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DOES SIZE MATTER? A mum’s story




TWIN PE KS - AND Coping with more than one baby Coping with more than one baby

KANGAROO MOTHER CARE So simple, so Life-saving



Contents Autumn 2012 In this issue: 3 4 6 8 10 14 15 16 18 21 22 24 26 27 28 30 32 33 OBC










Hi and welcome to the Autumn 2012 issue of Mum & Me magazine. It has been a very exciting journey that has brought this magazine to you. I hope you will find the information in these pages informative, supportive and fun. Many of the stories in this magazine have been written by mums for mums.

After several years in the making, it is now ready. It has been decided that the best way forward is to place this issue of the magazine online, free of charge. This will enable everyone to get a good idea of what the magazine looks like, and it will contain no advertising. If everyone likes it and shares the link with their friends and in their social network groups, I can show the stats to potential advertisers and this will enable the next issue to appear in print, paving the way to helping new mums and their support groups. My dream is to be able to prevent the closure of mothers’ support groups due to lack of funding. We all know that funding is very hard to come by and even when it has been obtained, it doesn’t last forever.


New mothers really deserve to have media that will normalise gentle parenting and breastfeeding using positive role models, images and stories as told by other mums. Mum and Me magazine can do all that and much more! When the magazine appears in print, it will be available for resale by mothers’ support groups. The substantial profit can then be used by the groups to fund themselves – with no restrictions. Someone said it is a bit like ‘The Big Issue’ for babies! We know you will want to be involved in this venture too, and look forward to receiving your birth stories, as well as your comments and suggestions for future issues of the magazine. Thank you for your support. Stella Onions Editor Mum to Josie & Zac 3



d his wifeMy had something to born say on 18 May 2002. The last of four son James was xpressedchildren, surprise all andofamazement, whom I had breastfed for varying periods breastfed,ofothers more time, Iwere never imagined doing anything differently this itor – a stand-in for ifthe time, even heone wasthat my only boy. Also, I never imagined elieve that I wasn’t giving birth‘topping to such him a big baby. would have been death to my t he could not was haveborn gained one a fantastic experience as I knew Jamie at home, s in one week on be, breast milkhad my last daughter at home. it would having ld have –Despite my milk individually hiswas size, once my labour began, it was fairly swift. aby, andMy that is exactly what it found me fully effaced, and 2–3 midwife arrived and meals! centimetres dilated; four hours later my son was in my arms. Magical, extraordinary, and fabulous! The only t fed exclusively he waswas six slight shoulder dystocia, quickly hiccup inuntil my labour gan trying what we generally refer remedied by my brilliant midwife, and a slower second hey are hardly solid was food. Not stage than expected. I didn’t need any stitches, and I he remained was mostly quicklybreastfed tucked upuntil in bed, breastfeeding my newborn ng this time boy.he never fell ill – not tinued to breastfeed fairly often years oldHe (incidentally, thethe age uo was weighed following morning – about nine hours commends babies are afterthat his all birth. Obviously, we knew that he was large, and we estimated around 11lbs. So, discovering that he was a whopping 12lbs 2ozs was startling. We laughed while the y, Jamie midwife droppedsat hisback feedsintoshock, and we exclaimed repeatedly night feed thatonweoccasions. did not believe it. became very tired or a little bit poorly’ isIall hehonestly ever became – hehis size never suggested to me that can say that s, and heI was never sick would have anyeven problems feeding him. By this stage in s caughtmy andlife, brought back home of three, I had a confidence in already a mother We labelled him ‘indestructible’! my body that I probably wouldn’t have had had I been younger or less experienced. I have often felt that it’s ding veryimportant graduallytoand, three this faith in what they can do – giveby women g only occasionally. Four months the same breasts nourished my fourth child as nourished d enough that wasallthat. myand first, after – but it is hard to convince someone that xtremelythey healthy child. He’s neverwhat. can do it, no matter he has had the odd high one course of antibiotics. Where breastfeeding is concerned, if they wish to almost all women can do it no matter what, and this was the ng my son. I let nature its with me when I embarked on knowledge thattake I took not let me – or Jamie –- And down. Hislucky that I did, because he was feeding Jamie. it was ng, but no than of was the all to feed. theless trickiest them meant I could cater for his needs, re, without without Wasfuss thisand because of his size? Well, it certainly did influence how things went. He was an enormously (pun intended) hungry baby and he was also very strong. It was akin to being strapped up to a power vacuum when he latched on! There were painful times, and weepy times,



i never imagined giving birth to such a large baby – he was a whopping 12lbs 2ozs.

N’T N’T N poets’

With special thanks With special to Kate thanks for her to Kate for her wonderful account wonderful of her account son’s birth of her son’s birth Contributed by Contributed Kate Pryde by Kate Pryde ©2006 ©2006


but IIfwas prepared toI give was up notbreastfeeding. prepared to give Myup sonbreastfeeding. Of course, Myeveryone son and Of course, his wifeeveryone had something and histowife sayhad someth younot have poeticbut aspirations, the flow, send your best lyrics oftenlet put onrhymes a pound often a week, put he onwas a pound clearly a week, thriving heand was clearly aboutthriving it all. Some and justabout expressed it all. surprise Some just and expressed amazement, surprise an and we’ll publish it to the world! was unbelievably contented. was unbelievably contented. when told he was fully when breastfed, told heothers was fully werebreastfed, more others wer unkind. One Health Visitor unkind.– One a stand-in Healthfor Visitor the one – athat stand-in for t He did like to feed very Hefrequently, did like to though, feed very and frequently, wasWOMEN a though, knew and mewas – refused a toknew methat – refused I wasn’t to ‘topping believe that himI wasn’t ‘t TRUST ‘We worry about what Ifbelieve a child lives with criticism, keen night feeder. That keen wasnight pretty feeder. muchThat whatwas I expected, pretty muchup’ what with I expected, formula (which up’ would with formula have been (which death would to my have been de a child will be Trust in their intentions, he learns to condemn. and so we adapted our and sleeping so we adapted arrangements our sleeping to makearrangements it supply)toand make insisted it that supply) he could and insisted not have that gained he could one not have trust in their motivations tomorrow, yet we as easy as possible onasme. easy With as possible the otheronthree me. children With the other pound threeand children three ounces pound in one andweek threeon ounces breastinmilk one week on bre and trust in their decisions. forget thatwhen heatishe at school, I slept school, slept Iatslept lunchtime when he and slept I kept at lunchtime alone. and Of Icourse kept he could alone. have Of course –lives my milk he could washostility, individually have – my milk w If a child with women breasthim insomeone bed with today’ me (co-sleeping) him in bed with at night. meTrust (co-sleeping) While that that at night. tailored Whiletothat nourish mytailored baby,she and to learns nourish that is to my exactly baby, what anditthat is exac fight. feed to know when their wouldn’t suit everybody, wouldn’t I found suitthat everybody, it workedI for found me.that I it worked did. Made-to-measure for me. I did. meals! Made-to-measure meals! Stacie Tauscher child needs to benot fed.necessarily make knew that giving him knew formula thatwould givingnot him necessarily formula would make If a fed child lives Trust women not be it easier for me – anditI easier didn’t for want meto– have and Itodidn’t deal want withtoto have In fact, to deal James withwas breast In fact, James exclusively was with breast until ridicule, he fedwas exclusively six unt he learns to be shy. breastfeeding their child the problem of getting the out problem of bed to of heat getting a bottle out of several bed to heat months a bottle old, several when he months began trying old, when what he we began generally trying refer what we g ‘When the first out of malicious need to times ababy night. My husband times ahas night. perfected My husband the art has of perfectedtothe as art ‘solids’ of – thoughtothey as ‘solids’ are hardly – though solid they food.are Nothardly solid f laughed for cause others discomfort, sleeping though anything, sleeping so there though was anything, no way he so there would was no particularly way he would impressed, particularly he remained impressed, mostly breastfed he remained untilmostly b If a child lives with shame, the first time, the but rather solely for the have done that for me. have done that for me. he was a year old. During he was this a year time old. he never During fell this ill – time not laugh broke into she learns to feel guilty. he never nourishment and even once – and he continued even onceto– breastfeed and he continued fairly often to breastfeed a thousand pieces well-being of her child. until he was about two until years he old was(incidentally, about two years the old age (incidentall uo and they all went Ifuntil a child with tolerance, until which the WHO recommends which lives thethat WHO all babies recommends are that all b Trust women when they skipping about, breastfed). he learns to be patient. decide the best place breastfed). for and that was the the child to be fed when beginning of Jamie his second dropped birthday, his feeds Jamie to dropped his needing to nurse them After in a his second birthday, If aAfter child lives with encouragement, fairies.’ a night ones feed and on occasions. still a night feed on occasi public area. bedtime ones and stillbedtime she learns confidence. Sometimes became very he fed tired if he or became a little bit very tired or James Barrie Trust women. Sometimes he fed if he poorly. And a ‘little bit poorly. poorly’ And is all a ‘little he ever bit became poorly’ is– all he he ever b never needed antibiotics, never needed he was antibiotics, never sickand even he was never If aand child lives with praise, when the bugs his sisters when caught the bugs and his brought sisters back caught and brough he learns to appreciate.home made him a bit unwell. made We him labelled a bithim unwell. ‘indestructible’! We labelled him ‘ind

It was It akin was akin to being to being strapped strapped up up to a power to a power vacuumvacuum when when he latched he latched on! on!

