as well as the saddest moments. Stress can also be caused by changes to our lifestyle, for example moving house, changing jobs or having more children. Many things can cause physical stress. Malnutrition, illness, drug or alcohol abuse and smoking are just some examples. Research from developing countries provides an interesting paradox – often, mums with poor diets can still breastfeed successfully. It has been shown that mothers can still breastfeed and maintain their milk supply even if they are sick, through expressing. The Australian Breastfeeding Association’s booklets Breastfeeding and Hospitalisation and Expressing and Storing provide useful advice on coping in these circumstances. Psychological stress can be caused by many factors. An inherently stressful event like the death or illness of a loved one, a relationship breakdown or financial events would obviously trigger psychological stress. But it could also be a combination of events, perceptions and feelings creating the stress. Everyone deals with stress in a different way. Some thrive under stress and even seek out stressful situations, searching for that elusive “high”. However, most of us find it difficult to deal with stress

and feel anxious, depressed, fatigued and emotional. Stress may make it harder to cope with everyday problems. Stress on its own may not directly affect breastfeeding. However, if it changes a mum’s behaviour or mothering routine, this can then impact on breastfeeding. For example, a mother may not feed enough to maintain her milk supply and then she will have to deal with an unsettled baby, which could increase her stress and lead to more changes in behaviour. Stressed mothers are more likely to sleep less, eat poorly or get sick. This could reduce the length of a breastfeed, affect the milk let-down reflex or could mean having a distressed baby who will not feed as effectively. It is this vicious circle that can lead to the misconception that stressed mums cannot breastfeed successfully. In reality, if mother and baby are together and unrestricted feeding is possible, breastfeeding can continue unhindered in times of stress. If mother and baby are separated, a mother’s supply can be maintained by expressing. The most common problem reported by stressed mums is the inability to trigger the milk let-down reflex during feeding. This means that a baby may not receive sufficient milk as the breast is not effectively drained. Milk let-down can be improved by using relaxation techniques before and during a feed, applying warmth to the breast at the start of a feed and by gently massaging the breast from the outer breast to the nipple area. If baby is not nearby, a picture of your baby or the scent from an item of clothing can be used to help when expressing. Ideally, removing the cause of stress is the best option to improve breastfeeding, however this is often not possible. The best option may be to manage the stress as best we can. Some good ways we can manage stress are:

• talk about our feelings; • arrange help at home with housework or other children; • seek family support; • seek help from a health professional if needed; • learn and practise relaxation techniques and/or • receive mother-to-mother support from a group such as the Australian Breastfeeding Association. The good news is that breastfeeding can actually reduce stress. Studies have shown that breastfeeding mothers report less feelings of stress, and that breastfeeding is associated with a decrease in negative moods. This could be related to the release of calming hormones when breastfeeding. Depression and anxiety are often associated with reduced self-confidence and coping abilities. Mums can often improve their self-confidence just by maintaining a successful breastfeeding relationship. Breastfeeding can have a positive influence in reducing stress in other ways, as it can: • boost self esteem; • benefit baby’s physical wellbeing; • provide security and normality for baby in times of upheaval; • increase bonding between mother and baby; and/or • provide physical closeness which may benefit mums who have suffered a loss. So whether your stress is caused by happy or sad events, be confident that you can still breastfeed and that breastfeeding may even benefit you. Remember the more milk that is removed from your breast, the more milk will be made. Continuing to offer the breast and feeding according to your baby’s needs means your supply might not be affected by stress. If your baby is unable to come to the breast, expressing milk regularly can maintain your supply. continued next page

Essence • The Australian Breastfeeding Association

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continued from previous page

Thank you to the readers who sent in their experiences of dealing with stress and breastfeeding. Susan Greenbank

Time out for breastfeeding When my first child, Emily, was little, I found myself (in that sleep-deprived “how did this happen?” moment) back at work full-time while still managing frequent night waking. As a result, I was stressed and constantly overtired, feeling like I was doing too much, and all inadequately. By the time Emily was nine months this situation had spiralled into a problem of low milk supply and she was frequently refusing my offers to breastfeed and sometimes biting. Thanks for the wonderful support and suggestions from ABA counsellor Glenda Grove, On her suggestion, I dedicated four days to bed rest and breastfeeding which saw the return of my milk supply and my daughter’s return to my breast. I am grateful to this day for Glenda’s support, which helped Emily and I continue our breastfeeding relationship until she weaned, just after her first birthday. Maxine Capner Townsville, QLD Mother nature to the rescue I recently went through a very stressful time when my grandfather was diagnosed with a brain tumour in early July. By early August he had passed away. As much as I tried to stay relaxed, it was like fighting a losing battle. By the day of the funeral I knew something was wrong. Halfway through the service I felt engorged, which wasn’t right, as my son Boyd (eight months) had just fed! After the service and afternoon tea I went home and fed him again. Still, I felt really sore. At dinner with the family that night I was in agony. I came home and let Boyd sleep with us — he had access to the breast all night. The next morning I felt worse and by lunchtime I had a fever and was aching and shaking. Treatment was antibiotics and unlimited access to the breast for my son, starting on the problem side each time. Within 30 hours I was back to my normal self, but with the knowledge that no matter how hard you try to fight it, sometimes your body tells you when to rest. Stress sure can knock your supply for a six! But, by watching the signs and acting quickly, it doesn’t have to be the end of the world (or your breastfeeding relationship!). Michelle Bancroft Adelaide, SA Blood transfusion How timely that this issue should come up! Recently I gave birth via an emergency caesarian to a miraculously

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healthy baby boy. We very nearly didn’t have him as complications during the labour and delivery left me with a blood transfusion and long recovery still ahead of me, even though my boy is now three months old. I had my blood transfusion over the whole second day and that night will be etched into my memory for a long time to come. I had 12 sleepless hours with a restless, crying newborn to think about! My boy seemed to be fighting my breasts to get the milk out even though I knew there was milk there as I could express it between my fingertips. This was my third baby and his big sister breastfed up until a short time into the pregnancy. I had heard that blood loss and subsequent blood transfusions could interrupt the amount of milk that ‘came in’, but suddenly, after all the sleepless hours and major stress we had already been through, I started to doubt my milk supply. Through my tired, drug-induced haze, I realised there was something we could do. I remembered I had some expressed milk in my freezer — prepared for our previous child! Again, our ABA network came into play and the frozen expressed breastmilk (EBM) we had stashed away was delivered to us for our baby’s next feed. He took to cup feeding like a little champion and was finally satisfied with a full little tum! The staff were bewildered by this situation — who has EBM from another child stashed in their chest freezer? And more to the point, why? Well, precisely for this very scenario. They were concerned that it wouldn’t be ‘safe’ and asked how old it was. I didn’t know exactly, but answered truthfully, ’My daughter weaned when I was two months pregnant, so it’s probably no more than 9-12 months old’. My milk did ‘come in’ that afternoon, but not as much as for my other babies. As I learnt from the lactation consultant’s visit, it could take weeks, even months for my supply to be ‘all there’ so to speak, so I had some work to do! My boy and

I spent LOTS of time skin to skin and he slept, for the most part, with a breast in his mouth. The new day brought with it new hope for our feeding and my supply. I finally went home and we did lots of feeding and co-sleeping. I found that my supply ‘came in’ again at four weeks, six weeks and eight weeks. I don’t think that my supply is as ‘stable’ as it was with my two daughters. By that, I mean it still fluctuates, I still get overfull and lumpy quite quickly. For me, this is different! This stressful experience has left me asking what would have happened if there wasn’t any EBM? Blood loss and the subsequent blood transfusions had an immediate impact on my body, and its ability to produce the milk needed for my newborn, but I am glad we persisted, and grateful for that EBM. Name and address supplied The body provides I breastfed my first child through many stressful situations. Eliza was born when I was 17, into a dysfunctional relationship. I was a solo parent, even though I had hoped to make it work and had to move out of emergency housing when she was three months old into the first house I’d ever rented on my own. These events can rate pretty highly on the stress-o-meter, but when she was barely seven months old, her father died. This was the most stressful situation I have ever had to go through. I continued to breastfed with no problems, as I never expected any. My milk supply did not seem to be affected. In fact, I couldn’t have got through it all without breastfeeding, as I treasured the close bond with my daughter even more while I was grieving the loss of her father. I found housework and preparing meals difficult, as I just wanted to curl up in bed — something that is completely compatible with breastfeeding! _ Miatta Wighton Northern Sunshine Coast

Busy Mums in May Childcare: others taking care of our breastfed babies – manageable or to be avoided? It may be once in a blue moon, or it could be five days a week. Either way, if our baby is exclusively breastfed, how do we ensure our supply remains on track and our carers remain confident. How do we ensure that communication remains honest and open? Send your contributions to: Susan Greenbank, 12 Ebb Street, Aspendale, VIC, 3195 or Email: sgreenbank@optushome.com.au

Essence • The Australian Breastfeeding Association


Around the globe with ...

