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Mamma Musings

Mamma Musings

Working Moms: Do We Ever Get a Break?

If you are a working mom, you are probably dealing with some challenges. The main one may be balancing work and motherhood. How do you create time for your children, your work and still have time for self-care?

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In Ireland, the Workplace Relations Commission enforces the various laws that promote gender equality and prohibit any form of discrimination against women in the workplace.

Yet, in spite of such bodies and the various employment laws protecting working women, mothers are still facing bias in the workplace. They miss out on promotions, are paid less, or are often denied requests for a flexible work schedule when pregnant or require time to recover after having a baby. 

This discrimination faced by working mothers is often referred to as a ‘maternal wall.’

Some of the reasons employers use to discriminate against working moms include; they are more likely to miss work or are unlikely (due to their family commitments) to work as required at the office.

The situation has forced many moms to quit working to raise their children. Mothers who remain at work despite discrimination, have to deal with the daily difficulties. This is highly unfair. Moms need to achieve their career goals too.

Employee rights for working moms

We need to answer the question, ” How can we as mothers avoid discrimination at work and achieve our career goals without neglecting our families?” The answer is by using our employee rights.

Employee rights are regulations that protect you against unfair treatment from your employer. Ireland is especially fair to expectant and working mothers.

Maternal rights for working moms

In Ireland, your maternal employee rights as a working mom start before delivery. You are entitled to reasonable time off for medical checkups and to attend antenatal classes.

You should also get maternity leave to recover from childbirth and bond with your baby. Working moms are entitled to 26 weeks of maternity leave to deliver their babies. Two of those weeks can be taken before the child’s birth. 

Mothers who choose to adopt a child are allowed 24 weeks leave from the date the child comes home. 

Of course, benefits are essential when you have a new baby to cater to and medical bills to pay. You can guarantee yourself some maternal or adoptive benefits by contributing sufficiently to your social insurance. 

Your rights after maternity leave

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There have been cases of women getting back to work after the birth of their child only to find their job status has changed. They are either downgraded in terms of their position or pay.

No employer should downgrade your job status or pay because you had a baby. 

The Maternity Protection Acts 1994  protects a mother’s right to be treated as she was before delivery. 

Therefore, after your maternity leave, you have a right to get back to your former employment position. In case your post is filled for any reason, your employer should offer you suitable alternative employment.

The Equal Status Acts 2000-2018 also forbids any bias based on, among other things, family status such as pregnancy. It promotes equal opportunities at work and advocates for family-friendly work practices. 

Therefore, taking time off work to deliver your child does not give your employer the right to mistreat you once you report back.

If you need time away from work to breastfeed your child, you can rely on Section 9 of the Maternity Protection (Amendment )Act, 2004,  to fight for your breastfeeding rights. 

It allows women who’ve delivered within the last six months time away from work to breastfeed, thereby helping them transition back to work without worrying about their babies.

Balancing work and family

Apart from laws that support moms, more companies in Ireland are adopting fair employment policies for working mothers. 

Some offer in-home child care benefits or on-site daycare facilities at work. Others allow moms to work with flexible schedules or remotely from home. 

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This is a most welcome trend that is providing a more inclusive environment in the workplace for mothers.

If you work for a company that doesn’t provide support to mothers, your employer may be ready to make your schedule flexible or give you a chance to work from home if you negotiate. Try it!

Are you facing discrimination at the workplace?

If asking or negotiating for your rights doesn’t work, fighting for them may be your only remaining option.

Although women are known to avoid actions that make waves in the workplace, many are now coming forward to sue unfair employers.

As a working mom, you deserve to work and raise a family without feeling like you need to let go of one to accommodate the other. As you have seen, several laws in Ireland protect you from bias at the workplace.

Therefore, if you face any workplace discrimination and asking for your rights does not lead to any changes, pursuing legal action is an option you should consider.

