Tag Archive | "breastfeeding"

About support

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About support

Posted on 28 August 2015 by Kristrun


Most of us have many loving family members and friends that surround us when we have a  baby. Even if we are living away from home, often our nearest and dearest will come to visit to offer their help and support and of course many others want to feel involved and offer advice. I remember it being so nice when the extended family offered to help and even just spend some time at home with us and the new baby, once some time had passed and we were getting used to this new reality. Luckily for most new parents, the support is genuine and needed.

Last month, I was seeing a woman at home to help her with breastfeeding.  She was having a hard time adjusting her sleep to the baby and breastfeeding was more tiresome than she had expected.  I guess we have all been there at some stage.  What caught my attention was that she kept repeating to me how supportive her family was and that she really should be grateful.

She had a little bit of – again what most of us have unfortunately – the ‘good girl’ syndrome.

She felt she should be grateful, even though actually the support that she was getting was entirely on the terms of the givers – not the receiver. The kind of things she was hearing, I have heard many times before….

“He is just hungry, I really think we should give him some formula, you have had no rest“

“If you want us to help, we need to be able to soothe him, and obviously we cannot breastfeed him.“

“You really should go out more, it will do you good, plus we have not seen any of Hong Kong during our stay here…. let’s go for lunch.“

“A baby should self settle, crying does no harm to them“

The thing is, all of the above can be said and may sometimes be appropriate, but it is NON-SUPPORT when it is given in this format.  It is not actually helpful, especially in a case like this, where the mum was just in a very normal situation – baby was sleeping well but waking up reasonably often, gaining loads of weight and nothing wrong with him.  But what has got to be remembered is that our parents’ generation grew up in a different environment to us.  They received very different instructions and advice from those in the know and sometimes, despite their best intentions to support, they just don’t actually know how to.  Hence the comments that don’t help.  So it is important, before inviting them, to ask yourself if they will actually be helpful, i.e. are they happy to just hang around you on yours and your baby’s terms.

Another comment I had from a lady not so long ago threw me completely.

“My husband is so happy how everything is going well but he really thinks that I should stop breastfeeding now“.

The couple had a two months old baby that was happily breastfeeding, no problems at all.  The opinion expressed, was because the husband was uncomfortable with his wife breastfeeding right from the start – happy to tolerate it for a certain amount of time – but was of the opinion that it was inappropriate and unnecessary. He was formula-fed himself, as his mother had reminded him, and he really did not see the need for it.

A part of me wanted to scream.  Sorry – but I really feel that that this is simply not even something that anyone, but the mum, can even have an opinion about, let alone express it to the mum. How dare anyone suggest that she should not feed her infant when everything about it is going very well?

A part of me remembered that this is actually, all about how people are raised, what information they are given and so on.  Of course this dad really must not know any better.

So parents, we really do need to educate our kids well.  Raise them up in an environment where this is not even a debate.  That they understand that breastfeeding is normal for babies for as long as mum and baby want it and nobody should question that.  Equally, that when someone bottlefeeds their baby, they are not entitled, as kids or adults, to judge that.

And when we grow old ourselves, let’s try and remember, when our kids have children, that we can support them a lot.  But it is not our role to tell them how to do things.

“Surely this kid needs to socialize“ – I was once told about a 3 week old.

Hulda x

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Your Relationship Plus a New Baby: See Allison’s advice on Sassy mama

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Your Relationship Plus a New Baby: See Allison’s advice on Sassy mama

Posted on 04 May 2015 by Kristrun

SassyRelationsihpallisonYour Relationship Plus a New Baby: What to expect and how to support your partner

 ”A baby neither makes nor breaks a marriage; a baby can, however, highlight the weaknesses and strengths of a marriage and will inevitably change it. How a couple chooses to respond to this change can set the tone for years to come — for better or worse, in sickness and in health.

What changes after the baby arrives:

Labour arrives and so too does the baby. The initial moments and months can be an intoxicating, maddening mixture of delight and frustration. Who is this soul, and how do we care for him/her? How do we care for ourselves? And, what happens to the marriage?”.