Media Watch! Should you find an interesting snippet of info from any form of public media, email or post your material to: Ros Lockley 3/501 New South Head Road, Double Bay, NSW 2028 Ph: 02 9327 2049 Email: roskym@bigpond.net.au Welcome to the new Media Watch — a fun-filled, quirky and sometimes controversial spotlight on breastfeeding in the media. I look forward to receiving all your leads from our homeland and abroad. Hope you enjoy! Television/Radio • Bernadine said an episode of ER that aired on Thursday 10 February 2005 showed a doctor walking into a staffroom to find the father of a colleague’s young baby on the lounge breastfeeding using a Supplementary Nursing System. The father was surprised the doctor was so taken aback and went on to explain how his Supplementary Nursing System worked and the benefits of a father being able to breastfeed his baby. • Playschool is spreading the breastfeeding message with images of people and animals eating, including a baby being breastfed, complemented by a song with the words “Everybody Eats”. Print • Edwina Hayes spotted a fantastic article in the Sydney Morning Herald’s Health and Science section, dated 28 April 2005 and entitled ‘Thirteen years a breastfeeder’, in which Joanna Moorhead writes that she breastfed each child for about three years, including a period of tandem feeding. She dispels various myths throughout the article by explaining how she has coped with people’s attitudes towards extended feeding. Joanna presents breastfeeding

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as a rewarding experience and confidently demonstrates the benefits of co-sleeping and putting parents’ relationships with their children first. • Gwenda Jayawardhana, of Queensland, and Maryanne Gore from the ACT both sent in an article from the CourierMail (21 January 2005) that quotes Elle MacPherson as saying that breastfeeding “was the best start in life that I could have given [my sons]. However many women do not get the help and support they need in order to breastfeed their babies...” • There has been support in the media for impoverished societies, such as the Hmong jungle people from Laos, in relation to breastfeeding. The Age reported on 11 June 2005 that the people “had never seen a baby bottle before” but had received such support from an American couple who took bottles and artificial baby milk to them in the jungles of Laos whilst helping them to surrender safely to Lao authorities. As Olivia Ball commented with her cutting of the article, it is disappointing. • According to Jule Zehrung, the New York Times (7 June 2005) reported on calls for a “nurse-in” following Barbara Walters’ negative remark about breastfeeding in public on her ABC talk show, The View. • Byron’s Child (Sept–Nov 2005) published a comprehensive article on breastfeeding and cited the Australian Breastfeeding Association as a resource for mothers needing help. It also used the term “full-term breastfeeding” rather than “extended breastfeeding” when referring to breastfeeding beyond 12 months of age.

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The revolutionary

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• You may have seen former Triple J comedian Wil Anderson and his cohorts laughing about the amusing (and some say distasteful) side of breastfeeding on their late night program, The Glass House (ABC). Robyn Davies also read a very funny article on the topic by Wil in the Herald Sun on 21 August 2005. After many puns on the word “breast”, he likened breasts to a “fancy vending machine, and nobody has a problem with those being displayed in public.” He finished by saying it is probably “time to stop breastfeeding when you’re in a café with your kid and he says, “Hey, Mum, can you put some milk in my coffee, please? Actually, can you jump up and down a bit first? I’d like a cappuccino.” • And a final word on the most beautiful word in the English language, according to the British Council –“Mother”! Thanks to Erica for letting us know. _ Happy media watching! Ros

www.babyRock.com.au ph: 1300 132 936

Essence • The Australian Breastfeeding Association

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Looking Back by Judy Gifford

Honorary Members Left: Lesley Furness with borrowed child

Queenslander Lesley Furness was made an honorary member of the Nursing Mothers’ Association of Australia (NMAA) in February 1992.

Lesley joined NMAA in 1972 after seeing a small article in her local paper. Her family had just moved from Toowoomba to Brisbane and she felt that with her Child Health Certificate, she could give breastfeeding mothers more support than they were receiving. NMAA founder Mary Paton was living in Brisbane at the time and she suggested that Lesley might like to commence training as a breastfeeding counsellor, which she began in 1973. This was a time of rapid growth in Queensland. In 1972 there were five NMAA groups in Queensland and there were 16 by the end of 1973. Lesley qualified as a telephone counsellor in 1974 and became group leader of the Wynnum Group in Brisbane. Lesley was listed in the telephone book for four years and often had 100 counselling calls per month. Wynnum Group had 60 members and she held meetings with very large attendances. Sometimes there were up to 80 mothers, plus children, in her home. There were no answering machines or rosters to help in those days. NMAA had to tread very carefully, so as not be seen as those fanatical nursing mothers. There was enormous discord with the Department of Health in Queensland, whose director publicly said she would crush NMAA if she could. Lesley was the Wynnum group leader for five years, a 20-minute drive away, as well as caretaker of Sunnybank Group. All the meetings were held at night as Lesley was working part-time as a nurse. She became trainee adviser in 1976 and also attended her first national planning meeting in Melbourne. She roomed with Sue Cox and Helen Marsden at this meeting and the three women have remained friends ever since. Lesley was Queensland Branch Representative between 1978 and 1981, at a time when the workload was enormous. Lesley remembers one three-

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month period when 30 women qualified as breastfeeding counsellors. Queensland had many problems to overcome, not only because of the size of the state and the isolation of counsellors and members, but also because of the logistics and cost of keeping in touch with them and the location of the national headquarters in Melbourne. The main fundraising event in the late 1970s was a branch street stall in the centre of Brisbane. In 1980, when regions were first formed, Lesley was the regional representative for the Brisbane Metro and Gold Coast Regions. The branch newssheet, Partyline, became a reality on her kitchen table in the same period. The name chosen was the result of a state-wide competition. Lesley was appointed as a member of the Structure Review Committee in 1982. This was a national committee that met in Melbourne over two weekends to develop a new structure for the fastgrowing association. Lesley served three years as a board member between 1983 and 1986. In this period, NMAA developed the Supply Line (a device to help women increase their milk supply) which was banned in Queensland as it was alleged to be in contravention of health legislation. Lesley represented NMAA at many meetings with the Queensland Department of Health and the health legislation was amended in 1985. It was a busy time for Lesley, balancing her life between volunteer commitments at all levels in NMAA, working parttime raising four children and filling other roles as a parent (school tuckshop, swimming club committee) and still finding time to play tennis. Lesley still recalls her embarrassment when the then national president, Pamela Fletcher, rang to discuss an important item on the next board agenda, only to find that Lesley was out playing tennis! In the same period, NMAA’s financial viability was under threat when a writ was issued against the association. Lesley represented NMAA in a court case in

Essence • The Australian Breastfeeding Association

Mackay. In April 1986, the Queensland Supreme Court found in favour of NMAA, with court costs coming close to $100,000. This money was covered in part by insurance and largely from an appeal to members. In August 1985, Lesley and Elizabeth Mills represented NMAA at a health professionals’ planning meeting in Melbourne. The aim was to improve the breastfeeding knowledge of health professionals and to ensure NMAA’s perspective was maintained. There were two outcomes from that meeting — the establishment of the Lactation Resource Centre and the development of Wendy Brodribb’s Breastfeeding Management in Australia. Subsequently, Sue Cox represented NMAA at a meeting in America to develop the IBLCE which sets the international standards for lactation consultants. After her period on the board, Lesley became convenor of the Community Education Unit. Other positions she held included WHO (World Health Organization) Advocate for Queensland and coordinator of the Community Education Working Group. On January 23 1987, the Brisbane City Council honoured her with a Citizen’s Award, in recognition of her outstanding community service. In 1992, the NMAA awarded her honorary membership. She resigned as a counsellor the following year but maintains a keen interest in NMAA/ ABA affairs and regularly attends ABA functions. Lesley and Albert have four adult children, one of whom is a lactation consultant and they are the proud grandparents of nine breastfed grandchildren. They continue to travel widely in Australia and overseas. “There have certainly been more triumphs than trials in NMAA for me, and I have made some wonderful friends from all over Australia. The support of my husband made my work for NMAA so much easier”, Lesley says. _


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Booklet Posters – “Because…” series laminated A4 posters in full colour illustrating 3 linked booklet covers. includes catchy phrase and ABA website address. Essential item for all ABA displays. Great resource to promote breastfeeding and increase booklet sales. Cost $8 each or $60 for a full set of nine. Postage is included. Phone Sally on 03 9776 6464 or e-mail: slombard@bigpond.net.au Post your order with cheque payable to: ABA Langwarrin Group addressed to Sally Lombard 13 Melaleuca Cres Langwarrin 3910 Left: State member Bonny Barry holds 4month old baby Makayla, Group Leader and breastfeeding counsellor Rachel McDonald, and breastfeeding counsellor Emma Radel at Aspley group meeting.

grant success for Aspley group, Qld.

