So as you can see, my son has a lovely set of eight teeth. Eight tiny, pearly white, eagerly awaited, razor sharp teeth.
As you can also see, he has developed a penchant for biting me!
If I ask for a kiss, he comes steaming towards me, mouth wide open, and starts trying to clamp my mouth between his teeth. Or if he is in a particularly boisterous mood, he will merrily bash against me with his head and start trying to gnaw away at my leg or tummy, or arm.
It was something I wasn’t expecting until he was a little older, maybe at pre-school where you hear stories of that kid who bites! At 13 months old, I got a little bit worried that the little guy was doing something he shouldn’t have been…I pretty quickly discovered it was totally normal…
So what should I do about it? I am pretty sure my current approach, giggling madly, giving a puny yelp of an ouch, and laughing some more as he goes in for a second bite may not be the conventional route! And saying ”no” is something I talked about trying not to do (check it out here).
I never knew, but each bite is just an expression of his excitement, his love, his enthusiasm and his energy in life. There is no way I am going to bite him back like someone recommended a friend try doing with her son.
Why do toddlers bite?
A bite is a way of expressing something without words, be it happiness, excitement, joy, or anger, frustration or hurt.
It could also be down to the usual suspects…teething, tiredness, boredom or just plain old experimentation.
How to react when your toddler bites you.
Stay calm! Try not to laugh! Use the serious voice to say something like ‘bites hurt, ouch’ and use it consistently.
Shift the focus to a different activity, not biting mum fun time…a distraction is invaluable.
Understand why your toddler is biting.
If you can figure out what your little person is trying to tell you with a bite, it might go some way to calming the situation down. If they could be teething, bring the teething toys out. If they are over tired, try and get a nap in or nap earlier for the future. If they are in need of more activity, try and give more time to entertaining them.
Each scenario has an obvious solution, but especially if your toddler is older it may be harder to deal with the situation. Zerotothree.org has some great advice here to help you deal with your situation.
So what age did your child start to bite? Or did they never go through this phase at all. How did you handle it? Would love to hear your thoughts…
Good old Atlantamomofthree has inspired me again! Check out her blog for some great family life blogging and some inspiration of your own. This time she has inspired me to get networking again, to take another look at how to spread the science, get new readers to join in with the discussions and to have a good old clean up of my side bar and articles to make it easier for you to explore the older, but still relevant posts.
Goodness, it has proved more than a little time consuming!
When I first started this blog just five months ago, apart from my family and two friends, I didn’t tell a soul. I never announced it to my Facebook acquaintances, I never did a mass mailing to my contacts list and I never told any of my oldest or newest close friends. I wanted people to find me and my information because it was what they were looking for, not because they felt obliged to follow me. My interest in breastfeeding may be an acquired taste for some, and I didn’t want to offend, or make my bottle feeding friends feel like I was on a personal attack of their choices.
So it has been a slow process. I am working on adding a Pinterest (work in progress) page to my Facebook and Twitter pages which are up and running already. Feel free to have a look at them too.
I am proud of my 92 and counting followers, it’s small but definitely not insignificant to me. So thank you all for reading.
The giant Top Mommy Blogger badge is a little out of character for me, but after learning what a great resource it is for reaching a new audience I had to give it a go. It is a human edited, mommy blog directory to help you discover new mommy blogs, and bring to new readers to your own blog.
It is a ranked list though…so here is my appeal, once a day while you are browsing my blog, click the small badge in the sidebar, or the GIANT badge at the top of this post. One click = one vote. You can do it whenever you visit, but just once a day.
It’s a baby! The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcomed a son into the world on Monday, July 22nd, 2013 weighing 8lb 6oz.
There will be all manner of overexposure for weeks to come, TV specials, post baby body watch, mum and baby fashion updates…In fact, as I write this, the royal hairdresser has entered the Lindow wing!!!! Cue papparazzi scrum…
Of course, being totally obsessed with boobs, what really excites me is the prospect of Kate publicly breast feeding her new born baby for years to come. What better way to inspire a new wave of support for breast feeding than with the highest profile advocate the world may see for generations to come.
Ok, that’s a lot of pressure for one first time young mum!
