Breastfeeding with Inverted Nipples

  • Post category:Challenges
  • Reading time:8 mins read

Ten years ago it would not have seemed likely that I would have been
involved with La Leche League today. I was bottle feeding my firstborn
Madeline (albeit with expressed breast milk EBM) and slowly convincing
myself that I was one of those poor women who could not breastfeed.
I did write about my failed breastfeeding experience for the then New
Beginnings (the forerunner of Aroha).  The conclusion I reached at the end of
the article was that when you have a baby and wish to breastfeed, you must
make breastfeeding top priority once your baby is born and until you and your
baby have it ‘sussed’.  My problem was small flat nipples that became very
cracked with my feeding attempts. I gave up and settled for pumping breast
milk for my baby for six months. As a new mum I thought that would be long
I had attended my first LLL meeting when I was eight months pregnant and
had really enjoyed it. I always loved La Leche League meetings: watching the
babies and toddlers breastfeeding, learning about attachment parenting and
enjoying the company of the other mothers. Madeline slept in our bed until
she was three which probably wouldn’t have happened if I had left LLL.
As time went on I became more and more annoyed with my situation; that is,
having a toddler I couldn’t put to the breast whenever she became fractious or
tired. I continued with LLL meetings as I had no other mothers’ group and the
Leaders had cleverly made me Librarian.
I went through a stage of thinking I would not have any more children as I
definitely did not want another bottle fed baby. Sometimes I thought it would
have been better if I had not stayed in La Leche League and instead mixed
with other bottle feeders.
I can’t remember why I did decide to have another child ­ maybe it was my
husband ­ but I know I considered my chances of breastfeeding this time
would probably be about 50/50. One factor I had in my favour this time
(besides having attended LLL meetings for well over two years) was that
Christchurch Women’s Hospital, where I would be birthing, had employed a
lactation consultant. Dawn Hunter was to be available, in theory to anyone
who birthed there for up to six weeks after the birth. When I was having
problems with Madeline I didn’t engage a lactation consultant for long, for fear
of the price. Of course I spent a lot more on breast pump hire and formula in
the first year than I ever would have done on a lactation consultant.
Dawn met with me when I was about five months pregnant. The main things
to come out of that meeting were: 1) she said she would be there for the
baby’s first feed, 2) I should avoid pethidine in the labour, and 3) she was
confident I could breastfeed this time.
Being there for Lydia’s first feed meant Dawn had to turn her car round en
route to a Saturday night out to get back to the hospital. A quick and easy
birth meant I was a lot more energetic straight after it than I had been the first
time. Dawn did not hurry to put Lydia on the breast but let her crawl up my
belly. She didn’t latch then but soon afterwards.
The interesting thing about being a failed breastfeeder is that you are far less
confident than a first time mum. I think of it as being behind the starting line.
How that manifested itself in me was that I did not put Lydia to the breast
myself for about 48 hours. Dawn wrote a breastfeeding plan that the staff took
very seriously. It basically said that every latch had to be perfect. For every
feed I would trot down to the nursery as it was the only place with decent
chairs and footstools. A nurse would help get her on and once she was
feeding I did not move!
Day three was very much a make or break day. The midwives suggested I
have the physiotherapist give my abraded (grazed) nipples ‘light’ treatment.
She took me into the room and when I took my top off she said my nipples
were so abraded that she wouldn’t do any treatment. I went back to the ward
and told myself,  “Who am I trying to kid. The fact is my nipples will never
allow me to breastfeed.” It was obvious to those around me that my mental
state had taken a definite dip and Dawn was called in. I’ll never forget her
looking me in the eye and saying, “Anne I’ve just been on another ward and
told a lady she won’t be able to feed her baby and I’m telling you that you
can.” It certainly helped hearing that and I think from then on things improved
slowly.  I stayed in hospital for seven days so that I felt confident at
latching Lydia on myself.  Lydia was a small baby (and is a small seven year
old now) so I could easily hold her in the ‘cross cradle’ position. I fully
supported her weight with my arm until she was over three months old . That
demonstrates the high level of panic I had with varying a position that worked.
A funny thing happened to me after I had Lydia and had been breastfeeding
her for a couple of months. I got on an incredible high. Because I could
breastfeed my baby, as far as I was concerned, my baby was no trouble at all.
I can remember telling my mother that I hoped I had twins next time to make it
a bit more interesting.  One day I was at a very cosy LLL enrichment meeting when it suddenly
dawned on me. I wanted another baby as soon as possible. My husband, Tim,  was agreeable and my resolve (and high) never wavered. My period came
back at ten months and I got pregnant straight away. I have often questioned
the logic of that action as at the time I knew enough to know that Lydia’s time
at the breast would probably be reduced if I became pregnant then.
My nipples were tender in the first trimester, my milk supply was low in the
second and in the third I began to get nervous about establishing another
breastfeeding relationship. I didn’t want a toddler feeding if my nipples were
going to be badly abraded again. Tim got up to Lydia in the night for about
three weeks before Finn was born which seemed to wean her. As it happened
she had one final feed about a week after Finn was born and I can still
remember the surprised look on her face.
Finn was born by Caesarean and Dawn was on hand again. We didn’t do the
crawling up the belly routine but she made sure his first feed was a good one.
I can’t remember too much about establishing feeding with him except that
once again I got abraded nipples (even though I basically had still  been
feeding Lydia.) By day five I felt confident though so he was by far my easiest
Because of my six months on a breast pump with Madeline I have avoided
them like the plague with the other two children. They were advised by nurses
at the hospital a few times but to me they always represented intervention; an
intervention that had led to not breastfeeding Madeline. If  breast pumps or
more importantly formula was not so readily available,  would Madeline have
been breastfed?  I suspect she would have been and probably for a long time,
she still liked a bottle at three.  Over the years I have spoken to many women who did not manage to
breastfed their first baby and most did not feed their next babies. It seems you
either become more determined or you become a bit anti it. And often the anti
ones will fire bullets at breastfeeding.  If it hadn’t been for La Leche League I
think none of my children would have received much breast milk.  Attending
meetings when Madeline was a baby kept me pumping and all the
subsequent meetings ensured I’d give it the best go possible when I had other
As a postscript I learnt to feed lying down with Finn at three months (I never
had to get up to a baby again after that) and he weaned four years later. I
became a La Leche League Leader when he was 14 months old and I am still
even though all three children are happily at school now.

