Monday, May 2, 2011


                                                    Margaret McGlashan - midwife.

"Right-thinking hospitals encourage skin-to-skin contact between mother and child as soon as conceivably possible. Slick with sweat ..... mucous-ey creature placed upon your breast. Unseeing, snuffling, it desperately seeks your nipple ..... "
Megan Nicol Reed : "The Agony and the Ecstasy". Sunday Star-Times   April 3  2011.

Today there is expert help available for mums. This is why I decided that I'd interview my great and highly respected friend, Margaret McGlashan, for this third post and for another following this one, in the series on Breastfeeding. 
I remember coming away from a conversation with Margaret, just after we met, encouraged and impressed having discussed the effect of breastfeeding being a form of contraception and preventing one from falling pregnant. A month or so later I happily fell pregnant with our second child who is now twenty-five. Margaret is a midwife and has been a major part in the delivery of four of our children. Both as I approached the births and in those first six weeks after birth, under Margaret's care I was supported, equipped and given confidence to head into raising my children. She is an expert in the field of breastfeeding. Thank you Marg!!!!! 

1. Margaret, to begin with could you tell us how long you have been practicing as a midwife? 
I finished my training in 1971 and have been practicing full-time for 26 years.

2. Over the 26 years, about how many mothers have you prepared and cared for before, during and after childbirth?
I would have helped between 1000 - 1500 women of various cultures.

3. In preparation when talking with these mothers, do you advocate that they breastfeed their baby?
Yes always, breastfeeding is best.

4. What reasons do you give them to encourage them to breastfeed?
* it is normal and natural, this is one reason women have breasts.
* to sit down and breastfeed gives you the option to sit and relax, enjoy the baby and be quiet.
* as a result of being pregnant you have milk in your breasts ready to breastfeed.
* breastfeeding gives your baby optimum nutrition - for the first 6 months breast-milk has all the nutrients your baby needs.                                        - for the next 6 months breast-milk continues to be the major source of energy and nutrients while family foods are introduced.
* bonding between you and your baby occurs best through breastfeeding.
* only breast-milk gives a baby antibodies which are rich in protection from sicknesses. For the first year and beyond, these important antibodies continue to protect your child.
* the growth and development of your baby's intestine in his digestive system, is helped by breast-milk.
* breastfeeding also helps protect your baby from food protein allergy.
* breastfeeding gives comfort to your baby.
* money wise, breastfeeding is a cheaper option compared to bottle feeding.
* your baby's brain and nervous system development is helped by breastfeeding.
* the structural shape of your baby's mouth is enhanced by breastfeeding, and future skills in clarity of speech and sound production rely on a well formed mouth interior.
* breastfeed babies have less risk of cot death, cancer, eczema, diabetes, diarrhea, ear, nose, throat, chest, bladder and kidney infections.
* breastfeeding lays down the myelin sheath, which is the lining of nerve cells for the baby.
* breastfeeding protects mums from cancer of the breast and ovaries, and gives protection from osteoporosis and anemia.
* mums also benefit from breastfeeding because it helps her abdomen to go down, returning it to normal and preventing hemorrhaging.

5. Are there some predictable problems involved in breastfeeding?
Problems with breastfeeding can   be due to the mother receiving incorrect teaching. As a beginner mother you need sound advice from an expert breastfeeding professional. All midwives are in the process of learning, so ask yours what her breastfeeding success rate statistically in the past has been. Does she encourage skin-to-skin? Or you could choose to deliver at a Birthing Unit.  They are specialists in breastfeeding and have high success rates. Join and attend a support group such as the  La Leche League, or a coffee group of successful happy breastfeeding mums. Start 'right' with your breastfeeding.
Problems with breastfeeding can   be due to a drug induced birth. If you have drugs during labour it can affect your baby who may need more skin-to-skin time to establish their natural sucking instinct.
Problems with breastfeeding  can   be due to a mum's mindset. You can help yourself by getting the correct teaching from a successful breastfeeding specialist which will give you a growing confidence. You need to be relaxed in yourself and feed in a quiet place.
Problems with breastfeeding can   come from the interference that dummies, bottle teats, and nipple shields can cause your milk production. This equipment changes the action of the baby's tongue and jaw, compromising breastfeeding.

PART 4 on Breastfeeding to come, with more information from Margaret.

THISWEEKWITHTHEKIDS ~  enjoy the pleasure or the approaching pleasure, of breastfeeding your baby. Take time to understand the benefits you are giving your baby and yourself as you breastfeed.  And meet up with like-minded people to be encouraged and you will probably find that soon you'll be the one encouraging others.

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