If a child with fairness, Jamie stopped breastfeeding Jamie stopped very lives gradually breastfeeding and, by very three gradually a learns justice. years of age, was feeding yearsonly ofshe age, occasionally. was feeding Four only months occasionally. later he decided he’d later had enough he decided andhe’d that had was enough that. and that w Nowadays he’s still an Nowadays extremely he’s healthy still an child. extremely He’s never healthy chi If a child lives with security, yet been sick, although yethe been sick, had although the odd high has had the odd h hehas learns to havehefaith. temperature and so far temperature one courseand of antibiotics. so far one course of antibio

If a child with I was very at ease feeding I was my very son. atlives ease I let nature feedingapproval, take my son. its I let natu course, and nature did course, not and me nature – or did not –down. let me His – or Jamie shelet learns toJamie like herself. size was certainly amazing, size was butcertainly no less amazing, than was but the no less than natural mechanism that natural meant could cater thatfor meant his needs, I could cater If mechanism a Ichild lives with anywhere and everywhere, anywhere without and fuss everywhere, and without without fuss and acceptance and friendship, worry. worry. he learns to find love in the world.

I loved it!

I loved it! Dorothy Law Nolte


Eco Parenting Arabella Greatorex, owner of, reports on the rapidly rising demand for natural, environmentally friendly and ethically sound parenting products and highlights some of the concerns that have fuelled these demands.

Cloth Nappies Modern cloth nappies bear no resemblance to the oldfashioned terry squares you probably wore as a child. They are cheaper and more hygienic to use than their disposable counterparts and parents are fast cottoning on to this. Ten years ago, only 2% of parents used cloth nappies; that figure has now grown to over 15% and is rising steadily. Despite this growth in cloth nappy use, Bristol City Council still spends around £500,000 each year dealing with disposable nappies. Conventional disposable nappies can contain up to 200 chemicals and some estimates say they will take over 200 years to decompose.

Organic Food There has been much media debate around the promotion of heavily processed foods to children, part of a long standing concern about the quality of food on offer in the UK. While some say the jury is still out on issues such as pesticide residues in fruit and vegetables, it is worth noting that only 30 additives are allowed in organic food, compared to over 300 in nonorganic. Specifically, organic food bans the use of tartrazine (linked to hyperactivity in children) and GM ingredients. The Soil Association reports that sales in organic food grew by 10% last year overall and purchases from farm shops and box schemes by a whopping 16%. This means that over 75% of households bought some organic food during 2004. Organic baby and toddler foods now account for nearly half of total baby foods in the UK, with its market share growing rapidly, highlighting the level of concern felt by parents, and is a trend that looks set to continue. 6

The alternative is to use cloth nappies, which are now available in a wide range of shapes and sizes and can be just as easy to use as disposables. You can choose from so soft organic terry or a natural eco-look or funky fleece prints or even retro patterns to really make a statement. They can be flat, shaped or stuffed, depending upon your child’s personal needs and you will find other “clothies” are more than happy to help you decide which nappy is right for you. They could help you save money as well; the Women’s Environmental Network estimate that savings will be around £500 for the first child and more for subsequent children, even taking into account the cost of home laundering.

Chemical Free Toiletries Your skin will absorb around 60% of products applied to it and Green People estimates that the average woman will absorb about 2kg of chemicals through toiletries and cosmetics over one year, up to 75,000 different chemicals! We all know how sensitive a baby’s skin is and rates of eczema are rising fast with almost a third of babies now suffering from it. Many people believe that the chemicals in the lotions and potions that we use are to blame. Even some so called “natural” products contain a range of chemicals that are believed to cause or exacerbate skin conditions or be carcinogenic, even if they are originally plant derived. Worryingly, a product needs to contain only 1% natural ingredients to be legally labelled “natural”. Natural, organic and chemical free toiletries are no longer the preserve of the health food shop but are widely available on the high street or from specialist internet companies. The Soil Association estimate that there will be a 20% increase in the number of licensed organic manufacturers this year, reflecting the huge surge in demand, especially amongst families with young children. Fair trade When you are buying clothes or toys for your baby, international trade may seem like a remote issue but by choosing carefully, you could make all the difference to someone else’s life. Farmers in the developing world are ill-equipped to cope with dramatic changes in commodity prices, which are caused by factors outside the control of the individuals most concerned. Parents are being offered an increasing range of fairly or ethically traded products, including clothes, shoes, toys, toiletries and nappies. Sales of “Fairtrade” marked goods are now well over £100m per year in the UK alone, up 46% on last year and we eat a third of a million fair trade bananas every DAY! The growth in organic cotton Most people assume that as cotton is a natural product, it is produced naturally, unfortunately, this is not the case. Around 150 grams of hazardous chemical pesticides will be used to grow enough cotton to make one t-shirt.

The cotton farming industry accounts for about 1/4 of the world’s insecticide use as well as huge amounts of fertilisers that can end up in the water system and food chain. The World Health Organisation estimates that 20,000 people die every year in developing countries as a result of poisoning from pesticides used on non-organic cotton. Worryingly, much of the world’s cotton production comes from genetically modified crops: over 2/3rds of China’s cotton crop is GM. Luckily, more and more organic textiles are now available and there has been an 80% increase in the worldwide production of organic cotton in the last 2 years, with sales in the UK alone now worth over £20m from almost zero a couple of years ago. You can now buy organic clothes, bedding, towels, sheepskins and nappies from a range of suppliers – even good old Marks and Spencer sell a range of organic cotton yoga clothes. Katharine Hamnett, fashion designer, says: “This is part of a rapidly growing trend reflecting increasing consumer awareness and concern over global issues to do with the impact of pesticides, herbicides, dioxins and toxic chemicals used in textiles, on the environment and human heath. The good news is that this shows people are actually looking for positive alternatives.” And for the daddies The Ecologist Magazine recently studied the contents of a can of shaving gel and found it to contain “several skin irritants, four potential carcinogens, three central nervous system poisons and two reproductive toxins” - and all this before breakfast! Arabella Greatorex is the owner of www.naturalnursery., a family run business specialising in products for ethical families including organic and fairly traded clothes and bedding, cloth nappies, soft shoes, slings, wooden toys, maternity wear and natural toiletries.


a a T W I N S P H E G A U K O S A R N — T D D AND OUG ATN O — TWIN U G — S A E P N I W


frequent feeding. However, six weeks is not a lifetime and a very small chunk out of your life for the benefits passed on to your babies.It does get easier, it just doesn’t seem like it sometimes at 3am. I did find peoples’ attitudes annoyed me, however well intentioned. I frequently heard comments like ‘Oh well, you’ve managed two-four-six weeks now, you’ve given them a good start’, completely dismissing my determination to breastfeed for a year.


I had this grand plan – the only At 13 weeks I duly returned to work problem was that no one, except my complete with pump. Employees ever-supportive partner, thought that have rights and among those for it would succeed. breastfeeding mothers is that of being provided with a private place to The problem was this: I was express breast milk and access to pregnant with twins, absolutely some kind of storage facilities for the ecstatic after a lot of treatment and 5 milk. As I was a nurse working in a IVF cycles but finally here I was private household – a job I’d had for expecting twins. I intended to several years and the family were like breastfeed for at least one year, and I my own – I had no problems with was returning to work when the twins expressing milk, which I continued would be around 13 weeks old doing for 18 months. because as an Agency Nurse with a regular client I would be at risk of Since I worked nights, at first I losing that job if I stayed away too nursed my twins when I got home long. The job was perfect and, let’s from work in the morning, then in the face it, it’s not often you can say that. middle of the day, then as soon as I got up in the afternoon. When they To my disappointment, I was faced woke up in the night (which of course with a huge amount of negativity they did in the earlier months) my from lay-people and health care partner gave them expressed milk professionals alike. In this country it with a bottle. As they got older and seems that breastfeeding twins is not started weaning onto solids I dropped the norm, and carrying on the mid-day feed and was able to get breastfeeding while you go back to a full day’s sleep. By using an electric work with twins under 6 months old hospital-grade double pump (one is certainly not the norm. However, which pumps both breasts ever one to face a challenge, I was simultaneously) I minimised the time determined that I would succeed and needed for pumping and maximised this is how I did just that. the amount of breast milk I could get. First, I accepted that breastfeeding is 24 8

At 18 months I realised that although I had reduced my pumping sessions it wasn’t necessarily being used and my freezer ‘stash’ was growing. So I decided to stop pumping, use up the stored milk and then breastfeed when I was with the twins. I set out by saying I would breastfeed for a year. Well, I surpassed that easily and by the time one year had been and gone I knew more about self or natural weaning. The fact is that a child won’t breastfeed forever if you don’t stop them. In fact they naturally cut an acquired skill. I read plenty on the down in their subject but didn’t attend any own time and antenatal breastfeeding support eventually stop groups – which I now regret. I did and this just what join Internet support boards and the they did. ladies there have been my helpers many times. I also learned about In their second expressing breast milk; which were year of breastconsidered the best pumps and why; feeding the twins how to store breast milk; reheating probably reduced to two or three breast milk; anything I could think of times per day. By 30 months it was that might prove useful. just once a day, and their last breastfeed occurred about ten days So prior to our babies’ birth we had after their third birthday. I say everything in place, breast pads, ‘about’ because we didn’t know it pumps, bottles, freezer bags and a was going to be the last one, it’s only V-cushion ready to take into hospital four weeks later when you look back to help me with positions for nursing and say to yourself ‘Oh yes, I think twins. I started my maternity leave at we’ve finished.’ No trauma, no fuss, 34 weeks and 4 days later was no engorged breasts, no mastitis, just admitted to St James hospital Leeds nature’s way of doing it. with pre-eclampsia and at exactly 35 weeks David and Rebecca were I am certain that a large proportion of born. Because of blood-sugar issues


the success of breastfeeding twins is attitude. I had the attitude two breasts equals two babies equals no problem. I never said ‘I am going to try and breastfeed’, I said ‘I AM going to breastfeed’. I asked for help if I needed it and I asked the right people, the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) or La Leche League or the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers (ABM). These are the people trained

they required supplemental formula initially, but I had stressed that I had every intention of breastfeeding and so these supplements were never given by bottle. At first naso-gastric tubes were used and then, when they pulled those out within 24 hours, they were replaced by cups. I was always encouraged to offer the breast to help you. The NHS does not have first and if they managed a good feed the resources to fund extensive the supplements were gradually breastfeeding courses, their omitted. At the same time the knowledge is limited and the best midwifery staff were teaching me the advice they could ever give is to art of breastfeeding. When we left provide the numbers of the dedicated hospital when they were eight days support groups who can arrange a old we already knew how to feed one visit (free of charge) if needed. baby at a time, how to nurse two together and how to pump. WITH SPECIAL THANKS TO KAREN FOR HER WONDERFUL ACCOUNT OF RAISING HER TWINS.