To read the full article on Sassy Mama - click here

Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.


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Breastfeeding and Sleep

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Breastfeeding and Sleep

Posted on 10 November 2014 by Kristrun

Hi! (1)This is one of our most popular topics and every time Conchita gives this talk we have a full house! Dealing with reduced sleep yourself, whilst encouraging good sleep habits in your baby, can be one of the most challenging aspects of new motherhood. So what is the magic formula? Is there one? I asked Conchita for a few things to keep in mind when trying to understand what to expect when it comes to breastfeeding and sleep. If you need sleep have your partner take over for the night and get some comfortable ear plugs for sleeping, to block out noise. Your partner can bring the baby to you when she needs to nurse or you can pump before the night.

50% of all babies have night wakings until the age of 5. So review your expectations, you might want to play it by ear. Of course there are babies who can sleep through the night sooner, but most likely it will come in waves.

Babies are not born with the ability to distinguish between day and night. They just sleep when they are tired. Some are ‘worse’ than others.

Teething, dreaming, travels, coughs and colds will always affect a baby’s sleep and their sleeping routine can change overnight, sometimes with no obvious reason.

Long periods of ‘controlled crying’ associated with sleep or feeds will only create fear and confusion and should never be used for babies less than two months of age. “I hardly ever suggest controlled crying for young babies” Conchita says.

Solutions and suggestions
Start a bedtime routine very early on. Teach your baby that the bed is a safe place so don’t create any drama around the bed, bedtime and the bedroom. Make sure your baby feels safe and secure around the bedtime routine.

A bath before bedtime should be calm and short. A calm and cozy atmosphere along with regular routine will prepare a baby for a long nice sleep.

Feed more during the day, less at night. Always do demand feeding to being with. But not less than 3 hours between feeds during the day and 4 hours at night.

Use the first few weeks to get to know your baby. Let her know she is safe, build up trust and try to understand her needs.

Baby massage can help when babies are stressed or excited when they are about to go to bed.

Every baby is different, as are every mother and family. Embrace support and let someone guide you through the upcoming changes with sensible suggestions and advice to help you deal with it. Our midwives are available for home visits.

Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.


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Hands on Pumping

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Hands on Pumping

Posted on 15 September 2014 by Kristrun

Although pumping or expressing is not recommended for the first 6 weeks after birth, it is sometimes necessary especially if your baby is ill, premature or unable to breastfeedingonbedbreastfeed for any reason. To get the milk production started after birth it is important to stimulate your breasts as soon as possible – preferably within two hours after the birth. To maximise the amount of colostrum produced, you may have more success hand expressing the first time since this is often more effective than using a pump.

After that initial expressing it is recommended to use a hospital-grade pump with a double pump kit about 8 times or more per 24 hours. This works out as approximately every 3 hours or whenever convenient – it doesn’t have to be always at the same time. For maximum milk production by pumping, it is important you use breast massage before and during the pumping session. This will stimulate the ‘let-down’ and the milk will flow more easily. When you’re pumping you should watch the sprays of milk and when this subsides, turn off the pump. This might take 5 minutes for some women and 25 minutes for others; you don’t pump for 20 minutes just to pump for 20 minutes. After you turn off the pump, it is recommended you try to hand express for 5-10 minutes into the pump flange since that can sometimes double your output and you can get more hindmilk which is the richest milk for your baby.

Maternal factors influence milk volume and things like stress, anxiety, fatigue and illness can decrease milk production significantly. Having an ill or premature baby can call on all these factors, so it is really important to be kind to yourself and give yourself time. It is crucial important to try to sleep and rest regularly, eat well and drink lots of fluids since your own nutritional status during lactation can affect milk volume and composition.

It is also important to know that there are experts out there who can help you so you don’t have to suffer in silence. If you’re having problems or concerns don’t hesitate to call Annerley and schedule an appointment with our breastfeeding consultant or one of our midwives. Or as a home visit.