Author: Kelly Pence

Mamma Musings

Expand Your Business Using These Essential Strategies

In a Global Banking and Finance Review, it was discovered that 42% of  companies are more inclined towards expansion. Better yet, this group of businesses prefer to extend their services overseas. For entrepreneurs, business growth and expansion leading to maximised profits is the ultimate goal for operations. However growing a business can come at a cost. Using a basic metric – do you know how much a new customer acquisition costs? If not I suggest investing some time in familiarising yourself with customer acquisition cost ecommerce, as you expand it is possible that customers start to become more expensive to reach therefore it is an important metric to consider when planning to expand your business.

While some failed at it, others have succeeded. So, what advantage did the latter have over the former? Here are tips to guide you as you consider expanding your business.

  • Introduce innovative products and services to an existing mix

factory floor meeting

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Even in a lacklustre economy, you can still be innovative enough to grow your business and end up beating competition while at it. Nobody wants to struggle to grow a business; introducing new products and services to your existing mix can be a daring business move, especially when you have no idea how the market will receive it.

As a precaution, you must first conduct market research to determine what your customers want. It’d be best to also research into how much your existing market is willing to pay for a new product or service, as it’ll be ineffective to decide by yourself to introduce a new product without the assurance that it’ll be accepted.

Some notable corporate giants failed terribly with new products they assumed would beat the existing competition. For example, in 2006, Microsoft hoped to beat Apple’s iPod with the introduction of the Zune. They however failed to research the iPod’s weaknesses instead of just outdooring a product to compete. The result? Zune wasn’t a bad product per se, but it failed abysmally. Other notable examples are:

  • The HP Touchpad – hoping to rival the iPad.
  • Amazon Fire phone – ventured into becoming a smartphone powerhouse.
  • Cosmopolitan Yogurt – The Cosmopolitan Magazine hoped to veer into edible products.
  • Franchising

The main idea behind franchising is to expand into new territories. Admittedly, it’s a pretty expensive and quite complex procedure, but the benefits are immeasurable when done right. Franchising is only an excellent option when you have a recognised brand. More so, you must be convinced about your business systems and how effective they can be if legally replicated by other people in different places.

Usually, under a franchising model, you permit others to adapt your business models as they sell your branded products. Franchise Direct offers you a consolidated platform through which you can find a plethora of franchise opportunities. Another thing worth mentioning is that franchising adds more credibility to the brand, and benefits from royalties and fees.

  • Networking

networking

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Consider networking as the intricate weaving of different threads that make up a fabric. In business, networking cannot be overstated; the business relationships you keep with clients (existing and potential), colleagues, other professionals, etc., will inadvertently become the support your work needs. The purpose of networking is to gain significant insight into what makes a business successful.

Furthermore, by your association with others who succeeded in growth and expansion, you stand a better chance of learning valuable lessons first-hand. Did you know that regular business networking elevates professional and personal profiles? Ultimately, that contributes effectively to your business growth.

In due time, your diligence will pay off as your business reaps fruits. While expanding your company, avoid losing sight of current operations. Additionally, be mindful of internal and external influences that could hinder your business expansion plans.

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

6 Ideas for the Best Gifts Your Kids Will Love

We all know kids can be picky. But, it’s the worst when you have no idea what to get them for a gift! So we’re here to help you out with some ideas that are sure to please any kid in your life.

#1 A new set of Legos

For kids who love Legos, there is the Lego Creator 3in1 Pirate Boat set which includes a pirate ship, boat, and treasure chest all in one kit. The kit comes with over 800 pieces, so it will keep their attention for hours as they build it themselves.

#2 A Smartwatch

kid reading

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We recommend getting them a smart watch for kids. These watches come equipped with GPS tracking for those of us who don’t want our kids glued to screens all day. That way, you can know where your kids are at all times. They also come with various customizable apps and features that will keep them entertained for hours on end!

#3 A board game can play together as a family or with friends

If your kids like board games, a good option is the Monopoly Junior game for ages six and up. This game offers two difficulty levels, so it’s perfect for families with different playing abilities or parents who want to help their kids learn how to play while they’re still young.

#4 New books for their favorite series

Nothing says “I love you” like a book. It’s a simple gift that can be shared and enjoyed by kids of all ages. It’s always exciting when new books are in a series, so you know your little one will be excited if they’re given something from their most loved book!

