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Feeding your baby in the car the easy way

Breastfeedig Baby
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This post is a guest post by the Sainsbury’s Finance Blog team. Please see full disclosure at the end of this post.

Breastfeedig BabyTravelling even a short distance in a car with a baby can involve juggling a whole load of equipment, and a certain amount of hoping for the best. A long journey brings the added challenge of having to feed your baby on the way – so here’s some advice to help.

Routine
To help keep the whole experience as stress-free as possible for baby (and therefore everyone else), stick as closely as possible to their usual routine. Your baby might not be able to tell the time yet, but they have a very reliable internal clock, and having their expectations met on time helps to keep everyone calm and relaxed.

How to feed your baby
There are several options for feeding your baby during a car journey.

  • Breastfeeding: This is the easiest option as you won’t need to pack any special equipment or worry about getting the temperature right. You can’t do it on the move, however, as it would mean taking the baby out of their car seat – which is both unsafe and illegal.

Should the idea of breastfeeding your baby in a succession of unknown public venues make you uncomfortable, plan ahead. Make sure you are wearing easily accessible clothes and offer milk to your baby whenever you stop even if they don’t seem hungry. You’ll need to plan stops every couple of hours to feed and/or change nappies.

If you think you might need to feed between stops, or you prefer to express when out or about, you can bottle expressed milk and store it for up to 24 hours in a cooler bag with ice. To warm it up, you could either take a flask of hot water and a bowl, or ask service station staff to heat it for you. If you do the latter, always check that the temperature is right for your baby before attempting to feed them.

  • Formula feeding: An easy travel option is to purchase travel packs of ready-made formula at the chemist.

To prepare powdered formula on the road, fill a flask or two with hot water, pack some sterilised bottles and teats, and prepare small packs of pre-measured powder. Bring extra powder along: service station staff should be only too happy to refill your flask en route.

  • Solids: If you want to give your baby a snack to chew on while travelling by car, make sure that an adult is sitting next to them. If this isn’t possible then give them a teething ring instead, or something else that doesn’t involve swallowing, as there is a danger of choking if they are unsupervised. If hunger is getting to them, pull over somewhere safe and allow them time to eat.

If there is someone present to supervise the baby, food such as rice cakes, fingers of cheese, or slices of apple are nutritious and relatively mess-free. For freshly made meals along the way, bring food your baby is happy to eat at room temperature and that are easy to mash, such as banana or avocado. Or you could make up pots of their usual food before setting off, and reheat these when needed.

Author Bio: Kath Morgan writes about a whole host of motoring topics, including family travel, car insurance and safety concerns. An avid traveller, she spent many years living abroad and understands the lure of the open road only too well.

Disclosure: I was offered this post as part of my membership of the Sainsbury’s Finance Family Blogger Network and have not been paid to publish it. As part of my membership, I received a Sainsbury’s gift card but this did not obligate me to publish a post. I have chosen to host this guest post as I feel it gives useful information.

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Boobs & Bread: Scientific fact shouldn’t offend

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Fresh bread
(C) MilkChic. All rights reserved.

I am SO fed up with seeing health reports watered down through fear of upsetting people.

We’re used to seeing the benefits of breastfeeding qualified so as not to be seen to “bully” or “guilt trip” mothers who didn’t manage to breastfeed. People who dare to suggest, based on endless scientific studies, that formula is not equal to human breastmilk as a source of nutrition for human infants are villified for making vulnerable new mothers feel pressured.

But research does not bully or blame. People do that.

As a result of this endless tiptoeing around the facts, many mums are unaware that the World Health Organisation guidelines not only recommend exclusive breastfeeding to 6 months, as the NHS guidelines, but also to continue breastfeeding alongside solid food up until 2 years. The WHO makes no comment on practicality or achievability of this target. It’s just cold hard facts – this is what the evidence shows is best for babies.

It’s not just breastfeeding advice that gets diluted so not to offend. Did you know that research suggests we should actually be eating at least 8 portions of fruit and veg per day, not just the 5 that are recommended in the UK? The nutritional guidelines don’t mirror the research because 8 portions is considered unachievable for the average person here and they don’t want to set targets too high in case we don’t try at all.

Because that’s the obvious reaction isn’t it?

Eight portions? I’ll never manage that…. If I can’t meet the target I just won’t bother eating veg at all. Lets have chips instead!

Is it really necessary to baby us like this? Can’t they just give us the facts and let us work with them?

At the moment even breastfeeding up to 4 months is unachievable for a lot of women in the UK. Some of those choose to stop. Some struggle and eventually give up. Some don’t get enough support. Some feel empowered, some feel guilty… Being aware of the WHO guidelines might make you feel angrier about lack of support, but I don’t think is going to make you feel any worse.

Realistically, I don’t think that having the full facts would change the statistics much. The majority of women know the benefits of breastfeeding. Those who give up early on are not doing so easily or willingly. There’s no doubt that more support and less blame is the way forward in improving breastfeeding rates.

