The UK has the Lowest Rate of Breastfeeding in the World. (This one thing could help.)

There was much to-do last year when world breastfeeding rates were published in the media and the UK ranked as the lowest in the world.

Here are some of the figures released:

  • As of 2010, 81% of babies in the UK were breastfed at birth
  • At three months, the number of mothers in the UK breastfeeding exclusively was 17% and at four months, it was 12%
  • Exclusive breastfeeding at six months remains at around 1%
  • After one year, 0.5% of UK women is still doing any degree of breastfeeding. This compares with 23% in Germany, 56% in Brazil and 99% in Senegal

As you can see, it seems that the issue is not that women don’t want or try to breastfeed – there is a huge percentage starting off with breast. But the continuation rate for breastfeeding is shockingly low.

I’m currently on an extended trip to Taiwan – I’m here for about three months here in total where my baby will be 4-7 months – and I was amazed to learn how good the breastfeeding rates are here.

Rates in Taiwan:

  • In 2016, the rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months was 45.5%
  • This is above the global average of 38% and just short of the WHO’s 2025 goal of 50%.

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What has driven this high breastfeeding rate?

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Does Hypnobirthing Work? Here’s my story.

Like many women, I’m fascinated by reading and hearing others’ birth experiences. I want to know all the juicy details, absorb every second from the very beginning to the very  end.

However, whilst I’ve listened or read a gazillion negative ones, I’ve only ever heard three positive ones in my 31 years on this earth. JUST. THREE. POSITIVE. ONES. (One was from my next day neighbour who told me she popped out her four kids “like peas”. That was a new one.)

positiveI’ve also watched far too many dramatic episodes of One Born Every Minute  and gawd do I wish I could erase those from memory. I’m adding my story to the mix to hopefully encourage any anxious mums-to-be, or anyone hoping to have children at any point, that giving birth doesn’t need to be feared – labour can and should be a beautiful thing.

It’s not always going to be of course, and complications are very real and sometimes uncontrollable, but there is a very real possibility that your experience could be a good one and you should know that.

*Spoiler alert*: mine was.

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Celebrating Baby’s First 100 Days

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G has made it to 100 days!

Perhaps more to the point, we have made it to 100 days!

In certain parts of Asia, namely China and Korea, the milestone of reaching 100 days is celebrated much like a child’s 1st birthday. It’s said that celebrating the first 100 days of life can lead to a 100 year lifespan. We decided to mark the occasion by going to Cambridge’s best Chinese restaurant with some friends who were visiting from Taiwan.

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Ok. So I totally failed to take a photo of the food to due to wayyyyy too much excitement and drooling over said food. But it was as greasy and delicious-looking as this beaut.

After stuffing our faces with a Chinese feast, we headed over to some friends’ for afternoon tea. Their daughter is 3 days older than G and born in the same hospital. We were complete pigs – all in the name of baby – and we devoured scones, macarons and ginger baby-shaped biscuits (only just realised the weirdness of that bit).

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A List of Very Useful Things to Do on Your Maternity Leave / In the Last Month of Pregnancy

10 (3)Ahh, the final month. It’s here! I’m finding that whilst I have plenty I want to do, I’m just not capable of doing it all (energy levels, lack of sleep, that whale of a bump). I’ve come to realise that I should listen to all the people telling me I should “rest”, and then I use the times when  I do have more energy to be productive. I hope you can find this balance, too.

Taking this time is really important to set yourself up for success in the first few weeks / months after the birth, and ready yourself mentally, as well as physically and practically, for all the changes ahead.

Here’s a list of things to shop for, along with things to do in these last few weeks before you get to meet your little one and life changes for the crazy better!

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Dear baby (a letter to my unborn child)

Hi baby. Are you ok in there? You’re certainly wriggling around and letting me know when you’re not comfortable. I’ve learned not to rest my book on my belly when I’m reading, or stand too close to the saucepan when I cook, because you don’t seem to like that. You do seem to like loud music and when I work out in the mornings. Perhaps you’ll be a dancer or a musician.

Dear baby, I’m still calling you “baby” because we don’t know whether you’re a sweet little girl or boy yet. If you’re a boy, I need you to help me choose your name. You have no idea the number of hours I have struggled with this. Give me a sign when I meet you, ok? But if you’re a girl, I know exactly what I want to call you, though I know all that might change when I see your face. When I see your face! I absolutely can’t wait. Every day is one step closer to cuddling with you.

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Your daddy is especially excited about the cuddling part – he keeps making space for a fictional you when we’re curled up in bed. He held another baby girl last weekend at a wedding, and he looked equal parts delighted and terrified. I know he’ll be great though, if not a little nervous at times about your safety. I’ll make sure he doesn’t completely cover you in bubble wrap though. My wish for you is a life full of adventure and experiences.

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