Have you heard that a long-term study has pointed to a link between breastfeeding and intelligence?

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The research in Brazil published in The Lancet Global Health traced nearly 3,500 babies and found those who had been breastfed for longer went on to score higher on IQ tests as adults.

I am not against research but sometimes I wish they would tell us why they are researching something in the first place together with who is funding the research and the gender balance in who is coming up with the conclusions.

Day in and day out, mums wake up to these sort of stories often after a sleep-deprived night or where they really are doing their utmost to juggle it all. In my experience, most mums question themselves constantly and make decisions with the basic idea of doing the best by their children. Such stories and the attention they get in the media do little to build self-esteem of the mum which for me is a very good thing for a child to have in their life.

If we are going to say that mums should do something, please can we ensure that funding and other resources are put in place to help them to do so?

I wanted to breastfeed but struggled to do so. I felt very bullied by some midwives. Breastfeeding hurt and I was concerned my son was not getting enough nourishment. Nobody had warned me not every mum finds it easy so I felt a failure.

When I was pregnant with my second child and a midwife told me I had a choice whether to bottle-feed or breastfeed, I felt so relieved and it made for a happier pregnancy.

Having said that, I wanted to breastfeed all my babies. I just did not feel capable and lacked support.

As for myself, I doubt I was breastfed considering the circumstances of my birth but I managed to get into Cambridge University if that is a marker of intelligence.

I have 3 children and only the one who was breastfed has learning difficulties.

For me, these facts prove nothing and I am not sure the research does either.

Apparently experts say that much more research is needed to explore any possible link between breastfeeding and intelligence.

Does it matter? Is it desirable to force every mum to breastfeed so we can have a society full of highly intelligent people? Shouldn’t the research be watertight before the media take it up and beat mums over the head with it?

Kevin Fenton, national director of health and wellbeing, Public Health England, said there was strong evidence said “PHE’s advice remains that exclusive breastfeeding for around the first six months of life provides health benefits to babies.

“We recognise however, that not all mothers choose, or are able, to breastfeed and infant formula is the only alternative to breast milk for babies under 12 months old.”

Dr Colin Michie, chairman of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health’s nutrition committee, said: “It is important to note that breastfeeding is one of many factors that can contribute to a child’s outcomes, however this study emphasises the need for continued and enhanced breastfeeding promotion so expectant mothers are aware of the benefits of breastfeeding.”

Janet Fyle of the Royal College of Midwives said new mothers needed breastfeeding support.

Very interesting how it is a woman and a mum who highlights the need for support.

In conclusion, I am not a big fan of the parenting police particularly when there is still a woeful lack of support for some women who are trying to be the best mum they can be.

Do you struggle to shed the pounds? Are you like me with stones to lose? Do you want to strive for your best weight loss?

I would like to tell you how to think slim and lose weight.

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I started on a Thinking Slimmer programme in late January this year. If you are still chained to the idea that losing weight has to be difficult, you will probably also want to know my results really quickly.

Results

I have lost 1 stone since starting Thinking Slimmer. I am also thrilled to have lost loads of inches particularly from my tummy area but also from my hips and waist. It is great to not have to squeeze my arms into sleeves too.

How does Thinking Slimmer work?

You simply listen to a recording at a time of day to suit you. I find it forces me to take time out for myself and let’s face it most mums could do with that me time whether they need to lose weight or not. Slimpods are one part of the offer but you can also tap into Fitpods and Chillpods.

What I love about Thinking Slimmer

You are not made to feel bad nor do you beat yourself up emotionally when you make certain food choices.

You really feel that Thinking Slimmer care about you as an individual and are committed to helping you make progress.

You are given so much information to support your journey and take it at a pace that suits you.

You learn to recognise when you are full and feel OK about not clearing the plate.

You seem to feel better about yourself and become more self-accepting.

What I am celebrating partly due to Thinking Slimmer

Feeling liberated from weight loss being a struggle or upsetting in any way.

Making positive food choices most of the time.

Walking faster and feeling fitter.

Loving myself enough to dress nicely and to see there is actually quite a lovely figure going on already.

Knowing I have lost 3 stones since starting to lose weight last year. Believing that I will lose the rest and not feeling stressed about the process.