Anne O’Connell, Christchurch
AROHA September ­ October 2003 Volume 5 Issue 5

Continue ReadingBreastfeeding with Inverted Nipples

I’m Returning to Work – How Did You Manage?

  • Post category:Working
  • Reading time:9 mins read

“I have a new baby and am planning to return to work at 14 weeks while my partner, Dave, stays at home with our son, James. I will be working three full days to start with and be away from home for nine hours each day. I want to keep breastfeeding but I am unsure if I will be able to express enough milk to leave at home and how Dave will manage if James is unsettled and I’m not there to breastfeed. My manager has said that I can have breastfeeding breaks at work and she is trying to make it a breastfeeding friendly place. How have other families managed the first few months of mum returning to work with a baby who is breastfed?”


Melissa Paul, Hamilton – I too returned to work for 20 hours per week when my baby was the same age, leaving bubs with her Nan.  Honestly, I found it tough having to find the time in my work day to express, but SO worth it!  Could Dave bring James to you for some feeds?  (My baby was far too unpredictable for this).  I hired a double, hospital grade pump which was fantastic and greatly reduced expressing time.  I also stocked up the freezer before I went back to work and expressed on days I wasn’t working so I didn’t have to worry our girl would go hungry.  Organisation is the key and remember to allow time to sterilise etc.  Expressing can take a bit to get used to (looking at a pic of James may help).  Dave will cope and find other ways of settling James and I’m sure they’ll have a close bond as a result. Also be prepared that bubs may reverse cycle, which for us meant feeding two hourly at night after previously sleeping through. Good luck!

Anna Marburg, Christchurch – I too returned to paid work three days a week after 14 weeks maternity leave. My partner stayed home two days a week and my daughter, Evelyn, went to day care one day a week.  I’m very glad that I was able to continue breastfeeding my daughter – it helped me feel connected to her even when I was away at work.  The long nursing session as soon as I walk in the door is a nice way to shift gears between work and home. As an added bonus, she seems to be sick less often than other kids at day care (touch wood!).

I’m also glad my partner got an opportunity to stay home with our daughter when she was small. Days home with me had a very different rhythm to “dad days” but she enjoyed and, I think, benefitted from both. I know we both enjoyed (most days) having the time with her. How will your partner manage a fussy baby when you’re not around to nurse? Be it long walks in the pram, cuddling James close and humming with that soothing deep male rumble, or a quick trip outside to listen to the wind in the trees, Dave will find his own way.  It’s natural to be apprehensive in advance of a major transition, but in the end we all develop our own parenting style. My partner and I did some “practice” days before I started back. Turned out I needed more practice letting go than my partner needed practice being in charge!