Congratulations to the Aspley Group on the successful Gambling Community Benefit Fund Grant allowing the purchase of four new electric breast pumps, complete with demonstration kits and cases. State member, Bonny Barry, visited our group meeting in July to join us in our success and our discussion of postnatal depression.

Thanks to the hard work of our breastfeeding counsellors Rachel McDonald and Emma Radel, the group now has a total of six breast pumps available for hire. The Aspley Group, once struggling to survive, is now prospering with over 40 members thanks to the loving guidance of our group leader, Rachel McDonald and the support of the group helpers, members and the regular attendance of our committed breastfeeding counsellors Margaret Bishop, Gill Uillon and Emma Radel, who are always available for breastfeeding support. “The funds raised through the hire of the pumps will help us continue to support mothers in the community”, said Rachel McDonald. _

send group news to: roxanne iwinski – PO Box 1903, carindale Qld 4152. email: rsiwinski@aapt.net.au Advertising disclAimer the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) does not endorse all products that are advertised but aims to provide current information on products designed to support the breastfeeding mother, without discrimination or bias, to our wide variety of members. For further information on advertising guidelines email: eo@breastfeeding.asn.au

ABA is now joining the current trend with their new silicone wristbands. Each comes individually wrapped in cellophane bags at an affordable $3 each + postage Postage: 1-6 bands $2ea. 6-30 bands $4ea and 30-80 bands $8ea. Larger quantities please enquire re postage. to order contact cathy (south east region sA/nt) on 08 8752 0197 phone/fax or email:abaseregion@yahoo. com.au or post PO Box 185 Bordertown sA 5268.

2006 slimline diArY Attractive 2006 diary (15cm x 9cm) with own pen in neat front cover pocket. comes in gift box. Only $8 each or $6 each for 5 or more plus postage (1-2 $1.00; 3-5 $4.65). Payments by cheque or internet. Contact Desley on 07 3841 0932 or ABA Qld Branch office 07 3844 6488 or fax 07 3844 6646. Email: abaqld@powerup.com.au

Essence • The Australian Breastfeeding Association

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Dear Diary... By Tammy Schwarzl

My first pregnancy was problem-free until the last eight weeks, when I experienced low blood pressure, causing me to pass out. This was particularly a problem when I was travelling by car or to work on the train. I also experienced fluid retention, which meant that shoes other than thongs were out of the question. At my 40-week check-up, the doctor booked an induction for the following Tuesday (two weeks overdue), but I went into labour naturally on the Thursday night at 8pm. My first contractions were seven minutes apart, but weren’t that painful. At about midnight, I asked my husband to drive me to the hospital. When we arrived, I gave the midwife my birth plan — I wanted no drugs and no visitors other than my husband while I was in labour. By 6am I ended up with four relatives in the room and was too involved in labouring to say they couldn’t enter. Bubs was posterior, which caused intense back pain and I found it difficult to get any relief, so I had a pethidine injection. I tried some gas when the pethidine starting wearing off, but I swear it was turned off as it had no effect on me. By about midday I was so exhausted. My cervix was fully dilated, but bubs’ head was nowhere to be felt. At 1pm I was given an epidural and informed that I would need a c-section. Everything is a blur from then on — the next thing I remember is giving my daughter Tahlia a welcoming kiss at 3pm. I saw her for less than a minute, before she (along with my husband) was whisked away to the nursery while I was stitched up and left all alone. I didn’t get back to my room until an hour later and by then, we had more visitors waiting to see us.

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When I saw Tahlia she was wrapped in a fresh bunny rug and had been bathed. I never got to hold her against my chest or smell her fresh from me, covered in goo. This bonding experience was taken away from me. My husband, Tahlia and I had no family time before our relatives arrived, therefore we also missed out on this special experience. I turned to my husband the next day and said, “If I cannot breastfeed I have failed as a mother already”. I felt so defeated having the c-section because I had no warning of this possibility.

We took her to a chiropractor, who fixed the problem after only two treatments — Tahlia was a different baby. I felt I couldn’t cope with my breastfeeding problems by myself, so I sought assistance from a breastfeeding clinic and later, the Australian Breastfeeding Association, who both proved to be my saviours.

I didn’t find breastfeeding to be easy because I had little prior knowledge and hadn’t experienced people around me doing it. However, I had read a lot of articles and books on the topic. I spent eight days in hospital and breastfeeding during that time was so painful. My nipples were badly cracked and kept bleeding every time I attached Tahlia. I was advised to express the blood before attaching her — there was about an inch of blood in the bottle. I wasn’t expressing blood like this when I went home, but I did start using nipple shields. Each feed was so agonising, I would cry and curl up my toes. The pain of my c-section was nothing compared to this. To make matters worse, Tahlia suffered from colic.

Tahlia was a chubby bubby — every time she was weighed she had gained around 350-500g in a week. She was a perfect example of a breastfed baby. I never used dummies as I was told it could cause nipple confusion, although Tahlia does suck her index finger for comfort. I was so determined to breastfeed successfully that nothing was going to stand in my way. I breastfed Tahlia until she was 15 months old, despite lots of unsolicited advice against breastfeeding. I am so proud of the fact that I stuck with it through all the pain and tears — it has been worth it. I encourage all new mothers to seek support from the experts and to keep persevering if you want to keep breastfeeding. _

Essence • The Australian Breastfeeding Association


Josh and Nathan Baulch

Size doesn’t matter Until recently, we had no yard at all! But with a very active 14-month-old girl (Paige) and another bubby due on Christmas Day, a unit on the second floor just would not do! So a few weeks ago we moved to a house with a yard and we now have a very happy Mum and toddler! Paige has gone from sleeping six hours a night to ten and sometimes eleven hours! Must be all that fresh air and running around! We can’t use our front yard yet, as it is unfenced, but the backyard, although not huge by any means, is fully fenced and Paige can run around to her heart’s content and I know she can’t really go anywhere!

Making Play In Your Backyard We really do love our backyards! Whether they have small or large outdoor spaces, there are lots of lucky families out there enjoying the great Australian outdoors. With all the backyard renovation shows on TV today, many people are inspired to make great use of the areas surrounding their homes. It is interesting how the shrinking size of backyards has led to a spurt in creativity. Many people are using parts of their backyards as outdoor rooms and changing furniture (so to speak) across the seasons. A pool corner in summer can be packed up and used as a seating area in winter, or a deck area with a wheel-away BBQ can turn a kid’s play area by day into a great dinner party spot by night! Some people relocate frequently for work or social reasons, so they have all their outdoor features easily moveable. Even some really elaborate water features can be moved these days. Others make great use of local parks, beaches and reserves when apartment living doesn’t allow for their own patch of green. Pot plants too can add a taste of nature when space is really tight. For me … people often tell me that walking around my backyard is like watching clowns emerge from a little car at the circus! Yes, I have a pretty compact

yard area and I do try to pack it in. We have a deck off the back of the house that we all but live on, with room underneath for playing and storing kayaks and all sorts of toys, and an above-ground pool with chooks running underneath the surrounding decking — if you swim near the edge of the pool and peek between its top and the timbers you get a lovely farm yard ‘chooky’ scene while you swim! I’m told this is a rather unique pool surround! It has definitely come into its own when a few anxious young ones have come over for some water confidence and have only calmed down because of the distraction created by the chooks. We are also ‘wannabe’ bushies, so we also squeeze in a fire tin, in which we have great campfires roasting marshmallows and make billy tea. A small workshop, vegie patch, a gazebo frame covered in vines to sit under and about 20 fruit trees (that will hedge together when full size) creates the scene. Not forgetting what looks like a zillion pushbikes out the front! Just add two big boys, two little girls and there you have us! A bit of a jumbled mix at times but full of the things we love best. I hope you all have a wonderful time in the great Australian outdoors this summer. Kirsty Steer