It is unlikely that Kate will be flashing her breasts in public, but I do wish her luck in her private breast feeding challenge. Should she take it up, there is a wealth of information, supportive blogs and inspirational posts by thousands of mums being shared through this wonderful online community.
It got me wondering about the statistics. NHS published the findings of the Infant Feeding Survey which takes place every 5 years. The last survey published in 2012 shows the following points for the UK as a whole:
Although all of the figures show a small increase on the previous survey, the six month mark has remained as small a percentage as ever. Just a tiny 1%. The trend for mixed breast and formula feeding is encouraging to a point, but suggests that mothers may not have total confidence in their milk production, and health professionals may be fuelling these worries and encouraging supplementation (one of my many theories.)
It has been nearly two weeks since landing in the UK after a 10 hour flight from California. I am stillsuffering the effects of jet lag, and meanwhile, the little guy is stillenjoying the effects of his jet lag playing at all hours of the night.
It isn’t rocket science, I’ve done it many times over the last 8 years of long distance love, the sooner you get back into the new time zone routine, the sooner you can shake that all day groggy feeling and that all night wide awake feeling. Aargh.
The whole ordeal is completely different with a kid! I am in no rush to get back on a plane any time soon, which is a bit of a problem as my husband and I are on different sides of the Atlantic at the moment.
I think I have had a little meltdown on every flight with the little guy so far, he is so lovely, but, I would definitely not class him as an easy child on a plane..and so far, as my experiences go, airlines and airports have not made it any easier to deal with the situation.
So to turn a negative experience into a positive I thought I would write down a few things that might help others to learn from my mistakes, plus, share some of the things that I have got right on a long haul flight!!
Breast feeding is a life saver, on take off and landing it is the best remedy for pressure sensitive ears. It is also the perfect way to quieten a screaming child, fill a gap for a hungry child, lull a wired child to the edge of sleep (before the ping back wide awake), and if nothing else, keep the little wriggler still for a couple of minutes! Phew!! Quite simply, don’t forget your boobs, they are an essential part of your in flight enjoyment.
Don’t bother packing an entire bag of toys and books and games and new exciting gadgets. I read somewhere, to buy a small toy, something new and interesting for every 30 minutes of a flight, in an attempt to keep your child interested and entertained. Wrong…A rustling bag of complementary pretzels, a plastic cup from the drinks trolley, the fold up tray table, an overpriced plastic bottle of water and the duty free magazine…these are the stars of the show. You can save a lot of money and hand luggage just collecting these things along the journey for hours of fun!!
Do pack a ten course feast of snacks, that is, for baby of course. They make you pay a tax to have bubba on your lap, but they don’t give them anything to eat. Nothing too messy obviously, cubes of cheese, ham, tomato (minus juicy pips), cucumber, mashed avocado sandwiches, fruit, sugar free biscuits, pots and pots of the stuff, keep it coming, because once your tray table comes down and you are loaded up with a pile of over salted microwave dinner, little fingers will NOT let you enjoy anything unless they have their own supply of snacks.(It sounds silly but take the time to cut blueberries in half and grapes in quarters because it might just entertain them and last a little longer than whole sizes that they can pop in and moan immediately for more.)
Do not get your hopes up for one of those cots that people always mention, hanging from the bulk head. I have never seen, nor been offered one, but I hear that they are filthy and that they only fit the smallest of babes, mainly only those under six months weighing up to 14kg. All airlines differ, but where they are the same, is mixing up your seat reservation and having no cot available on the flight! If you are pinning your hopes on a cot and it doesn’t work out, you will have a meltdown, guaranteed! Practice with a ring sling or know that you will be cradling your child for however many hours, anything else like a spare seat, a bulkhead seat or a carry cot will be a pleasant, bonus, surprise at that point.
This was a great tip from supporting breastfeeding (have a look at their tips here) which I had never even considered doing…I am always so eager to pre-board that I get myself into a bit of a frenzy, I want to get on first, as if the plane is going to leave sooner if I am on board earlier. Why did it never occur to me that the earlier I get on the plane, the longer I will be confined to that tiny little seat?? Next time I will do as suggested, and hang back for as long as possible, stretching legs and waving arms, just because I can in the lovely spacious gate waiting area!!