I asked Sandra from Thinking Slimmer for her view and loved it when she said

“For me, the most important part of all, it works from the inside, building self-esteem so you reconnect with who you are and begin to love who you see in the mirror. When you are empowered, anything is possible!”

Want to retune your mind so food is in its rightful place in your life?

Check out Thinking Slimmer.

Are you a fan of cats?

We had a lovely day out at the Cats’ Protection headquarters in Sussex at the weekend. Everyone enjoyed visiting the cats and learning more about cat care, rehoming and sponsorship.

The thing I noticed about the centre was that it was so attractive and clean. Parking was plentiful and there was clear signage to the various parts including the toilets, the shop and the café. As readers know, these little things can make all the difference.

I fell in love with so many of the cats and a white playful one in particular. I was reminded by staff that everyone finds cats like that attractive but that other cats were equally deserving of a loving home. They also told me how tough they find it to rehome black cats.

My son fell in love with Maypole and you could sponsor Maypole’s pen for just £6 per month.

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We learned how the centre has its own vets and how cats and kittens often arrive in quite a bad state so need to go into an isolation wing to prevent the spread of disease.

My daughter got very excited at meeting the real cats and also the rather large one in the well-equipped play area adjacent to the shop.

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We had a lovely lunch in the café which had some gorgeous cakes, sandwiches and hot meals.

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I was really impressed by how much more affordable the pet products in the Cats Protection shop were in comparison with other outlets. I also liked that there were tiny prices and bigger ones so something for every budget.

There was everything you need for cats there including amazing play equipment, litter and toys.

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There was also a very wide range of giftware – scarves, clothing, jewellery, bags and toys.

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You can even have a fun children’s party and as we left a group of excited girls were arriving for a birthday. My son was rather keen to return too.

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Admission to Cats Protection is free.

If you are interested in rehoming or sponsoring a cat, this is the place for you.

My son will point you in the right direction.

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Visit the Cats Protection website today to search for your purrfect cat, to check out some pawsome content for kids and to learn more about cat welfare.

TV STAR Lucy Watson is as much Maid in Cheddar as Made in Chelsea as she models a stunning £40,000 couture outfit – inspired by a block of cheddar cheese.

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Lucy loved wearing the stunning dress even though it is a departure from her normal style as she favours laid-back looks with jeans and slouchy tops for the day and is famously casual with an edgier look for evenings out with her co-stars when she favours simple lines, directional shapes and on trend pieces.

The dress was exclusively created using supreme silk satin which is brand new for 2016 and no other designer has previously used. It features over 20,000 patterned enlaced sequins carefully hand-stitched onto the gown, which were inspired by the brand new packaging for Pilgrims Choice Cheddar Cheese.

The dress design reflects the Pilgrims Choice brand colours in its black and gold material and also in the shape of the logo, which echoes the swipe underneath the Pilgrims Choice logo on its blocks of cheese to celebrate the cheese’s recent make over.

The stunning dress was made to measure for Lucy, 23, by acclaimed designer Zeynep Kartal, who rose to fame on the back of the incredible couture outfits she creates for a growing list of celebrities including Amanda Holden, Tess Daly, Cheryl Cole and Michelle Keegan.

Food inspired fashion has become a growing trend on catwalks and at big showbiz events in the last few years, following the success of Henry Holland’s Magnum dress in 2014 and Lady Gaga’s raw beef dress which she wore to the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards.

Lucy, who returns in the hugely popular Made in Chelsea later this year, was photographed in the dress at the plush Baglioni Hotel in Knightsbridge, also famous for it’s all black and gold rooms.

Lucy is also draped in £30,000 worth of vintage canary yellow diamonds, once again reflecting the iconic Pilgrims Choice brand colours.

Zeynep said: “My ethos is to give every woman who wears a Zeynep Kartal dress a feeling of stylish sophistication and self-confidence. The inspiration came from the Pilgrims Choice Cheddar Cheese package – with the cut and colour of the packaging being replicated in the final design. The result creates a distinctive sense of elegance and femininity using the finest fabrics and hand-made embellishments.

“Lucy looks amazing in the dress and the colour scheme really works with her natural skin tone and hair colour. It’s the perfect match.”

The new Pilgrims Choice Cheddar Cheese brand packaging is in stores now, priced at £4.00 for a 350g block.

I will be receiving a fee to compensate me for my time in preparing this post