We do have a BBQ — not the massive brick built-in my husband dreams of — but a smaller one that can be wheeled away into the shed when not in use so it doesn’t take up space all the time! Same with the pool — not the big heated in-ground pool with slippery dip and spa that I dream of — but a small pool that barely comes up to my knees with a gazebo over it to avoid sunburn. Again, when not being used, it can get packed away and we have more yard space again! Paige has a rocker outside which she loves, but what she loves the most is her Daddy’s compost heap! Those two will spend ages out there each with their own spades digging away! Paige is getting an outside play gym for Christmas so we’ll see how much space we have when that goes up! You make do with what you have and maybe not having the huge backyard with all the trimmings is a blessing in disguise — you are forced to use your imagination! Melissa Robinson Port Macquarie, NSW Holiday spirit at home A year ago, we moved from a small two-bedroom villa with a stamp-sized backyard, to a house almost twice as large, with a great backyard for children and adults alike, and a pool, which has been really useful during summer. There is enough grass to run around on and we have a swing set, vegie patch (albeit presently overgrown!), many great trees for climbing — including a macadamia tree with heaps of yummy nuts and wonderful front and rear covered verandahs. Last Christmas, my sweet husband gave me a three-person swing to put out on our rear verandah. Just this week I have cherished sitting out there feeding our baby while watching our girls tear round the backyard after each other. If you could cook me my dinners and do my washing I would think I was on holidays! Pip Mercer Kariong Group, NSW

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Essence • The Australian Breastfeeding Association

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As he grew into an extremely active child, Dominic kept discovering new things to amuse himself, such as splashing in the birdbath, paddling in the pond after rain, collecting leaves and twigs, watering the plants with his baby watering can and waving to passers-by from the gate. His borrowed yellow gumboots are his essential daily uniform. Hannah and Laura Mercer

Garden of education Our backyard has been a great source of entertainment and fun for our little boy, Dominic (15 months). From when he was three months old, his pram was parked under our huge shady golden rain tree for some fresh air in the afternoon and he would kick his legs and squeal with delight at the clouds and birds overhead. The pram was gradually replaced with the playpen as he’s now running. We only have a small patch of lawn but the rest of the yard is a “boy’s own adventure” area with a large rainforest-style garden with logs, slopes, a chicken shed, a fort, sandpit, swings, a slippery slide, ornamental rocks, a (mostly dry) pond and plenty of leaves and twigs to examine. I’m sure the terrain encouraged him to walk early (9.5 months) as he seemed so keen to spend his days outside!

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Now that summer is upon us, I’ve had to come up with cool, shady ways to let him play outside. So now, he uses our pop-up beach tent as a sort of jumping castle in the morning and has a paddle in his plastic wading pool in the afternoon. He still likes to eat afternoon tea sitting on a log and lying back on the grass watching the birds and planes. He knows every inch of our large yard and the names of things in it, although he can only point to them! And he now sleeps for three hours in the heat of the day, so I no longer have to worry about him being exposed to the sun. I would have loved to have given him the sort of country upbringing that I had but as it’s not possible, our yard has proved to be a great alternative and beneficial for his development. He couldn’t be happier. Toni Lucke Becciu via email Backyard babysitter Our family loves our big backyard! We have two boys (Josh, 4, and Nathan, 2) who use it for hours each day. I am pregnant with our third child and have just come through several episodes of the flu as well as morning sickness and the usual tiredness. So I was very glad to be able to leave the boys happily playing in the backyard while I rested as much as I could. Josh pretends our backyard is his farm. He is always on his digger, sowing, harvesting, watering or fertilising some crop in our yard. Nathan loves to ride his little motorbike and mow and whippersnip our lawns. One of the great things about living in the country is that we can afford a big yard. We wouldn’t want to be living anywhere else. Leanne Baulch Leeton, NSW

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We have a wonderful backyard which my two sons love spending time in. It’s big, fully- fenced and very private and it’s great to know the boys can play out there safely. There’s some lawn for them to play on without grazing their knees and also a long, wide driveway, which is a safe place for them to ride their bikes. Because our block backs onto vacant acres, we also get to enjoy some native bird and animal life. Kookaburras and magpies are frequent visitors, as is the blue tongue lizard in the summer months and possums often hide in our trees. Our house is rather small — that’s why our yard is so big — so entertaining usually happens outdoors. The screened enclosure at the rear of our house is where we host family gatherings and birthday parties and our guests usually spend most of their time enjoying our backyard. Susan Lear Gorokan Group, NSW Garden for all seasons When we were house-hunting, I specified the need for a large backyard as one of the essentials. These days, our backyard has a vegie patch, fruit trees and some tough local species planted around the edges. We don’t quite have enough shade from the west, but the trees are growing and will get there soon (one advantage to growing Australian natives is their speed). My eldest son loves kicking a ball around the yard and he has a special area for playing with his Tonka trucks and digging. He’s helped me plant seeds in the vegie patch and loves harvesting the cherry tomatoes and strawberries. He also climbs one of the trees. Our guinea pigs help us with the mowing and provide nutrients for the vegies. I’d love to get some chooks but haven’t yet managed to persuade my husband! Now its spring, I’m enjoying my native flowers, particularly the scent of the Fringed Wattle. I’m looking forward to planting out the summer vegies. And this year, I’ll have my own Christmas Bush to decorate the house with! _ Ellen Hrebeniuk Strathfield Group, NSW

NoveMber CorreCtioN: Cooking for nutrition, speed and a budget is needed for the March issue, not January. More letters welcome!

At Home in May Making music in and out of the home. Share your musical ideas for calming and/or entertaining yourself and your family — musical toys, special CDs, annual festivals/events and even the pots and pans in the kitchen. Send your contributions to: Kirsty Steer, 9 Joshua Close, Wauchope, NSW 2446 email: kirstysteer@hotmail.com

Essence • The Australian Breastfeeding Association


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Imagine: your baby could soon be telling you “I’m hungry”, or “I’m sick”, or “I see a dog”, or “I need my nappy changed” … long before they are able to talk. Thousands of parents and carers across Australia are now discovering this phenomenon through Tinytalk, a fun and easy way of communicating with babies and toddlers through simple gestures. After two decades of research, this amazing way of communicating with hearing babies aged between six and 30 months has been shown to help improve a baby’s intellectual development and actually help babies to talk sooner. It can see them having 50 extra spoken words in their vocabularies by the age of two and at the age of three, they can be saying and understanding words equivalent to that of most four year olds. Queensland speech pathologist Helen Diamond says that using gestures is an early form of communication and is a prerequisite for speech. Gestures develop earlier than speech as the hand muscles are easier to control earlier than the mouth muscles. The Tinytalk system is so easy to use that childcare centres are successfully incorporating it into their Nursery and Toddler rooms as part of their everyday activities. The centres are finding that babies are communicating to carers when they are hungry, tired, thirsty, and sick, thereby reducing frustration and assisting carers to understand the children’s wants, needs and feelings more quickly. Tinytalk is the first to produce Australian products that are fun, quick and easy for all parents and carers to use. These products (books, DVDs, flash cards, parents’ packs and childcare packs) require little practice to start signing. Best of all, Tinytalk makes for happier babies and happier babies make for happier parents and carers - who wouldn’t want that? For more information please contact Tinytalk on 07 5580 5586, email info@tinytalk.com.au or visit the website www.tinytalk.com.au.

