Can philosophy end the mommy wars ?

How do you feed your baby? It might sound like a simple question, but emotions run high around infant- feeding decisions: formula feeders are told that they are ‘selfish’ while breastfeeding mothers are labelled ‘exhibitionists’ for breastfeeding in public. A lot of the guilt, shame and blame surrounding how we choose to feed our babies, springs from philosophical mistakes in the way we think and talk about women’s bodies and behaviour —particularly when they become mothers.

Fixing these mistakes can help us to promote and support breastfeeding, while combating guilt and shame surrounding infant feeding.

The blame game

Many new mothers feel guilt and shame about how they feed their babies. Formula feeding is associated with guilt and blame, while women breastfeeding in public feel discomfort, humiliation and fear. Sociologist Elizabeth Murphy describes infant feeding decisions as ‘an accountable matter’; mothers feel they have to justify their decisions to avoid being seen as bad mothers. And because new mothers are so vulnerable, this can have devastating effects.

At the same time, how babies are fed is a major public health issue. A report by UNICEF UK estimates that improving breastfeeding rates could save the National Health Service (NHS) £31 million for each annual group of first-time mothers, by protecting mothers and babies from serious illnesses.

This means, we face a huge challenge: we need to promote and support breastfeeding without shaming formula feeders. I think philosophy can help by identifying mistakes in the way we think and talk about a mother’s body and behaviour.

Night feed

At first, your baby can’t tell day from night, so whether it’s two o’clock in the afternoon or two o’clock in the oh-so-early hours of the morning, he just knows that he’s hungry, and you know that you need to feed him. Sitting up in the dead of night with your little one as he feeds makes for some magical bonding moments, but it can also be very demanding. So how do you make the most of those lovely parts? We’ve got some tricks up our sleeve to make night-time nursing go smoothly, whether it’s by breast, bottle or a combination of the two.

Put him to bed awake

How you put your baby to bed at bedtime will have a significant effect on how easily he falls back to sleep after a night feed. The important thing is not to feed him to sleep and then pop him into his cot asleep, but to give him his evening feed before, or as part of, his bedtime routine, so you lay him down when he’s drowsy but still awake.

That way, he learns to fall asleep without any assistance from you. And when it’s time to go back to bed after a feed at three o’clock in the morning, that’s a skill that really helps! “It’s never too soon to start a bedtime routine,” says sleep- and-feeding expert Lyndsey Hookway. “You may not see immediate results, but if you provide the same cues in the same order before each and every sleep, over time your baby will be able to predict what will happen next.” And while you might worry that separating milk from sleep means that you’ll be feeding your baby 10 minutes earlier, so he might feel hungry 10 minutes earlier too, you’ll probably find that he drinks a little more because he’s more awake.

Get comfy

Prepare your space for a comfortable night’s feeding before you go to bed. As a breastfeeding mum, you may prefer to lie in bed: “It’s fine to breastfeed lying down, in a safe position,” says Lyndsey. “But if you’re bottle-feeding, you’ll need to sit up.” Prop yourself up with plenty of pillows, or position a supportive chair close by. And keep cushions and a warm blanket or dressing gown to hand. “Keep a little caddy of night-feeding essentials close by,” says Lyndsey, “so you’ve got a muslin, bottle of water and lip salve for yourself and a spare babygro in case of accidents.” And think what else would help you create an area that makes you feel nurtured and looked after.

Seven Secrets to Sawvy Breastfeeding

1.The let-down reflex only works when you’re relaxed

Shutting your eyes for five seconds and taking a deep breath before you start a feed can really help. Your let-down reflex— nature’s way of turning on the milk flow—works best when you’re relaxed, so by letting go of any stress, you let your hormones do their job. You can give them a head start too by having a skin- on-skin cuddle before you begin, as this stimulates the release. With practice, just thinking about your baby will be enough to trigger a response.

Hormones also kick in as your baby starts to suck on your nipple, telling your mammary glands to produce and release milk. You can mimic this by massaging your breast gently, helping induce the tingling sensation that signals milk is on its way.

2.Breastmilk is 88.1% water

Yes, it may be packed with all sorts of natural goodies, but breastmilk is almost 90 per cent water. And this means that it’s vital that you keep your body hydrated. Have a medium-sized glass of water to hand while your baby’s feeding to rehydrate as you go. And your urine will indicate whether you’re drinking enough: pale yellow is good, but any darker means you’re not drinking enough.

3.You are right- or left-boobed

More than three quarters of mums find that their right breast naturally produces more milk than their left—and this has no relation to whether you’re left- or right-handed. So you’re not just imagining that one boob is better at this feeding business than the other!

4.Tickling his ear will keep him awake

There’s a sleep-inducing substance in your milk called tryptophan, which means that your breastfeeding baby is likely to start snoozing on the job even though he is in his best double stroller while sleeping

This is often more noticeable during evening feeds, as your breastmilk brings your baby’s circadian rhythm (his natural 24-hour pattern of behaviour) in sync with your own, stimulating him earlier in the day and leaving him more relaxed towards night-time. But nodding off can mean he doesn’t drink his fill. To get your baby to drink more in one sitting to avoid an all-night sleep-snack-sleep cycle, wake him gently when he nods off at your nipple.

