Sunday, 31 January 2016

Increasing breastfeeding worldwide could prevent over 800,000 child deaths and 20,000 deaths from breast cancer every year.

January 29, 2016
The Lancet
Just 1 in 5 children in high-income countries are breastfed to 12 months, whilst only 1 in 3 children in low and middle-income countries are exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months. As a result, millions of children are failing to receive the full benefits provided by breastfeeding. The findings come from the largest and most detailed analysis to quantify levels, trends, and benefits of breastfeeding around the world. 
Then why are women still not getting the message?
 Although breastfeeding is one of the most effective preventive health measures for children and mothers regardless of where they live, it has been overlooked as a critical need for the health of the population.

"There is a widespread misconception that the benefits of breastfeeding only relate to poor countries. Nothing could be further from the truth," says Series author Professor Cesar Victora from the Federal University of Pelotas in Brazil. "Our work for this Series clearly shows that breastfeeding saves lives and money in all countries, rich and poor alike. Therefore, the importance of tackling the issue globally is greater than ever."

Breastfeeding not only has multiple health benefits for children and mothers, but it also has dramatic effects on life expectancy. For example, in high-income countries breastfeeding reduces the risk of sudden infant deaths by more than a third, while in low-and middle-income countries about half of all diarrhoea episodes and a third of respiratory infections could be avoided by breastfeeding. It also increases intelligence, and might protect against obesity and diabetes in later life. For mothers, longer-duration breastfeeding reduces the risks of breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

Furthermore, the authors calculate that boosting breastfeeding rates for infants below 6 months of age to 45% in the UK would cut treatment costs of common childhood illnesses (eg,  pneumonia, diarrhoea, and asthma) and save health care systems at least 29.5 million in the UK.

Yet, worldwide rates of breastfeeding are low, particularly in high-income countries. For example, the UK (<1%), Ireland (2%), and Denmark (3%) have some of the lowest rates of breastfeeding at 12 months in the world. "Breastfeeding is one of the few positive health behaviours that is more common in poor than richer countries, and within poor countries, is more frequent among poor mothers. The stark reality is that in the absence of breastfeeding, the rich-poor gap in child survival would be even wider. Our findings should reassure policymakers that a rapid return on investment is realistic and feasible, and won't need a generation to be realised."

Persistent underinvestment in protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding by governments and international funders has exacerbated the issue. Social media do not portray breastfeeding women in a positive light. It was banned on FB to show a BF woman as you could see some of her breast! OMG.

Powerful political commitment and financial investment is needed to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding at all levels -- family, community, workplace, and government, say the authors. Additionally, more needs to be done to regulate the multi-billion dollar breastmilk-substitute industry which undermines breastfeeding as the best feeding practice in early life. The authors point out that the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes could be an effective mechanism if adequate investment is made to ensure its implementation and accountability across all countries.

Global sales of milk formula (including infant formula and follow-on milks) have increased from a value of about US$2 billion in 1987 to about US$40 billion in 2014...Political commitment, investment, and effective international, national, and local leadership are needed to end promotion of products that compete with breastfeeding."

Ask your Community Midwife for help and advice about breastfeeding your baby before you decide. There is lots of help and support out there when you have had your baby, just ask.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

"No way am I trying this natural!" How Hypnobirthing can make your birth beautiful.

I went into this pregnancy not knowing how I wanted to give birth. At first, I said, “No way am I trying this natural! Why would I do that?” Then after doing lots of research and learning about all of the benefits I decided it was the only way to go. Moving forward I had heard about Hypnobirthing. “Whaaaaaaaaat? That’s weird, right?”

I was referred by a friend to Julie Byers and her 6 week Hypnobabies class. I also went into this class not knowing what to really expect. I already love to meditate and thought it may be the same thing. It was the BEST decision I ever made! I began the class very unsure and insecure about pregnancy and birthing period. It was the most informative, educational, supportive, and uplifting class that gave me confidence and my own voice about MY birth! The techniques I’ve learned through this class made me realize, I can do this! I wanted an all natural waterbirth.

My guess date was September 7th. On September 1st I thought maybe I would try this “midwives cocktail” out that I had heard about from a friend who said that she drank it and was in full blown labor within 3 hours. (1 cup apricot juice, 1 cup champagne, 2 tbsp almond butter, 2 tbsp caster oil). I was teeter tottering with the idea but actually decided I would wait because this baby knows when to be born. At 11:30pm that night, I lie down to go to sleep and *POP* I hear, and feel, what felt like a tiny water balloon in the top right side of my uterus. “Was that what I think it was???” Sure enough, a few seconds later, I felt the small gush. It was definitely my bags of water. “Now what?!” Do I call the midwives? Do I call my doula? I did both. They both told me to chill out, get some rest and just wait because I would need the energy for when my pressure waves begin.

I slept maybe 4 hours that night. I woke up in the morning and still no pressure waves. I went to work. YES, I WENT TO WORK! Just for a few hours…. Around 2:00 pm I called the midwife on call and she said to go ahead and drink the “midwife cocktail” to try and induce, otherwise, I would have to come in and start a pitocin drip which was the opposite of my birthing plan! After drinking the midwife cocktail, I sit and wait… around 4:30pm I get a call from the midwife and she says to come in so they can confirm that my water had actually broken and see how much amniotic fluid I was losing.

As soon as I get in the car, I feel my first pressure wave! “Yay!!” At this point, I know it’s GO TIME! I get to the hospital, get admitted. At this point, if I was not dilating, they were going to start the pitocin. At 5:00pm Susan, the midwife checks me. I am dilated at 2cm and changed to 4cm literally in her hand. The pressure waves were coming longer, stronger and closer together! I called my doula and had her come to meet me! It was time to use my Hypnobabies techniques. I turned the lights down, tried to relax and hum my way through each one. I used the birthing ball, many different positions, walking, and a hot shower (my favorite) to labor. It was peaceful.
Around 10:00 pm, during a pressure wave, I felt the urge to throw up! To me, I’m thinking, “okay, power and purge, this is normal right?” As soon as that happens, my doula runs and grabs Susan and we get my beautiful wife on video chat! (She is overseas for work) Apparently this means I’m going into the transition period of labor! Susan comes in and checks me again and I’m 9cm! Time to grab the water birthing tub and fill it up!
Once the tub is filled, I hop in quick! Oh it felt sooooooo amazing! It relieved most of the pressure I was feeling! I began pushing and about 5 minutes later I could feel her head with my hands. It was the most beautiful experience I have ever been through. I only pushed for about 10 minutes and my baby girl, Venice Aliana Marie was born at 11:53pm on September 2nd. She was 7lbs, and 19.5 inches long. Just perfect!
I had an amazing pregnancy the entire time and my birth was even better! I am all about putting out the positive things you want in life and not listening to anyone’s negativity! I hope that my birth story can inspire at least one person!

Lovely. Not sure why she did not get in the pool sooner and labour in there. Have seen it aid the relaxation techniques used in Hypnobirthing loads of times. 

Pain Free Labour books available from Amazon.