Perinatal depression refers to depression during pregnancy or up to a year after birth. In pregnancy it would be called ‘antenatal depression’ and after giving birth it is called ‘postnatal depression’. It is important to remember that this mood disorder is an illness and is not the mother’s fault or as a result of anything she has done. Changes in hormones during the perinatal period, the life changing event of having a baby and the stress that this can place on the mother as well as other risk factors like a personal or family history of mental illness are thought to be causes of developing depression. If you feel that you are experiencing a persistent low mood, feeling hopeless or finding it difficult to enjoy your baby then don’t be afraid to seek support.
Here is a useful article with more information on the signs and symptoms of perinatal depression and some of the ways it can be treated:
In this video Dr John Sheehan talks about the common symptoms of depression, some important considerations to encourage positive mental health, and how to seek help for postnatal depression:
In the early days after having a baby, some low mood is common but usually passes after a few hours or a few days (the baby blues). If these feelings persist, please share this with your supporters and health care professionals. It is common, normal and there is help available for you.
When breastfeeding out and about you are completely backed by law to feed wherever you are allowed to be publicly.
The Equality Act 2010 made it illegal for anyone to ask a breastfeeding woman to leave a public place such as a cafe, shop, train stations or on public transport in the UK.
However, even though the law is on your side it still doesn’t mean every public feed is a simple one. It can take a while to feel comfortable feeding in public. If you are new it or have been avoiding it here are a few points to consider:
💜 Most shopping centres, department stores and supermarkets should have a dedicated baby room with a nursing chair in a private area. These vary in standards and some are definitely below par but newer buildings tend to have better, cleaner baby rooms. Ask other mums if you are unsure, there may be a hidden gem in your local area!
❤ Cafes and coffee shops make a good place to feed if you don’t require complete privacy. They offer a clean comfortable space that’s less crowded and are generally baby friendly.
💙 Never feel like you need to feed your baby in the toilet! If you are at a loss for private feeding places then a changing room in a clothing store is always a good back up.
💚 The pros to feeding in public are the convenience of not having to time your outings around feeds or cut short your trips. It also means you can relieve full breasts and don’t need to worry about sterilising pumps and bottles to express before leaving the house.
🧡 If you find you still have anxiety about feeding in public it may be helpful to it talk through with a peer supporter. Our Milk Mates groups can be a really lovely and supportive place to feed in public for the first time. We also have separate private spaces to feed if that’s more comfortable for you 😊
What is it like feeding out and about in your local area? Let us know in the comments!
After giving birth, no matter what happened during your labour, you may find you feel some pain. If you are breastfeeding, the Drugs In Breastmilk Information Service has lots of useful, evidence based resources on the types of pain relief you can take. For full details, please see the link below or search “Drugs in Breastmilk” and look for the Breastfeeding Network page.
“Paracetamol and Ibuprofen form the basis for safe analgesics for breastfeeding mothers”
They also have lots of other factsheets on a range of different medications. If in doubt, you can look them up yourself or signpost your healthcare professional to the information.
Starting solid food with your baby can be a really exciting time, sharing your favourite meals and tastes as a family. But how do you know when it’s time to begin weaning?
There are 3 clear signs, which, when they appear together from around 6 months of age, show your baby is ready for their first solid foods alongside breast milk or first infant formula.
They’ll be able to: ❤ stay in a sitting position and hold their head steady ❤ co-ordinate their eyes, hands and mouth so they can look at the food, pick it up and put it in their mouth by themselves ❤ swallow food (rather than spit it back out)
These other behaviours are very normal for babies and do not mean they are ready to start solid foods: chewing their fists; waking up in the night (more than usual); wanting extra milk feeds. Try increasing baby’s milk feeds if you think they are hungry before starting solid foods if the 3 signs above aren’t showing yet.
Starting solid foods will not make your baby any more likely to sleep through the night.
If you’re not sure, or you have any questions about starting solids, get in touch with your health visitor, or check out this useful resource: https://www.unicef.org.uk/babyfriendly/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2008/02/Start4Life-Introducing-Solid-Foods-2015.pdf