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Annoying toddler’s habits that are actually good for them

Annoying toddler’s habits that are actually good for them

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“Again, Ma, read it again!” for the 100th time is not the most satisfying thing to hear as new parents. Loving your children doesn’t mean they won’t irritate you. Toddlerhood is when your child develops emotionally, cognitively, and socially, making them curious and eager to explore and test boundaries. This could be chaotic but, coming to think of it, even rewarding at times.

Even though your toddlers may sometimes drive you a little crazy, these 5 behaviours are actually crucial to your child’s learning and emotional development. 

1. Request the same book, song or show over and over again

You might have read the same book, sung the same song or played the same show about 100 times now and would feel exhausted. But, here’s what you need to know.

  • Hearing the same words repeatedly helps with language development.

Yes, there are fewer words and minimal variety, but your kids often engage with what they hear, and they hear it often. This helps them to process those words and remember them effectively.

  • It helps them to feel in control throughout the day.

The routine of reading the same book repeatedly can help your children have a little structure in a world full of surprises new experiences, and seem crazy to them.

  • Contributes to a peaceful sleep 

Prioritise your child’s bedtime stories as part of a bedtime ritual to help them settle, to help them reach a calm state, allowing them to fall asleep easily.

Parent dealing with annoying toddler habits
2. Make a huge mess

To clean all day and night might be your worst nightmare, and everything your little one gets a hold of might end up being a mess. It might be tough to embrace the mess as parents, but here’s what you need to know.

  • Messy play encourages your children to develop gross and fine motor skills and coordination and concentration skills. 

This helps your toddler take risks, negotiate, solve problems, be creative and discover new things. Hence, remember the mess might irritate you, but your little one’s brain is growing too,

  • It helps your toddler gain confidence.

Messy play is not about creating a finished object, so children who lack confidence or are scared of failure would not hesitate to try out new things and be innovative with what they’re around, which would help build their confidence and improve their focus.

  • Improves their problem-solving skills

You can use this opportunity to teach your child the importance of responsibility. Your little ones may not always live upto your standards but involving them while cleaning up the mess, putting their toys back into the box and arranging the mess might help them with problem-solving skills as it consists of thinking and intelligent work.

3. Tantrum

Tantrums are one of the most challenging aspects of parenting. No matter how good and bubbly you try to be around your little one, tantrums are hard to avoid. You may feel helpless and overwhelmed but believe it or not, these tantrums are an essential part of your toddler’s emotional health and well-being.

  • Better out than in

When we cry, we release stress from our body (our tears contains cortisol – stress hormones). So does your toddler. You may notice pre-tantrum signs such as anger, frustration, or whining and post-tantrum signs such as calmness and an overall better mood. The world is big, crazy, and very new from their point of view, so they become emotional when their thoughts are blocked, or things don’t work their way. This results in tantrums which will help them get over that discomfort eventually. 

Annoying things toddlers do you should know as a parent
  • Better sleep

Most parents believe it’s better to put them to sleep than deal with tantrums. However, just like adults, children also wake up because they’re stressed or trying to process something happening in their lives. Hence, allowing your child to get to the end of the tantrum improves emotional well-being and may result in better sleep through the night.

  • Your child will feel safe to tell you how they feel.

Most often, children don’t use tantrums to manipulate or get what they want. When their toy is broken or their building blocks aren’t cooperation with them, all they need is some love and comfort. However, even if they were wrong, you can stand firm with a ‘no’ and still emphasise with them.

However, toddlers are able to learn how to express their feelings and they just need to be guided in the right direction. When children don’t accurately describe how they are feeling, you may have a much harder time knowing how to help them. Hence, it is important to label your children’s feelings for them, help them notice other people’s feelings and watch shows and read books where feelings are highlighed. Until your child goes to school, you will have to help them create their vocabulary.

Active toddler bouncing around
4. Bounce around and refuse to sit still

It may be hard to handle a wiggly worm all the time and asking your toddler to sit still maybe part and parcel of parenting. However, here’s what you need to know.

Movement stimulates your toddler’s brains and it releases chemicals that contribute towards focus, memory, motivation and mood. In other words, the fundamental in the art of learning.

5. Cling to you for dear life

A clingy toddler can be irritating while chatting with friends when going out or dropping them off at nursery for the first time. 

  • Hugging could make your toddler smarter

A newborn learns to navigate through physical contact such as skin-on-skin contact and hugs. Touch is the first to develop out of our five senses so nurturing touch provides the stimulation young brains need for normal growth and development.  