As far as the practicalities go, I found the book Nursing Mother, Working Mother by Gale Pryor to be very helpful. In my experience, the key to expressing enough milk is to relax, and just commit to being there as long as it takes. When you first start back, it feels like you are always interrupting yourself to go pump – but trying to hurry and thinking about the clock just made it hard to get a good let down.  Small things also make a big difference – turning on the heater in my ‘lactation lounge’ was good for another 10 mls. I used a plain lunch bag with a reusable ice-pack to store my milk in the tea room fridge. In my nosy and very frank office, no-one said a thing. I also found that microwave steriliser bags sold by a breast pump company to be very useful – no need to fuss with a bottle brush in the tea room or lay pump parts out to dry in a shared office – and at 20 uses per bag, reasonable value for money. A terry bag made out of an old hand towel was an easy way to keep clean pump parts separate from the other essentials in my pumping bag (hand soap, a water bottle for me, spare batteries, grease pencil for labelling bottles). Best of luck.

Aaron Marburg, Christchurch – Here’s the dad’s perspective:
We were quite lucky as our little girl was eager to drink from anything that had warm milk in it.  Before Anna returned to work we had a few practice “dad days” where I would try doing the feeds and Anna could get used to pumping.  It didn’t take long for us to develop our own routines, and having dad days certainly let me develop my own parenting style. Give yourself a bit of time to warm up the bottle, and find a comfortable position for the feed.  Often I would sit on the floor and prop Evelyn up on my knees, facing me.  Once she was big enough to hold the bottle on her own we could feed just about anywhere – on my lap in a cafe or even in the pram.

The hardest part was managing the milk inventory.  On average we would drink a little less than Anna was pumping each day, but sometimes it would be more.  You always have to keep an eye on how old the milk in the fridge might be, and be ready to freeze, or to thaw as needs be, particularly early on when milk is the only available food.   Being able to manage the milk inventory was a real help when we transitioned to a carer, and then to a crèche.  Thawing milk is just one more thing you don’t have time to do when getting ready for work in the morning. Other than that, get used to washing bottles.

Averil Sheehan, Palmerston North – A couple of things worked for us in a similar situation although Clare was nearly six months old. I started expressing milk daily prior to returning to work to build up a supply in the freezer. This was a back-up for days when I may not have been able to express as much or for the odd accident when spills happened. Initially I expressed twice during the day at work. John was able to bring Clare to work for a close to lunch time feed.  In the first few weeks this was sometimes earlier than planned as Clare had got unsettled. She would always settle well after this and have a sleep. This lunch time feed encouraged by my La Leche League Leader was the best thing for all of us. In the afternoon, John would usually bath Clare if she was unsettled and it was close to me arriving home. She took a couple of anxious days to take the bottle so a spoon had to suffice initially. I didn’t think it would be possible but many people still remember Clare’s daily visits, 22 years on! Be prepared to feed last thing before going to work and first thing on return. It will be tiring but it is possible, Clare continued her lunch time breastfeeds at work up until 18 months, and I reduced the expressing to just once a day at work from about eight months. Talk to your colleagues so they know what you are doing; their support is helpful though not everyone wants to know all the details.

Heather Kinnell, Hibiscus Coast – I returned to work when my son William was three months old. Luckily I work close to home and I was able to arrange with my employer to work afternoon shifts, from 1pm to 6pm, so my husband could look after William once he had finished work. My employer allowed me to have flexible break times; whenever I needed to breastfeed was the time I could have my break. In the early days, I would feed William just before I left to go to work. At about 3:30 my husband would bring William up to work for a feed. When I got home just after 6pm, William was always starving and as soon as I got in the door it was feed time. It was pretty rough for the first few weeks. We had to get William a dummy for times when he got upset while I was away. And there were days when he was so distracted by all the lights and machines at work that he didn’t have a full feed. I knew on those days that he wouldn’t last until I got home. I would warn my husband that William was probably going to get hungry, and if he started getting upset my husband would put him in the pram and they would walk up to meet me as I was finishing work. William would have a feed and we’d walk home. It didn’t take William long to figure out that when Dadda put him in the pram, he was going to see Mum-mum and get milkies, so he was never upset for long. This second trip up to work became unnecessary once William was on solids; so long as he had a bread crust to chew, he was happy until I got home. Today, William is almost two and coming to visit Mum-mum at work is part of his routine. My husband tells me when it gets to 3:30 or 4 o’clock William will stand on the doorstep and say “Mum-mum milkies snack”, and off they’ll go on their afternoon walk.