The first six weeks are very hard; there’s no point in pretending La Leche League GB: otherwise. My babies were small (3lb National Childbirth Trust: 15oz and 4lb 6oz on discharge) and Association of Breastfeeding Mothers: so had tiny stomachs that needed 25

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frequent feeding. However, six weeks At 18 months I realised that although the success of breastfeeding twins is frequent fe is not a lifetime and a very small I had reduced my pumping sessions attitude. I had the attitude two is not a life chunk out of your life for the benefits it wasn’t necessarily being used and breasts equals two babies equals no chunk out passed on to your babies.It does get my freezer ‘stash’ was growing. So I problem. I never said ‘I am going to passed on you Read to your it justI doesn’t like Eat it of when decided toare stop pumping, up the outtryloud and I said ‘I AM Marvel in theseem magic Look into your use child’s © C breastfeed’, Dawm Lamuth-Higgins is going a easier, it ju t-timeeasier, mother, tried sometimes atyour 3am. body. I did find peoples’ Stop storedwhen milk and then breastfeed when to breastfeed’. I asked for help if I sometimes hungry. you baby. It doesn’t matter if mother, writer, and the owner of eyes. re forattitudes our newannoyed baby me, however well I was with the twins. needed it and I asked the right attitudes a are full. Take naps it’s the ‘NewMommy York Gear, Times’ an online ng allintentioned. of the experts’ I frequently heard people, the National Childbirth Trust intentioned between courses. or ‘Winnie breastfeeding the Pooh.’boutique comments like ‘Oh well, you’ve I set out by saying I would breastfeed (NCT) or La Leche League or the comments nd arming myself ( This article Drink lots ofweeks water. managed two-four-six now, for a year. Well, Smile. I surpassed that Association of Breastfeeding Mothers managed t may be reproduced for educational latestyou’ve babygiven gagdets. them a good start’, easily and by the time one year had (ABM). These are the people trained you’ve give purposes. loves completely been and gone I completely d I know those dismissing quiet my Touch. Everyone (from ‘Keeping Abreast’ breastfeed for a year. knew contact. more determinat skin-to-skin Take care of yourself. Sityears back. toRelax. Put your s overdetermination the October/December 1999 issue) about self or feet up. eastfeeding would At 13 weeks I duly returned to work natural weaning. At 13 week complete with pump. Employees The fact is that a complete w e all I really needed Wear comfortable have rights and among those for child won’t have rights aboutbreastfeeding being a mothers is that Listen your child. clothes. of being tobreastfeed breastfeedi as well as some provided with a private place to forever if you provided w express breast milk and access to don’t stop them. express bre iversal truths… some kind of storage facilities for the In fact they some kind Children are portable. milk. As I was a nurse working in a naturally cut milk. As I Trust your own instincts. Take them with you. private household – a job I’d had for down in their private hou several years and the family were like own time and several yea my own – I had no problems with eventually stop my own – Surround and yourself Sing, even if it’s off-key. expressing milk, which I continued this just with what expressing supportive friends. If you don’t know the doing for 18 months. they did. doing for 1

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Since I worked nights, at firstespecially I In if their second Since I wo they are own. When in doubt, nursed my twins when I got home year of breastnursed my related. hum. from work in the morning, then in the feeding the twins to help you. The NHS does not have from work middle of the day, then as soon as I probably reduced to two or three the resources to fund extensive middle of t got up in the afternoon. When they times per day. By 30 months it was breastfeeding courses, their got up in t the just telephone Simplify life. Throw out and the best woke up in woke up in the night (which ofLet course once a day, and their last knowledge is limited answering machine do about tenthe and goever give is to they did in they did in the earlier months) my breastfeed occurred daysschedules advice they could partner gave them expressed milk after their third birthday. I say provide the numbers of the dedicated partner gav its job. with the flow. with a bottle. As they got older and ‘about’ because we didn’t know it support groups who can arrange a with a bott started weaning onto solids I dropped was going to be the last one, it’s only visit (free of charge) if needed. started wea the mid-day feed and was able to get four weeks later when you look back the mid-da Be confident. Be proud. It takes time to learn all a full day’s sleep. By using an electric and say to yourself ‘Oh yes, I think WITH SPECIAL THANKS TO KAREN FOR HER WONDERFUL a full day’s new things. With hospital-grade double pump (one we’ve finished.’ No trauma, no fuss, ACCOUNT OF RAISING HER TWINS. hospital-gr prectice, you get better which pumps both breasts no engorged breasts, no mastitis, just which pum simultaneously) I minimised the timeSnuggle. nature’s way of doing it. La Leche League GB: simultaneo Cuddle. Snooze. every day. needed for pumping and maximised National Childbirth Trust: needed for the amount of breast milk I could get. I am certain that a large proportion of Association of Breastfeeding Mothers: the amoun 25 9 37

BABYWEARING Continuing to rise in popularity, babywearing is a great way for your baby to feel close and secure and for the parent to have both hands free. When a baby rides in a sling attached to their mother, they feel the rhythm of her breathing, the sound of her heartbeat, and the movements their mother makes. Wearing your baby in a sling means you get both hands free to do other things – perhaps even playing with an older child. Studies have shown that the more babies are held, the less they cry and fuss. In indigenous cultures where baby-wearing is the norm, babies often cry for only a few minutes a day – in contrast to Western babies, who often cry for hours each day. Crying is exhausting for both the baby and his parents, and may cause long-term damage, as the baby’s developing brain is continually flooded with stress hormones.

I think it’s probably safe to say that babywearing is one of the absolute best things you can do for your own and your baby’s oxytocin levels. As we remain close to our babies, nurturing and feeding them in our arms, our oxytocin levels remain high, bathing ourselves and everyone around us with that hormone of love and calmness. What a gift nurturing mothers are to the world! Fathers generally don’t start to bond with their baby until the baby has been born, but that doesn’t mean they can’t bond. When a father carries his baby in a sling, the baby is becoming used to his voice, heartbeat, movements and facial expressions, and the bonding process is enhanced. Wearing your baby is useful for colicky or “unsettled” babies, who are far happier being worn, but placid, content babies also benefit greatly from the warmth and security of being held close. Research has shown that premature babies who are touched and held gain weight faster and are healthier than babies who are not.


By Joy Smith There are many different types of sling and different ones seem to suit different people and babies. Check if there is a Sling Library near to you. Here you can meet with other people who are interested in babywearing and you get the chance to try out different styles and makes of slings and wraps. If you want to get advice on babywearing, join a group (or two) on a social networking site or join a forum. Several sites that sell slings and wraps, also have instructions on how to use them, different ways of wearing them and you can even find instructions on making your own! A sling can be incredibly versatile and can also double as a changing mat or blanket when out and about. Slings can be especially useful if you already have a toddler and they make travelling, especially by public transport, much easier. A sling can prevent a baby from being distracted whilst breastfeeding and a shy mum may find it easier nursing in public.

After birth, it takes several months for the joints to stretch out naturally. Babies that have been in the breech (bottom first) position may need even more time to stretch out naturally. The hip joint is a ball and socket joint. During the first few months of life the ball is more likely to be loose within the socket because babies are naturally flexible and because the edges of the socket are made of soft cartilage like the cartilage in the ear. If the hips are forced into a stretched-out position too early, the ball is at risk of permanently deforming the edges of the cup shaped socket (hip dysplasia) or gradually slipping out of the socket altogether (hip dislocation). Hip dysplasia or dislocation in babies is not painful so this may go undetected until walking age and may also result in painful arthritis during adulthood. The risk of hip dysplasia or dislocation is greatest in the first few months of life. By six months of age, most babies have nearly doubled in size, the hips are more developed and the ligaments are stronger, so are less susceptible to developing hip dysplasia.

Some slings and wraps can be used from newborn right through until age three and with the older children, it is simple to pack a sling into your bag and if your child starts getting tired, you can just pop them in it. Your child will feel much closer and more involved in your life when they are in their sling, and you will find that you learn so much more about your baby. It is worth bearing in mind that slings, even the more expensive ones, cost far less than prams. An added bonus to slings is that they don’t clog up your hallway! The International Hip Displasia Institute recommends healthy hip positioning for all babies to encourage normal hip development. Within the womb, a baby spends a long time tucked in the fetal position, in which both hips and knees are bent or flexed.


