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.

How To Think Slim And Lose Weight

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.

Let’s get this week’s Muffin Top Monday started my blog hop for mums who are trying to shed stones and pounds.

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You can post about weight loss as you see fit and if my headings help do use them but don’t feel constrained by them.

1. How was my weight loss journey this week?

On the whole, I have done well.

I seem to have put on a pound but I did not get an accurate reading as I usually do at the weekends.

My measurements showed a reduction particularly around the muffin top which please me loads.

2. How much had I hoped to lose?

I had hoped for a 1-2 pounds loss. I appear to have put on a pound but I did have my time of the month which can always stir things up a bit.

3. What have I enjoyed eating this week?

The thing I enjoyed eating most was the chocolate and coffee mousse I made for Valentine’s Day. I have enjoyed all my food this week the healthy and the not to healthy,

4. Have I eaten anything unhealthy this week?

I had an Indian takeaway.

I drank rum and coke two nights in a row. I also had 3 helpings of that chocolate mousse.

5. How are you feeling about losing weight?

I got upset when my GP noted my weight loss but did not do a merry jig, give me a gold sticker or invite me to become and inspirational speaker. I wish they would realise that a little praise is a very motivating thing. I feel this drove me to comfort eating for the first time in months.

I am taking part in a Thinking Slimmer focus group and enjoying visualizing how I will look in the future.

I am celebrating the changes I see in my body particularly in the bath where instead of a huge mound from under the boobs there is now a spare tyre forming. Who would have thought when I was in my twenties that I would have celebrated that? It is progress and I intend to monitor it all because when I am slim, I hope my story will help others.

5. Do you have a top tip to share with us?

It is important to forgive yourself and to get right back on track.

As I say, you can link up any weight-loss related post and I look forward to getting to know you and celebrating our success in due course.

I will visit all posts and encourage others to visit too via the blog hop and by promotion on social networks. Please do try to visit other posts to lend your support with a friendly comment and if you can share on your social networks, even better.


I am delighted to tell you a little about Enterprising Tesco Mum of the Year 2015 Kate Geeson

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You can read about Kate here
http://www.tescoliving.com/mum-of-the-year/winners/2015/enterprising-mum-of-the-year-kate-geeson

Kate runs pioneering work experience that helps people with learning difficulties gain self-confidence, qualifications and jobs. These are the very things that help us move forward positively in life but also can be so difficult to achieve if you face personal difficulties plus have to confront some unhelpful prejudices out there. These are the times you need a champion to believe in you as the special person you are.

When Kate was working in the special educational needs department of a secondary school, she started thinking about other ways to make a difference. Now she is on a mission to make work placements a life-changing opportunity to shine for disadvantaged people who need the right support and encouragement.

“We’re here to help them and to give them work experience. To give them a reason to get up in the mornings,” says Kate, 60, of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.

Kate runs Phoenix Milton, a charity-based social enterprise on the outskirts of Cambridge that makes and sells handmade paving and garden accessories. Phoenix provides work experience and employability qualifications for young people and adults with learning disabilities and mental health issues.

Tesco Mum of the Year Awards judges noted Kate’s determination to give everyone the opportunity to achieve their potential.

Kate, who is married to Philip, 61, and Mum to Michael, 33, and Shelly, 32, spent 10 years working as a learning support assistant in a secondary school. She was struck by the lack of quality work placement opportunities for people with learning difficulties. In 2006 she helped to launch Phoenix, which took over a small factory producing concrete slabs and adapted it to provide supported learning within a real business.

Kate and her team provide a range of learning opportunities – from carpentry to cooking – in a safe environment, supporting the trainees closely as they progress. Over the years the charity has raised £300,000 and helped around 600 people to gain trade and life skills. Kate is passionate about providing the right environment to allow people to blossom.

“We’ve got one really, really special lad who is in a permanent exclusion department in school,” says Kate. “He doesn’t get on at school but here he’s perfect. He’s in his second year now and the school can’t believe it’s the same lad.”

The youngest trainee is 15 and the oldest is in his late 30s. Kate has used her experience in education and good business sense to produce astonishing results. She says: “One lad has gone into supported living now and he can cook now as a result of being here. At one time all he would do was stare at the car park.”

Trainees are sent to Phoenix by local schools and organisations such as the Learning Disability Partnership. They work and train in all areas of the business, including the concrete factory, carpentry workshops, kitchen garden and canteen kitchen.

“We’re seen as unique because the trainees are guided through everything and given life skills they might not otherwise receive.”

Kate is kept very busy nurturing trainees, managing staff, planning new courses, drumming up much-needed volunteers to help out, fundraising and balancing the books.

“To me, I’m not doing anything out of the ordinary,” she says. “I just love caring for people and helping them reach their potential.”

I have said it before and I will say it again it is always the truly inspirational who seem to believe they are nothing special.

This is why the Tesco Mum of the Year Awards are fantastic as the recognise mums who really are quite extraordinary whilst being self-effacing at the same time.

2015 will be the 10th Mum of the Year Awards and Tesco has awarded over 80 ordinary mums who have done extraordinary things for others.

http://www.tescoliving.com/mum-of-the-year/latest/2014/july/celebrating-10-years-of-the-mum-of-the-year-awards

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Diary of an imperfect mum

Here is this week’s Striking Mums post and better late than never.

Should I take a risk? How often do you ask yourself that question.

Striking Mums is a campaign to get mums to think of themselves a little bit more. We believe that mums really can rediscover or reinvent themselves. We also believe that a little back up and peer support from other mums can only help with that.

You can link up any post or if you don’t blog leave a comment about how you are proactively changing your life for the better.

This week I am reflecting on risk-taking and if you find the following questions helpful, please feel free to answer them either on your blog, in a comment or in your own head.

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I will post my answers tomorrow and here are the questions.

1. Would you describe yourself as a risk taker?

2. What, if anything, concerns you about taking a risk?

3. What is the worst thing that could happen if you take a risk?

4. Tell us a situation where taking a risk paid off for you

5. Tell us about a situation where taking a risk resulted in harm to you or yours

6. What risk are you tempted to take right now?

7. What would help you feel better about taking that risk?

8. What risk did you not take that you now wish you had?

9. Do you admire people who take risks?

10. Can you think of someone famous or otherwise who is a inspirational risk-taker? What can you learn from them?