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Parenting

Induced lactation: why a woman doesn’t need to bear a child in order to breastfeed it

A viral photograph of a couple breastfeeding their twin babies has highlighted the process that allows a woman to nurse a child she has not carried. So how does it work?

A photograph of Jaclyn and Kelly Pfeiffer breastfeeding their twin babies has gone viral, highlighting the fact that it is possible to nurse a baby you haven’t given birth to. Jaclyn didn’t carry the babies but has been able to breastfeed them thanks to a process known as induced lactation. It tends to be used by same-sex couples, as well as adoptive parents and women whose babies were carried by a surrogate.

The outcome can be variable, depending on the situation and what the goal is, says Helen Gray, from Lactation Consultants of Great Britain, an organisation that describes itself as the professional voice of breastfeeding. “They might want to try to bring in a full breast-milk supply and provide all of the baby’s milk, or, if they are co-parenting in a same sex relationship, they may be hoping that each mother will provide enough so they can share the breastfeeding.” Or they may want to provide a small amount to top up bottle feeds.

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Read more: theguardian.com

Categories
Parenting

Parenting guides teach us everything – except how to be parents | Eva Wiseman

From breast feeding to sleep training, there is a manual to help new parents. But how useful are they really? And don’t they just make us feel even more stressed?

Visiting a maternity ward last week I saw the oddest thing. A series of posters designed to promote breastfeeding, each one a disembodied white woman’s torso. The first featured her tits being groped by a variety of hands. “Bond with your baby,” said a slogan over the tit pictured stage left, a child’s hand covering the nipple. And above the second tit, this one enclosed by a pink male hand, the words, “Bond with your man.” OK. The next poster showed the tits in a leopard-print bra, a baby sucking on one nipple, and the slogan, “Designer mum. Designer milk.” An involuntary shudder. Not just at the suggestion that the reason so many women bottle-feed their babies is to protect their “designer” bosom, but at the memory of drowning in similarly delirious mothering advice, in finding myself bleeding on a battleground, its lines drawn in crayon.

Parenting advice is big business, despite appearing to consist of just two contrasting ideas: the first, control the kid; the second, control yourself. The many millions of books written, about feeding, sleeping, carrying, playing, inevitably extend into a variety of things to buy, whether tech-driven sleep aids or parenting coaches, or “mumpreneur” networking events. And yet, despite so many parents’ shaky investments (at a time when their earnings must be impacted) much of the advice is offered without much, if any, serious explanation why.

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Read more: theguardian.com

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Parenting

Breast v bottle? Motherhood is messy enough without picking sides | Hadley Freeman

It’s one of life’s ironies that this debate will rage most loudly when a woman is at her most vulnerable

My experience with breastfeeding was as relaxed as it was completely atypical. I had a C-section, which meant I stayed in hospital a few nights to recover, which meant in turn I got to know one of the night nurses. Every night, she took the time to teach me the basics of breastfeeding, reassuring me that I was doing just marvellously.

When I got home, a friend who, like me, had twins, told me that if I wanted to retain my sanity I should get some help a couple of nights a week (our topic for today is feeding, but synchronising the sleep patterns of newborn twins will one day be my magnum opus). I was lucky enough to be able to afford this, which meant that someone regularly came to my home and, again, helped me breastfeed. When I told her I wanted to do mixed feeding – breast milk and formula – because my body needed a break, she unhesitatingly showed me how to make formula. As a result, I experienced none of the anguished emotions I’d seen so many friends go through about feeding. This is because I was blessed with luck (meeting the nurse) and privilege (being able to afford help), neither of which should be the determining factors about how a woman feeds her baby.

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Read more: theguardian.com

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