How often do you hear someone say that they simply didn't make enough milk to breastfeed their baby?
When I hear this I must admit I often wonder if the person really didn't make enough milk* or if they were actually suffering from a case of ISIS (aka insufficent support and information syndrome).
That's why when I saw these appear on my facebook newsfeed,
I was completely delighted.
I've seen similar products elsewhere on the net in the past, but I've always thought there were ridiculously over-priced and they seemed only to be available to professionals. These, on the other hand, are totally affordable (£5.99) and just seem so much more accessible for ordinary mums.
What are they?
They're 'tummy balls'. They show the approximate size of a new baby's tummy at 1, 3 and 10 days old. Amanda at 'Reclaiming Normal, Birth and Postnatal Doula Services' has kept it very simple - to her enormous credit!
These little balls make such a powerful myth-busting visual statement that I really wanted to put them on the blog.
There is a shooter marble showing how a brand new baby's tummy only holds between 5 and 7 mls of colostrum; a ping pong ball to represent the 22 - 27 mls it can manage by day 3; and a plastic egg showing the 60 - 80ml that a 10 day old baby's tummy can hold at one time.
In 'old money' that means a teaspoon at a time on day 1, less than a fluid ounce per feed by day 3, and 2-3 ounces at a time by day 10 (there's a great link here giving more on these 'norms').
This simple visual could save new mums such a lot of worry! So many post-partum mothers get freaked out to find they're only producing a (perfectly normal) few mls of colostrum whilst the lady across the room is providing her new baby with 40mls of Cow & Gate. Being able to hold a marble/ ping pong ball in your hand really brings it home just how unnecessary large amounts of milk are in the early days...
If you over-feed a new baby they are more inclined to bring the milk back up (reflux). You are simply asking their little tummy to hold more than it's able to. Put your marble next to 40mls of formula milk and it's pretty easy to see where the problem arises.
If only Bounty would do something useful and put THESE in their bags, eh?
If you have a friend who is expecting a baby, you could really do a whole lot worse than buy her a set of these tummy balls (complete with organza bag!). How FABULOUSLY EMPOWERING to be able to answer the 'just give that baby a bottle' brigade by wordlessly lobbing a ping pong ball in their direction... ;)
You can find out more about Amanda's tummy balls here**.
** Nb - I have not been paid to write this! I just think stuff like this is too good not to share.
(Also - since I wrote the original post, Ardo have been in touch with me to point out that they also sell 'BellyBalls' - a similar product to the above. As Ardo are currently a WHO code compliant company - something of a rarity these days - I'm happy to include them here too.)