The most unhealthy position for the hips during infancy is when the legs are held in extension with the hips and knees straight and the legs brought together, which is the opposite of the fetal position. The risk to the hips is greater when this unhealthy position is maintained for a long time. Healthy hip positioning avoids positions that may cause or contribute to development of hip dysplasia or dislocation. The healthiest position for the hips is for the hips to fall or spread (naturally) apart to the side, with the thighs supported and the hips and knees bent. This position has been called the jockey position, straddle position, frog position, spreadsquat position or human position. Free movement of the hips without forcing them together promotes natural hip development. Some types of baby carriers and other equipment may interfere with healthy hip positioning. Such devices include but are not limited to baby carriers, slings, wraps, pouches, car seats, exercisers, rockers, jumpers, swings, bouncers and walkers, and molded seating items. These devices could inadvertently place hips in an unhealthy position, especially when used for extended periods of time. Any device that restrains a baby’s legs in an unhealthy position should be considered a potential risk for abnormal hip development. It is also important to assess the size of the baby and match the device and carrier to the size of the child so that the hips can be in a healthy position during transport. Parents are advised to research the general safety and risks of any device they wish to use. When in doubt, we recommend involving your primary health-care provider in any further decision-making that may be medically relevant. These series of drawings demonstrate typical devices that allow healthier hip positioning in comparison to those which do not. 12

Baby Harnesses Not Recommended

Thigh NOT supported to the knee joint. The resulting forces on the hip joint may contribute to hip dysplasia.


Thigh is supported to the knee joint. The forces on the hip joint are minimal because the legs are spread, supported, and the hip is in a more stable position.

Mum, Lynsey Calvert had this to say about wearing her baby, “A good baby carrier is one of the few items I consider an ‘essential baby item’. Baby wearing is more than a means to carry my baby, it is a way to help me bond with him, to help me keep him happy while I carry out other tasks, to help sooth him when he’s fractious and it’s pretty handy when trying to navigate the school run with a lively 5 year old and pre-schooler. I love babywearing and so do my children. I think we’re all happier and healthier for it.”

Lynsey and her very happy baby boy, Samuel.



A RESCUING HUG How a procedure common in Europe saved an American baby’s life

Heidi and Paul Jackson’s twin girls, Brielle and Kyrie, were born 17 October 1995, twelve weeks ahead of their due date. Standard hospital practice is to place premature twins (‘preemies’ in the USA) in separate incubators to reduce the risk of infection. That was done for the Jackson girls in the neonatal intensive care unit at the Medical Center of Central Massachusetts in Worcester. Kyrie, the larger sister at 2lb 3oz, quickly began gaining weight and calmly sleeping her newborn days away. But Brielle, who weighed only 2lb at birth, couldn’t keep up with her. She had breathing and heart-rate problems. The oxygen level in her blood was low, and her weight gain was slow. Suddenly, on 12 November, Brielle’s condition became critical. She began gasping for breath, and her face and stick-thin arms and legs turned bluish-grey. Her heart rate was too fast and she got hiccups, a dangerous sign that her body was under stress. Her parents watched, terrified that she might die. Nurse Gayle Kasparian tried everything she could think of to stabilise Brielle. She suctioned her breathing passages and turned up the oxygen flow to the incubator. Still Brielle squirmed and fussed as her oxygen intake plummeted and her heart rate continued to soar. Then Kasparian remembered something she had heard from a colleague. It was a procedure, common in parts of Europe but almost unheard of in the USA, that called for double-bedding multiple-birth babies, especially preemies. Kasparian’s nurse manager, Susan Fitzback, was away at a conference, and the arrangement was unorthodox. But Kasparian decided to take the risk. ‘Let me just try putting Brielle


by Nancy Sheehan

in with her sister to see if that helps,’ she said to the alarmed parents. ‘I don’t know what else to do.’” The Jacksons quickly gave the go-ahead, and Kasparian slipped the squirming baby into the incubator holding the sister she hadn’t seen since birth. Then Kasparian and the Jacksons watched. No sooner had the door of the incubator closed then Brielle snuggled up to Kyrie – and calmed right down. Within minutes Brielle’s blood-oxygen readings were the best they had been since she was born. As she dozed, Kyrie wrapped her tiny arm around her smaller sibling. By coincidence, the conference Fitzback was attending included a presentation on double-bedding. This is something I want to see happen at The Medical Center, she thought. But it might be hard making the change. On her return she was doing rounds when the nurse caring for the twins that morning said, ‘Sue, take a look in that incubator over there.’ Astonished, Fitzback said, ‘I can’t believe this. This is so beautiful.’ ‘You mean, we can do it?’ asked the nurse. ‘Of course we can,’ Fitzback replied. Today a handful of institutions around the USA are adopting double-bedding, which seems to reduce the number of hospital days. The practice is growing quickly, even though the first scientific studies on it didn’t begin until this past January. But Heidi and Paul Jackson don’t need any studies to know that doublebedding helped Brielle. She is thriving. In fact, now that the two girls are home, they still steep together – and still snuggle.




by Arabella Greatorex, owner of


ost parents bond instantly with their babies, an intense feeling that makes you want to hold and love and protect them. However, for some parents this can take a little longer, especially if there has been a difficult pregnancy or labour. Research indicates that babies who develop fulfilling relationships with their parents later tend to perform better at school grow into secure, well-adjusted adults.

Massage A more structured method of touching your baby and a way of promoting physical and mental growth as well as the parent/baby bond.

Singing No matter how tone deaf you may think you are, your baby will love to hear your voice. The rhythmic nature of nursery rhymes is very soothing and is believed to help with language development.

Bonding is a natural process but there are many ways to help out, especially if you provide focused, responsive care in a nurturing environment.

Touch A baby’s first communication with you is through touch, so hold your baby close, cradle him or her in your arms or use a sling if you need to get on with chores.

Pull a face Even very young babies are fascinated by facial expressions.

Regular activities Nappy changing time is a wonderful opportunity to show babies just how much you love them. Talking, kissing tummies, admiring little dimples and loving their smiles will take your mind off what a messy job it is and show that you love them, no matter what.

Slow down Life is getting faster and faster but slow and steady is best for baby. Stop and spend time with your baby, relax and enjoy yourself, your baby will love you no matter what.

Breastfeeding A breastfed baby will receive regular close contact with its mother, helping an early bond to develop. Unfortunately, this is not always easy, so speak to your health visitor if you need any help or assistance.

near and always focused on them, even if the household chores need to be done.

Talk Although babies may not understand what you’re saying, they love to hear their mum chatting away about what she’s doing, whether it’s changing a nappy, peeling the potatoes or folding the washing. Babies gain confidence from the fact that a mother is always

Arabella Greatorex is the owner of, a family run business specialising in products for ethical families including organic and fairly traded clothes and bedding, cloth nappies, soft shoes, slings, wooden toys, maternity wear and natural toiletries.

15 21

Slow Parenting

By Jo

You may have heard of ‘slow food’, possibly even ‘slow towns’, but have you ever heard of ‘slow parenting’? The reference is not related to mental agility. ‘Slow parenting’ is a new-ish phrase, born out of the backlash against ‘hyper-parenting’. In the current worldwide recession, it is a growing movement – even if it is unintentional. Over the last couple of decades, there has been an increasing trend to enrol children in more and more activities and children whose parents have been unable to afford the endless round of ballet, gymnastics, horse-riding, drama, singing and language courses, have been considered to be lacking in opportunity, by some. Now it is being recognised that children actually benefit from spending more time with their parents, siblings and friends and to have the time to just ‘be’ and play. Parents are being forced to cut back on the number of activities they can afford to send their children to and it is not only good for the pocket – but the children seem happier too. There are so many things to do and places to go to that don’t cost anything.

What child wouldn’t enjoy a trip to the park to ride their bikes, play ball with friends, feed the ducks or just to watch the squirrels? Do you have a stream, safe river or beach nearby? Take the children, armed with a bucket and net, and let them just explore. Take spare clothes - you know they will need them! Most children love being taken for a walk in the woods, climbing trees, running free and having fun identifying different trees and plants. Total cost = £0. Similarly, do the children really need half a dozen posh outfits in case they are invited to a party? Can they make do with half that amount maybe? Do your children really need another large (and expensive) lump of branded plastic sitting in the corner of the room – when they barely have time to play with the ones they already have? By reducing the cost to the wallet, we are also reducing the cost to the earth. ‘Slow parenting’ is also the antidote to rampant consumerism. There are few families that have not felt the recession – many have been drastically affected and have lost homes, jobs and savings. Even if you are a family that has escaped relatively lightly, you may have needed to cut back on the number of activities your children have attended.


oy Smith The frenetic, competitive style of parenting is gradually reverting back to a more relaxed way of life, one where children can enjoy a good old fashioned childhood. Of course, the upsides for the children having a more care free and stress free upbringing are obvious. Canadian journalist Carl Honoré, author of “In Praise of Slow,” published in 2004, and “Under Pressure: Rescuing Children From the Culture of Hyperparenting,” which came out in 2008, said “The economic and social model that is falling apart -- fast profits, fast growth, fast consumption -- it was about doing more and more, faster and faster. And it even applied to parenting,” says Honoré, who lives in London, where there are slow parenting seminars and meetings. “People used to feel obligated to give their children the best of everything, so they can be the best at everything. But, around the world, they’re seeing that’s not the best policy. Parents are realizing that what really matters is how to make the best of what you’ve got.” It is a timely reminder to educate our children on the value of money and to remind them and ourselves of the old saying; “Happiness is achieved when we want what we have instead of having what we want.”