#5 An art kit

Paint, brushes, and canvas so they can create their paintings or drawings- If your kids have been begging for an easel for the longest time, we recommend getting them one that will keep them busy with this craft while still being easy to clean up afterward such as the Art Easel by Melissa & Doug. Art set for children contains projects like drawing on rocks, painting on paper bags, or making mosaics out of recycled materials which helps foster creative thinking skills while instilling an appreciation for nature’s beauty at the same time!

#6 A Puzzle to put together on rainy days

Kids love puzzles! They can spend hours trying to figure out the perfect way to put them together. Puzzles are also great for teaching kids patience. A puzzle kit with many pieces they have never seen before, so they get curious about how each piece goes together.

Conclusion

Finding the perfect gift for your kids can be hard. So what is the best gift you can give your kids? Is it a new toy, game, or book for them to enjoy and learn from this holiday season? We think that all of those ideas are great choices. But we also want to offer some other suggestions that will help keep their creativity flowing and stimulate their brain in different ways. We hope these ideas have helped!

 

Note: This is a collaborative post

Mamma Musings

Dentist Approved Snacks That Promote Healthy Teeth in Kids

What we eat can significantly impact our oral health. If we eat too many sugary treats, plaque can quickly build up and metabolize the sugar into acids. These acids then attack our natural tooth enamel, resulting in cavities or worse – tooth loss. 

While as adults we have probably already experienced a filling or two and know the importance of keeping our teeth happy and healthy, kids have all of this to come. To give them the best chance of a healthy smile, it’s a good idea to start early with encouraging and discouraging certain snacks. 

It’s worth mentioning, however, that although the below foods are okay, it’s still recommended that parents try to limit snacking to avoid kids becoming dependent on sweet treats and food between meals. When kids do have high sugar snacks, parents should encourage them to brush their teeth straight afterwards.

Dentist approved snacks for kids:

  • Wholegrain crackers with cheese
  • Veggie sticks like celery, carrots and cucumber
  • Broccoli trees
  • Air popped popcorn (not store-bought toffee options!)

    dentist

    Pic Credit: Pixabay

  • Fresh fruit
  • Low sugar yogurts 
  • Calcium-rich dairy
  • Baked tortillas or chips
  • Nuts and seeds

Although some of these don’t sound like the most fun, there are plenty of ways to make healthy snacks more enjoyable for kids. They might kick up a fuss now, but they’ll thank you later when they grow up with strong and healthy teeth. 

Don’t give in to busy schedules

From football practice to dance recitals, it can be easy to top up their energy in between with cereal bars, chips and other quick snacks. And it’s not actually the snacks or sugar that are bad; it’s the bacteria within our mouths that cause the damage by feeding on sugary treats to create enamel-attacking acids. Sugar-free alternatives to their favourite candies and snacks can be an easy switch that will save them trips to the dentist in the future. Alongside this, try to avoid stocking up on on-the-go snacks that definitely don’t make the approval list: 

Snacks without dentist approval:

  • Sugary, chewy sweets and lollipops
  • Ice creams and cakes
  • Muffins and bagels
  • Sports energy and isotonic drinks
  • Highly acidic snacks like pickles or grapefruit
  • Refined carbohydrates like crackers

If you find that eating too many of the above snacks has caused irreparable damage naturally, then, fortunately, there are still options for you. Chester Springs dental implants specialists have plenty of advice on preventing tooth decay for adults and kids, as well as top treatments that can help you get that smile. 

Starting early with healthy eating habits can do your children a world of good. By teaching them the importance of brushing their teeth at least twice a day and encouraging them to eat healthy snacks over their sugary counterparts, your kids will enjoy a lifetime of healthy smiles and laughter all around. 

While the above dentist approved snacks are pretty common sense, they can help both kids and adults prevent tooth decay while also providing the body with all the nutrients you need to grow big and healthy. To avoid giving in and grabbing fast food options when ferrying the kids around, make sure you plan ahead and prep snacks for the whole family to enjoy. 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

Top Reasons for allergy testing

When it comes to allergy testing, there are a lot of great options to consider. If you’re dealing with allergies, you know that the outcome and duration of allergies are never fun. So much so that it can be downright miserable on certain days. Depending on what Mother Nature feels like that day, your allergies might be on high alert or they might be easy to manage.

