Public breastfeeding, is it a crime?

 

Does my breast offend you? Is the problem my breast or are you the problem?

I am a breastfeeding mother. So as a breastfeeding mother, it is a concern to me that I am made to feel uncomfortable every time I have to breastfeed my baby in public. In the past, I would even get anxious every time I would be out in public and she would try to wiggle her little body downwards towards my breast for a feed. After some introspection, I found that this anxiety stems from the anticipation of how others around me would react to my bare breast, especially total strangers. Maybe it’s because of the looks of disapproval and the whispering (why is she not covering) that I had experienced previously. Guess I had internalized the negativity. So I would cover my child with a small blanket, I mean that worked for like the first 4 months. Once she could, she waved her little arms around frantically to get rid of the cover, now that she is 8 months old, she will not feed with anything covering her. It is as if she is making her own little statement“You will see me”. So I have come to a point that I’m deciding to put my child first. I will subject myself to looks of disapproval on peoples faces when I breastfeed my child in public. I will risk ridicule and embarrassment, because they are not worth my babies discomfort and tears. I have decided to take a stance due to the fact that my child is not a problem. My breastfeeding is not a problem. My breasts were created to nurse (well that amongst other things).So why is my nursing offending other people’s sensibilities?

The problem is the negative and sexual perceptions tied around women’s breasts. There is a narrative around breastfeeding, that a naked breast of a breastfeeding woman is offensive. What has led to this perception and why are we as women, aiding our perpetrators to continue sexualising our bodies to the peril of our young by hiding what is completely natural? So I’m stepping out to redefine this narrative, by publicly breastfeeding and becoming aloof to anything or anyone surrounding us, by choosing to nourish my child over every and anything.

Challenges impacting on breastfeeding

Not enough awareness 

The WHO speaks highly on breastfeeding; they even recommend that it be practised exclusively for up to 6 months. Clinics and hospitals conduct numerous awareness campaigns, educating mothers on the benefits of breastfeeding-which are numerous. Breastfeeding obviously has financial, psychological and health benefits, no wonder it is an obvious best source of feed for babies less than 6 months. But unfortunately social factors are excluded in the campaigns. While those very social factors play a role in how long women choose to breastfeed. Therein lies the problem. Government and other stakeholders’ campaign for breastfeeding but fail to campaign for an environment that is conducive for women to breast feed. An atmosphere conducive for breastfeeding will deter numbers of women from stopping breastfeeding too soon. I am by no means saying that this is the only reason women choose to wean early but it certainly plays a role. Campaigns dealing with the social factors around breastfeeding will prepare women to deal with the side eye and negative comments they might receive from the public. They will also send a message to the public that there is nothing wrong with a breastfeeding mother, that it is a natural act of nurturing and love. The result will be that women will not be ashamed to breastfeed and will end up breastfeed longer due to an environment that is supportive of maternal issues.

Sexualisation of the breasts

Women’s bodies have been sexualised to a point where context does not matter. Breasts are perceived as objects of male satisfaction. This has resulted in breastfeeding women being made to feel like they are exposing themselves sexually when breastfeeding. Objectification and sexualisation of women’s bodies by men has a narrative. The unspoken narrative that our bodies are for male satisfaction, they (men) determine when and how we use certain parts of our bodies. Anything outside of that makes them uncomfortable because those parts are not being used in their interest. Surprisingly though, it is not just some men who are uncomfortable with women breastfeeding in public. Women as well have been known to frown upon breastfeeding mothers for the same reason. By allowing this to continue, we as woman become willing victims of such negative views.

 

Turning Point

It begins with me saying no more. No more will I cover my breast for the sake of unfounded and sexist judgements. It begins with women in general taking charge of their own bodies, feeding their children and not bothering themselves on the negative perceptions. Recognising that the act of breastfeeding is not shameful and does not need to change. Nobody has a right to deter you from feeding your baby with their comments. It is the people who see breastfeeding negatively that have a problem-they are the ones who have to change.

It begins with mothers rallying behind each other, in all sorts of platforms, to name and shame restaurants that do not allow breastfeeding. For mothers to boycott those same restaurants that have policy’s that seek to undermine our right and our children’s rights to feed.

So I take a stand, whether it will make a difference or not-I’m not sure. But what I am sure of is that my baby is happier and calmer in public for the decision and stance I have decided to take.