Practise getting your baby to sleep standing or sitting in a confined space with very little movement. If your baby is used to getting to sleep on their own in a cot, getting them to sleep in your arms is a massive challenge. Take three or four days before the flight to cradle your little one to sleep for a few naps. If you are not in an aisle seat or you have irritating elbows either side of you, even if you are walking up and down the aisle with bubba, wildly rocking them to sleep isn’t an option. Try more of a bouncy action up and down on one spot at home, this is more like what you will be doing on a cramped plane, and if you can get them to nod off even for 20 minutes you will feel like a new woman for the peace and stillness!
Antibacterial wipes! The first thing I do when I sit down is wipe everything over, the TV screen, the tray table, the window, the shutter, the arm rests…what else…I think that’s it. Bubba can grab everything after that and it all just feels a little less grubby!
Finally, take as many people as you can afford a ticket for! The bigger the entourage, the better! More seats in a row is a valuable commodity if you can get it. You can elbow those nearest and dearest to you without getting a disapproving look, you can pass the baby over at every opportunity and you may even get a moment to eat drink or sleep with all of their help! Sorry, probably not my most helpful advice but
Thanks to my family for helping us get off the plane in one piece!!!
How have your travel experiences worked out. Will you ever brave a plane again, or was it a breeze for you? Did you travel alone or with support? Let me Know…
Butternut squash is one of my favourite vegetables at the moment, it has been perfect for baby led weaning, mashed, roasted, boiled, it always turns out tasty and healthy. Ok, it makes a lovely hearty soup, but today I was feeling creative, so I tried something a little different with it.
Butternut squash is a winter squash, but it seems to be around all year, you can dress it up for the summer easily!
Low in fat, and high in fibre, it contains potassium, important for bone health, and vitamin B6, for the proper functioning of both the nervous and immune systems.
It’s bright orange flesh gives away the fact that it is packed full of carotenoids, particularly beta-carotene, shown to protect against heart disease. And on top of that, there are high levels of Vitamins C and A and folate. Super!
In fact, because it is so virtuous, I feel less naughty for frying it in a little olive oil to make crispy chips. It is perfect for baby led weaning, little fist sized chunks with a crispy outside and a creamy inside make for an interesting new texture and a pretty tasty side dish for the adults too! Have a look at the recipe below…
1 Butternut squash 2tbs plain flour 1 heaped tsp mixed herbs or any that you have 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
It’s a fairly simple method, I like easy…the hardest part is peeling and chopping the squash, but once peeled, cut into large chunky (mis-shapen) chips.
Boil until tender but not overly mushy.
Drain away the water and dry on kitchen paper to remove most of the excess water.
In a shallow dish, mix flour, smoked paprika, mixed herbs and pepper to season.
Lightly coat the butternut chips in the flour and sake away excess flour.
Lightly fry in an oil of your choice, I love some olive oil.
Drain again on kitchen paper and garnish with chopped fresh or dried herbs if you fancy!
Hopefully, we have just had our final encounter with the health visitor!!!
We are at the one year mark (already) and a check up was in order according to the NHS guidelines. So far we have managed six months of exclusive breast feeding, we have continued and plan to continue breast feeding for a good while longer and we have hit the 50th percentile consistently at every weigh in…
I feel proud of our achievements, as any parent would…
So why did I leave that check up feeling so agitated?
There was not one word of praise for reaching our breastfeeding milestone, in fact the health visitor tried several times to push a pint of cows milk a day at us, then she tried to shove multi-vitamin at us and finally told me that he needs to eat more than the three meals and two snacks a day that he already feasts upon.
“Well if he was drinking formula milk he would be getting all of the vitamins and minerals he needs.”
Aarrhggh…What kind of support is that? There was nothing about the little guy to suggest he was in ‘need’ of anything! She clearly wasn’t listening to anything I had told her about his healthy appetite and seemed concerned that I was just forcing breast milk for my own agenda.
I had a rant to a fellow boob-a-holic mum, she had received similar advice, that breast milk is nutritionally redundant at one year, ooh my blood is boiling!
So where is this information coming from?