Essence • The Australian Breastfeeding Association

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Why Do Women

Judge Each Other? Like many other mothers, I have been judged and criticised for many of my parenting choices. Comments have been made about excessive breastfeeding, not breastfeeding often enough, still feeding the toddler, still feeding the preschooler, letting her sleep with us, having a third baby, having a fourth baby, home-schooling the children, and now that we are planning to send them to a school next year, I find myself having to explain that to the same people! It hurts that these comments mostly come from the people I love most — my family — and, after reading the letters that have been sent in, I see now that they were comments made out of love and concern for my children and it is probably my own insecurities that make it sound like criticism. I have found that my closest friends have been incredibly accepting of my mothering — but most of them have already been mothers and many are Australian Breastfeeding Association counsellors! There is rarely one simple reason why I have chosen a particular parenting path, so I have learned to answer questions about my choices with the explanation that it is right for us at this point in time. This leads me to another choice that I know I won’t be criticised for — this is my last contribution as sub-editor of Mother to Mother. Jayne Garrod will be taking over from me from next issue. Thankyou to all the contributors over my time; those who got into print and those who didn’t. I have enjoyed receiving your mail and encourage everyone to contribute whenever possible. Farewell. Carol Chapman

Why do we do it? I suspect it makes us all feel better about ourselves. In a job that doesn’t get a lot of recognition, judging others can be a way to give ourselves a pat on the back. I don’t think it is right and I try not to do it (out loud especially) and I feel horrible to admit that I have judged others. Bragging about our own achievements is really trying to say ‘I’m a good mother, I care about my children and I’m trying to do everything that I believe is in their best

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interest’. Isn’t this what every mother is saying? We all have different values and beliefs — just the way we parent and the choices we make are different. This opens the door for thinking, ‘the way I do it is the best way or the right way’. Acknowledging that every mother, baby and situation is different helps me to realise that I can’t judge others. It is no fun to be judged, especially when so much of our life is out of our control. I find most mothers are quite understanding. It’s easy for us to judge ourselves harshly when it is our toddler throwing a tantrum and we perceive looks from others as being judgemental, yet they may actually be feeling for us not against us. I have noticed that I now judge others less because of my involvement with the Australian Breastfeeding Association and its policy of supporting every mother equally. Miatta Wighton North Sunshine Coast, QLD Overworked and unappreciated I believe that judgemental comments are sometimes an automatic reflex — passing on the hurt that has been done to us at some time or other. Parents are an oppressed group, and oppressed people unfortunately take it out on each other. Because we are women, mothers also face the oppression of sexism (which devalues us as people) so are on the receiving end of a double whammy of oppression (and there are no winners when any subset of people are oppressed). As parents, we are all overworked and under-appreciated. Sometimes it can make us feel (momentarily, on the surface) ‘better’ about our own parenting to criticise another’s. What we really need is someone to listen to how hard our lives are, without offering solutions or downplaying our feelings. As parents, what we really need is more support from the wider community for our work — from non-parents too. Being vulnerable to comments about whether our child is gaining weight and developing at a ‘normal’ rate is one form our oppression takes — it is sometimes a struggle to remember that our children are fine and that we are not competing with other parents. Even when our children are sick or have developmental delays, for example, it is not our fault — we love them all the time and always do our very best to care for them.

Essence • The Australian Breastfeeding Association

I recently gave birth to my second child. This time I am less vulnerable to people’s comments, because to some degree I have already worked out what works for me as a mother and primary caregiver to our two boys. I am less likely to consult a baby book for reassurance and am more confident that my child is thriving. The array of experiences built up from child number one have taught me that there is no right way. I can more easily see that what parents do with respect to their children is all well intentioned ‘guesswork’, often done under pressure, when exhausted, and with few breaks to rejuvenate, and not many extended family members and friends to share the work. I know that all parents — myself included — always do the very best we can. The other day I took my baby and toddler out to a large community event in changeable weather — the first time I had attempted anything of this kind on my own. Two questions that came at me on the outing were, ‘Have you tried a double pram?’ and, ‘Is it good for babies to lie downhill like that?’ both of which felt to me like criticism of what I was doing/not doing. They may not have been intended as such and were probably intended as either helpful advice or perhaps were just small talk without much behind them. What I really could have done with was some appreciation (how about a round of applause) for attempting this challenging feat. I felt exhausted afterwards, as much by the conversations I had experienced as anything else. Even when people are seemingly complimentary of my baby and ask a question such as, ‘Is he always this calm?’, I am quite often at a loss for an appropriate response. Having reflected on it over many hours, I now think I should respond by inviting people to come and spend a few hours with us — or a week! They would soon learn that my son has just as many moods as anyone else on the planet and of course he needs to let his feelings out sometimes. I’d certainly appreciate a roster of other people being available to listen to him when he does! Bernadette Anderson Wagga Wagga, NSW Give each other a break My husband and I have our own style of parenting when it comes to our beautiful seven-month-old daughter, Tannah. I don’t see why you can’t just do what works


ABA meetings offer non-judgemental support and information on many parenting issues.

for your child and family without being judged by everyone else. Some people are uncomfortable because we co-sleep at night and some disagree because she sleeps alone in her cot during the day. Tannah is a very happily breastfed baby but we have also introduced solids. Too early, according to some; too late, according to others. I’m planning to breastfeed her until she is ready to stop — I’m already getting grief over that! She also has a dummy — there are about 50 schools of thought on that! These things work for us so why can’t it be accepted that every child, parent and situation is different? Mothers (and fathers) do what they feel is right in their hearts for their own children — whatever that is! Give each other a break, Mums, and enjoy however it is that you parent and whatever your baby is! Shae Reynolds Sunbury, VIC Liberated society? When I became pregnant for the first time I was overwhelmed by the number of unwelcome and judgemental comments I received from strangers, friends and family alike. Then I actually had the baby and needed a deflector shield! Do people realise the venom with which they sometimes deliver their comments? Are they so judgemental because they, too, felt judged as a parent, so in some bizarre subconscious way, wish to carry on the cycle of judgement? My husband and I quickly learnt to guard our comments about co-sleeping and breastfeeding when talking to some people as it just wasn’t worth the argument. I do get sick of sometimes having to defend my parenting choices and feeling like a square peg in a round hole at some of my extended family’s gatherings. But then I remind myself that I have pretty much always felt that way around those family members, even when I wasn’t a parent, so maybe it’s them and not me. I am myself judgemental sometimes, and I catch myself doing it and get very disappointed. I am amazed that we live in such a liberated society compared to our parents’

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generation, yet we still find things to pass judgemental comment on. Maybe we are indeed not as liberated as we have been led to believe. I am thankful for my own parents’ practice of teaching me to think for myself and have confidence in myself. I am also continually built up and encouraged by my partner and many close and caring friends. It’s important to find places under which to shelter from the storms! Pip Mercer Kariong group, NSW Frustration and disappointment I used to think that judgemental people were just insensitive or ultracompetitive, but now I’m fairly sure that most of it is caused by anxiety. People who feel competent and secure don’t tend to judge others, indeed, they tend to encourage others. Most of the judgement I’ve received has been from first-time mothers who are trying to boost their own confidence by pointing out how fat, smart or advanced their baby is compared to mine. And maybe any major life change provokes anxiety? My mother-in-law became extremely judgemental and irrational when her first grandchild and my fifth child (second marriage) was born. Her behaviour hurt and bewildered us. Thankyou to the Australian Breastfeeding Association counsellors who helped me deal with my frustration and disappointment. The role of the Australian Breastfeeding Association in informing mothers about the range of normal behaviours and weights and its emphasis on encouragement and validation of all mothers really helps to eliminate judgement at their meetings. That’s one of the reasons mothers feel so secure there! Our group also has ‘coping with negative criticism’ as a topic every now and then and it’s always very helpful and thought-provoking. I’ve made a big mental note to be an encouraging Grandma whenever my turn comes! Name withheld Wisdom comes with experience As a young mum, I often feel that I am being judged. As the average age of first time mothers is increasing, so too is the

Essence • The Australian Breastfeeding Association

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stigma of being a younger mother. I fell pregnant at age 22, which not too long ago would have been quite a normal thing, but from very early in my pregnancy I was aware that I was in the minority. Sitting in the waiting room for my prenatal checkups I was always the youngest mum-tobe, and would get many disapproving looks from older mums. To add to this, I have always been mistaken as looking much younger than I am! Although my labour was quite difficult, my son took to breastfeeding straight away and absolutely flourished. In fact, at 14 months he is still flourishing and enjoying his breastfeeds! Despite this, I felt very isolated as none of my friends had babies, or were really even thinking about babies. When I did go out in public with my son, I got those disapproving looks once again. If he happened to cry I would even get strangers coming up to me and saying, ‘He needs a dummy dear, give him a dummy’ or even worse, ‘You need to give him a bottle!’ I always felt this unwanted advice was given to me because I was young and inexperienced as a mum. As a result I stayed at home a lot in the first few months and grew quite lonely. I knew my son was healthy and happy but as soon as I got those ‘looks’, all my confidence in my mothering abilities vanished. A

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I was fortunate enough to have a fantastic child health nurse who recognised the early symptoms of postnatal depression in me and gave me a list of groups to try out, one of which was my local Australian Breastfeeding Association group. Getting to my first meeting was very difficult, as I knew I would, as usual, be the youngest and probably not fit in. Everyone would probably be thinking, ‘Look at that young mum’. When I finally did get there, I found the opposite was true. The environment was very supportive and I felt very welcome straight away.

