Valerie Gommon Midwife’s Blog

Archive for the ‘Bottle feeding’ Category

A birth plan is optional – it enables you to devise your own personal plan of care if this is your wish, and can be helpful to health professionals in knowing your thoughts.

It is also an opportunity to make a decision about your care on the basis of informed choice.  By compiling a birth plan, it does not imply that you want a ‘natural’ or ‘alternative’ labour and a birth plan can be changed at any point, it is just an indication of your wishes.

Whether you decide to make a birth plan or not, your care should be discussed with you and no treatment or procedures performed without a full explanation and your consent.

The following are some suggestions of things you might like to include in your birth plan:

Who you want with you for the birth (e.g your partner, a friend or both)

Pain relief (you may be keen to manage without drugs or keen to have as pain free a labour as possible, do you plan a waterbirth)

Positions for labour and birth (you may wish to be able to move around during labour and encouraged to try different positions for the birth)

Monitoring of the baby’s heartbeat (e.g. using a hand-held sonicaid to monitor the baby intermittently or being monitored continuously)

Students (whether you are happy for students to participate in, or witness your birth)

After the birth (do you want pick up the baby yourself/be given the baby or do you want the baby wrapped, do you want to discover the baby’s sex yourself, would your partner (or you) like to cut the cord)

Management of the third stage or placenta (do you want a ‘natural’ third stage or to be given the drug syntometrine

Vitamin K (do you wish your baby to receive Vitamin K either by injection/orally/not at all)

A Birth Plan is just that – a plan, it can be deviated from according to your wishes at the time!

I recently attended a professional development course where Dr Anthony Williams, Reader in Child Nutrition and Consultant in neonatal Paediatrics, St George’s Hospital, University of London spoke about the medical benefits of breastfeeding.

We all know “Breast is best” but the facts make interesting reading:

  • The risk of necrotizing entocolitis (a medical condition primarily seen in premature babies, where portions of the bowel undergo necrosis or tissue death) is five times more likely in babies fed formula milk.
  • Breastfed babies also have less diarrhoea and lower respiratory tract infection and have statistically significantly lower hospital admission rates.
  • Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for six months and this is know to:
  • Reduced gastroenteritis/eczema
  • 50% reduction ottis media (middle ear infections)
  • 20% reduction in allergies (if there is a family history of allergies this reduction is more like 40%)
  • 50% reduction SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
  • Pre-term infants – outcomes appear to be improved if given breastmilk
  • Decreased risk obesity

Maternal effects:

  • 24% reduction in premenopausal breast cancer
  • Small reduction in postmenopausal breast cancer
  • Reduction in some types ovarian cancer
  • Reduced cardiovascular risk
  • Small reduction in: BP/serum cholesterol/BMI/Impaired glucose tolerance

Just in time for National Breastfeeding Awareness Week (next week) the Department of Health has announced that baby growth charts – against which all babies physical growth is measured and compared – are to be redrawn.

The figures used until now have been based mainly on formula-fed babies. This has meant that some breastfeeding mothers have been incorrectly advised that their babies are gaining insufficient weight.  The new tables, drawn up by the World Health Organisation (WHO), are based entirely on the rate of growth of breastfed babies, which tend to put on weight more slowly than those given formula milk in their first year.

It is generally accepted that babies fed on formula put on weight more quickly than those on breastmilk, which can make breastfed babies look like they are not thriving.  Consequently, there might have been pressure to wean early on to solid foods or formula milk.  In fact it is a WHO recommendation that babies receive only breastmilk for the first six months of their life,, it is then recommended that breastmilk be supplemented with solid food, but that breastfeeding continue for at least 12 months.

Breastfed babies are leaner during the time when a lifetime supply of fat cells are laid down, which helps explain why breastfed babies may tend to be leaner throughout their lifetimes, thus helping to prevent obesity.  This said, many breastfed babies appear quite “chubby” – this is normal and healthy.

Fewer than one in two mothers still breastfeed at six weeks and this falls to 25% at six months. Fewer than 1% of mothers follow official advice to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of an infant’s life.

Another reason to consider breastfeeding?

Six baby bottle manufacturers in the US are to remove Bisphenol A (BPA) from their products due to consumer demand.  However, these bottles will continue to be sold in the UK.

BPA is an endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC), which means that it can act like oestrogen in our bodies.  In studies with mice, it has been shown that BPA can cause damage to DNA.  Ana Soto, professor of cell biology at Tufts University medical school in the US told BBC News Online:

“We’ve already found evidence that BPA can damage the mammary, the uterus and the male genital tract in lab animals.

“This research shows it alters reproductive cells both in foetuses and in adult animals.”

The problem with BPA leaching into the contents of the container (BPA is used in water drinking bottles too) occurs when the container is heated or the plastic becomes scratched and old.

Belinda Phipps, chief executive of the National Childbirth Trust, said: “It’s time the companies in the UK followed suit with what the companies in America and Canada are doing. We shouldn’t have bottles on the market that leach BPA. Parents would like to choose not to have BPA in their babies’ feeds and they don’t find that choice easy right now.”

The current advice for mothers is not to heat milk in the microwave in the baby’s bottle and do not pour in boiling liquid straight into the bottle – let it cool down first.  You can also contact the manufacturer of your baby’s bottle and ask about BPA.  If there is enough pressure from parents in this country, hopefully BPA will be banned here too.

This item was written by Nikki Mattie from and