  • Hugging can stop tantrums

Just like adults, even children lose control of their emotions and when your toddler has an emotional tantrum, their motive is never to ruin your day. They’re only releasing emotions in response to something in their environment.

parent holding on to clingy child

Hugging your toddler at these times of intense emotional outbursts will help calm them down and help them realise that you are there to support them during hard times.

Toddlers can sometimes drive you crazy and drain all the energy you have. But most of what your child is doing on a daily basis helps explore the love of learning, innovating and creating. Let your child be the next great explorer and encourage this love for life and its wonders as much as you can. If you have any questions regarding your toddler’s health or would like some medical advice, you can consult a paediatrician or a general physician from the comfort of your home via the oDoc app. Click here to download oDoc now.

“As your kids grow, they may forget what you said, but won’t forget how you made them feel”.
-Kevin Heath-

Reference
  1. 7 Annoying Things Toddlers Do That Are Actually Good for Them, Pick Any Two (2020)
  2. Why making a mess can be beneficial for children, Good start early learning (2017)
  3. 10 Reasons Your Toddler’s Tantrum Is Actually a Good Thing, Parents (2021)
  4. A Step by Step Guide to Help Toddlers Express Their Feelings, AT Parenting survival (2022)
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The Second Trimester

The Second Trimester

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They say there is no better feeling than the movement of life inside of you and that is the most magical thing about the second trimester of pregnancy. You can feel the life inside you. 

By the second trimester, you probably are more used to all the changes you have been experiencing the last 12 weeks. So let’s have a look at what’s in store for the next 13 weeks of your pregnancy. 

If you haven’t read our blog on the First Trimester yet, we’d suggest you start there and then hop back to this. 

When does the second trimester of pregnancy start?

The second trimester of pregnancy starts at the beginning of week 13 and goes up all the way till the end of week 26. 

So, what changes happen to the body during the second trimester?

Breast tenderness reduces, nausea begins to cease, and adjustment to estrogen and progesterone levels occurs. Other changes that happen to your body are: 

  1. Increase in appetite as your baby starts to grow 
  2. Aches in your lower abdomen may occur as your uterus expands to make space for the abby. This puts pressure on the surrounding muscle and ligaments, causing cramps and pains. A warm bath, relaxation exercises, changing your body’s position, or pressing a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel to your lower belly can help ease the pain. 
  3. Increase in weight due to the increase in appetite
  4. The increase in weight can also cause backaches 
  5. Bleeding gums due to changes in hormone levels sending more blood to your gums, making them more sensitive and increasing the likeliness of bleeding. 
  6. Some women may experience tightening in their uterus walls for a minute or two (also known as Braxton-Hicks contractions). This is very normal and isn’t a sign of natural labour. 
  7. Further enlargement of breasts occurs as the mammary glands prep for lactation. 
  8. Congestion occurs as the mucus membranes lining your nose swells, leading to a stuffy nose. Your nose may tend to bleed more easily too.
  9. Some women may experience dizziness as the growing uterus presses against the blood vessels, reducing blood reaching your brain. 
  10. Unwanted hair growth
  11. Headaches 
  12. Increased Progesterone levels cause heartburn as it relaxes the muscle responsible for keeping acids in your stomach.
  13. Varicose veins may occur as extra blood flows through them and the growing uterus exerts additional pressure. 

Sounds a bit scary doesn’t it? But do not worry, it’s a few weeks of hardship for a lifetime of happiness. As soon as you see your little one’s face, all the hardship will be forgotten in seconds. 

It is important to note that these symptoms may or may not be experienced by all women, and the severity, occurrence and duration of these changes can change from woman to woman. 

 So, what changes does the baby go through?

It is said that the second trimester of pregnancy marks a changing point not only for the mother but for the baby too. This is when the fetus grows into a baby. All organs and systems are fully formed by the second trimester. During the second trimester, your baby will grow from around 7.5cm and weigh 30 grams in the 13th week to approximately 23cm and 820 grams by the end of the second trimester. Their heart moves 100 pints of blood a day. During the second trimester, the fetus begins to move and starts kicking. The mother can feel this, and it is known as quickening and trust me, this feeling is unmatchable. 

The baby grows eyelashes and eyebrows during the second trimester and it’s eyes and ears are formed so your baby can hear your voice when you speak. It is encouraged you speak to them to give them company. Their tiny fingers and toes separate and grow nails too. Development of reflexes such as swallowing and sucking also occurs. The baby starts reacting to external stimuli and starts interacting with the outside world while being inside

A fetus born at 24 weeks may survive in a neonatal intensive care unit.

