What does ‘baby-led feeding’ really mean?. Gill Rapley, MSc. Some definitions. Demand feeding Cue-led feeding Needs-led feeding. Why breastfeed this way?. Ensures customised milk production and respects baby’s innate appetite control Prevents complications for the mother
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What does ‘baby-led feeding’ really mean? Gill Rapley, MSc
Some definitions • Demand feeding • Cue-led feeding • Needs-led feeding
Why breastfeed this way? • Ensures customised milk production and respects baby’s innate appetite control • Prevents complications for the mother • Cuts out the guesswork BUT: the emphasis is still on the baby’s nutritional needs
Some definitions • Demand feeding • Cue-led feeding • Needs-led feeding • Baby-led feeding • Responsive feeding
Breastfeeding = FEEDS Breastfeeding works best when it’s: Frequent Effective Exclusive on Demand Skin to skin (in the early weeks)
Baby-led breastfeeding encompasses: • The first breastfeed • Positioning and attachment • Demand / cue / needs-led feeding • Baby-led weaning (solid foods) • Child-led weaning (off the breast)
Who does the feeding? Mothers don’t breastfeed – babies do! The mother provides the opportunity – the baby does the rest
Babies are capable beings They have innate reflexes and instincts to: • locate the breast • use their head, arms and legs to orientate themselves and adjust their body position • root, attach effectively, and suckle
Babies’ innate abilities ... ... are triggered or enhanced by skin-to-skin contact and a laid-back maternal position They need the freedom to experiment and time to practise, to get it right
The “mother-baby dance” (Christina Smillie) Mother and baby fine-tune the mechanics of breastfeeding between them – with the baby leading Babies haven’t read the books – they are very adaptable when it comes to positions for feeding!
Babies are quite capable of: • Choosing to breastfeed • Initiating breastfeeding • Sustaining breastfeeding • Incorporating other foods • Deciding when to stop ... provided they are given the opportunity
Enabling breastfeeding • “There are only a very few mothers who cannot breastfeed – but there are many who are not enabled to” (Belinda Phipps, CEO, NCT) • There are only a very few babies who cannot breastfeed – but there are many who are not enabled to
Why doesn’t it happen? • Culture • Technology • Expectations
What (or who) gets in the way? • Family • Friends and peers • Health professionals • Media – advertising • Media – impressions of ‘normal’
Parenting tools a pram/buggy a playpen
Did Wilma have ... • A hospital birth? Skin contact? Nursery care? • Input from health professionals? • Advice from parenting ‘gurus’? • Concerns about spoiling the baby, or being used as a dummy? • A safety pin, to help her remember which breast to use first? • Formula and bottles?
21st century parenting • A full-time paid job • A multi-function car seat • A baby monitor / CCTV • A mobile phone – with apps • Facebook & Twitter • A BabyNes
Babies’ expectations(whatever the century) • To breastfeed unaided soon after birth (before anything else happens) • To touch and smell their mothers, as well as hear and see them, 24/7 • To feel warm and safe, day and night • To be able to feed easily, whenever and wherever they want • To be understood and responded to without having to cry
Becoming baby-led • Recognise babies’ innate abilities • Understand how to facilitate (and recognise) effective feeding • Get to know all our babies’ signals, not just the feeding cues • Focus on using breastfeeding to comfort and calm – nutrition will take care of itself • Have a ‘babymoon’
Having a ‘babymoon’ • Shut out the 21st century; surround yourself with real supporters • Listen for your instincts – and follow them • Keep your baby close, day and night • Get to know his signals, and what he needs to do to breastfeed • Experiment with different ways to hold him • Take every opportunity to ‘sit down for a rest’ – with your baby, skin to skin
The father’s role D AD
Baby-led care in the NNU “Hospital routines should not be deemed as more important than parents for babies’ wellbeing; parents should only ever be denied access to their baby on occasions where it is judged to be in the baby’s best interest.” (UNICEF UK BFI guidance, 2012)
Supporting baby-led breastfeeding We can support mothers to: • have a babymoon • hold their baby whenever, and for as long as, they wish • keep their baby close – day and night • discover how to help their baby to feed himself at the breast • offer the breast for comfort (and food)
Pass it on ... • Babies are vulnerable, but they aren’t incapable – or passive • They can be trusted to know what they need and how to get it • Being baby-led makes breastfeeding – and parenting – easier
Yabba Yabbadabba DOO!
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