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Hush Little Baby

Posted on 26 March 2014 by Kristrun

Babies can’t do a great deal. But they can suck and they can cry. So it is no great surprise that one is commonly used to stop the other. Sucking soothes most babies, even when they are not hungry, but it can be painful (and inconvenient) to always resolve this need with the breast.shutterstock_40760569

Pacifiers, dummies, soothers, binkies – it seems each family has their pet name – and they have been around in one form or another for centuries. Loved and hated, it seems, in equal measure, let’s look at the pros and cons.

Feeding patterns

Pacifier use in very small babies can cause some upset with breast feeding patterns. Initial milk supply is very much dependent on sucking and babies can gain satisfaction with a pacifier even though it is not filling them up. “It is therefore”, says Conchita, not recommended to introduce the dummy for the first few weeks until breast feeding is well established at around one month and your milk supply has adjusted to the needs of your child”. It used to be the case that breast-fed babies were discouraged to use a pacifer to avoid any nipple/teat confusion. There is however, no real evidence of this, and bottle fed babies can use a pacifer from the get go.

Fall out

Babies will quickly settle with a dummy, but conversely will wake and fuss when it falls out resulting in the (familiar to many) night-time routine of waking-dummy out-dummy in! Some parents will go to extremes of stashing several dummies in the cot or tying them onto the cot bars in an attempt to avoid the ‘lost dummy’ syndrome! In light of this, it would seem preferable, in a perfect world, for your little one to settle without a pacifer.


It creates a very hard habit to break. Children do get very dependent on their beloved dummies and this can cause great upset when mum and dad decide the time has come to lose it. However, it is possible to do with some planning and there are some wonderfully creative ways to do this – to leaving it for fairies to take or sending it other babies who need it more than your big boy or girl – and there are many children’s books based on this. It has to said that freeing a child of a dummy is a lot easier than doing it with their own thumb which is available at all times and forever! Conchita reminds us that “tired dummies are dangerous” and it is important to check for any perishing of the teat which can be a choking hazard. Similarly, the practice of cutting a hole in the teat (to discourage use) is also not recommended when weaning from the habit (ideally between 6 and 12 months).

Ears and teeth

There is some evidence that dummy-suckers suffer a greater number of ear infections. Although it is not known why this is, the changes in pressure between the ear and the throat due to prolonged sucking is thought to be a contributor. Strong, prolonged sucking is also thought to cause dental and speech problems in older children (contact Dentist Near Me Directory for more details). These are reasons to take away the dummy as your child becomes a toddler, or at least to limit to bed time only so your child is not constantly talking with an object in his mouth. Conchita also recommends the exclusive use of orthodontic pacifiers.

Missing signals

Such is the soothing and calming effect of the pacifier, that a real risk is that other reasons for fussiness are missed, such as pain or illness. It can also decrease interaction and communication between carer and child.

Super suckers

Some babies really do need to suck past the point of nutrition, and a dummy satisfies this very real need.


There is some evidence that pacifier use can decrease the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), perhaps by inducing a lighter sleep or, it is thought, by opening up the space between the nose and mouth. “Dummies can regulate blood pressure and heart rhythm in small babies” says Conchita “although supporting evidence for this is not clear”.


A fussy baby can be very difficult to soothe and a dummy can provide a solution which will improve the lives of the whole family. Peace is priceless. A pacifier will also bring comfort during times of stress, exhausting long haul flights, unfamiliar situations or simply when a child is over-tired or overwrought.

In short, current research suggests dummies to be pretty harmless in babies, if not actually beneficial. Try it if you feel you need to, and let’s be honest, during those first few crazy weeks home with a new-born, many parents are willing to try most anything to soothe their crying bundle. Just try to limit awake-time sucking, move towards an association with sleeping and start researching successful ways of encouraging its removal for later on!

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Extended Breastfeeding, why bother? By Conchita Amende

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Extended Breastfeeding, why bother? By Conchita Amende

Posted on 29 November 2013 by Kristrun

mastitis, breast-feeding, newborn, sore breastsIt is commonly known that exclusive breastfeeding is the ideal scenario for your baby during its first months of life. The World Health Organisation recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and it is around this time that you will start to wean your child and introduce solid foods. This does not mean, however, that breastfeeding should stop just because it is no longer the only required form of nutrition.