If you experience any of the following, please seek medical help urgently.

  • Severe abdominal pain or cramping
  • Bleeding
  • Severe dizziness
  • Rapid weight gain (more than 6.5 pounds per month) or too little weight gain (less than 10 pounds at 20 weeks into the pregnancy)
  • Jaundice
  • A lot of sweating

These are signs that something could be wrong with your pregnancy. You should speak to your VOG doctor as soon as possible if you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above.  

The second trimester of pregnancy is the best time to start building your birth plan. To know more about how to create your birth plan, click here. You can also consult a VOG doctor at any time and from the comfort and safety of your home via the oDoc app.

Source 

  1. Watson, S. (2010, February 4). Second Trimester of Pregnancy. WebMD. Retrieved January 11, 2022, from https://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/second-trimester-of-pregnancy#7
  2. The Second Trimester. (n.d.). Johns Hopkins Medicine. Retrieved January 11, 2022, from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-second-trimester
  3. Second trimester. (n.d.). Pregnancy Birth and Baby. Retrieved January 11, 2022, from https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/second-trimester
  4. Mayo Clinic. (2020, February 27). 2nd trimester pregnancy: What to expect. Retrieved January 11, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/pregnancy/art-20047732?reDate=11012022
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The First Trimester

The First Trimester

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Happy, anxious, nervous, scared, overjoyed and excited. These are just a few of the emotions you may experience when you first find out you are pregnant. If it is your first time you are definitely going to feel a bit confused and will resort to googling everything related to pregnancy. We have broken down everything you need to know about the first trimester of pregnancy in this blog. 

So what is the first trimester of pregnancy?

It is the earliest phase in your pregnancy. It starts on the first day of your last period and ends on the last day of the 13th week. During your first trimester of pregnancy, a lot of changes happen to you and the baby. So keep reading to find out what is in store for you

What are the changes happening in your body?. 

Due to the hormones released by the body,, many changes will occur during pregnancy. These changes help prepare you for the 9 months of pregnancy.

first trimester of pregnancy
  1. Swelling of breasts– caused by the mammary glands enlarging to prepare for lactation as a result of increased oestrogen and progesterone hormones secretion.
  2. Peeing more often – you will start peeing more often as your uterus grows and presses against your bladder.
  3. Darken and enlarged areolas – this is the pigmented area around your nipple. They may also become covered with small, white bumps called Montgomery’s tubercles (enlarged sweat glands).
  4. Mood swings – you may begin to experience severe mood swings which is caused by the surge in hormones. 
  5. Morning sickness – occurs due to increased hormone levels that is needed to sustain the pregnancy. Contrary to the name, nausea can occur at anytime of day. 
  6. Constipation – occurs as the growing uterus presses against your rectum and intestines.
  7. Heartburn and indigestion – the increased levels of progesterone can slow the muscular contractions in our intestines. 
  8. Extreme tiredness – caused as a result of the physical and emotional demands of pregnancy. 
  9. High heart rate-  caused by the increased cardiac output to supply enough blood to both you and your baby.
  10. Slight bleeding – About 25% of pregnant women have slight bleeding during their first trimester of pregnancy. Early in the pregnancy, light spotting may be a sign that the fertilized embryo has implanted in your uterus. If you have severe bleeding please seek medical advice urgently.
  11. Weight gain – this is due to a 40-50% increase in volume of blood in the body during pregnancy and storage of fat in the body which is later used for milk production. 

It is important to note that some symptoms of pregnancy continue for several weeks or months. Others are only experienced for a short time. Some women experience many symptoms, and some experience only a few or none at all. Everyone is different but that’s to be expected -you are unique! 

Now lets have a look at the changes your baby will go through

The most development occurs during the first trimester. During the first 13 weeks, your baby develops from a fertilized egg (embryo) into a fully-formed fetus. All major organs are formed during the first trimester of pregnancy. By the end of the first trimester of pregnancy, the fetus weighs approximately 0.5 to 1 ounce and measures, on average, 3 to 4 inches in length.

Here is what exactly happens: 

(Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine)

The fetus is most vulnerable during the first 12 weeks. During this period of time, exposure to drugs, radiation, tobacco and other toxic substances can affect the formation of the major organs and body systems. 

So what do you need to know while visiting the doctor during the first trimester?