The WHO recommends breast feeding for at least two years. It is widely recognised that breast milk past 12 months still passes immunity and nutrition to the child, it provides comfort and security to the child and for the bonus point, extended feeding increases protection against breast and ovarian cancers and osteoporosis in mothers. Why would I even consider stopping now?
The WHO summarise that breast milk is the natural first food for babies:
It provides 100% of the energy and nutrients that the infant needs for the first months of life.
It provides up to 50% or more of a child’s nutritional needs between 6-12 months.
It provides up to 33% of a child’s energy and nutritional needs during the second year of life.
As for the nutritional composition of breast milk past 12 months, there is little documented research, but it does exist. Nothing spectacular happens at 12 months that reduces breast milk to water. I was curious about the nutritional content when I expressed some milk recently…The milk in the bottle just seemed different to me, it seemed richer, creamier and thicker, it didn’t separate into the two layers that I was familiar with earlier on in his life…I found a little bit of info that went some way to explain why…
Research shows that the fat and energy content of milk over the one year mark to be significantly higher than in milk at the 2-6 month mark. Good news in the full fat cows milk war that was being waged on me!
Anyway, as this woman was so intent on selling me shares in her dairy farm, I thought I would take a look at this wonder milk of the cows to see how it compares to breast milk in its composition and content.
Starting with the fat content of milk, medical professionals seem keen to get a whole lot of whole milk into growing children…by that I mean full fat, regular milk, cheese, yoghurt etc. The reason being that babies and children grow so rapidly, they need to meet their calorie intake in the form of fat, 1g of fat has more than double the amount of calories of 1g of protein or carbohydrate. It is also an essential part of the formation and development of the brain
Breast milk has up to 5% fat.
Whole cows milk on average has 3.25% fat.
Good but not quite as fatty as my specialist supply!
The main carb in breast milk is lactose. At around 7% the carbohydrate content provides around 40% of the total amount of calories from breast milk.
Cows milk comes in at just over 4% lactose.
Good but not as good as my personal milk stash.
This is an interesting one. Cows milk seems to pull ahead in the competition on this one with just over 3% protein content compared to the 1% of breast milk.
How these percentages are made up is the interesting bit…
Breast milk is split 60% whey, 40% casein.
Cows milk is split 20% whey, 80% casein.
It is the unique balance of proteins in human milk which is easy to digest, whey in particular being most suited to little people. Importantly it is less taxing on the kidneys and stomach.
Once again breast milk seems best balanced and is more than adequate for a growing child based on protein composition. Another point to mothers milk!
Vitamin content seems to be directly related to mothers intake, so babies can become deficient in a few areas. In particular:
It is important to keep taking a vitamin supplement to keep these levels up, however vitamin D is usually always deficient in mothers milk. Cows milk is usually always fortified with vitamin D.
For this reason, and the fact that sunshine needed for the body to make vitamin D, I will probably introduce some vitamin drops to the little guy to keep his vit D levels up.
Calcium (mg/100 ml)
Phosphorus (mg/100 ml)
Sodium (mEq/100 ml)
Zinc (mg/100 ml)
Iron (mg/100 ml)
I found this table of mineral content courtesy of nutritioncare.org as well as the following piece of info:
Interestingly as with all vitamins and minerals in breast milk, they are highly bioavailable (better absorption &/or conservation). So even at lower concentrations than in cows milk, human milk generally meets the mineral requirements for normal infants. (Levels added to formulas are higher to compensate for the less favourable absorption.)
The relatively low protein, sodium, potassium, and chloride levels in human milk also place the kidneys under less of a load than cows milk or formula, which is beneficial to the underdeveloped organs while they mature.
Concentrations of minerals in human milk generally decline over time, probably due to slower growth rate of the child, of course this reduces the demand on mothers body so she can start to replenish her own reserves.
It seems that extended breast feeding has many benefits and advantages, for both mother and baby. I am ready to answer anyone who questions my choice to continue feeding the little guy, I may even go back to the health visitor and baffle her with some of the science!!!
I will definitely be looking for a vitamin D supplement for him to take, but I certainly will not be too worried about the amount of cows milk he is getting as my milk is as good as, if not better for him than any homogenised, pasteurised, fortified cows milk. A good varied diet for mother and baby and my milk on demand should be just fine!