There are many reasons to carry on. Your milk will change with your growing child, but the health benefits in the form of vitamins, antibodies and immunoglobulin are still very much present and continuing to protect your baby and lower the risk of allergies.
But the benefits do not only lie with your little one. Nursing – and as your infant grows into a toddler this may be just once or twice a day – is a wonderful time of bonding and closeness. Your life will have moved on from the all-encompassing newborn and baby-stage and you may also have older children to attend to. Taking the time to breastfeed is a great excuse to slow down, hold your child close and look into each other’s eyes. In a busy life, breastfeeding is a beautiful “time-out”.
It is also free. Use the money you save on not buying formula on some good quality vitamin drops, which I do recommend after 6 months of age (for breastfed babies).

See Conchita at home or in the office for Breastfeeding advice and early childhood challenges.

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Jaundice in Newborns –  Olafia gives us the lowdown

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Jaundice in Newborns – Olafia gives us the lowdown

Posted on 29 November 2013 by Kristrun

In_hospital_postJaundice is a common condition in newborn babies affecting some 6 out of 10 babies (higher in premature babies). “The most common and 

obvious sign is a yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes” says midwife Olafia, but other indications are dark urine and pale coloured stools. “The baby may also be lethargic, difficult to rouse and not wanting to feed“.

Jaundice is caused by the build-up of bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin is a yellow substance produced when red blood cells are broken down.

Baby may be sleepy and reluctant to nurse, but regular feeding is essential in treating jaundice as the bilirubin is excreted when baby poos and pees” says Olivia. Exposure to UV light also helps to break down the bilirubin.

If you are receiving home visits from a midwife, jaundice will be something she will routinely look out for – yet another reason to have continuous midwife-led care after your birth.

Most cases of jaundice will disappear without treatment but in many instances, it is ineffective feeding which will hinder resolution. Post-natal support is so important in ensuring good feeding techniques immediately after birth.

A small proportion of cases will have other underlying causes, such as infection or disease, so please seek professional advice if you suspect your baby is jaundiced.”

To arrange postnatal home visits - contact info@annerley.com.hk or book on-line 

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Testimonial from Regina

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Testimonial from Regina

Posted on 18 September 2013 by Kristrun

I just wanted to let you know how supportive the staff at Annerley have been during my pregnancy & now in caring for my daughter. When I moved to Hong Kong, I was 12 weeks pregnant. It was a bit daunting to be pregnant in a foreign country where I wasn’t familiar with the medical system and had limited social support. From the start, through Belly to Belly Workshops and antenatal classes, the staff at Annerley provided me with opportunities to learn about the maternity system in Hong Kong, gave me the tools hlep me to advocate for myself within the system, and provided me with all the information I needed for a healthy pregnancy and delivery. In working with Sofie during Belly to Belly workshops, one to one meetings, and the positioning class, I had a very fast labor and was able to have the non medicalized, drug-free birth I wanted. Given my history as brain tumor survivor, it would have been easy for the highly medicalized physicians in Hong Kong to convince me that I needed a scheduled c-section. However, the staff at Annerley taught me what questions to ask the physicians, how to express my wishes, and how I would know if and when medical interventions would be necessary. It was very useful when Sofie taught me about the importance of posture during pregnancy to help with the baby’s position. I was thrilled with my labor and birth, being able to labor in the different positions Sofie taught and even deliver standing up.
The midwife visits after returning home from the hospital with my daughter helped my husband and me feel more comfortable caring for our daughter and more confident in our parenting. The night we arrived home, my daughter was having some difficulty eating and it was very comforting to know that Rowena would be visiting the next morning to help sort us out. During those early weeks, having Rowena and Conchita visit helped us get through difficult days and nights. Breastfeeding was difficult for me due to my medical history and without the support of Annerley and the visiting midwives, I would not have been able to breastfeed at all. With proper planning before my daughter’s birth and support afterwards, I was able to provide breast milk to my daughter for 10 weeks. While that might seem like a short time for many mothers, for me, it was a major accomplishment. During those 10 weeks, when things got difficult & I wasn’t sure I could continue, support from Conchita helped very much. Her family centered and strengths based approach helped me to think through what the goal was for me, my baby and my family and what was going to make for a happy mom and happy baby, without any pressure to continue breastfeeding. Since giving birth, I have come to clinic, had home visits, and one to one meetings with Conchita. I appreciate that I can ask any parenting, childcare or medical question, no matter how big or small. And unlike visits with pediatricians, Conchita focuses on our entire family’s wellness and happiness, not just our baby’s. It is very comforting to know that Conchita and the staff at Annerley are available through all the stages of my daughters development. I am looking forward to discussing the next milestone with Conchita, starting solids. Conchita has been able to provide the medical support and emotional support that all new parents need.
My helper took Conchita’s course, “Caring for 0-12 month old babies” in the spring. My helper has over 20 years raising Western children but my husband and I felt strongly that she take a course from the same professionals who were teaching our antenatal and childcare classes. When my helper came home from the course each day, she was energized and shared with me the different things that she learned. It was fantastic that Conchita taught her new things and sent her home with “homework assignments”. It encouraged her to have conversations with me about what she was learning. Some of the highlights for both of us included baby proofing the house, how to encourage language development, and starting solids. It was wonderful that Conchita could make this information exciting to such a seasoned child care provider. Additionally, Conchita stressed to helpers in the class the importance of communication with employers. This ended up being a helpful reinforcement for both my helper and myself when after the baby arrived we realized we needed to communicate differently than we had before. I would highly recommend the course to all helpers who will be working with infants regardless of how much experience they have.
The services at Annerley fill the gap many of us feel without local family and give new parents the opportunity to get support on childcare and parenting, which is something the medical system does not routinely provide.
Thank you for all that you do,