As soon as you find out you are pregnant, make an appointment with your VOG doctor so you can start caring for the baby. You should see your doctor once a month but it is better to discuss this with your VOG doctor. 

During your first visit the doctor may: 

  • perform an ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy
  • perform a Pap test
  • take your blood pressure
  • test for sexually transmitted infections, HIV, and hepatitis
  • estimate your date of delivery or “due date,” which is around 266 days from the first day of your last period
  • screen for risk factors like anemia
  • check thyroid levels
  • check your weight

If you experience any of the following please seek medical help immediately: 

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Severe dizziness
  •  Rapid weight gain or too little weight gain

It is also recommended you start building out your birth plan early on during your pregnancy. To know more about how to create your birth plan click here. You can also consult a VOG doctor at any time and from the comfort and safety of your home via the oDoc app.

 

Source

  1. Bhargava, H. D. (2020, July 16). First trimester of pregnancy: What to expect, Baby Development. WebMD. Retrieved December 15, 2021, from https://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/first-trimester-of-pregnancy#3 
  2. Healthline Media. (2017, November 9). The first trimester of pregnancy. Healthline. Retrieved December 15, 2021, from https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/first-trimester#other-considerations 
  3. The first trimester. Johns Hopkins Medicine. (n.d.). Retrieved December 15, 2021, from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-first-trimester 
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Birth Plans – what you need to know

Birth Plans – what you need to know

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Yes, Birth Plans are a thing and it is also very useful to have one. 

If you are approaching your third trimester the chances are you have already given a lot of thought to childbirth and all the options available to you. It is vital you write your preferences down and share what your preference for labour and delivery is with a loved one. This should be done well in advance because whilst you are going through labour it will be quite a task to make decisions in the middle of, you know, all the pain and hormones and stuff. Having a birth plan in advance will help you focus on the most important thing on the day – bringing your new baby into the world. We have broken down everything you need to know while creating your birth plan. 

Before we proceed, let’s go through the basics quickly. 

What is a Birth Plan?

A Birth plan is a written, typed or even drawn document which states your preferences during labour, delivery and after childbirth. It’s similar to a wish list, for example, where you can list out who you want with you in the room while you are in labour, or if you want pain meds, dimmed lights in the room, background music and other preferences. You can add anything you wish to make your delivery day as comfortable as possible. 

However, it is important to keep in mind that unexpected things can happen during labour so it might be quite difficult to follow your birth plan to the T. 

So how do you create a birth plan?

First, start with the basics. Include your

  • Name 
  • Age 
  • Brief medical history like chronic medical conditions, medicine allergies etc.

Here are a few other things you should consider when adding to your birth plan: 

Location

Where do you want to give birth? At home or at the hospital?

State your location so everyone is aware of where they need to take you when the labour pain starts.

Atmosphere

Who do you want around you when you are giving birth? Do you want a spacious room so you can walk around? Do you want a TV to help you calm down? Would you like music to be playing in the background – if so what playlist?

Listing these preferences out will help your loved ones set the atmosphere to your liking. 

Birthing positions 

Would you like to give birth on a birthing bed or stool or ball? 

There are many positions you could try if you opt for a birthing bed. Some are listed below. 

  • Lying down: On your back, with your head flat or elevated, and your legs elevated
  • Side-lying: With one leg elevated (this is good if you’re tired or if your blood pressure levels are fluctuating)
  • Kneeling: On the lower part of the bed with your arms or upper body resting on the upper section (this posture helps ease the backache)
  • All fours: With your stomach facing down, supported by your hands and knees (helps ease backache)
  • Squatting: On your feet, with support from bed or partner (this position takes advantage of gravity and shortens the depth of the birth canal)

It is good to know the different options so you can experiment with these during childbirth easily. Please note that in Sri Lanka these positions are not practiced regularly but do talk to a VOG if you’d like to explore these positions.

Pain management 

An important component of childbirth is pain management. It is common to be confused about whether or not you should take an epidural. Please note that whatever you choose in the birth plan, you can always change your mind on the day. It is advised you discuss the pain management options available to you with your VOG doctor well before your due date. A few examples of questions you can ask are listed below: 

  • What are my choices?
  • What is the risks of taking an epidural?

 

Delivery

Expecting mums, it’s never too early to discuss this with your VOG doctors. Have a think about if you’d like a normal vaginal birth or a C-Section. Other important things to consider are: 

  • Would you like your partner to cut the umbilical cord? 
  • Would you like to opt for an episiotomy (an incision through the area between your vaginal opening and your anus to make your vaginal opening larger for childbirth) or only do it if medically required? 

