Thursday, 25 November 2010

How volunteering rocks my world, plus breastfeeding news!

Breastfeeding a baby to sleep: classed as a bad sleep habit but a lifesaver for some mums

As I have already explained in an older post How I became a Homeworker, I find volunteering very rewarding from a personal and professional point of view. I get a warm feeling when I can donate my time to a good cause and it also benefits my working life.

I started volunteering in 1994 and through that first role as a fundraiser I acquired database and computer skills, plus learnt how to write a charity mail shot. This led to temporary bookings as database researcher, which was my first media job.

Between 1997 and 1999 I was in the committee of Women in Publishing, when I found the 'lost' archive and organised a few events. One was about independent bookshops and featured, among others, the occult bookshop Watkins! I volunteered for WiP hoping to get a job in book publishing but then switched to magazines after I trained as a subeditor. Still, I met many wonderful women, got some confidence and did chat to Fay Weldon, one of my fave feminist writers, at a Wip Christmas party.

So when I took maternity leave in January 2007,  I was itching to do something else and started volunteering for the NCT in the newsletter team. After some training I added another arrow to my volunteering bow by becoming a breastfeeding helper with the BfN. While the first role consolidated my writing/design skills and led me to specialise in parenting as a freelance writer, the latter gave me valuable knowledge about breastfeeding, which, again helped my writing. There is so much conflicting information about breastfeeding and knowing where to look and how things really work help me write good material. Recently I started helping out at my daughter's preschool, which is just lovely.

So after singing the praises of volunteering, here are some breastfeeding news, courtesy of my Google alert...

Is breastfeeding really best? Mum of five Aileen Hickie says mothers should not be bullied into breastfeeding... click here to read more.
I felt sad reading this article. Ireland has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in Europe.

Facebook has 'boobed' by banning a picture of a woman breastfeeding her baby... click here to read more
Hip Hip Hooray... the penny has finally dropped! I know quite a few women who have proudly put pics up that have been censored.

"I need some advice about giving up breastfeeding. Please don’t judge me harshly. I have battled for six weeks trying to do it, but I am so miserable and am getting very down about it. Click here to read more.
Again, I felt really sad reading this as she has looked for help but cannot cope. I looked up stopping breastfeeding and there was very little info online, even on trusted encyclopedic websites like La Leche League International and Kellymom. As breastfeeding charities are supportive of mums’ choices, this question should be addressed fully. Going cold turkey, especially in the early weeks, could lead to engorgement and even mastitis. I also think that more expressing information should be out there as some mums might want to stop breastfeeding but still wish to give breast milk to their baby. The BfN has a great expressing leaflet here.

Breastfeeding moms don't get less sleep, says a headline on Reuters’ website. Click here to read more.
Yes, they actually get more sleep - this study proved it three years ago.

Breastfeeding is now compulsory in Indonesia as a law has been passed that stipulates all babies should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months. Click here to read more.
Wow! There are fines up to £7,000 and a prison sentence up to one year. Some might think it’s a case of nanny state but according to a recent government survey, "almost 40% of the children under five who were surveyed reported stunted growth due to malnutrition".

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