So have you had any negative experiences about extended breast feeding. Have you ever started to doubt the quality of your supply? Please let me know and leave your comments below.
It has been a couple of weeks since my last post, so this one is for an expectant mother I met at the airport recently, good luck with your delivery if you are reading! I researched this for a guest blog over at Atlantamomofthree…here it is for my readers.
My birth story is nothing like I imagined it would be. Before I was even pregnant, I knew a C-section was the way I wanted to deliver. My mum and my closest friend had the best birth stories of any I had heard…they both delivered by sections…so I wanted one too! Thankfully, I fell into the very spiritual hands of a wonderful yoga teacher. As a group of expectant yogis, we explored every aspect of giving birth from such a range of perspectives, that any element of fear was dispelled. I entered labour relaxed and calm and excited to try my hand at an all natural delivery. What a turn around from where I started my journey.
I was rather clueless about everything baby related when I became pregnant, I kind of learnt on the job, a journey which led me deep into the heart of natural parenting.
I left my birth plan until really late, packed my hospital bag at the last minute, and made some fairly big decisions literally the week before his arrival. One of those decisions was about delayed cord clamping. All being well with the delivery, I requested that the umbilical cord remain attached to the placenta until it stopped pulsing at which point it should be clamped and cut.
It was a passing comment of a fellow yogi in my last yoga class that piqued my curiosity in the subject…I am so thankful that I launched into some research at the time. Now I would like to share some of the facts and the pros and cons of delayed cord clamping.
The average umbilical cord is 50cm or 20 inches long!
Inside the cord is one main vein transporting oxygen food and antibodies to baby. Then there are two arteries returning waste products and deoxygenated blood back to mum. These vessels are protected by a sticky substance called Wharton’s Jelly…it’s role becomes clear later on.
Out into the world…
Even after baby is born, the cord continues to perform its essential functions, passing across oxygen and nutrients from the placenta. Allowing the blood to continue to flow after delivery results in a healthy blood volume and a full count of red blood cells, stem cells and immune cells for baby.
When you look at the cord from this perspective, it is easy to see immediate clamping for the surgical intervention that it is…an irrevocable interruption to the natural process of birth which can impact baby for the rest of their life.
So why is immediate clamping the norm…
Standard practice has a lot to answer for…the medical world is slow to move away from standard practice. If you are hoping to delay the clamping of your cord, you need to shout about it, discuss it as part of your birth plan…make sure your wish is heard and understood.
What exactly is delayed cord clamping…
It simply means waiting for the placenta to finish its transfusion through the cord to the baby. Approximately 3 minutes is the time it takes to give baby the full circulating blood volume and for the cord to stop pulsing, but it can take anywhere up to ten minutes.
As you can see in the series of photographs above, the cord starts as a thick purple pulsing rope of a cord. As it is exposed to the cooler temperature of the outside world, the Wharton’s jelly starts to change structure and it starts to collapse down on the blood supply running through it. Over the course of 3-10 minutes the blood supply is completely and naturally cut off…cord clamping isn’t really necessary at all!
As the cord stops pulsing, it turns limp and white, indicating that the transfusion of blood is complete. Eventually the jelly hardens and the umbilical cord detaches. So that’s the science, hopefully it all makes sense, but what are some of the pros and cons of delaying cord clamping?
A full blood volume for the baby reduces the risk of anaemia. About 1/3 of baby’s blood is in the placenta, that is a lot of volume to cut off before it has time to find its way to baby. The extra blood provides essential iron stores for the first six months of life…this is especially important for breast feeding mums as iron is one of the few things our milk does not provide enough of. That iron is essential for brain development and function. It encourages mother and baby to stay close. Because the cord stays attached to the placenta while the placenta is still attached to mum, baby can only be taken so far. Skin to skin direct contact is a great way to colonize baby’s skin with mums friendly bacteria, providing protection from infection. It is also a great way to stimulate breastfeeding hormones.
One reason for immediate clamping was it was thought to reduce the chances of post-partum haemorrhaging. Studies have shown this to not be true.