Continue ReadingI’m Returning to Work – How Did You Manage?

Ah, Nights…

  • Post category:Sleep
  • Reading time:6 mins read

I tried to nurse my husband’s elbow once. Groggy, desperately sleep-deprived, I heard my baby cry and fumbled in the bed for him, putting the nearest warm thing to my breast. But my son was down the hall, in his own crib, where we returned him aftermost nursings. That’s why I was sleep-deprived.

Our first routine was for my husband to get up each time the baby cried, and bring him to me to nurse (sitting up) on Side One. Then my husband would get up, take the baby to the bathroom, change his diaper, and return him to me to nurse (sitting up) on Side Two. Then my husband would get up and return the baby to the crib down the hall. Three trips out of bed each time those eight pounds of energy woke up. That lasted three nights.

But it took us two babies to get it completely right. Our second baby shared our bed from the start, with a rubber-and-flannel sheet under baby and mother to catch any drips from either one. There was an extra diaper handy at bedside until he stopped pooping at night, an extra nightgown or two until I stopped leaking, and a nightlight in the early days to help me line up my inexperienced partner of unaccustomed dimensions without either of us moving from our nest.

I nursed the “bottom breast” until it was soft, and later in the night rolled over a bit farther to nurse the “top breast”, looming over him like a tent, elbow resting on the far side of him. When his doctor asked me how often he nursed at night, I answered, “I have no idea,” and thought how right and simple that answer was.

Nights weren’t perfect, of course. Parenting never is. There were gaps in the bedding that let in cold air. There were nights when I wished he would just sleep. There were semiconscious wrestling matches between a father who wanted part of the bed to himself and a little boy who liked to sleep with his leg over Dad’s. But we never knew night terrors or head banging two childhood behaviors that Americans consider normal and zoos consider signs of stress in their monkeys. I never walked cold floors. He woke happy in the morning and so did we. And no “body pillow” can match the relaxation and peace of cuddling a child in bed.

Our sleep arrangements varied over time; our policy was to do whatever gave the most people the most rest tonight. Once he graduated to his own bed, he and his brother often shared it, or he came in with us partway through the night. Or I moved in with him a luxury for me, because his was the most comfortable mattress in the house. When he stopped waking in the night and stopped climbing in with us we reminded our children that they were always welcome, but they said, “Oh, no thanks.” And that was that.

We miss the smell and feel and snuggliness of those little bodies. It’s a time that comes only once, and we’ll never get it back. Maybe if our grandchildren come for overnights…

Safe Sleeping

Is it safe to sleep with your new baby? Of course. Imagine a cave woman laying her newborn in a separate niche in the cave for the night, well away from the warmth and protection of her body. Now that’s unsafe sleeping!

It’s also unsafe to have gaps that would allow your baby to slip between bed and wall, or between mattress and frame, or to lay your baby on poofy pillows, bedding, or mattress from which he can’t free his face.

And it’s not safe to sleep with a baby if you’re severely obese, or have been drinking heavily or taking drugs that keep you from rousing normally.

There. That’s out of the way. What’s left? Adults who are never completely unconscious (or they’d fall out of bed), sleeping with a very lumpy object (with a head like a grapefruitsized rock) that yells when it’s squeezed. Works fine.

What do you gain? Normal breathing and heart rates for your baby, without the breathless periods so often observed in solitarysleeping babies. Normal baby sleep which does not mean long hours of deep, hardtorousefrom sleep, though that might seem desirable. An even body temperature, warmer and more stable than the most expensive hospital babywarming unit can provide. A mellower baby at night, with far less crying. Safety from fire, kidnapping, and goblins. Lots of languid cuddle time.

You certainly gain vastly easier babycare, especially if you learn to breastfeed lying down during the day, when your tolerance and inventiveness are intact.

Infant sleep researchers believe solitary sleep may be linked to higher rates of SIDS.
This is a very difficult relationship to prove, since sleep arrangements change and since SIDS may have multiple causes. But we do know that many of the risk factors associated with SIDS are increased when babies sleep alone, and that cultures that share sleep tend to have low rates of SIDS. Shared sleep is as old as humankind, and small children crave it.