 

Remember mommy, your baby is precious.

 

 

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Hair today….Gone Tomorrow? Taking care of your black babies hair

 

I am one of those lucky moms (for lack of a better word) whose baby was born with a head full of hair. But sadly I had to cut it cause in my culture, babies’ hair has to be cut soon after birth so at 10 days old Khanyas hair was cut because…..I wanted to give you a profound reason but I can’t, I have no idea why. I just know that a child needs to get rid of the hair they are born with.

Taking it back a bit, see when I found that I was pregnant with a girl, all I could think about were tutus, pink tights, hair bows and frilly dresses – most of all, hair in a cute little afro. And maybe on days when we are feeling cheeky, I would let my long dreadlocks down while she walks pretty by my side sporting bantu knots…..such a lovey vision ……but skrrrr back to reality. She is 7 months old now and has typical black African hair. Her hair is beautiful, it is a pitch black mini afro; curly, looks strong but unfortunately it loses moisture quickly, which means that I have to take extra care of how I treat her hair. In the beginning I made a few mistakes due to lack of understanding of how delicate black hair is, but now I think I have it down on lock. We all know being a mother means you wear many caps and hairdresser is one of them. This is why I was not as stressed when my mother gently insisted we give her one last hair cut because now her hair grows faster and is stronger. Gone are the days of breaking hair…phew.

After a recent hair cut.

 

Dealing with the texture of black hair

Any black mother knows how difficult it can be to tame babies hair. And black hair can be tricky .Texture of black hair varies from curly to coily. Because of its texture, moisture in the hair finds it hard to go down the hair shaft. Water and sebum are not able to reach down the  shaft easily like other hair types. This leads to dry, brittle and breaking hair. This breaking is the reason why there is a misconception that black hair does not grow long.

A number of factors also affect the rate at which your babies hair grows. The factors are genes, nutrition and products you use on the babies hair. There is not so much you can do in the genes department, however the other two are factors you mommy have control over. Nutrients in food contribute in helping your babies hair to grow. The proteins and vitamins in food is essential for growth as well as hair development, so feed them foods high in proteins, vitamin A and B . In this article however, I will focus more on the products you can use to repair and maintain healthy hair that does not break.

If you are stressing, trying to figure out ways to grow your baby’s hair and the hair seems to not want to cooperate. You are definitely at the right address because I have been there done that and got the T shirt. The number one culprit could be breakage. Black hair is naturally curly,looks tough and strong yet it is prone to moisture loss. So the number one rule of hair growth is to feed the hair by moisturising it. Always remember that lack or loss of moisture causes a dry scalp and hair breakage. This breakage is the reason why most people feel black hair does not grow I mean if this really was the case would my dreads be this long.So moisture is the key….

Causes of hair breakage in children

  • Dryness caused mainly by over washing and not moisturising the hair correctly
  • Lack of proper nutrition
  • Constant pulling of the hair by combing, putting it into ponytails or braids for the cuteness factor
  • The texture of the hair-since black hair has a curly texture, it loses moisture a lot more than other hair types so hair tends to break as much as it grows. This hinders the length gain.

All of these factors can be dealt with so that your babies’ hair can grow strong. Once your babies’ hair is treated it will grow strong and longer in length guaranteed.

 

Tips to grow your babies’ hair

  • Wash once in a week especially if they don’t get their hair too dirty. If they do you can do it twice a week .Washing my babies hair often is a mistake I used to make. This result was a dry scalp and breaking hair due to moisture loss from constant washing will strip
  • Condition their hair once a week. I personally use Johnson and Johnson baby soft & shiny conditioner. It keeps the hair moisturised and has a great smell too.
  • Use a moisturizer every second day or so. After applying a moisturizer, put oil on the hair to act as a seal. The oil will seal in the moisturizer into the hair.
  • If it is not a hair washing day, just spray with water to add moisture and follow with a small amount of oil. Choose any oil of your choice massaging the scalp for 2-4 minutes. This is easier said than done as most babies don’t appreciate being kept in one spot for too long. But persist finding ways to entertain them while you do this.
  • Make sure the products you are using on your babies hair and skin are suitable for baby by reading the labels at the back. If there is an ingredient you don’t know or understand, search it in google. There is no reason for you to put products that are not safe for your baby and possibly toxic…..just reach out and reach
  • Protect the hair even better by using a satin pillow case for their hair.