More blood means a higher chance of jaundice in baby as blood carries bilirubin, the source and cause of neonatal jaundice. Jaundice can be helped in a non invasive way by breastfeeding frequently and getting baby plenty of exposure to sunlight, much easier to remedy than anaemia and iron deficiency which can also occur with immediate clamping.
My delivery was easy (those listening to my screaming would disagree) and our midwife was totally supportive. It was a long few minutes before my husband could step up to the cord with the scissors to do what he had been waiting to do! Our little guy was a full term healthy baby and it was no problem to keep him attached while my placenta delivered naturally.
Spare a thought though, for those babies in distress, born pre-term, or born via c-section. These are the ones who could benefit so much from the extra oxygen and blood and nutrients that delaying clamping can provide. Yet these are the ones who are clamped and cut and whisked away for special care so quickly. Once the wider medical world starts to see the benefits of delaying clamping, hopefully it could be incorporated into the care of the sickest and smallest babies, to give them the best start in life possible.
Skin to skin contact is big news at the moment. It was part of my birth plan, but it wasn’t something that I gave much thought to. I thought it would keep baby warm and would be a good way to bond while getting in some cute cuddles with the wrinkly little fella! The trend for fathers to get in on the skin to skin action made it seem even more like a bonding ritual, rather than an essential, natural process that was intended by nature.
If you haven’t heard of it, skin to skin contact is as it sounds…One (or more than one, I guess) newly birthed, vernix covered baby, is placed immediately onto mothers bare skin, usually the abdomen while the cord is still attached. Baby is left like this for as long as possible without interruption, no clean up, no weigh in and no passing around!! There should be no rush to get baby to latch on to the breast, especially for a full term healthy baby, and any measurements or injections can usually wait for a couple of hours. It should just be a time of peace, calm and relaxation.
The idea is that the recognition of scents, sights and sounds exchanged between mum and baby trigger all manner of hormones and reactions which in turn give baby a really good foot in the door of life!
Of course dads can enjoy skin to skin too. It can be an amazing, bonding, calming and regulating experience for baby, while also giving dad a chance to learn to recognise hunger cues or distress.
It helps to calm mother and baby, and relax them after the shock of birth.
It regulates baby’s temperature.
It regulates baby’s heart rate and breathing.
It stimulates baby’s digestive system.
It helps stimulate breastfeeding hormones which in turn should have a hand in establishing milk supply in the future.
Baby’s skin can be colonised with all of the friendly bacteria from mum. This helps fight infection in the future.
It triggers baby’s natural feeding instinct, baby will slowly and surely make his way to the breast, sniff and nuzzle it, and finally latch on to it!!
Skin to skin for premature or caesarean section babies.
As with delayed cord clamping, skin-to skin contact is even more vital for babies born in distress, or born early or born via caesarean section. They can all still benefit from the unique nurturing of skin to skin contact.
There are exceptions, where intervention is necessary and the safety of baby has to come first…But skin to skin contact is still compatible even with the tiniest of preterm babies, and it is beneficial even if the window is missed in the first hour of life.
The neonatal unit to which I donated my breast milk (read more here), actively support kangaroo care…Parent and baby are encouraged to spend as much time as possible chest to chest, against the warmth and comfort of each other. The support staff make every effort to ensure any tubes and monitors are incorporated into the kangaroo care of the teeny preemies. It was such a special sight to behold, empty incubators and a truly peaceful environment for them to recover.
My own skin to skin wishes didn’t go quite to plan…mainly because I was still fully clothed when the little guy decided to make his appearance sooner than expected. We got there eventually, and he stayed there while I delivered the placenta naturally. Instead of knowing his instincts would lead him in his own time to find his milk, I was really concerned that he wasn’t feeding and I asked the midwife to position him and help him latch on. Writing this article, I realise now, if the path is clear his instincts would have led him there, there really was no need for me to rush it.
Have you heard of skin to skin contact, did you request it at after giving birth and did you love the experience??? Let me know…
If you enjoyed this article have a look at my post on the virgin gut.
This is an odd one! It’s my strange baby fuzz hair!
One of those pregnancy perks that we all hope to experience is thick, shiny, gorgeous, commercial-worthy hair, right? Along with the glow of expectancy, there is a shadow of hope that we may feel like a super model for a few short months with this luxurious mane!