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The aspect of the Australian Breastfeeding Association I was most impressed with was how the counsellors drew on the mother’s strengths as a parent and always encouraged her to make her own decisions through useful advice

and gentle guidance. As a mum who felt very judged by the outside world, this approach worked well with me. After a few meetings I befriended a few mums my age (and some a bit older) who are such fantastic mothers in their own right, and suddenly I did not feel so alone. A very big lesson for me was that perhaps the judgement I felt was partially a result of my own insecurities. I have learnt to let go, as best I can, of those feelings that tell us we must be seen as perfect mothers. If my son starts screaming in a supermarket so be it, and if anyone gives me one of those ‘looks’, that is their problem, not mine, and if I happen to get dodgy advice, I will just politely nod and walk away. I know what is best for my boy and I try not to let others’ opinions affect that. A lot of the young mums I see around are bottle-feeding and I often wonder if that is because they lack confidence. I do know that there are many young mums out there breastfeeding doing a great job and I take pride in the fact that I am one of them. Zoe Turner Central Newcastle Group, NSW Kicking our own backsides Why do mothers judge each other? It’s not so much a question of judging each other, but of constantly judging ourselves. Is my baby putting on too much weight? Do I spoil my kids? Am I too harsh on my toddler? Am I doing what the book said? Did I accidentally say ‘no’ too many times today? Am I a bad mother? Society has churned out so many rule books on being a parent, that we don’t know which way to turn or which one to follow. We no longer allow ourselves to trust in our own instincts. We read the books. We ask the ‘experts’ and we measure our success on our children’s measures of size and behaviour as compared to the other kids we know. On the inside, we are kicking our own backsides. Outwardly — it feels better to criticise others. _ Bonnie Young Via email

Mother To Mother in May Separating feeding from sleeping — is it necessary? Feeding babies to sleep seems so natural to many mothers, not to mention convenient, especially if you plan to catch up on some shut-eye yourself. Too often, though, we are haunted (and reminded by others) by the belief that we are creating future problems for babies sleeping on their own — true or false? Send your contributions to: Jayne Garrod: PO Box 454 Chelsea Vic 3196 Email: jgarrod@optusnet.com.au

Essence • The Australian Breastfeeding Association


Photo taken at the QLD Conference, 2005.

The final motivation for me to eventually join the ABA was talking to my friend Annette. She was a qualified breastfeeding counsellor, so I would ring her with any feeding questions and quiz her about being on roster. “Wow, I would love to be able to help other women like that,” I said. The next thing I knew, I became one of the ABA’s 9,800 subscribers when a gift subscription from Annette arrived in the mail, a month before the birth of my second child, my son Jed, who is now 11 months old (Abigail is four). These days, I’m a trainee counsellor and love to spread the word about breastfeeding any chance I can! Here are the stories of a few other subscribers – they tell us how they got hooked on the ABA.

How Did You Find Out About The AbA? Simone Casey

The fog of post-childbirth lifted and there was my firstborn, a little girl, sleeping next to me in her plastic hospitalissue bassinette. On my other side was a table littered with pamphlets. I rifled through them - pelvic floor exercises, tiny babies tucked into the bottoms of large cots to SIDS specifications, how to recognise postnatal depression and breastfeeding classes. Kind of like an instruction book for this baby of mine, I guess. Abigail had fed for a full 45 minutes when first put to the breast, but I’d heard this breastfeeding thing could be hard, so no harm going to the classes, I thought. Little did I know at the time, but, like thousands of mothers each year, attending such classes in hospital was my introduction to the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA). Fortunately, after some initial nipple grazes, breastfeeding Abigail was trouble-free.

Like countless other women, my second ABA experience was ringing the Helpline. I’d picked up a foul gastro bug and was worried my baby would catch it. The counsellor who took my call was so supportive and put my mind at rest because I was actually giving my child essential nutrients to combat the illness. What I didn’t expect, but really appreciated, was her concern about me feeling well enough to feed my daughter when I was so sick with the virus. My third experience with the ABA was chatting to my next-door-neighbour over the fence about his wife’s experiences with going back to paid work after the birth of both of her sons. I assumed he was on infant formula, “Oh no, she expresses, she’s right into the breastfeeding thing,” he told me. Soon after, I noticed an ABA banner out the front of her house; she was hosting a meeting. Hmm. This was getting interesting.

Bitten … by the ABA bug I suppose you could say my ABA life has just turned full circle. When my son Jules (who is 25 now) was three months old, he nipped my nipple with his brand new sharp little tooth. I had been trying really hard to get him to have a feed to settle him, as we were at my motherin-law’s in the country, and I wanted to sit down to dinner with the family. For two days my mother-in-law fed him my expressed milk from the sore side by bottle, as he wouldn’t take it from me. I continued to feed him from the other side. When I returned home to the Gold Coast I decided to phone the ABA (then Nursing Mothers) to ask about biting as I really didn’t want to wean my baby. The counsellor, Jane Turner, was so lovely and encouraging and reassured me that I could continue to breastfeed. She invited me to a meeting that week and I decided to go along. A counsellor there gave me a pile of old newsletters to read and I was hooked. Hundreds of ABA meetings later and twenty fantastic years as an ABA counsellor have been the result of Jane’s invitation. The ABA has led to some wonderful friendships in my life. Glenda Grove – Counsellor North Gold Coast Group, QLD Saving grace I am a primary school teacher and I had the pleasure of teaching a young boy for two years. As it turned out, I became friendly with his mum, who just happened to be an ABA counsellor. When I gave birth to my daughter Lily I was keen to breastfeed and thought that it would happen naturally. Upon arriving home from hospital I had grazed and bleeding nipples and a baby who constantly wanted to feed between the hours of 5pm and 8pm. Because I thought that breastfeeding was something I should have been able to do without a problem

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Bonnie (middle), her parents and baby Alex.

and because I didn’t want to admit that I thought I was failing as a parent I was reluctant to ask for help. A few days after arriving home from hospital, Rachel gave me a call to see how things were going. After explaining all my breastfeeding (and parenting) issues over the phone, Rachel arrived at my house with a handful of books, pamphlets and videos. She listened to my concerns and gave me some great suggestions. Over the next few weeks Rachel’s number was on speed dial on our phone. Whenever I rang she always gave me the time to listen and when possible would come over to our home, despite being incredibly busy with four children of her own. Rachel also invited me along one day to an ABA coffee morning where it was great to meet some other mums over a cuppa. It was also nice for Lily and me to go to a place where we both just felt comfortable. I decided to become an ABA member so that I could give something back to a group that had given me so much. Now seven months on and continuing to successfully breastfeed I know that without Rachel’s support and encouragement I would almost have certainly given up one of the most rewarding experiences of my life as a mother. Narelle Bruhn Irymple, VIC Double motivation I can vaguely remember being aware of the ABA (NMAA as it was then) when my eldest son was a baby. I had the impression that it was an organisation which was there for mothers who were experiencing breastfeeding difficulties. When an ultrasound at 11 weeks into my second pregnancy showed that I was expecting twins, I anticipated having all sorts of problems. My biggest worry was that I would be unable to breastfeed two babies. My doctor suggested that there was a breastfeeding group which might be able to help me, and so began my involvement with ABA. I contacted the Helpline and was soon talking to counsellors, including one who had successfully fed twins. I attended a couple of local group meetings before I became too pregnant to stray from the house and it didn’t take me long to realise that I had found a wonderful source of support and information.

