This is a blog all about my adventures in Breastfeeding Peer Support. I want to share all the things I have learned and celebrate amazing breastfeeding Mothers and their babies.

I would like to share other peoples stories here too. Accounts of problems overcome, funny things your older children have said, strange places you have attached your baby and so on. Please email me with any stories you'd like to share with other breastfeeding Mothers. Please include what you'd like to be called (URLs ok or just a name), how old your baby was at the time and where abouts you are geographically.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Tiny Tummies

I have always believed that breast milk is the very best thing to feed babies but I have discovered some amazing, and startling, facts during my training that lead me to think that it is the only thing we should be feeding our babies until they reach six months of age. I wondered on many occasions how artificial milk is licensed to be used when it is needed by so few of the population.

We have many items that we use to help women better understand the points we are making when encouraging and supporting breastfeeding. Things they can see and feel.

These are my tiny tummy marbles;

We use these to illistustrate the size of their baby's tiny digestive systems.

The smallest marble is the capacity of a newborn's stomach and will hold around 5-7 mls.

The middle marble has a 22-27 mls capacity of a baby aged around 3-5 days.

The biggest marble is the size of a stomach belonging to a baby aged 10-12 days old and has a 60-85 mls capacity.

This shows a mother why her new born needs to feed so often, he has a very tiny tummy and needs to refill it as often as he needs to. It helps her understand why her colostrum (the 'first milk') is so thick and calorie rich. It helps a mother see that although her baby is growing his tummy is no bigger than his fist, even older babies need to eat when they are hungry, babies don't really understand time, they just know to survive they need their mother's milk when their tummy is empty.

I already knew that babies had tiny tums but what I didn't know is that the largest marble also represents the amount of formula a newborn baby would be fed at birth. 60mls or 2floz, sounds like a small amount but it is a huge amount when your stomach can only hold 5-7mls (an average teaspoon). People tend to believe that formula fed babies sleep better, they sleep for longer periods because their poor bellies are stuffed to bursting and they need to conserve their energy to digest the artificial milk in their system.

There is more nutritional value to the 5mls of colostrum a baby gets from his mother during his first feed than a first forumla feed of twelve times the volume. He also gets the skin contact he so needs to regulate his heartbeat, his temperature and lower his blood pressure after birth.

There are lots more advantages to breastmilk and the action of milking the breast. I could go on all night. I won't though but will be back with more soon, I just wanted to show you I haven't lost my marbles ;-)

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