BIRTH ACROSS THE D Let me introduce myself. I am Michelle and have given birth over four different decades. I started in 1986 with the birth of my first son, Robert. I was 18 and had been married for eighteen months. I had attended all the ante natal classes and appointments and bought the cot, pram, , nappies and clothes. Robert was my parents first grandchild and very much wanted. I remember the first contraction that accompanied my waters breaking at 1.30 in the morning. I also remember very distinctly the panic that I felt and the feeling that I would give birth at any moment. I phoned my mother and told her to “hurry up”! Little did I know it would be another eight hours before Robert arrived into the world. At the hospital only one adult was allowed to stop in the delivery room with me at any one time, so my mother and my husband took turns to sit with me. I was strapped up to a monitor for the baby, given a bed pan and left to it. I was offered pethadine and gas and air, both of which my mother refused on my part, with the instruction to me that “you don’t need that”. At about 9.45 am, I remember the doctor appearing and saying that I could push and that the baby should arrive by mid-day. Needless to say, Robert arrived 45 minutes later. I had an episiotomy. This was not discussed, just performed. The doctor who came to stitch me afterwards, male, I add, told me very crossly to “keep still” whilst he performed the stitching. He didn’t understand why I wasn’t keeping still and why I wasn’t taking any notice of him when he was telling me that it didn’t hurt. Robert was born on New Year’s Eve and the day after, we were both transferred to our local maternity home, Bull Hill. We stopped there for six days and were cosseted and cared for. I do remember very clearly one midwife who terrified me. Robert was now two days old and crying again. This large midwife marched very sharply down the corridor with a glass bottle of formula in her hand, whisked Robert into her arms, stuck the bottle in his mouth and announced :” That child is hungry”. Not a good start to our breastfeeding journey. 18

21 months later in 1988 my first daughter, Kezia Ellice was born. I was now 20. By this time they had shut down the maternity home as in their wisdom it was deemed that a two day stop was more than enough for new mothers. My mother accompanied me to this birth. I was on the rocking chair, knitting and my mother was opposite, also knitting. I remember the midwives popping their heads in occasionally and commenting on us both knitting, the only difference being I was rocking. Kezia arrived after about five hours, with no problems. I think the birth had an effect upon my mother, as she has never once mentioned it to me or discussed it with me. She just sat there, stunned and silent. In 1995 my second daughter, Tamara LesleyAnne was born. She was born at the same hospital as her older siblings. It was the scorching hot summer of 1995, (yes we used to get sun in the summer then) and I was a week overdue. I asked to be induced and the hospital obliged. It is something I wouldn’t recommend and never repeated. The actual labour was only three hours, but very intense. I remember Tammy being born, and I was so exhausted that I told the midwives to pass her to her father as I would be spending the next eighteen years with her, so the first twenty minutes her dad could have her! Tammy had lots of hair, unlike her father, to which that was commented on by the midwife at the time. It seems that Tammy had been true to the old wives tale of lots of heartburn in pregnancy leads to a lot of hair at birth. Tammy went on to become a baby model, her hair and features were so stunning.


By Michelle Atkin

Anyway, that eventuality never happened. I had a delightful midwife during labour, all the way through, the same one and this labour was over twelve hours long. When Trudie, the midwife, phoned for the second midwife to attend, there I gave birth to my third daughter, Leia Jade in was almost a fight at the hospital as to who 1999 at the age of 31, my third birth decade. would attend. As I was working closely with the Another great pregnancy and easy birth. Her midwifery team, the team leader came out, who labour was only two hours. I took my best friend was Trudie’s boss. I was delighted to see Janice with me and low and behold, she fainted. I then as I worked with her. My delight was not shared came to the evidenced conclusion that me and by Trudie as suddenly her boss had appeared. birth companions was perhaps not the best To my delight, my home birth required no stitchoption. Third time this had happened. Leia was es at all. With all the other births, I had stitches. born screaming and didn’t stop until she was That absolutely sealed my advocacy for home about six months old. Even now she doesn’t births. There was no mess, the midwives were shut up, but at least she can now talk and sing. delightful, the atmosphere was relaxed, I could By the time Leia was born, the hospital had eat and drink when I wanted, wander about gained Baby Friendly status and their handling when I wanted, it was a totally different event. of breastfeeding had greatly improved. In fact, the midwives refused to let me give Leia a As a celebration of Jayna’s birth and my pride bottle of water, which at the time I was not im- at my breastfeeding career, as a birthday prespressed with, but came to realize the reasoning ent to myself, I had some professional pictures behind this. of Jayna breastfeeding. In 2001 I gave birth to my second son, Lucas Harrison. Another good pregnancy and I was expecting a really quick birth. Nature has a way of keeping you on your toes and Lucas was not born in under two hours but after six hours, much to my disappointment. He breastfed from birth and continued to breastfeed until he was over three. When I was expecting my sixth baby, Jayna Marie, it was now 2004 and I was 36. I had now decided that I was going to have a home birth. I had never considered a home birth before as I had always thought they were unsafe and a stupid idea. Why would anyone want to have a baby at home?! The mess! I was involved with a breastfeeding project that I was running and the midwives just assumed I would have a home birth. My philosophy was why not and I was only five minutes away from the hospital if I needed to be transferred. Also my reasoning was, if there was an emergency in labour and I was rushed into hospital under “blues and twos” I would be seen much quicker than if I was in the delivery suite. 19

As I now moved into my fourth decade of giving birth at 41, I decided to have another home birth. I was regarded as being a (very) old mother and also multi gravia, or “mother of many, many pregnancies�. I had to see a consultant to sign me off for a home birth. She was about 25 and snottily told me that I had her permission to have a home birth and that she would see me again at 37 weeks. I took a deep breath and informed her that I would only be returning to see her if my midwife advised it. I didn’t return to the consultant and I had my second home birth. I also had a natural third stage, where the cord is not cut until it has stopped pulsating. I had the same midwife during labour and delivery who had delivered Jayna. She was just as wonderful and calm as she had been the frist time. Charles Edward was born within the amniotic sac and was a whopping 9lb 6oz. Again no stitches. An interesting observation that I made at about three months post partum is that Charlie was the only baby that I had a natural stage three with and he is the only baby not to suffer from jaundice in the early weeks. In summary, I have given birth to seven children, over four decades and have breastfed for twelve years. I still continue to breastfeed Charlie, who is now two. I have had the priveledge to work within the breastfeeding world for many years and I currently work as a life and business coach. I work with women who have had traumatic births and who may be struggling with their breastfeeding experiences. I also with parents to support them in their parenting journey. Michelle Atkin BA (hons)


Poets’ Corner If you have poetic aspirations, let the rhymes flow, send your best lyrics and we will try and publish them!

“A woman is like a tea bag: You never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water.” Eleanor Roosevelt

A newborn baby has only three demands. They are warmth in the arms of its mother, food from her breasts, and security in the knowledge of her presence. Breastfeeding satisfies all three. Grantly Dick-Read



Kangaroo Mother ca According to Dr Nils Bergman, Kangaroo Mother Care is for all newborn babies, but especially preterm babies. The newborn thrives best in its original rightful place - on its mother’s chest. Research published in a supplement to the International Journal of Epidemiology shows Kangaroo Mother Care is one of the most effective ways to save preterm babies. Kangaroo Care is when a mother holds her naked baby upright, against her chest, for skin-to-skin contact, where the temperature is perfectly controlled all the time. A mother’s temperature will naturally rise 2 degrees Celcius to warm a cold baby!! Breathing is markedly improved. This simple practice may hold the secret to reducing the infant death rates for preterm babies all over the world.

In low income countries the death rates for preterm infants is especially high. The largest impact of this style of care comes during the first week of life, however its benefits continue for as long as it is used. The practice has seen such great results in reducing the infant deaths rates in low income countries, such as those in Latin America, that is has become more and more popular. A documentary on Kangaroo Care, called Invisible Lives, has brought the benefits to more people by showing how it was used to care for an infant born 14 weeks early and kept alive without the use of machines. In areas where there are no state of the art medical facilities available to care for preterm infants, this is a huge blessing. The reduced rates of breastfeeding and increases rates of infection are dropped by keeping infants close to their mothers, as well as cutting the costs that these infants can create. The stress of separating the mother-baby dyad when using incubators can cause hormones to be released which interfere with digestion and all other normal functions of the baby’s body. Kangaroo Mother Care enables the baby to relax, and improves the heart rate and the temperature. On top of reducing the death rates, using Kangaroo Care has many other benefits. The Cleveland Clinic lists the benefits of Kangaroo Care as

Dr. Joy Lawn, newborn health expert for Save the Children, reviewed 15 studies on infant mortality and found one common trend. When the tiny infants received their warmth and breastmilk from skin to skin contact with their mothers, there was an amazing 51 percent decrease in the mortality rates. Breastfeeding is an essential and natural part of Kangaroo Mother Care; breast milk is the only logical food! This simple act could possibly save the lives of over a million infants if it were utilized by all hospitals and staff. 22

· · · · · · · ·

Stabilization of the baby’s heart rate Improved (more regular) breathing pattern Improved oxygen saturation levels (an indicator of how well oxygen is being delivered to all the infants organs and tissues) Gain in sleep time More rapid weight gain Decreased crying More successful breastfeeding episodes Earlier hospital discharge


By Joy Smith

In addition, mothers and their preterm babies using Kangaroo Mother Care will receive the following benefits: · · · · · ·

When babies are worn on the chest of their mothers they receive beneficial touch, warmth and access to breast milk. The continuous skin-to-skin contact between mother and child enables early and essential thermal care and breastfeeding. The first week of a baby’s life is when Kangaroo Mother Care has the greatest impact. Skin-to-skin contact helps to assist regulation of the baby’s autonomic systems which are crucial – heart rate, temperature, sleepy quality, EEG, and immune system. Kangaroo Care allows parent-infant bonding and enhances the mother’s or parent’s sense of control over the health of their newborn. While providing numerous benefits, the incorporation of Kangaroo Care use with preterm babies is also extremely low cost and has been proven to be highly effective in all socio- economic settings.