Regina Karchner September 2013

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Preparing for birth in a public hospital in Hong Kong

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Preparing for birth in a public hospital in Hong Kong

Posted on 21 August 2013 by hulda

PREPARING FOR BIRTH IN A PUBLIC HOSPITAL IN HONG KONGBy Hulda Thorey –  Published in SassyMama – 20 September 2013

In Hong Kong, every person with a Hong Kong ID card has the right to use the government hospital maternity services at a minimal cost. The maternal health clinics generally provide adequate services, staff, equipment, and resources to ensure your safety. The facilities are up to standard and the delivery rooms are big and very well equipped. It can be a great experience to give birth in a public hospital but we highly recommend parents educate themselves so they know the politics, preferences and the procedures within each hospital.

Before using the services at a public hospital you will need a referral letter to confirm your pregnancy, so the first step is to visit a doctor or obstetrician to get that letter. The antenatal checkups at the public hospitals are free of charge and they will let you know how often you need checkups, roughly every month initially, then every two weeks. The checkups can take a bit of time, so allow at least 3 hours, but if you are lucky it will take less time. Many of our clients supplement the public system with a private midwife or doctor, which saves time and gives them a chance to get answers to their questions.

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Breastfeeding in government hospitals in Hong Kong

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Breastfeeding in government hospitals in Hong Kong

Posted on 21 August 2013 by hulda

BREASTFEEDING IN GOVERNMENT HOSPITALS IN HONG KONGBy Hulda Thorey –  Published in SassyMama – 10 April 2013

Breastfeeding is promoted, encouraged and supported in Hong Kong government hospitals in principal. However, in practice, the level of support offered can vary. Although well meaning, some staff may want to follow routines that are not necessarily in the best interests of the breastfeeding mother, but an informed and prepared mother can confidently stand her ground to get what’s best for her and her baby. Here, Hulda Thorey, midwife and founder of Annerley, provides advice on how to prepare for breastfeeding in the government system. 

Breastfeeding immediately after birth

Nowadays, if everything around your baby’s birth is normal, most hospitals will not take them away for the traditional initial check; and a request to have the baby given straight to you means that you can usually initiate immediate breastfeeding. Of course, on the rare occasion a baby is not doing so well straight after birth and the hospital wants to transfer the baby to the special care unit for neonatal help, most parents are more than happy for the quick response.

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