Breastfeeding Issues: Every new moms face

The most crucial act for a mother and baby post childbirth is breastfeeding. It is so basic, yet, its benefi ts are many for both mother and child. The sad truth, though, is that this beautiful bonding experience can sometimes be problematic. Several women are ashamed of admitting that what they’ve been told is a natural and relaxing process, is actually rife with issues that few folks talk about. WE…

Pregnancy 101: Pain management during labour

For most women, especially first-time mothers, it’s the pain they’re going to endure during labour that worries them the most. After all, there’s no doubt that they’ve heard plenty of stories of hours of labour, or watched numerous videos of women screaming in the delivery room, that the pain seems to get the better of them.

This is exactly why, this article talks about some of the pain management methods that you can opt for. Naturally, there are some pharmacological methods and some non- pharmacological methods you can choose from.

Medical Intervention

A pharmacological method is also treated as an intervention, as it interferes with the natural process. However, in some cases, it can be a blessing. Let’s start with the epidural.

This is an analgesic which is administered in the lower back, and numbs all sensation in the lower body. The contractions still proceed as normal; the only difference is that, now, the nerves do not carry the pain sensation to the brain. As it is administered in the lower back, most mothers feel that it causes a permanent backache. However, this is not true. Epidurals are used all over the world for most lower body surgeries.

If a woman in labour is experiencing a lot of pain and discomfort, and if she is progressing slowly, then an epidural may be the right choice for her as it can help to relax her. On the other hand, if labour is moving well and she is coping with the contractions, taking an epidural can slow things down. It’s really her decision whether to take the epidural or not.

However, she can take this call only during labour. Another popular pain management option is Entonox gas which is popularly known as laughing gas, and is made of 50 per cent nitrous oxide and 50 per cent oxygen

These are natural gases and are considered safe for mother and child. Another plus is that it is self administered which means the mom takes it on an SOS basis. The effects are temporary and wears off very easily. It can also make you feel sick or nauseated. Many women find that taking it for long durations, can leave the mouth feeling very dry. There are some other drugs available for pain relief during labour but these are injectables and directly get into the bloodstream.

This affects the foetus as well, and unless absolutely necessary, are not prescribed for women in labour.

The easy squeeze

o if you signed up for the London Marathon, you’d find the time to run around the block a few times beforehand, right? And if you booked a bucket-list holiday to climb up to Machu Picchu, you’d at least take the stairs instead of the lift for a few months, yes? Well, now you’ve bagged yourself a ticket for one of life’s biggest moments —your baby’s arrival, no less —here’s…

The story of us ( part 2 )

Tara’s arrival Before Tara could greet us, we had a home birth dry run with the inflated pool and the works as I kicked into latent labour in the early hours of December 10, 2015. Then it stalled. Lina and Alli were cool as I’ve ever seen them, advising me to just take it easy. They even suggested I go out to dinner and just relax. The next day passed…

The story of us ( part 1 )

My husband Rajiv, who is a singer- composer, and has composed and sung for several television ad films and movies, and I always wanted two children, if not three. We like the idea of parenting, nurturing and trying to attain an impermeable family unit. So really there wasn’t ever a debate on how many, just the matter of finding a suitable time to start our family. Both our children, have been a blessing to us in more ways than one.

With Trilok, I discovered parenting. Apart from enjoying reading to him and gardening with him, he helped me unravel my joy for cooking, which led me to blogging about baby food. My style of parenting with him is one of introspection. I am learning to tune myself to him. Sometimes, he displays maturity beyond his years. What I’ve come to realise with him is that I must be careful; he is my weakness.

With Tara, I’ve learnt the true meaning of faith and patience, of strength and perseverance. My parenting style with her is largely tailored around her personality. She is strong-willed and rugged. I have to be her guide, but practice restraint. The truth is, she guides me; she is my strength.

Bun in the oven

My first pregnancy and delivery was fairly uneventful. I had Trilok via water birth and I knew that’s how I wanted my second baby delivered, too.

With the usual niggles there was a lot to be thankful for. I got pregnant with Tara soon after Trilok turned two and we were over the moon! The initial weeks proceeded as usual. Then, the time for my scheduled 17th week anomaly scan arrived. We bummed around at the ultrasound oblivious to the news that awaited us.

Rajiv stepped out to drop my son off to play-school. I assured him that I’d be okay. We’d been through the drill before. Moments later I was transferred to a room that seemed like it had a more evolved scanner.

That’s okay though, I wasn’t worried. Just as soon as the probe gave me a 3D view of my bub, I froze. I stared at the screen knowing what I was looking at before the sonographer could even break it to me.

Mum friends forever

Having a best mum-friend in your speed dial is life- changing. It’s not just about having someone to brave soft play with, a coffee-shop and toddler-group buddy who doesn’t mind if you message her while you’re awake in the early hours— though that is great. It’s all about having someone to share this experience of being a mum with. Being at the same stage of this journey together. Watching your…