Dr Nils Bergman says, “Mother’s love is what the baby needs most. Doing Kangaroo Mother Care also empowers the mother, who knows instinctively that she is doing the right thing - giving her baby superb nursing care the natural way.” “No matter if babies are born in Lilongwe, London or Los Angeles, preterm babies need extra care to survive. Kangaroo Mother Care is low-cost and feasible, and we now have proof it is one of the most highly effective ways to give more babies the chance to survive and thrive,” says Dr. Joy.


Travel Tips: Most airplanes have at least one loo with a drop down baby change table on the back wall, but that doesn’t mean they are spacious!

You must have heard some mums say ‘have baby – will travel’ – did you think they were mad or did you envy them? I am often amazed by the number of parents who don’t think it is possible to fly (especially long haul) with a very young baby. Many babies find the loud hum and vibrations of the plane quite soothing and spend a lot of the time sleeping – unless they wake for a feed. The best tip I ever received was, ‘if you are planning to travel, then breastfeed’. It makes it so much easier and you don’t have to worry about any delays, airline regulations or local water supplies. You may find using a rucksack as hand luggage to be the most convenient – it certainly leaves your hands free! For older children, take some snacks with you as airlines never seem to serve food when your little ones are hungry. This applies particularly to long haul flights. I used cloth nappies at home, but used disposables when travelling on long haul flights and abroad. To make plane flights easier, try this tip: For very young babies: Place one nappy in a nappy disposal sack along with a few cotton balls tucked into the centre and loosely tie the bag. Make up several and place them in your flight bag. This means that when you need to change the baby, you only need to take two items with you – the little bag and a towel or changing mat – oh – and the baby! For older children still in nappies: Place a single nappy in each nappy disposal sack and loosely tie. Take along some wipes & a towel or change mat. 24

Always take more nappies than you think you will need. This covers you in the event of any delays and also when you first arrive at your destination and haven’t yet worked out where the nearest supermarket is. Be mindful of possible public holidays or weekend shop closures that may be in effect on your arrival at your destination. Always feed babies on take-off if possible. If baby is asleep, blowing gently across their face will make them swallow - this will relieve the pressure in their ears. Do this every time you feel the pressure building up in your ears. Do the same before landing and remember the descent can start up to half an hour prior to landing, so be prepared. For toddlers and young children, a lollipop can get them sucking and swallowing to help their ears. Older children may like to chew gum or drink water. It is the swallowing action that helps relieve ear pressure. For older children, take some new little things (not expensive), but the novelty alone will amuse. Drawing, reading, a new activity, some snacks and a familiar toy are always recommended. If your child has a favourite toy they would like to take travelling, and you just know it will take up half the room in your bag, try and find a miniature version of it and keep it just for travelling.

Flying with Baby Always take a spare outfit for each child. Make sure babies and children are dressed comfortably. If you are travelling to take your baby to meet distant relatives or friends for the first time, take a special outfit to change the baby into just before arriving. Let the baby travel in a comfy babygrow (all in one) or easy to change outfit – avoiding buttons or bows on the back as most young babies will sleep through most of the flight. Wraps, slings or carriers make getting on / off planes and walking through airports and standing in queues much easier to manage with little ones. Although most airlines let you take a pushchair right to the plane, it may not always be there waiting for you when you land. You may have to carry the baby / child to the baggage carousal area before you can retrieve it. This can be beyond awkward if you are travelling on your own with more than one child – and don’t expect the air crew to assist. Some do, and some don’t – it is luck of the draw.

Some airlines allow certain car-seats to be used for a baby. To use this option, you would have to pay for the seat the baby will occupy. However, some airlines will allow you to keep your baby in a wrap or carrier (secure), when seatbelts are necessary. All children under the age of 2 years will need to be on their parent’s lap, secured by a ‘buddy-belt’ when the seatbelt sign is switched on, unless they are secured in a car seat. A buddy-belt has a loop on it, which the parent puts their seatbelt though and fastens as normal. The buddy belt then fastens around the baby in the same way as a normal seat belt.

Always take an extra top for yourself. From experience, trying to ignore the baby sick down your front whilst walking through the arrivals hall doesn’t work. Relax and safe travels!

If you are travelling long haul with your baby and they are less than 6 months old, and fit the airlines criteria for weight etc., then you can request a bassinet cot, which fits on the wall behind the bulkhead. A few airlines also provide sky-cots, which fasten onto the front of the overhead luggage compartments in certain areas of the plane. Unless you are over 5’7” tall, it is unlikely you will be able to see into these properly to check on your baby, never mind lifting them out! 25

gender disappointment Finding out the sex of your baby is supposed to be an exciting time. However, sometimes women find out that their baby is not the sex that they had expected or desired. It can be upsetting that the daughter you dreamed of is really a son or that your strapping young son is really a girl. Our society tells us that the right answer is always that we don’t care unless our baby is healthy, but sometimes that is simply not true. So how do you deal with the gender disappointment of the girl when you wanted a boy or vice versa? For some women, the desire to have a girl can be triggered by the need to care for her in the way they wished they had been cared for by their own mothers. So maybe it’s something like that for you, too-- some wish to relive a wonderful childhood or to fix a damaged part of your own early life. One mum said, “ My heart is broken and I cannot stop crying, because all I can imagine is another little girl growing up sad and unhappy like I did.” Another mum commented, “I felt happy that the baby could just be his own self and not, in any way, an extension of my own childhood self. It’s quite wonderful to have a child of the opposite sex because there is little danger that you will confuse them with your self, ever!” The diversity within the sexes is as great as that across the sexes.

From another mum, “I don’t know whether I would prefer a son or a daughter. All the plans are for “the baby” not “him” or “her”. Everybody keeps guessing what it is. But it could be a tomboy or the next Billy Elliot. I could have a daughter who doesn’t confide in me, or a son who doesn’t like toy trains. Either way, I think it’s more about my own worries of my capabilities as a mother. Wondering what it would’ve been like to have the other gender is uncomfortable to some people.” Surely when you are expecting a baby you are hoping that you will raise a child to be a happy, productive member of society whom you will help to fulfil his or her dreams, regardless of gender? Interestingly, in the UK and most western countries, there is generally a preference for children of both sexes. It can be shown statistically, that parents whose first two children are a boy and a girl are more likely to stop having children, than parents whose first two children are both boys or both girls. In some countries, e.g. Sweden, there is a slight preference for girls, because parents are more likely to stop having children after two girls than two boys, but the strongest preference is for children of both sexes. In a number of Asian countries, however, the preference for boys is the strongest instinct. It is not clear what the psychology of these preferences are, but they have quite a profound effect on birth rates. Sometimes, even during pregnancy, you have to cope with a barrage of questions and thoughtless statements from family and friends of ‘are you upset’ and ‘never mind, you can try again.’ One pregnant mum’s own mother said “even if it is another boy, we’ll love it just the same.” Another mum, when pregnant with her second boy got very thoughtless comments like “oh well, better luck next time”. She just couldn’t understand it and was made to feel by so many that there must be something wrong with her if she didn’t want to ‘try’ for a girl. She commented; “Surely you ‘try and hope’ for a baby, not a sex. Children are a blessing, not a commodity.


What is Elimination Communication? By Kristin Burgess Elimination Communication - it’s quite a mouthful! You can call it ECing for short ;) EC is also called infant potty training, natural infant hygiene, and diaper free. It’s about listening to your baby’s cues for elimination needs - with or without diapers. Baby is Aware - and Mama is Aware People the world over have cared for infant elimination without diapers. They even do it without the baby wetting or soiling everything! This natural means of caring for babies also brings baby and caregiver in tune with each other. It’s a powerful way to connect with your baby and it’s simple to get elimination communication started.

Elimination Communication is Clean If you choose to EC your baby will use a container - be that a toilet, a child’s potty, or a small bowl. You’ll be able to flush away your baby’s waste without another thought. You won’t need to carry diapers around or worry about finding a clean changing table. You can just EC while you are out. If your baby wears a diaper while you are out you can still offer the potty - or you may come home with dry pants! Your baby stays clean. He doesn’t have to sit in urine and he doesn’t have to have his own waste smeared all over him. You can wipe your baby with toilet paper, give a quick swipe with a wipe, or do a quick rinse under running water - and that’s it! It’s Comfortable

Babies are very responsive to having “potty help.” They’re aware of elimination, despite what you’ve been told. Babies are adaptive and learn to go where parents and other caregivers teach them - if they haven’t been trained to use diapers!