Feeding after the baby is born

How do you want to feed your newborn – breastfeed or bottle-feed? It is important to let your doctors and caregivers know this beforehand. 

The above list might seem obvious, but under the pressure of labour, the raging hormones and pain, it will be difficult to communicate your choices. So we encourage you to build your birth plan well in advance and share it with your partner and most importantly your VOG doctor so they know what your preferences are when it comes to labour and delivery.   

If you would like to discuss your birth plan or would like some guidance on how to build it, you can speak to a VOG doctor via oDoc from the comfort and safety of your home.

Source

  • Dailey, K. (2012, June 8). How to Create a Birth Plan. WebMD. Retrieved November 19, 2021, from https://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/how-to-create-a-birth-plan#1

  • NHS website. (2021, November 18). How to make a birth plan. NHS UK. Retrieved November 19, 2021, from https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/labour-and-birth/preparing-for-the-birth/how-to-make-a-birth-plan/

  • Dorfner, M. (2018, November 7). The Importance of a Birth Plan. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved November 19, 2021, from https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/the-importance-of-a-birth-plan/

  • Slide show: Labor positions. (2021, February 23). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved November 19, 2021, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/labor-and-delivery/multimedia/labor/sls-20077009?s=9

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We Need To Stop Saying Breastfeeding Is “Easy”

We Need To Stop Saying Breastfeeding Is “Easy”

And focus on supporting mothers instead

Nicole Parakrama | BSc Hons Molecular Cell Biology, UCL (UK) | 14th August 2021 |
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Just recently, we all tuned in to watch the Olympic Games held in Tokyo. We admired the beautiful performances of the athletes, and we acknowledged and celebrated all the sacrifices, hard work and preparation that led up to that day.
breastfeeding

What if we viewed breastfeeding the same way?

What if instead of glorifying only the ‘highlights reel’ of breastfeeding, we all agree that breastfeeding needs education, preparation and hard work to get through the first few weeks. What if we supported and empowered mothers on this journey filled with sacrifices and challenges and collectively took responsibility for it? What if we celebrated them loudly and genuinely when they achieved their goals?

The recently concluded ‘World Breastfeeding Week’ was triggering for a lot of mothers. For many women, any mention of breastfeeding brings back feelings of pain, anxiety and a lack of support. It serves as a reminder of the guilt and shame that they felt for stopping breastfeeding, the feeling that their bodies weren’t doing what they were meant to do.

Changing the Messaging

A Sri Lankan mum recently told me:

“Breastfeeding is hard… everyone tells you how painful labour is and how difficult pregnancy is, but no one tells you how hard breastfeeding is! All you see are images of moms with babies on their breasts and they make it look like it’s the easiest thing!”

Amy Brown, Professor of Child Public Health, Swansea University says: “When we gloss over the realities of breastfeeding, women feel unprepared for what it’s really like. If we tell women to expect easy, and they hit a hurdle, they may think they’re doing something wrong. . Women then end up depressed, blaming themselves, thinking they didn’t try hard enough because after all, isn’t breastfeeding easy?”

Without swinging towards ONLY the positive or the negative, perhaps the good, the bad and the ugly all need to be portrayed together. We need to find a balance.

So what are the benefits of breastfeeding?

  • We sometimes refer to breastmilk as “liquid gold”! Mums often joke that breastmilk is the cure for nearly everything:baby acne, sore eyes, heat rash,eczema and healing our cracked and sore nipples.
  • The composition of breastmilk is biochemically and nutritionally complete, giving numerous long term and immunological advantages.. It protects from infections, diarrhoea, UTIs, and chronic diseases like diabetes, childhood cancers, obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma and allergies. In preterm babies, it reduces the risk of sepsis and necrotising enterocolitis (NEC).
  • For mothers, it has been proven to reduce the risk of hypercholesterolaemia, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, as well as reduce the incidence of breast and ovarian cancer and osteoporosis. It stabilises endometriosis and confers partial contraception.
  • The process of breastfeeding stimulates the release of oxytocin, the bonding chemical. Babies don’t only breastfeed to eat, but also to help themselves settle: it provides them comfort and helps them regulate their emotions.
  • From a practical standpoint, breastfeeding is free and convenient! No stumbling around in the dark to boil water and prepare a bottle! Your baby has access to fresh milk straight from the source.