Shared sleep takes many forms. At our house, a lack of creativity kept us in an antique bed narrower than today’s standard double. Many nights there were four of us in it! If I had it all to do again, I would invest in a kingsized mattress and put it on the floor for those early years of parenting. Everyone would have plenty of room, and even an acrobatic toddler couldn’t fall far. We sacrificed comfort for convention, in a part of the house that no one but the sleepers themselves ever saw or used. Silly.

For more thoughts on sharing sleep with your baby, see William Sears’s book, “Nighttime Parenting,” published by La Leche League International and available through their online catalogue and in most libraries and bookstores.

Sweet dreams! And remember that nowhere is it written that parenthood includes 8 hours of unbroken sleep. Going to bed earlier helps!

© 2001 Diane Wiessinger, MS, IBCLC
136 Ellis Hollow Creek Road Ithaca, NY 14850
Used with permission
Continue ReadingAh, Nights…

What if?

  • Post category:Mothering
  • Reading time:6 mins read

“With our first baby, I had a very difficult birth and my milk just didn’t come in.  I didn’t know what to do so we started him on formula when I got home from the hospital.  I really wanted to do it differently for our next child.  I planned more when I got pregnant again – found LLL and did a lot of reading.  It wasn’t easy this time either but with persistence and a lot of support we got our girl latched on and my milk finally came in.  We’re so glad!  But now sometimes I can’t help wondering when our son is sick, is that because of the formula?  Or when my daughter seems to developing faster in some way, maybe because she got my milk…  Do other mothers have problems with “what ifs” and “if onlys” like these?”


Karen Taylor-Lewis, Te Awamutu – Yes and yes to the many “what ifs” and “if onlys” of raising children. When I discuss my thoughts with my husband, I am regularly told I think too much about things I can’t change! So I try and make sure that I don’t blame myself and instead remind myself I did the best I could, with the knowledge I had, at the time.  If possible I learn something for the future: e.g. think proactively and take care that all the food I provide my children is the best nutrition possible, especially after giving them the best start with breast milk.

Lisa Ross, Hibiscus Coast – You did the best you could with the knowledge and support and experience you had at the time. Everyone has moments of hindsight. You can’t know for sure if your son gets sick because he had formula from a young age, just as I can’t know for sure that my daughter has allergies because I gave her something other than breast milk in the early weeks. Had we known what we know now, we may have done things differently, but we didn’t. Acknowledge it as a maybe, then move forward, knowing you are doing the best with the knowledge and support you have now.

Bea Lorimer, Waiheke Island – I only have one daughter, whom I breastfed, so I don’t have the same perspective of comparing one to another, but I do sometimes question certain behaviours and traits of hers and wonder if they would be different if I’d reacted in another way.  We want our children to become the best they can, so I think it’s perfectly normal to question some things.

We need to trust that we are making the best decision we can in any given moment- and there’s more than one “right” choice. Kids are resilient, and as long as we’re giving lots of love – and making decisions with the best intentions – they will surely bounce back from any “wrong” choice we’ve made.

Claire Hargest-Slade, Timaru – The “if onlys” really get to us as mothers –  if I had more knowledge, more support, the baby’s health status had been better or different –  these are feelings of regret and grief; perfectly natural responses to an unexpected outcome in regards to feeding your first baby . Often when mothers have subsequent babies the painful feelings of perceiving they have failed or deprived their child can be triggered and resurface.

Blaming yourself or others can be an attempt to regain control of a situation that you may have felt powerless in. Remembering that you did the very best that you were able to do in the situation can be comforting. However you fed your son, your deep and loving commitment to being his mother is evident.  Instead of comparing the health of the two children, perhaps see your second experience as a positive chance to heal the hurts of the first for you. Well done on persevering through what sounds like a tricky start!

Adith Stoneman, Kelston Group, Auckland – I believe that mothers have the word guilt written all over their foreheads.  Even fathers do.  We, with the wisdom of hindsight, know that we could have done things differently or could have responded differently.  Yet it is just that: “wisdom of hindsight”.  What is most important is that we learn from it.  We can make a difference by educating other mothers about the importance of a healthy pregnancy, of the great start in life by experiencing a vaginal birth, of the importance of skin to skin contact, the truth that breastfeeding can be hard work but it is absolutely worth it.

The founding mothers of La Leche League had a variety of experiences in regards to breast and bottle feeding.  They decided to set up a support network and to pass on the lessons they had learned to other mothers. And look what an effect this has had.  Be proud to be part of LLL; be proud to be part of a group of mothers and fathers who are making a difference in our world. Guilt is not a helpful emotion.   You are a loving mother who wants the best for her children.   Be proud of the efforts you make every day to ensure the best for your children.