Oils to use for babies hair

Oil Benefits
Jojoba oil

Anti-bacterial, Anti-inflammatory, Anti-viral, Hypoallergenic,

Reduces pain, Its highly recommended for hair use as the

composition matches that of the hair oil therefore preventing

dry scalp, adds shine and softens the hair, Strengthens hair from

the inside.

Coconut oil Anti-bacterial, Prevents hair loss by getting deep inside the hair

follicle, Stimulates hair growth, deeply moisturises the hair.

Castor oil Has an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal property, Strengthens weak

hair, helps with dandruff, smooths frizzy hair and aids growth.

Extra Virgin Olive oil Strengthens frizzy hair, Locks in moisture preventing dryness,

stimulates hair growth

Avocado oil

Antioxidant, Anti-inflammatory, strengths, moisturises and

repairs damaged skin. Also makes hair shiny.

*You can add it to your babies’ hair moisturiser.

 

This is daily routine hair schedule

For a sealer I mix

  • Jojoba oil
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Bergamot oil

*I mixed equal amounts of oils you can also add in peppermint oil as it gives a great smell and also stimulates hair growth.

  1. To maintain moisture -Daily
  • Spray with warm water
  • Massage the sealer into hair
  1. To moisturise- Second to Third day
  • Sof n free Avo & Honey
  1. To condition-Once a week
  • Johnsons baby conditioner

Good luck growing your precious ones hair. Also remember that the oils work very well on us mommies,especially if you are struggling with growing out your natural hair.

Remember your baby is precious.

 

 

Dealing with your child’s high fever

I recently had a scary experience when I got back from work to find my child Khanya lethargic.She is an overly active child,cannot sit still for even a second kind of girl but on this day she was quite and very subdued.I used my hand to feel her temperature but she felt fine.My mother who takes care of her while i am at work urged me to take her to the clinic.When we got there, the nurse took her temperature which read 39C. Now that,that is the part that scared me.The fact that she had a high temperature and i could not tell.

The nurse gave her an antibiotic injection,she had me take off some of her clothes leaving her with only a light vest.I had to stay at the clinic for an hour,after which the nurse took her temperature again to check if it had dropped to an acceptable degree,which it had.It was now 37C. Which is normal body temperature.All of this lead me to want to find out more about fever.Like what causes it and how can i treat it.This is what i found and would like to share with you.

Normaly the human bodys temperature rises and drops thought the day. So a high temperature can at times be due to being active or too warmly dressed.
Fever on the other hand is your bodies natural reaction to infections.It is your bodies way of getting rid of germs and viruses.Your body raises its temperature when under attack so that the environment becomes inhabitable for the virus or germs to multiply and cause an illness.So having a fever is a clear sign that your body is fighting an illness.

How do you treat a fever?

• If your baby is 3 months or younger,and has a fever,take them to the doctor immediately without delay
• The most important thing you should do is to keep your child hydrated.A feverish
baby looses bodily fluids so ensure they are well hydrated by giving them breast milk.If they do not nurse you can give formula . Juice and water will also suffice.When your baby is hydrated,the fever is likely to go down.
• Make sure the room they are in is cool.You can put on a fan or open a window to let air in.
• Place the child in lukewarm water. Do not put the child in cold water as this will make the body temperature to go up,which is the opposite of what you are trying to achieve.5  minutes should be enough then take then out before the water gets cold and they catch a chill.
• Remove heavy clothes on your baby,put them in light clothing.
• You can make them comfortable by giving them paracetamol (Panado,Capol). I myself prefer suppositories but i use them for a day only, if the fever persist i go to the local clinic or doctor for a consultation.

suppository

Febrile seizures

At times a fever may be accompanied by what is know as a febrile seizure.It will last for a few minutes to 15 minutes.The babies body will twitch or shake.The eyes may also roll back.It is indeed heart breaking to see your child going through this-ask any parent who has been through this.A febrile seizure is a mothers worst nightmare,especially when you first experience for the fist time.

What to do when your child suffers a febrile seizure

• Keep calm,your little ones body might twitch and shake.The eyes can also roll back.Stay calm.
• You can hold them but not too tight or lie them down.Just make sure there is nothing round them that may cause injury.
• Do not put any object in their mouth.
• If they are wearing warm clothes try to gently take them off.
• Remember that there is nothing you can do to stop the seizure,they will stop on their own.Once they stop take your child to the doctor.A seizure can go for a few minutes to 15 minutes.Longer than that could be a sign of a more serious health issue.