Surely soft cotton diapers are more comfortable than paper and plastic disposables. But no diaper at all is the most comfortable. Your baby is free from wetness and waste and has no uncomfortable bulk between his legs or belly.

Start at the Beginning (or Later!)

Some mothers have noticed that their babies spit up less when diaper free and seem more content in general.

You can begin from the moment of birth to observe your baby’s elimination communication. It’s much the same as watching for hunger cues. You can also begin EC with your older baby! In the early days you may rely on timing in relation to feeding. You can give a vocal cue, such as a gentle “ssssss” sound, when you notice your infant eliminating. Babies can learn to use the big potty, a small potty seat, sinks, or small containers designated for their use. They will even come to understand that the supportive position you hold them in is a “potty position!”

It’s much more comfortable for a baby to use the bathroom when held in a gentle squatting position than when in a diaper. Imagine trying to go to the bathroom when sitting on the floor, or when lying down! Even nighttime and naptimes can be comfy diaper free experiences with a little planning. It’s Only Natural Elimination communication is a natural and wonderful way to respond to your baby’s elimination needs. It is deeply satisfying and helps build an intense bond with your infant. And remember you can always use diapers as backup.

Written by Kristen Burgess of Natural Birth & Baby Care


M U M & M E F A S H I O N F E AT U R E


Another Another woman’s woman’s criticism criticism of how of how I I fed fed my baby, my baby, gavegave me me thethe inspiration inspiration to to design design thethe T-shirt T-shirt thatthat snowballed snowballed intointo my own my own business business

The current trend for smock tops and flowing styles make for an easy fit and ensure a trendy look. A lot of women want to jazz up their postbaby wardrobe and these outfits from NEXT bring an effortless elegance to hiding those lumps and bumps!

Signature navy print chiffon blouse £45.00 Grey visor sunglasses £12.50 Washed denim flared jeans £35.00 Brown bow ballerina shoes £35.00

Natural tie cardigan £40.00 Teal faggot smock top £15.00 It all started It all at started playgroup. at playgroup. I was breastfeeding I was my my Denim dungaree pinnybreastfeeding £28.00 four-month-old four-month-old son andson the and mumthe feeding mum her feeding her

Neutral smock mac £50.00 Grey lace trim camisole £8.00 Vintage printed smock top £16.00 Neutral check trousers £30.00 Jade heart pendant necklace £14.00

By Lisa By Lisa ColeCole Border print jersey dress £32.00 Brown across the body bag £20.00

I was I was expecting expecting a soft a soft cuddly cuddly baby baby to gently to gently latch latch on, on, notnot thethe rabid rabid milk milk monster monster I had I had spawned. spawned. Black and white spot print coat £60.00 Pink silk mix tunic dress £45.00 Black buckle court shoes £55.00 40 denier black tights (3 pack) £7.00

28 40 20 40

Dark grey roll neck top £15.00 Signature print smock dress £60.00 Grey silver graphic necklace £16.00

child from child thefrom bottle thenext bottle to me nextlooked to me up, looked up, sneered sneered at me and at me saidand ‘He’ll said be‘He’ll off those be off soon, those soon, onto proper ontomilk.’ properI was milk.’ soI gob-smacked was so gob-smacked that all Ithat all I could docould was smile do was and smile cringe. andIcringe. didn’t have I didn’t thehave the courage courage to tell the to woman tell the woman that I intended that I intended to to breastfeed breastfeed for muchforlonger muchthan longer that, than I was that, I was embarassed embarassed justand wanted wanted get out to of getthere. out of there. Neutraland underarm bag just to £25.00


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Breastfeeding Breastfeeding didn’t come didn’t naturally come naturally to me. I to was me. I was expecting expecting a soft cuddly a soft baby cuddly to baby gentlytolatch gently on,latch on, not the rabid not the milk rabid monster milk monster I had spawned. I had spawned. At first At first it hurt aitlot, hurt soamuch lot, sosomuch that my so that toes my curled, toes but curled, I but I stuck with stuck it because with it because I don’t trust I don’t thetrust alternatives. the alternatives.


Apart from Apart resenting from resenting the limpet thewhen limpet hewhen had he had growth spurts growthand spurts a bout andofa mastitis bout of mastitis followedfollowed by by deep tissue deepthrush tissueatthrush 14 months at 14 months we did alright. we did alright. He self-weaned He self-weaned just before justhis before second his birthday second birthday and for the andnext for the six next weeks sixcaught weeks every caught illness every illness going asgoing he was as no he longer was noprotected longer protected by the milk. by the milk.

A r m d n y h

On the way On the home wayfrom home thefrom awful the playgroup awful playgroup I I decided decided that I would that Inever wouldbenever put inbethat putposition in that position again and again thatand I wanted that I to wanted maketo it make clear that it clear that Teal print top there was there no way was Inowas way going I was togoing give my to give childmy child £27.00 artificialartificial milk when milk I was when producing I was producing the very bestvery best Premium belted flare jeans the thing forthing him. for I got him. outI the got fabric out thepaints fabricand paints and £45.00


A y b a o

KMARKETINGBONDING BOARD THE customised a few of his little T-shirts. The slogans came flying out: ‘I’m a tit man’ ‘No udder milk will do’ ‘I love mummy milk’… Here was an outlet for all my design training and for my pent up rage at being criticised for doing the right thing.



by Arabella Greatorex, owner of

People began stopping me in the street to ask where I got the T-shirts from and I tried selling a few on Ebay. I got such a good response that I invested a bit of money in it and had some professionally printed. A friend made me a website for my birthday and The Mothers Milk ost parents bond instantly was born. Marketing Board at with their babies, an intense Massage thattaker makes more structured method of touching I’m not muchfeeling of a risk so Iyou hadwant to waitAuntil to hold and love and protect them. your baby and a way of promoting most of the first batch of T-shirts sold before I However, for some parents this can physical and mental growth as well as had a new design printed, but by the end of the especially there and the firsttake yeara Ilittle had longer, about ten printedifslogans I parent/baby bond. has been a difficult pregnancy or bought the equipment to do transfer T-shirts at labour. home so I could do one-offs. My company isSinging three years old now and around the two-yearNo matter how tone deaf you may Research indicates who think you are, your baby will love to mark I started to thinkthat of itbabies as a business rather develop fulfilling relationships with hear your voice. The rhythmic nature than a hobby. their parents later tend to perform of nursery rhymes is very soothing better at school grow into secure, and is believed to help with language I have just upgraded the website to make it easier adults. development. for well-adjusted customers to use and now sell loads of other


near and always focused on them, even if the household chores need to be done.

Pull also a face I’ve Even very young babies are fascinated by facial expressions. branched out Regular activities into nappies Nappy changing time is a wonderful opportunity babies and toysto show and I just how much you love them. Talking, kissing admiring little dimples and amtummies, always loving their smiles will takeLisa your mind Co By off what a messy job it is and looking for new useful stuff for mums; nursing necklaces, nursing Bonding is a natural process but show that you love them, no bras, eco-friendly sanitary protection, a range of there are many ways to help out, matter what. stuff to add to teas to support breastfeeding and for after the especially if you provide focused, birth. I’ve also branched out into nappies and in alooking nurturing Slow down the collection. toysresponsive and I am care always for new stuff to add environment. Life is getting faster and faster to the collection. The next stage for me is to bring I was exp but slow and steady is best for back the Breastfeeding Campaigns page so I can Breastfeeding baby. Stop and spend time with keep everyone updated with news from the a soft c A breastfed baby will receive your baby, relax and enjoy House of Commons and with events for regular close contact with its yourself, your baby will love you Breastfeeding Awareness Week. baby to mother, helping an early bond to no matter what. develop. Unfortunately, this is latch o not always easy, so speak to your health visitor if you need any the rabi help or assistance. Talk Although babies may not understand monster Touch what you’re saying, they love to hear A baby’s first communication with their mum chatting away about what spawn you is through touch, so hold your she’s doing, whether it’s changing a baby close, cradle him or her in your arms or use a sling if you need to get on with chores.

nappy, peeling the potatoes or folding the washing. Babies gain confidence from the fact that a mother is always

Arabella Greatorex is the owner of, a family run business specialising in products for ethical families including organic and fairly traded clothes and bedding, cloth nappies, soft shoes, slings, wooden toys, maternity wear and natural toiletries.


41 21 29

Gardening with children By Naomi Lever

So, how can we make better use of the space we all have, in order to grow a few things to eat and allow our children to enjoy it too? Well, regardless of how small a garden you own, it really is possible to grow a few things for your kitchen table and to also provide a habitat for wildlife and get your children involved. You can even grow some edible things indoors, on a windowsill if you live in a flat, your children will love helping with watering and gathering the end result. Lots of vegetables will grow perfectly well in containers if open soil is in short supply, so there really is no excuse not to give it a try. Containers also mean you can have your edible crop right outside your kitchen door. If you have young children, then growing a few vegetables or some fruit and herbs can be a really fun experience to share. Growing something incredibly simple like cress on damp tissue in a margarine tub, is a very easy way to start indoors, as they will get almost instant results and can harvest it within days. Runner beans can be grown in a jam jar filled with damp cotton wool, so that your children can see the root system grow, as well as the stem and leaves shooting skywards or you can do as I do and recycle your inner cardboard toilet rolls tubes and fill them with compost and


start the beans off indoors on a windowsill and then transplant the entire thing ,tube included, into your garden soil or a container outside once the fear of frost has past. They will need tall canes to grow up. The cardboard tubes will break down into the soil and allow the root system to grow into the surrounding earth. Far more ethical than buying peat pots which do exactly the same job and cost money. Jerusalem Artichokes will give incredibly impressive results for very little effort at all. The tubers are planted straight into the soil and will send tall leafy stems shooting upwards and these long stems will be topped by pretty yellow flowers come summertime. Because they are very fast growing children won’t have to be too patient. You simply dig up the tubers as you would potatoes once the stems have died and keep a few back to plant again ready for next season. EASY and very pretty too! Using a raised bed system will mean you will have no heavy digging to do and nowhere near so much bending as conventional ground level garden veg beds require, so they are great for those suffering with bad backs or other health issues (heavily pregnant mums especially). The other benefits for those with small children is that raised beds are less likey to get accidentally trampled on by little ones playing in the garden, after all gardens are for them to play in too.