Then, all to soon, the postpartum hair loss hits. Your once rope like ponytail will sadly again become a scrawny rats tail and the advice everywhere is that this is a totally normal part of life after baby.
What nobody warned me about however, was the postpartum hair growth!
I have this weird halo of short frizzy hair around my head! When my hair is tied up (which it usually is or the little guy would pull it all out when he is feeding) it looks like my head is glowing…I have this ginger aura around my head, every day.
How have only just noticed this phosphorescent phenomenon, 11 months postpartum. I guess the fuzz has just reached a length that is more noticable, and impossible to tame. I was wondering why I had started looking like I had a serious case of bed hair…all day long.
Here’s the science!
On average, hair grows about 6 inches in a year. Every hair goes through three phases.
Cycle of hair growth (Credit: More’s)
Anagen is an active growth phase of which approximately 85% of the hairs on your head are going through at any one time. A hair in this phase grows for one to six years. Have you struggled to grow your hair past a certain length? This is down your anagen phase, and how long your hair spends in this growth period.
Catagen is essentially a transitional phase where the hair is cut off from its nourishing blood supply. The hair stops growing at this point.
Telogen is a resting phase. The hair lies dormant in the follicle for up to 100 days. Once telogen is complete, anagen can start up again and produce a new hair. This pushes out the old hair and you see what you might call shedding.
Up to 10% of hairs are in the resting phase at any one time…that translates to up to 100 precious hairs washing down the drain or taking up residence in your hair brush every single day!!
During pregnancy, the increased level of estrogen keeps hair in the growth phase for longer. Your hair keeps growing and growing and growing! More hairs than the usual 85% are in this active growth phase at any given time, meaning less hairs enter the shedding phase…the result is thicker more luxurious hair.
Once baby is born, estrogen levels begin to drop…and that’s when you notice what seems like totally abnormal and massive hair loss, and start to panic! All of those hairs that stayed in active phase have to fall out eventually and now is the time. The switch up in hormone levels allows hairs to continue into the telogen phase and start to shed. All of those hairs that you didn’t shed for the last year suddenly start falling out 3-4 months postpartum.
6 months to 1 year after the arrival of the bundle, with any luck, your hormones are behaving sensibly and your hair should have settled back into a more normal growth cycle…new hairs start to push through and you may start to notice the not so cute, baby fuzz halo of un-tamable hair at the nape of the neck, the sides of the head, temples and forehead.
No slick ballerina bun for me!
So those bad hair days may not be over just yet!
There really isn’t anything you can do to alter the course of nature and those darned hormones, but there are steps you can take to preserve hair and cover up the areas most affected.
How to help the problem of thinning hair:
Continue taking pre-natal vitamins or supplements after the birth and throughout breast-feeding as well as eating a healthy diet.
Be gentle, don’t wrap wet hair in a towel, the weight of the towel can drag at delicate hairs. Use a de-tangling conditioner, and comb hair through with care.
Try to let hair dry naturally when possible, save the blow-dry or styling tongs for special occasions.
Try a new hair cut, a good stylist will know how to cut hair to make it look thicker and fuller, with layers, a new parting, bangs or a fringe, and will advise on the right products to use.
Tinted hair powders, a glossing treatment or lightening and lifting up your hair colour may all help to camouflage thinning areas.
Remember also, if you think your hair-loss is excessive and not a normal for postpartum shedding, it may be worth booking a blood test to check for thyroid and hormonal imbalances.
Did you experience lovely, thick and luxurious hair when you were pregnant, only to watch it fall out once your little one was born? Have you also got the baby fuzz halo??? Let me know…
As a rule, the little guy eats the same as me, I have done this from day one of our BLW journey. Sometimes though, I feel like he might need something a little more nutritious than the family lunch or dinner, if I fancy a salad, I think he might need more substance. So every few days I might make a batch of something which he can eat that gives me a little more freedom…if I fancy something a little naughty!
This mix is great on its own, sprinkled with a little cheese and finished under the grill. Or you could add a few cubes of ham for lunch, or you could just serve it as a side to the roast dinner if you don’t want to share the Roasties with your little person!!