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Labour

1. In labour go without pain relief or other interventions as long as possible. You’re stronger than you think. You’ll thank yourself afterwards.
2. The point of labour is to take home a healthy, happy baby. remember that if things don’t go to plan.
3. Things rarely go to plan.
4. Before you give birth, find out about your local La Leche League group (or other local support groups)  just in case you choose to breastfeed.
5. Even if you don’t want to breastfeed consider putting your baby to the breast after giving birth. It will help your womb to contract, speeding your recovery, as well as giving the baby your immunity to the bacteria in his/her new environment. and hey, you can still change your mind!

Living With a Small Baby

1. Avoid using baby soothing objects/technology until it actually helps you (nightlight/lulaby machines, dummmies, stage 2 baby formula….) the efects of these ‘helpers’ can wear of over time and you don’t want to play your whole hand to early in the game.
2. You are the best person to make decisions about your baby, once you’ve coceeded to using bay sothing objects don’t let anyone else make you feel that you should have held out for longer.
3. Although you are the best person to make decisions about your baby,  you might be a better decision maker after a bit of sleep.
4. Try not to compare how much sleep youre geting to the amout of sleep your husband/partner is getting, it wil make you feel biter, especialy if you’re breastfeeding.
5. Do not be tempted to do housework when  your baby has a nap during the day. You have a nap too, your husband/partner can’t do that! haha!
6. Don’t get angry, with yourself, with your partner or with your baby. Everyone is trying their hardest to get through the day. Focus on the positives.
7. Crying? ……… feed, burp, change nappy, try to soothe to sleep, repeat.
8. Still crying? put them somewhere safe and go get a cup of tea. They’re probably just tired/overstimulated. Everyone needs some alone time, even babies!
9. Don’t make any decisions at the 2 week stage, 2 weeks is hard.
10. Until your baby stops producing merconium cover his/her bottom with vaseline every chance you get. it will make nappy changing a lot easier!
11. Nothing lasts forever, don’t rush to assume that everything will become part of a routine, some behaviors (waking up and crying loudly at 1.30 am, refusing to use a dummy, being clingy, needing to be rocked to sleep) just dissappear by themselves, theres no point in getting stressed out about them.
12. Go to your dictionary and tipp-ex out the world “Routine” prefer the word “Pattern” instead. patterns are less rigid than routines. Patterns can change and it’s no big deal. babies enjoy patterns but they can’t tell the time. And for the love of all that is holy don’t wake your baby up for a feed unless you *actually* fear they might starve to death :-)
13. While you’re there get rid of the word ‘guilt’ you can feel guilty about everything as a parent, guilty for working, guilty for not working, guilty for hugging too much, guilty for hugging too little. Just let go of guilt, it does not help you.
14. Don’t listen to other parents (that includes me!). Some lie about their baby’s sleeping/feeding habits, some just prefer to ignore the bad bits, and some are just plain lucky. They have the right to be proud of their 8 week old that sleeps for 6 hours straight through, but because yours isn’t doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong.

Why I breastfed.*
1. There is a correlation between amount of time spent breastfeeding and the incidence of breast cancer. A woman who breastfeeds for a month in her life is less likely to develop breast cancer than a woman who doesn’t.
2. Breast milk contains your white blood cells, the cells that fight bacteria in your body. this means that a breastfed baby is automatically immune to all of the bacteria in the mother’s immediate environment. A new baby has almost no protection against bacteria in the environment, thats why you sterilise everything.
3. Its cheaper.
4. Breastfed babies develop faster (or, I should say, formula fed babies develop slower) breastmilk is specifically designed to support the development of litle brains and little eyes and baby formula is a poor imitation.
5. Humans are mammals, mammals breastfeed. If you fed a bay human unmodified cows milk it would die. if you fed a bay cow human milk it would die. our bodies make the perfect food for our offspring, it’s arrogant to assume that our science can satisfactorily approximate what nature has been perfecting for millions of years.
6. in the developing world breastfeeding saves lives. even starving women ca breastfed adequately, there is evidence of women in concentration camps in world war II who breastfed healthy children. Women in the developing world bottle fed because it’s  perceived as a more civilised, more western way to fed your children. These women do not have to money to buy infant formula or the resources to keep feeding equipment sterile and safe. I want to be part of the change in culture which sees breastfeeding to be more widespread and accepted wherever you live, so hopefully, babies il never have to die of malnutrition again.
7. A breastfed baby will never have to go hungry if, for example, you get trapped on the m25 for 2 hours, or get locked out of your house. (both of which happened to me!)
8. Breastfeeding will soothe a crying baby in 9.99% of cases :-) Including after his/her imunisations. Priceless.

*I breastfed my Squiggle exclusively for 3 months. I then combination fed between 3-4 months and switched completely to baby formula after 4 months. The reason I switched to combination feeding in the first place is that (for his night feds especially) he was getting more and more unsatisfied even after ful feds. I persisted (as you are told to) for about 2 weeks of offering breast after breast before I gave up. I switched to exclusive bottle feeding at four months mostly out of convenience and my desire to live a more selfish life. I felt guilty about it.

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