But what happens if you think you have allergies but you really have no idea which ones you’re dealing with? When this type of thing happens, the best bet is to find out what you’re suffering from by the use of allergy testing. For many years this meant making appointments, visiting your GP or a specialist in a hospital however now the existence of home allergy testing kits has made this so much easier. Would you be surprised if I told you that some home testing kits can test for up to 294 different allergens?

Why wait and play the guessing game when you can easily figure out what’s upsetting your system so you can then try and find a fix?

Top Reasons For Allergy Testing

If you’re tired of questioning and wondering, it’s time to take the plunge and find out what allergies you have. (and who knows, you might be surprised by the results!)

  • Can help you find relief

One of the biggest reasons to test for allergies is that it gives you a clue to know what is going to aggravate your system. A simple allergy test can pinpoint the exact causes of your runny nose, stuffy throat, and itchy skin.

  • Will provide comfort and peace of mind

allergy

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Allergies can take a big toll on your physical health but they can also take a toll on your mental health, too. You can easily take an allergy test to find out the root cause of your issues and this can also help you with your mental happiness as well.

  • Find out how to stop those pesky allergies

Once you find out what your allergies are about, you can then find out what you need to do to stop them. A simple fix might be all that it takes!

As you can tell, allergy testing is a simple way to find out why you might not be feeling the best. If you’re ready to learn what is aggravating your system, taking an allergy test can be an almost immediate answer that offers a potential solution!

 

Note: This is a collaborative post

Mamma Musings

8 Ways to Save Money on Grocery Shopping

While there are certain expenses you can skip when you need to save a little extra money in your budget, there’s one thing you’ll never be able to do without – and that’s food. Although cooking at home is less expensive than eating out, you’ll still find yourself spending more and more on groceries as prices continue to skyrocket. This could mean that you have an even harder time sticking to your ideal budget.

If you’re struggling to make ends meet lately, and you need a little extra help, the good news is that you can still cut down the cost of your groceries, without having to compromise on nutrition. Here, we’ll look at eight simple ways you can save on your grocery shopping so that you can keep more cash in your wallet!

Money saving jar

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1 – Make the Most of Loyalty Programs

While not every grocery store has a loyalty program, there are various big-name brands that are happy to reward shoppers that stay with them week-in, week-out. Loyalty cards are a free way to save extra money on many of the items you frequently purchase. What’s more, as an added feature, you’ll be able to enjoy significant discounts on other items like gas too!

2- Always Shop the Deals

If you’re not sure what you should be eating in the week ahead, it might be a good idea to check the offers online or see what’s on sale in your grocery store before you plan your meals. This will help you to make the most of the deals available when you’re looking for a cheaper menu. At the same time, if you know there’s a particular food that you like that’s either non-perishable or freezable on offer, make sure that you stock up in advance. Sites such as dealsdaddy.co.uk can be invaluable for shopping the deals. You can also find ways to get free food samples and other grocery freebies on free stuff websites like WOW Freebies.

3 -Download a Cashback App

There are plenty of cashback websites and apps today that can help you save some serious money on your grocery shopping. All you need to do to make the most of the experience is find a cashback website that offers deals in your favourite supermarket and sign up for a free membership. 

4 – Buy Own-Brand

Grocery shopping

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Most of the time, when you buy expensive big-brand products, what you’re really paying for is the ability to say that you’ve bought something from a specific company. Generally, you’ll be able to get the same flavours and meals for a much lower price if you go the own-brand route instead. Remember, some companies will pay a premium to have their foods displayed at eye-level on the shelves. This means that if you want to get the best deals, you should also check the bottom and top layers in the aisles too.

5 – Make the Most of Coupons

Coupons really can help you save a lot more than you might think. You don’t need to necessarily go extreme with your vouchers and coupon codes to enjoy the benefits. Instead, you should focus on finding coupons for the items that you want, need, and generally buy the most often.  There are lots of sites out there that you can bookmark and check into every so often. If you can afford to, you might also think about using coupons to purchase products you can’t typically afford because of their expense.