Kathy Deacon, Invercargill – Well done that you have managed to feed your little girl; it sounds like she is thriving on your milk.  It is sad that you were not able to breastfeed your son. You sound like you have regrets and wonder if his health could have been better. We promote breastfeeding as the best food for babies and sing its praises for optimum health, so it is only natural for you to wonder if things could have been different.

We are lucky in this country that we have good quality formula and a clean water supply. Without a constant supply of donor milk being readily available in this country at present, your baby received the best that was available.  Without the formula he could have been a very sick wee boy.  It must be frustrating to wonder why it didn’t work out the first time round, but I’m sure he received all the love and care you could give him. It is wonderful that you found good support and information to breastfeed your daughter.  You will be enriched by both experiences and will no doubt be a great source of comfort and support for other mothers.

Continue ReadingWhat if?

Together Early and Often

  • Post category:Mothering
  • Reading time:4 mins read

Mother and baby need to be together early and often to establish a satisfying relationship and an adequate milk supply. Nadine has written about her mothering beliefs to give to her daughter, Elora when, in the years ahead, Elora first becomes pregnant.

Dear Elora,
I looked at you, I touched you, I smelt you. How perfect; what a miracle; you.

Babies need their mothers. Just as strongly mothers need their babies. I remember sending you off to the nursery for my well earned rest. What a complete joke! Every time a baby cried I would ask a passing nurse, ‘Is that mine?’ I lay wondering, ‘Is she alright?’ ‘Will they give me back the right baby?’ After an hour or so of lying wide awake and being totally uneasy I asked to have you back with me. Peace. I needed you – you were mine!

Bonding is a strange and amazing thing. For some women this happens instantly, for others it takes a while. But one obvious thing seems true – you can’t bond with something that isn’t there. The more time you spend with adult friends the better you know them – this is also true for mothers and babies.

We need to use all our senses to come to understand and care for each other. This relationship is like no other in its intensity, and is perhaps like no other with regard to the mental, emotional and physical health of both mother and baby.

Early contact for the baby reduces stress. The mother’s voice, skin to skin contact and warmth all calm the baby as does that first feed. And for the baby the sooner these things can happen the better – birth must be a fairly frightening experience.

Early contact for the mother reduces stress too. To be able to hold such a beautiful ‘prize’ after such a lot of work makes it all worthwhile. To see your baby studying you in that first hour as if to imprint you on their brain is like magic. That first feed releases hormones to calm you and to help deliver the placenta.

Over the next six weeks it is important to spend as much time together as possible so that your understanding of your baby’s needs are clearer to you. A young baby (presix weeks) needs at least eight feeds every 24 hours but frequently they require more. This six weeks is when your body learns to produce milk to satisfy your baby’s demands, you learn correct positioning and you establish your relationship with baby. It is at this time that a woman begins to understand that her body is truly remarkable in a new way. However hungry her baby is, if she puts it to the breast as often as requested her body just increases production of milk. And if the baby slows down its demand so the production slows. It is like a dance between a mother’s body and a baby’s.

Many women say that once they reach the six week mark both they and the baby settle down, understand each other and life seems less demanding. This six weeks is an important ‘season’. As with all things there will be good times and difficult ones during this time – but it passes, sometimes all too soon. Many countries treat this time as a special occasion and a relation or a professional moves into the house to care for the rest of the family and household so that these bonding weeks can be optimised. Mother and baby stay together 24 hours a day, sharing sleep and cuefeeding.

I believe this is something our society could learn from. An important thing I learnt and it took both you and Lucas to teach me was that there is no such thing as a manipulative baby. Many people in our society
believe that during this ‘bonding season’ we need to teach the baby who is boss and fit it into a schedule so it will not end up running the household. What I learnt was that there is no such thing as a spoilt baby, only a secure baby, who knows its every need will be attended to as soon as possible. I also learnt that babies’ wants are needs – there is no differentiation. Babies are designed to demand that their needs are satisfied otherwise the human race would have died out hundreds of years ago. It is common for people to suggest a mother takes time out from her newborn baby for her sake. I believe that if they truly understood this ‘season’ then, for her sake, they would give a mother time out from societal  commitments and housework instead.

‘Tis a season to enjoy,

By Nadine Walmisley,Christchurch South
Originally printed in Aroha March/April 2003, Volume 5 Issue 2

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