Your raised beds will also be at a level that will allow your children to ‘help’ with planting out or harvesting without walking all over your newly sown/grown crops. Getting children interested in growing food at a very young age will also make them more likely to want to sample fresh fruit and vegetables, as the sense of achievement from growing their own dinner is always a thrill! Even us adults still enjoy it! You may spark an interest that remains with them their entire lifetime. So why not look at your garden (or windowsill / balcony space) in a different way. There is a whole new edible world out there waiting for you and your little ones. .....and it need not cost you much more than the price of a few packets of seeds. Most important of all ....Have fun together! Writing and photography by Naomi Lever, who runs the very successful Facebook group: Backyard & Garden Farming, Smallholding, Homestead & Foraging.


Another Regular page JUST A MUM? A woman, renewing her driver’s license at the County Clerk ‘s office was asked by the woman recorder to state her occupation. She hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself. “What I mean is,” explained the recorder, “do you have a job or are you just a......?” “Of course I have a job,” snapped the woman. “I’m a Mum.” “We don’t list ‘Mum’ as an occupation, ‘housewife’ covers it,” said the recorder emphatically. I forgot all about her story until one day I found myself in the same situation, this time at our own Town Hall. The Clerk was obviously a career woman, poised, efficient and possessed of a high sounding title like, “Official Interrogator” or “Town Registrar.” “What is your occupation?” she probed. What made me say it? I do not know. The words simply popped out. “I’m a Research Associate in the field of Child Development and Human Relations.” The clerk paused, ball-point pen frozen in midair and looked up as though she had not heard right. I repeated the title slowly emphasizing the most significant words. Then I stared with wonder as my pronouncement was written, in bold, black ink on the official questionnaire. “Might I ask,” said the clerk with new interest, “just what you do in your field?” Coolly, without any trace of fluster in my voice, I heard myself reply, “I have a continuing program of research, [what mother doesn’t) in the laboratory and in the field, (normally I would have said indoors and out). I’m working for my Masters, (first the Lord and then the whole family) and already have four credits (all daughters). Of course, the job is one of the most demanding in the humanities, (any mother care to disagree?) and I often work 14 hours a day, (24 is more like it). But the job is more challenging than most run-of-the-mill careers and the rewards are more of a satisfaction rather than just money.” There was an increasing note of respect in the clerk’s voice as she completed the form, stood up and personally ushered me to the door. As I drove into our driveway, buoyed up by my glamorous new career, I was greeted by my lab assistants -- ages 13, 7, and 3. Upstairs I could hear our new experimental model, (a 6 month old baby) in the child development program, testing out a new vocal pattern. I felt I had scored a beat on bureaucracy! And I had gone on the official records as someone more distinguished and indispensable to mankind than “just another Mum.” Motherhood! What a glorious career! Especially when there’s a title on the door. Author Unknown. 32

In the Winter 2012 issue of







Quadruplets A mum’s amazing story!


The Fourth Trimester Responsibility doesn’t end when the cord is cut.

Stand up for Birth Don’t take labour lying down!

All tied up! Sort those gifts out early

Don’t forget that you can get involved and be part of Mum & Me magazine by submitting your positive birth stories! See for details.

Mum and Me magazine is an independent, not-for profit, quarterly magazine based in Shropshire. Proprietors and publishers: Mum and Me magazine Website:

Editor: Stella Onions Features: Joy Smith Article Contributors: Kate Pryde, Lisa Cole, Karen Mayson, Nancy Sheehan, Arabella Greatorex, Michelle Atkin, Dorothy Law Nolte, Kristen Burgess, Naomi Lever Photography: With thanks to and and many individual 33 families.

Interested in advertising in this magazine? Email for details info (at) mumandmemagazine (dot) com The Rate Card is also on the website An example of one of the advertising pages from a previous issue of Mum & Me magazine. 8

I think I discovered the fear-tension-pain cycle for myself at the dentist after a root canal job. I realised afterwards

that I had made the whole thing so much worse for myself by being so stressed. The next time I went – actually to have the tooth out – I recited in my mind the Litany against Fear from Frank Herbert’s book DUNE:

by Lisa Cole

Why fear of Labour can make it painful



M&M Dummy new


11:15 AM

Page 16

ng scared ofI it willknow onlywhy make it hurt the itmore. don’t I wasn’t scared, might have been just y Dick-Readsheer coined the phrase ‘fear-tensioncontrariness. It may have been that I was immune in the 1930s that’s exactly happens. to and birthing horror stories,what because it seemed as if every ing hurt, you tense oxygen is their 48-day mother onup myand streetblood wantedand to tell me about y from organs thatorare for ‘flight or them open to labour, hownot theneeded midwife had to chainsaw -Read said that a scared woman in labour has get the baby! I was probably not scared because I truly rus, and a blood-free doesn’t believed thatwomb normaljust childbirth is ahave natural process of a nice rich red one, so it hurts. instead of a medical one. I was also busy being truly

It’s difficult to find active birth teachers where I live, they get booked up quickly, so I thought I’d give the local clinic’s antenatal class a try. It left me furious for a week and I decided never to return! Why the anger? The class set up such a fear of labour that one woman winced every time the word was mentioned. The emphasis was on controlling pain with drugs.I knew I wanted a drug-free home birth, and I knew the best way to get what I wanted was to trust in myself.

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d.othing to fear. the energy of a nice rich red one, so it hurts. It is hard work and it can hurt a


Labour is nothing to fear. It is hard work and it can hurt a lot, but being scared of it will only make it hurt the more. Dr Grantley Dick-Read coined the phrase ‘fear-tensionpain cycle’ in the 1930s and that’s exactly what happens. You fear being hurt, you tense up and blood and oxygen is drawn away from organs that are not needed for ‘flight or fight’. Dick-Read said that a scared woman in labour has a white uterus, and a blood-free womb just doesn’t have the energy of a nice rich red one, so it hurts.


Page 18

I realised afterwards that I had made the whole thing so much worse for myself by being so stressed.

07813 958075

sed rds d made e thing worse elf by

11:16 AM

for details or use the Contact Us form on the website:

It’s difficult to find active birth teachers where I live, they get booked up quickly, so I thought I’d give the local clinic’s antenatal class a try. It left me furious for a week and I decided never to return! Why the anger? The class set up such a fear of labour that one woman winced every time the word was mentioned. The emphasis was on controlling pain with drugs.I knew I wanted a drug-free home birth, and I knew the best way to get what I wanted was to trust in myself. to find active birth teachers where I live, they up quickly,Labour so I thought I’d the localwork and it can hurt a is nothing to give fear. It is hard enatal class lot, a try. left scared me furious a week but It being of it willfor only make it hurt the more. ed never to Dr return! Why the anger? class ‘fear-tensionGrantley Dick-Read coinedThe the phrase h a fear of labour that one woman winced everywhat happens. pain cycle’ in the 1930s and that’s exactly ord was mentioned. The hurt, emphasis was You fear being you tense upon and blood and oxygen is pain with drugs.I knew I wanted a drug-free drawn away from organs that are not needed for ‘flight or , and I knewfight’. the Dick-Read best way said to get I wanted thatwhat a scared woman in labour has t in myself. a white uterus, and a blood-free womb just doesn’t have






I don’t know why I wasn’t scared, it might have been just sheer contrariness. It may have been that I was immune to birthing horror stories, because it seemed as if every mother on my street wanted to tell me about their 48-day labour, or how the midwife had to chainsaw them open to get the baby! I was probably not scared because I truly believed that normal childbirth is a natural process instead of a medical one. I was also busy being truly terrified of how to deal with the baby itself when it arrived.

M&M Dummy new

I must not fear. Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain. It worked, I kept myself calm and the tooth came out with only the slightest twinge. I am not saying that childbirth for me was just a twinge, I had a quick labour but there wasn’t much time for me to collect myself between contractions. It did hurt, and at times it was nasty but it wasn’t a terrifying pain. It felt hugely productive, and as soon as the baby was out all sensations other than overwhelming love and bewilderment were forgotten. And I’m not good with pain; I cry if I bump my elbow, get stung or trip up. I am a selfconfessed wuss! But I trusted in myself and in the amazing resources and stamina a woman giving birth can have. It was a beautiful birth, an amazing thing to do and it turns out I’m not scared of the baby either!


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section at the

terrified of how to deal with the baby itself when it w why I wasn’t scared, it might have been just arrived. ariness. It may have been that I was immune horror stories, because it seemed as if every cycle for myself I think I discovered the fear-tension-pain my street wanted to tellafter me aabout their 48-day at the dentist root canal job. I realised afterwards

on the website:


07813 958075

© Lisa Cole


This article wa published in T magazine, issu Winter 2003/2

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