6 – Buy Some Things in Bulk

While you might not be able to buy many perishable items and fresh fruits in bulk, that doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve great cost savings by bulk-shopping for other alternatives. If you know that you eat a lot of pasta and cereal, then buying it in bulk shouldn’t be a problem. Ultimately, your aim should be to buy products that you’re going to keep using for months into the future. Just don’t buy anything that you think might go to waste.

7  – Make Healthy Choices

In some cases, eating healthier foods could actually save you money. Researchers suggest that when families go on weight-loss diets, they typically reduce their food budgets. Generally, savings can come from reducing portion sizes, but they can also be attributed to spending less money on high-calorie foods at the grocery store. Think about how you can switch to more healthy options.

8 – Frozen, Canned and Dried

Finally, the next time you’re buying ingredients for a meal, try using canned, frozen, or dried foods instead. This can be less expensive than using fresh foods, and equally nutritious too. Most of the time, produce is frozen and dried at the time when it’s most ripe, so you’ll get plenty of nutrients. Additionally, poultry and fish are flash-frozen to reduce freezer damage and give you lots of fresh flavour.

Mamma Musings

Looking Fab Wherever You Go

If you love to travel, then compromise is no new concept to you. Wherever you go, you know you’re not going to have all the comforts of home. However, many women take this to mean that they have to leave all their beauty tools behind them. Here, we’re going to look at a few must-haves that can keep you looking fab as you go globe-trotting.

Get items that multitask

This is essential. When it comes to skincare and hair care, you are not going to be able to pack every single item that makes up your usual routine. Instead, you need to look at multitasking skin products . They help you save on lots of space and, even though they may not be quite as potent as different specialized products, they help stay on top of your routine care so that everything doesn’t have to fall at the wayside all at once. One of the changes I have made in recent years has been the switch to natural products, inspired by Amanda Jo, Organic Bunny

Your little touches

Make-up can be tricky to take overseas. Not all of your products are going to be allowed on the plane and, even if they were, you don’t want them to take up too much space. Luckily, there are plenty of travel makeup kits and products that are space-saving and budget-friendly. To make sure that you’re always able to find what you need, you should invest in a travel makeup bag, too. These little bags help you confine your make-up to a smaller area so they’re much less likely to get lost in transit and to clutter up all your things.

Care for your hair

If you’ve been to enough hotels, then you know just how dire their hairdryers can be. They will work most of the time, but they are terribly inefficient. If you have long or curly hair, it can take forever to dry it, which will simply discourage you from washing your hair too thoroughly. Instead, it pays to find a mini hair dryer that isn’t going to take up a lot of space but will still provide enough power to get the job done. Especially under the heat and humidity of certain locations around the world, it’s important to give your hair the care that it deserves.

Prepare for the long-haul

Of course, you’re not always going to have the time to look your very best. Doing your make-up and hair on a long-haul flight isn’t always the easiest of things. So, it’s good to have a few little accessories that can help you look glamorous and keep yourself covert when you’re not looking ready for the world. A scarf and a pair of sunglasses in your on-flight luggage can help you easily cover up when you don’t want to be seen. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a little more control over how the world sees you.

You don’t have to sacrifice your beauty and self-confidence to go exploring the world. Make sure you stock up on the travel-friendly items that are going to have you looking and feeling great regardless of where you are.

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

Teaching Your Child to Resist Peer Pressure

Peer pressure is when your child is influenced by others. They may feel like they have to ‘follow the crowd’ in order to fit in. This can make them behave differently or change their appearance.

We all understand the desire to be included and this is especially important for children at school. Many children fear that they will be excluded or bullied for not being like their friends.

To help your child avoid peer pressure and feel confident to be themselves, here is some great advice from an independent girl’s school in London

Talk about peer pressure

girl reading

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To help your child combat peer pressure, they will need to be able to notice when it is happening. Talk to your child about possible situations where they might experience peer pressure and role play some examples. Teach your child to be sensible and confident in their decision making and reassure them that they can always talk to you if someone is making them feel uncomfortable.