But I don’t understand why that means ignoring or diluting the facts. If research proved that eating homemade bread daily had massive health benefits for you and your child, wouldn’t you want to know, even if it sounded like an unachievable target?

If you had never made bread before and no-one would give you the recipe, would you feel guilty when you gave up after a few days of trying? If kneading the dough gave you repetitive strain injury and infections, and no-one was there to help, would you feel guilty about stopping? What if you had to go back to work and didn’t have the time or energy to bake bread for your baby to eat at childcare?

Even if it didn’t work out, wouldn’t you still want to know that the bread you did manage to bake was worth it? That those days when you cried with tiredness and frustration meant something?

And what if you discovered you were good at baking bread? What if you enjoyed it? Would you be marginalised and made to feel guilty because you continued to bake when others couldn’t? Would you be looked down on for letting your child eat your homebaked bread in public when there was sliced bread available?

Making bread is an art. Some people find it easier than others and others need lessons and practical help. If you decided that homebaking wasn’t for you, or after a while of trying your best, you made a decision to use sliced bread (an effective and much-needed substitute, but without the same long-term health benefits) would you feel guilty? Maybe you would. But would you take issue with the research itself, just because the target was unachievable for you? Would you feel bullied by the facts? I don’t think so.

It sounds ridiculous. So why is it so different if you are talking about breastfeeding instead of breadmaking?

There are a lot of obstacles to breastfeeding up to 2 years in our society, not least combining breastfeeding with working. In a lot of cases it is, effectively, unachievable. But some of us do get there, either through intention or accident. And we’re made to feel abnormal, or told we’re “smug” for succeeding at something that others haven’t. Watering down the evidence doesn’t make more mums try breastfeeding, it doesn’t help more mums continue, and I doubt it reduces the guilt when breastfeeding doesn’t work out.

In the real world, parenting means compromise and there should be no blame or guilt attached to the way you feed your child. Modern lifestyles are not always optimised for health.

But if everyone was aware that breastfeeding was recommended up to the age of 2 or more, maybe the minority who already breastfeed longterm wouldn’t be be marginalised and made to feel guilty either. Maybe those who currently feel pressured to give up at 6 months because “those are the guidelines” would feel empowered to continue until they are ready to wean.

Health research is about evidence, not judgements. It provides us with the information we need to make the best decisions for ourselves and our families. It is not always possible to do it all, even when you are aware of the benefits. But if we don’t even have all the facts to start with, how can we feel confidence in our choices?

 

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NCT changes stance on breastfeeding

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Baby breastfeeding (C) MilkChic. All rights reserved.

I was sorry to read the article in the Telegraph today about the NCT’s new stance on breastfeeding.

Of course they’re right on one level – the NCT is ridiculously middle class. But I don’t get why they think it’s their stance on breastfeeding that is the problem. I would have thought it was the “about £200” cost that stops people on lower incomes attending classes? Just maybe? Hmm??

Where do the NCT think that their “pregnant 15-year-old living in central Manchester” is going to find £200 for antenatal classes? Even if you have that sort of money available, it might not seem like the best use of your time and money (and yes, I do know that you can get NCT courses free through the NHS… but I didn’t until I read the article. Enough said).

Isn’t it a bit insulting to suggest that just because a mum isn’t earning a good salary, they will think that breastfeeding, something which medical research suggests has a hugely beneficial effect on future health and wellbeing, is just for “posh people”. That income has an effect on your ability to take in information and make the decision that is best for you and your child? The decision to breastfeed isn’t always a pious one – do the NCT even know how much formula costs and how much that can hit a low income?

As for the racial mix, doesn’t that suggest that there is something else going wrong too? I’m no statistician, but this 2006 study concluded that UK breastfeeding rates were considerably higher among black and asian mothers. So… Possibly not the breastfeeding that’s putting so many women off the NCT?

Having attended NCT classes myself, breastfeeding is a very small part of the mix, and in my experience, the teaching is factual not evangelical. There is certainly an assumption that most people will try to breastfeed, but as in the last Infant Feeding Survey UK mums overwhelmingly knew the benefits of breastfeeding, that’s not an unreasonable assumption to make for a charity concerned with child health and pregnancy.

I don’t think the classes made any difference to the way we fed our babies when they arrived. But they did give us a reality check on what to expect if we did breastfeed – knowing about latching, the signs of mastitis etc. was really useful.

I don’t think that mums who choose to bottlefeed should be villified, and anyone who does can leave now. But equally, I don’t think that they should be lied to. Mums have to make decisions every day about what is best for them and their family, and there are lots of factors that come into the equation. If organisations like the NCT don’t stand up for the things they believe in, and give us the facts without frills or apologies, then who will?

Perhaps before they start getting all “discreet” with their breastfeeding campaigning, and assume new mums can’t make informed decisions, the NCT should first see whether the more accessible and cost effective classes they are proposing help to win mums’ hearts and minds.

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