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My twins were about eight months old before I plucked up the courage to attempt to attend another meeting. I was worried about the hassle of getting out and about with two babies, a toddler and all the associated paraphernalia. I needn’t have worried. There were always plenty of willing hands to help me carry things, or grab a baby if I was occupied with one of the other two children. The more I learned about the ABA and breastfeeding, the more passionate I became. Although, due to a variety of circumstances, I have never felt able to make the commitment to train as a counsellor, I became treasurer of my local group when the twins were about two years old, a position I retained until I moved out of the area. Upon moving to my new home, one of the first things I did was to make contact with my local group. It was a wonderful way to meet new people and learn about my new neighbourhood. It wasn’t long before I became treasurer for my current group, a position I still hold. So here I am, a member of 15 years, with no young children, still actively involved with the ABA. Why? Because I am still passionate about spreading the message about the benefits of breastfeeding, and doing my little bit to help mothers in my local community. My biggest regret about my involvement with the ABA? That I didn’t join much earlier, so that I could benefit from all the knowledge and support before my first child was born. Deborah Chatwin Camden/Wollondilly Group, NSW In the neighbourhood My mum was a member of the NMAA and she attended meetings when my brother and sister were little. What really brought my attention to the ABA was the visit we had at our antenatal class. A counsellor came and spoke about the importance of breastfeeding and what the ABA had to offer and I noticed in the bulletin that some of the meetings were held in a house on my street. I put it in my head to go, filled in the subscription form on the back and then forgot all about it. When I was about seven months pregnant, I noticed a sign on the side of the road near my house saying there was a meeting on, but I knew they finished at 2.30 and it was 2... so I didn’t go in. We moved house when my son Boyd was five weeks (now nine months). He got to about nine weeks and I realised I needed to get out of the house! So I called my state office of ABA, got a new bulletin and attended my first meeting (SIDS and Kids – safety and sleeping) when he was 11 weeks old. I am now training to become a community educator - hopefully I will do some antenatal talks and convince mums to come to meetings when pregnant. The

Essence • The Australian Breastfeeding Association

support you get from being a member is fantastic and I hope that I never leave. Michelle Bancroft North Eastern Suburbs Group Adelaide, SA A good rap From the moment I told my family I was pregnant, my mother began raving about the Nursing Mothers’ Association of Australia and how great it had been when I was a baby. It sounded a bit silly to me to have an organisation dedicated to breastfeeding as I wondered what the big deal was. Everyone breastfeeds, don’t they? It’s natural and easy, isn’t it? I knew about infant formula but figured people only really used it for older babies or if there was something wrong. A little bit of reading and talking to friends offered some reality. As I live nearby, I wandered down to the ABA headquarters in Malvern and had a look. There I saw an updated version of the cookbook that Mum has had forever — it felt like home. I also picked up some nursing bras and signed up for an info session on the spot. I went to my first meeting two-and-ahalf weeks before my baby’s due date. The group was so friendly, welcoming and excited about the upcoming birth of my little one. I went home and rang Mum and raved to her about the Australian Breastfeeding Association. I have been the first to arrive to meetings ever since! As well as providing a great support network, I love how positive and enthusiastic all of the members are about being a mum. Being surrounded by positive people has helped keep my spirits up when things get a little tough. Bonnie Young Prahran/Malvern, VIC In the blood Throughout my entire childhood, I was literally surrounded by breasts, breastmilk and breastfeeding. Endless quantities of Nursing Mothers’ literature, a lounge-room full of breastfeeding mums and my mum talking, followed by replies of laughter was what I remember most about my house as a kid. And of course, having lots of other kids to play with. My mum was a Nursing Mothers’ counsellor, Victorian branch president, and held other various roles, for over 17 years. This is the reason why the ABA now plays a major role in my life as I anticipate qualification as a breastfeeding counsellor and plan to take on the group leader role of the same group my mum helped facilitate. I was able to witness first-hand what she and Nursing Mothers’ did for all those mums and I was undoubtedly brought up to believe breastfeeding and the ABA went hand in hand. I guess my mum instilled in me her beliefs and now I carry the same passion for breastfeeding and helping other mothers, just as she did.


Tania and Amy

Now I love seeing her on my breast and think there is nothing more beautiful in the world than feeding your baby with the world’s best food source. I joined the ABA because I feel proud of my accomplishment and I know that Amy will thrive as a result of my persistence! Tania Avtarovski Brimbank Group, VIC

I only now fully understand why she stayed with Nursing Mothers’ for so long and why she still has the same lifelong friends that she trained with or met through this amazing organisation. I only hope I too can pass on the same passion for breastfeeding to my sons and their families. It truly is in the blood! Pascal Donovan (daughter of Jenni Hayes) Mitchell Group, VIC Feeding Amy I always wanted to breastfeed, but was told by my mother and sister that they never had enough supply when they tried. So immediately I felt anxious and wary, but at the same time motivated to try my best. After my baby’s birth on August 12 2005, I couldn’t even hold my darling daughter Amy, as I had lost a lot of blood and my blood pressure dropped dramatically. It was at least an hour before I could offer my breast - she took to it immediately and loved it! I thought it would be so easy after this. Boy was I wrong. Unfortunately, there were so many midwives telling me different things at the hospital that I ultimately ended up getting sore and cracked nipples. One midwife persevered with me and manually expressed my colostrum and gave me positive feedback so I would continue. However, every time I fed Amy, my nipples would bleed and she would throw the blood back up. I was told to express whilst the scabs cleared. This took a good week and in the interim I was artificially feeding and giving expressed breast milk (expressing at 1am and 4am in the morning was a killer!). I went to my local hospital breastfeeding clinic a few times where they urged me to continue breastfeeding and give her my breast first before the bottle. I was scared my supply was too low but the only way I could increase this was through offering her the breast and expressing. It took five weeks to finally exclusively breastfeed Amy and she now loves it. Once I took her off the artificial baby milk she changed dramatically, she stopped crying uncontrollably in the evenings and she slept so much better.

Your number is up I first came into contact with the ABA (then NMAA) when I was studying childcare. As students, we were asked to care for the babies and children of NMAA members as they attended seminars. Looking back, I found the way of alerting mothers that they were needed very amusing. Each mother and baby was allocated a number, which was written on a big piece of paper. If a baby needed mum for whatever reason, the child carers went into the lecture theatre and held up a number. This was a fantastic way of letting the mother know without disrupting the talks. I joined the ABA in 1999, a month before my son Alec was born. I was determined to breastfeed (which I did with great difficulty). I have always renewed my membership because I enjoy the benefits that belonging to the ABA brings. I am currently breastfeeding my third child. My eight-month-old daughter Estelle is my last child, so I will be making the most of our breastfeeding relationship. Alison Bowditch Leigh Creek, SA Through depression, and beyond I have been involved with the ABA (then NMAA) since before I was born. My mother was NSW branch president Barbara Lockwood, so I grew up

surrounded by breastfeeding women. I believe I appeared in a breastfeeding instruction video as the baby and I attended hundreds of meetings and folded thousands of newsletters. Mum gave me a gift subscription to the ABA when I had my own baby, Jasmine, in January 2004. I thought it would be a great way to meet other mothers, but did not expect to need assistance in what was an easy, natural activity. To me, breastfeeding to two years and beyond was normal and I was stunned when I found it extremely difficult. I found attachment impossible until I started using nipple shields. I also had postnatal depression and my worst moments were spent hunched over my little girl, feeling like she was ripping my nipples off, wishing she’d never been born or I’d never been born. The ABA proved to be a great help throughout this time - they couldn’t take the pain away, but there were women to talk to and I called many, many times. I was too pig-headed to give up and finally at five months, it stopped hurting. At ten months, the depression lifted and I could finally enjoy being with my baby. Now, at 18 months, she still loves the bosom and has three feeds a day with no weaning in sight. We especially enjoy first thing in the morning when my husband Tim brings her in bed with us for her morning suck. Thanks ABA for giving me so much support and encouragement when it was hard and thanks Mum for saying it was okay to give up if it got too hard. _ Natalie Maddalena (nee Lockwood) Macquarie, ACT

UpdAtE: talking point in March

Age gaps — long and short — easy and challenging... Whether your children are nine months apart or nine years, there are certainly advantages and disadvantages involved in all types of age gaps between children. Perhaps your challenge was coping with more than one child in nappies or trying to keep your older one’s tiny doll shoes out of the baby’s mouth, or you’ve marvelled at the close friendship your small or large gap offspring have developed?

Talking Point in May Feeding dramas! How to keep a toddler entertained with a babe at the breast. Feeding a newborn with a toddler around isn’t easy. As soon as the little one is content at the breast, it seems your other young miss or mister has gone missing and is too quiet for comfort, needs help with the toilet or constantly pulls on your arm. What worked (and didn’t work) for you? Send your contributions to: Simone Casey, 7 Foch Avenue, Coburg, VIC, 3058 or Email: juzsimaj@bigpond.net.au

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Breastfeeding

Review • Australia’s refereed professional journal on human lactation

• Contains current research, original and reprinted articles, abstracts and book reviews • Directed especially to health professionals Yes, I would love to subscribe to Breastfeeding Review for (please tick): O1 Year (3 Issues) for $50.00 O 2 Years (6 Issues) for $90.00 Delivery Details Title .............. Given name....................................... surname ................................................................... address .................................................................... ................................................................................... suburb...................................................................... state.......................................... P/C ........................ Telephone:................................................................ email.........................................................................