Teach your child to say No!

Teach your child to say ‘no’ when something feels wrong. It can be extremely hard for your child to say no to their friends, but it is important to explain that true friends will not pressure them to do something they are unhappy to do. You could teach your child to offer an alternative suggestion in response to peer pressure. For example if they feel that an activity is unsafe, they could suggest a fun activity to do instead.

Watch out for bullies

Spend time getting to know your child’s friends and their families. If your child seems upset by a classmate or tries to avoid someone at school, you should ask their teacher for advice. They will be able to keep an eye on your child and look out for any signs of bullying. It can also help to encourage extra-curricular activities, as this will allow your child to form many social circles.

Encourage individuality

Finally, teach your child to be proud of their individuality and to be accepting of others. This will help them to feel less worried by peer pressure. Peer pressure works by making an individual feel wrong or unaccepted for not following along. Explain to your child that we do not all need to be the same, or do the same things in order to fit in.

Note: This is a collaborative post

 

Mamma Musings

The Importance of Music Lessons in Schools

Music is such an important part of a child’s education. This is because it can be used to improve concentration, develop listening skills and boost creativity. 

Music will not only benefit your child academically, but it can also help to relieve stress and support your child’s mental health. 

To help you learn more, I have teamed up with a music school in Hertfordshire to put together this list of musical benefits…

Music enhances memory

Music is a great way to improve your child’s memory. In fact, studies have shown that music can help to enhance many cognitive abilities. This is because when playing an instrument; a child needs to read music; remember melodies and then repeat them.

Music improves coordination

guitar

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Playing an instrument can also help to improve coordination and motor skills. The piano is an excellent example of this. When playing the piano a child needs to use both hands to play different keys, read music and press the foot pedal all at the same time!

Music boosts confidence

Learning music at school or as an extra-curricular activity provides many levels of learning and accomplishments. These levels can be extremely motivational and confidence boosting for children, especially if they go on to study music or perform on stage.

Music aids relaxation

Music can be very beneficial for children’s mental health because it can be used to relax and de-stress. Playing an instrument can also have a calming effect on children because they need to focus on timing and notes. This focus allows children to take a break from any daily stresses or worries they may have.

Music teaches perseverance

Children who learn how to play a musical instrument at an early age will develop the skills required to move into the music industry professionally. This practice and dedication will teach them how to reach their goals throughout life, through hard work and perseverance.

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

Tips for Breastfeeding after Birth

Breastfeeding comes with plenty of benefits for both the mother and her newborn child. Breast milk contains antibodies and nutrients that aid in protecting the baby against infections, stomach problems, viruses, and even obesity. Mothers too can benefit from breastfeeding, as the process has been clinically proven to lower risks of ovarian cancer, breast cancer, and hypertension. According to breastfeeding and lactation specialists, you should breastfeed your newborn as soon as you can after delivery. However, breastfeeding after birth is easy said than done for most mothers. So, how do you ensure that your breastfeeding gets off to a good start? This post highlights tips for breastfeeding after birth.

Pic Credit: Unsplash

Breastfeed within the First Hour of Birth

Ideally, you should breastfeed your baby immediately after delivery. Within the first hour of giving birth, a healthy baby should be alert to latch a breast. The baby is also likely to spontaneously seek the breast within the first hour of birth, especially when in skin-to-skin contact with the mother. Breastfeeding immediately after birth, particularly within the one-hour window, enhances the immediate mother-to-child bond. The baby is also able to enjoy the immunological benefits of colostrum.

Maintain a Skin-to-Skin Contact When Breastfeeding

 Skin-to-skin contact between a mother and child has been scientifically proven to offer wide-ranging benefits when done correctly. Such benefits include improved brain development, strengthened bonding, and enhanced sleep. In the case of breastfeeding after birth, skin-to-skin contact goes a long way in facilitating more successful breastfeeding. This is because such close contacts make it easy for babies to cue for breastfeeding regularly, enhancing what is known as responsive feeding. This is a practice where you breastfeed every time the baby demands until they get satisfied. Again, it is easier for your baby to get a good latch when in close contact with your skin.

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