Your baby will be fine mommy.Just remember to keep them hydrated during a fever.

When to go to the doctor

  • Baby is 3 months or less and has a high temperature.
  • They are older that 3 months and their temperature is  more than 38C.
  • Your baby has had a temperature for more that 24 hours.
  • Their colour changes on the face.They look pale.
  • They look tired and have no energy.
  • They have difficulty breathing
  • They refuse to nurse or eat.

Fever donts

  • Don’t stay with a feverish child for more that 24 hours
  • Don’t give your baby a cold bath
  • Don’t give your baby Aspirin.It is linked to an illness called Reyes Syndrome which is fatal.

POST NATAL DEPRESSION

Post Natal Depression is a prolonged feeling of a very low mood.Unlike the baby blues which may occur a few days after child birth, lasting anything between 3-5 days.Post natal depression usually occurs anytime from a month after child birth to a year after giving birth.Symptoms may begin during pregnancy.Post natal depression is said to affect 10-15 out of 100 who give birth.If you are one of these women may this article help you.Remember that Women who suffer from this depression do not have to suffer in silence.More and more women are seeking help.

TRIGGERS OF POST NATAL DEPRESSION

  • History of depression is the number one trigger of PND
  • Conflict with partner.
  • Lack of emotional support during and after pregnancy.
  • A recent stressful event such as death of a loved one,changing jobs,break up with partner and financial difficulties are some of the stressful events that can trigger PND.

Should you suspect that you or someone you know may be suffering from Post Natal Depression,here is what to look for.

SYMPTOMS

  • Feeling low or numb,even to what is happening around you.Your baby could be crying but you fail to react to their distress.
  • Feeling anxious and overwhelmed.Physical symptoms can even occur such as palpitations and sweating.
  • Having feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness.As if things are bad and they will never get better.
  • Avoidance of people.Preferring to be alone,not wanting anybody around you.
  • Thoughts of suicide or self harm.
  • Thoughts of harming the baby,which in many cases the mother does NOT actually hurt the child.They just feel like shaking or shouting at the baby but don’t actually do it.
  • Lack of emotional bond with baby.There is no emotional connecting,no feelings of tenderness towards the baby.
  • Anxiety over the babies health. Persistent and overwhelming thoughts about the babies health. Worrying over the smallest things such as babies temperature.
  • Increase/decrease in appetite resulting in dramatic changes in eating habits.The weight gain or weight loss will also in itself fuel the depression.
  • Being tearful,crying over the littlest of things.Being angry and impatient unnecessarily.
  • Inability to take care of your personal grooming and that of the baby.

As difficult as going through this might be,there is also hope.There are things and steps one can take to overcome this depression and lead a happy life with your baby

Steps to take

  • ‘Seek professional help.Make an appointment with a psychologist/psychiatrist/social worker or whichever professional that can assist or refer you.

  • Exercise-Take up walking,jogging or any physical exercise that can make your body strong and have you go outside.Getting out for some fresh air will be good for you.Ask someone to look after the baby while you go exercising.If there is no one to help you,put the baby in a stroller and go for a walk.
  • Surround yourself with people who can help you.Emotional and physical support is of the essence. Allow people to help you.To give the baby a bath while you nap.This will allow you to rest and recharge.
  • Join others mommies,whether physically or via social media.This will help you to not feel so alone in the challenges that you may face as a mother of a small baby.

Avoid drugs and alcohol,they may exacerbate the problem.

Remember that you can and will get better.You are not the only one going through this.Many women have gone through this and come out better.You are not to blame.It is not your fault and you are not a bad person.Seek help and you will get better.

 

 

 

The Journey Begins

img-20180215-wa0000My name is Thabang.I am  blogger,a mommy of two.A boy by the name of Bokang who is turning 8 years soon and a baby girl of 7 months Khanya. I am based in Pretoria.My aim with this blog is to create a platform for mommies that informs about baby and mommy events,babies fashion,product reviews and articles about mommy and baby.,y expectation is to help mommies enjoy their children.To make them feel like they are part of a large community of mommies out there.