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Breastfeeding and Atherosclerosis: Intima-Media Thickness and Plaques at 65-Year Follow-Up of the Boyd Orr Cohort Martin RM, Ebrahim S, Griffin M, Smith GD, Nicolaides AN, Georgiou N, Watson S, Frankel S, Holly JMP, Gunnell D Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Bio 2005 25: 1-7.

Atherosclerosis is described as the narrowing of the inner lining of the arteries due to the formation of plaques. It can cause illness such as coronary heart disease, and can cause death from heart attack or stroke. Some previous studies have found an association between later coronary heart disease and breastfeeding, whereas other studies have found no relationship. This study examined the relationship between atherosclerosis and breastfeeding. The group of people used for the study come form the Boyd Orr cohort, which consisted of 4999 participants from England and Scotland who participated in a one week survey of diet and health when aged 0 to 19 years between 1937 and 1939. For this study, 405 underwent clinical examination and 339 returned for arterial ultrasound scans. Infant feeding information was obtained from the original survey. The mean age of participants was 71. Breastfeeding was found to be inversely associated with atherosclerosis,

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as measured by intima-media thickness and the prevalence of plaques using ultrasound scans. This association of breastfeeding with reduced risk of atherosclerosis was independent of other possibly confounding factors such as birth weight, nutrition, socio-economic factors and factors (smoking and alcohol) operating later in life. The authors were unable to establish a mechanism by which breastfeeding may influence atherosclerosis, but do discuss the possibility of an association between blood pressure, cholesterol levels and insulin resistance as underlying mechanisms. Acute and chronic viral/ bacterial infections have been associated with atherosclerosis in other studies (although the research is not conclusive) and this study was unable to investigate whether breastfeeding protects against atherosclerosis by reducing exposure to infections in infancy. The authors conclude that it is possible that the promotion of breastfeeding could be a component of the public health strategy to reduce future levels of heart disease. Summarised by Kathryn Wood.

The Lactation Resource Centre is Australia’s centre of expertise on breastfeeding information and resources. The articles presented from the LRC are only brief summaries of studies conducted on any given topic. The research outcomes presented in them are to be taken in context of the complete study, and not conclusive as presented here. For more information, or to assess the complete study, please contact 03 9885 0855 or email lrcdir@breastfeeding.asn.au.

Essence • The Australian Breastfeeding Association


Breastfeeding and risk of

schizophrenia in the Copenhagen Perinatal Cohort Sorensen HJ, Mortensen EL, Reinisch JM, Mednick SA Acta Psychiatr Scand 2005 112: 26-29.

Two previous studies have found that breastfeeding is less common in babies who have become schizophrenic in adult life, however, other studies have not been able to find an association. This study aimed to assess whether early weaning may be associated with an increased risk of schizophrenia. The sample of people used for this study came from 6841 individuals from the Copenhagen Perinatal cohort, of whom 24 percent had been breastfed for two weeks or less (early weaning) and 76 percent had been breastfed for longer. The Copenhagen Perinatal cohort comprises 9125 individuals born between 1959 and 1961. The data on the duration of breastfeeding was collected from the mothers at the one-year examination. Of this cohort, 93 people (1.4 percent) had been independently identified as having schizophrenia (using the Danish Psychiatric Central Register). The researchers examined the incidence of schizophrenia in the early weaning and later weaning categories, and the results showed a 1.7-fold higher risk of schizophrenia in the offspring of mothers who did not breastfeed or stopped breastfeeding within two weeks. The results remained significant after adjustment for gender, social status, maternal schizophrenia and single mother status. The authors conclude that further studies are needed to research the protective effect of breastfeeding on the development of schizophrenia and to replicate the findings of this study. _

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Summarised by Kathryn Wood.

Lactation

through the ages There are anecdotal reports of lactating men in Papua New Guinea many years ago, but doctors at the time never wanted to go on the record about it and provide details. I think ‘everyone’ knew someone who knew someone who ... However, there are a number of reports of lactating male animals, where young animals have stimulated their nipples. The oldest such report we have was in a mid-19th-century Lancet, quoting (and translating) a report in the German journal, Liebig’s Annalen, of a billygoat that was suckling kids. This billygoat must have been the sire of these kids as he was the only billygoat on the mountain. His virility was never in question – there were lots of kids.

Medical Management of Breastfeeding

At last ‘men of sense rather than foolish unlearned women’ are taking over the supervision of infant care. So said Cadogan, an English doctor in the 18th Century. His scientific approach recommended four feeds during the day – at regular intervals – and

no night feeds. The idea behind this was to prevent overfeeding, which Cadogan saw as the cause of diarrhoea. However, in these four feeds a day, the length of feeds was not restricted. Cadogan claimed that these practices were followed in his own household – he was a father – BUT he only had one child. Perhaps his daughter was one of those rare babies that could survive on four feeds a day OR maybe while Cadogan was attending his wealthy clients his wife or the wet nurse was sneaking in extra feeds! However, Cadogan did promote breastfeeding by wealthy women. At the time, newborn babies of rich people were given prelacteal feeds – exotic mixtures of butter, wine and breadcrumbs, and babies were also tied up tightly in swaddling cloths so they couldn’t move. Cadogan observed that peasant women who couldn’t afford pre-lacteal foods and swaddling cloths had healthier babies than wealthy women. He suggested that wealthy women should breastfeed their own babies rather than send them to a wet nurse. _

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Book Corner:

No ‘One Right Way’ by Rhodanthe Lipsett Published in 2004 by Sea Change Publishing (PO Box 1596 Kingscliff NSW 2487) 1st edition. 423pp. Paperback. RRP:$35.00. ISBN 0 9752494 1 X.

Written by midwife Rhodanthe Lipsett, who has over 35 years experience with maternal and infant health, No ‘One Right Way’ is a book for parents who don’t do things by the book! The main message of the book is that all babies are different and, as the title suggests, there is no ‘right’ way to parent your baby. Lipsett covers every aspect of baby care for the first three months of life – topics include adjusting to parenthood, feeding your baby, crying, sleeping, daily care, growth and development, health and first aid. Throughout the book she supports the notion that parents need to find solutions that suit both their baby’s, and their own, needs. Parents are encouraged to get to know their baby and make decisions on an individual basis, not on other people’s well-meaning advice and opinions. The author is very supportive of breastfeeding and often suggests that mothers contact the Australian Breastfeeding Association for help and support. Photos support the text where needed. ‘How-to’ photos of breastfeeding positions, hand expressing, swaddling, burping, cup feeding and Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (for choking) are included. Quotes from mothers are shown in text boxes and there is an excellent resources section and appendix. This is a terrific handbook for new parents to develop their confidence. _

All about submitting articles and photos in Essence... We are always looking for interesting articles, group news and letters to include in future issues of Essence — breastfeeding, pregnancy, birth, parenting, child health, and family relationships, just to name a few! Upon submission, all submitted material will require board approval and proofreading before inclusion in Essence. Our letter sections have always been very popular amongst our readers too. Due to limited space, we cannot promise that everything we receive will be used, and letters may need to be edited heavily. We try to use as many different letters as possible, so in advance, apologies if your letter does not make it into Essence. Please understand that letters cannot be replied to on an individual basis. If your photo is precious, please send a copy, or email/post a separate jpeg file (high quality please!). Photos or graphics pasted in a word document are not suitable. Photos that are clear, colourful and do not exceed 2MB are ideal. If you are unsure about how to save or send a file, please email or phone Roxanne Iwinski (see inside cover). Looking forward to your interesting stories and beautiful photos! Angela and Claire Editorial Team

May 2006 Issue submissions due: Letters, emails and photos to be sent to the topic sub-editor (details follow each topic in this issue). All other submissions to be sent to: Essence Editors — 41 Nulsen Cct, Flynn ACT 2615 Email: essence@breastfeeding.asn.au To be received by 1 March, 2006

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Essence • The Australian Breastfeeding Association

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Essence January 2006