OK, I’m convinced of the benefits. Now hit me with the challenges of breastfeeding!

Here in Sri Lanka, we are seeing a rise of an ‘Instagram mum brigade’ who raise awareness on issues surrounding motherhood whilst sharing experiences and building community. They are finding their voices and being the support that they wished they had as new mums.

One of these Instagram mothers, Ameena (IG handle @raisingimaan) – expresses the challenges of breastfeeding so beautifully in a recent post. She said:

“Breastfeeding isn’t simply putting a breast into a baby’s mouth and transferring milk. It is SO MUCH more than that. And women pay for it with a unique currency of time, commitment, energy, mental and physical health, as well as bodily autonomy. That’s a massive price to pay. And to tell women that it’s all on themselves alone to manage. Frankly, it’s quite a raw deal”.

sore nipples
  • The first few weeks of breastfeeding, in particular, require a considerable investment of time. It IS time consuming, and new mothers can feel that all they do in the early days is feed!
  • In addition, the breastfeeding technique can take a bit of practice to get right. Mums need to experiment with different holds and find solutions for attachment and positioning issues.
  • There are potential physiological challenges, such as sore/cracked nipples, breast engorgement, blocked ducts, and mastitis/abscess which mums may have to navigate.
  • Feeling like there is not enough milk can be a significant challenge for many mothers in their breastfeeding journeys. However, as I have written about in a previous article, this is mostly a perception issue. In as many as 95% of cases, it is easily surmountable with the proper support.

How important is it to have a supportive community?

I cannot stress enough the huge role a supportive community plays in successful outcomes for breastfeeding. In “the fourth trimester”, women adjust to being mothers just as much as their babies adapt to life outside the womb. This postnatal period seems to be universally defined as 40 days.

Kimberly Ann Johnson, author of the book “The Fourth Trimester” says:
“Everything that a new baby needs, a new mom needs. So you know a new baby needs swaddling, you know a new baby needs a constant food source, you know a new baby needs eye contact, you know a new baby needs soothing. That’s everything a new mom needs.”

But the best way of caring for a breastfed baby is to care for their mother. Feed her, love her, support her by taking care of other stuff. Do housework, run errands, look after older children. The same goes for supporting women who are bottle feeding.

How can we as a society make breastfeeding easier for mothers?

As a society we can further encourage breastfeeding mothers when it comes to feeding in public. Public bathrooms are not acceptable places to feed infants! Establishments can train their staff on how to respond compassionately to a mother whose infant needs to feed, and to take a step further to provide a private space in which to do this, if required. Far too often this is left to the discretion of the staff, and so mothers have mixed experiences. Just one negative experience can be a huge setback to a mother’s breastfeeding journey, making her feel that she has to stop breastfeeding in order to leave the house and ‘have a life’.

Alongside all of this, the government MUST step up and make things easier for new families. In 2018, a significant amendment to the Shop and Office Act was passed in Sri Lanka which mandated the “provision of nursing intervals for nursing mothers” (previously only mandated in the state sector, although sometimes practiced informally in the private sector). This means that working mothers are now entitled to 2 paid feeding breaks of 1 hour per working day until their child is 1 year old.

This is a significant step forward – however longer, better paid leave for both mothers and fathers, as per the Swedish model, would do wonders for the well-being of the whole family, and in increasing breastfeeding figures.

If you are a new mum and are having trouble breastfeeding, you can speak to a doctor on oDoc. You can video call them from your home, baby in hand, even while breastfeeding! You can download the app here.

HOW I BECAME ‘THE MILK COACH’

When my first child was born, I was quite unprepared for what lay ahead. Particularly when it came to breastfeeding… I was naïvely expectant that I could just place him onto my chest, and let nature take its course. What a surprise I was in for! Cracked nipples from sub-optimal positioning, and my milk taking its own sweet time to come in, led to terrible pain. This pain became excruciating when my son developed oral thrush which travelled into my milk ducts. Fortunately, thanks to a lot of research and some wise mummy friends, I was able to power through the awful first few months. Most crucially, I was able to advocate for myself with health professionals, when the ‘system’ didn’t really support me.

This birthed a passion to counsel, support and advocate for my fellow Sri Lankan mums. To this end I am working to add to a science background (in Molecular Cell Biology) with an accreditation by La Leche League International (LLLI). My heart is to help YOU to achieve your breastfeeding goals – whether that is one week, one month, six months, or even a year and beyond.

Join the conversation, follow @themilkcoach on Instagram or Facebook.

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