5 things I wish I’d known before having a baby

Before Toby was born I read loads of pregnancy and baby books. I went to antenatal classes with my husband. I signed up for all the ‘your baby this week’ emails…basically I did my research. That’s just the kind of person I am; I liked to be informed and therefore hopefully be prepared. But it turns out no amount of research can actually prepare you for that first night at home with a newborn. I’ve now had two babies and I thought I’d share some things I wish I’d known before having a baby.

5 things I wish I'd known before having a baby Read more

Your questions answered with #SMAnutrition

You may have read my post a few weeks ago in which I shared some information from SMA nutrition about the importance of getting the right nutrition for your baby in their first 1,000 days – from conception to two years old. It’s especially important that your baby gets the right amount of protein – their protein needs decrease as they grow – as this can help to ensure that they grow at a steady rate.

We are now well into our first few weeks of weaning with Gabe and he’s really enjoying trying lots of different foods – even though he’s not actually managing to eat very much yet! I know though that he is still getting all the nutrition he needs from his milk at the moment. There’s a saying that ‘food is for fun until they’re one’ – for now weaning is all about trying new tastes and textures and just getting used to the mechanics of eating. I’m trying to make sure that Gabe gets plenty of chance to try different things and I’m sure it won’t be long until he really gets the hang of it!

Baby corn

In my last post I asked if you had any questions for medic and weekly health columnist Dr Ellie Cannon and below you can find the answers to some of the questions that were asked by some of the other bloggers who wrote about the first 1,000 days too…

I am 5 months pregnant and would love some must have information of how to make sure my baby gets the best start in life.

From the moment of conception, your baby starts growing fast. At this first stage of your 1,000-day journey, make sure your pregnancy diet provides the energy and nutrients you need, by eating a variety of different foods every day, including plenty of protein, dairy products, oily fish, fruit and vegetables. This all helps your baby to get the best start. For the first 6 months of your baby’s life, breast milk is the only food they need. The nutrients and protein in milk your baby drinks are the foundation for their cells, muscles, bones and brain as they develop and grow. At around 6 months you’ll start introducing complementary foods to provide additional nutrients. At this stage, your little one needs the right amount of protein and nutrients to maintain a steady growth and good health.

Have you any tips on how I can factor in bottles of expressed milk too? Do I need to stick to my pregnancy diet during breastfeeding months (no soft cheese etc.)?

Bottles of expressed milk are a popular choice for mums who are breastfeeding. It is also good to have the convenience of both bottle and breastfeeding, for those unexpected mummy absences! A nice time to give a bottle of expressed milk is a dream feed, (dream feed is a calm, quiet feed around 10.30/11pm. It is called the dream feed as your baby is usually fast asleep and will probably take the feed with her eyes closed), or an evening when dad is at home to join in. Once you have banked up enough breast milk, you could make that a part of your regular routine.

When you are breastfeeding, your diet is really important for nourishing yourself and your little one. A healthy diet includes eating at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables a day, starchy foods, plenty of fibre, protein, dairy foods and drinking plenty of fluids.  Eating fish while breastfeeding is good for your health and your baby’s, but while you’re breastfeeding you should have no more than two portions of oily fish a week. Also, caffeine can reach your baby through your breast milk and may keep them awake. It’s advised that pregnant and breastfeeding women restrict their caffeine intake to less than 300mg a day (just over two mugs of filter coffee).  While breastfeeding, it’s recommended you take supplements containing 10 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin D each day. You can get all the other vitamins and minerals you need by eating a varied and balanced diet.

My question would be: if mothers do not breastfeed their child does formula contain the same amount of protein as breast milk? Breast milk protein is unique and adapts to your baby’s growth and relative requirements, this means the level of protein can increase or decrease based on the baby’s needs, unlike in baby formula where the level will stay the same.

Feeding your baby, from the early newborn days until they are toddlers telling you what they do and don’t like (and beyond) can seem like such a minefield sometimes but I think as long as you follow your instincts and make sure your child is eating a healthy, balanced diet then you can’t go too far wrong. And if there is anything you aren’t sure about then there is plenty of help and information available from your health visitor and on line in places like the SMA nutrition website.

*This post is in association with SMA nutrition

Review: Ardo Calypso double breastpump

When I was pregnant with Gabe I started thinking about whether there were any products I would need that I hadn’t had with Toby. One thing that I was considering was an electric breast pump. I didn’t have a great breastfeeding experience with Toby and I never really expressed any milk at all. I had a manual pump that was pretty rubbish and I’d stopped breastfeeding before I bothered to try any other kind of pump. This time I knew I wanted to give breastfeeding another go and I thought that an electric pump might be useful in the early days to help increase my supply, and then perhaps later if I wanted to express milk so Barry or someone else could feed Gabe.

There are lots of different breast pumps on the market and it’s hard to know which one to choose. When I saw a tweet from Ardo saying they were looking for people to try their pumps I had a look at their website and was impressed to see that their pumps are used in hospitals around the country. As well as information about their products there is also lots of fab information and advice about breastfeeding on the website. I got in touch with Ardo and was delighted when they agreed to send me a Calypso Double Plus electric pump to try, along with a great selection of breastfeeding and pumping accessories.

The Calypso Double Plus has an RRP of £129.95. The pump comes with a selection of different size breast shells (four different options), two bottles with lids and a bottle holder, plus a brush for cleaning. Ardo also kindly sent me some night and day breast pads, microwave sterilising bags, freezer storage bags and some lanolin nipple cream.

Ardo Calypso breastpump

The pump was very easy to set up out of the box. It can be used as a single or double pump and it’s very easy to switch between the two. The pump can be used with batteries or from the mains so you can easily pump on the go if you need to. It has different settings for vacuum and cycles so it’s very easy to adjust to get the best flow – Ardo recommend you start with low suction and high speed and then when the milk starts to flow increase the suction and decrease the speed – this mimics a baby’s suckling pattern to achieve the best results. Because there are eight different levels for both vacuum and cycles which are individually adjustable it’s very easy to find a level which is comfortable and effective.

The Ardo pump is very quiet – very important to allow for pumping and watching TV at the same time! Since we started putting Gabe to bed at the same time as Toby a week or so ago I have been expressing milk in the evenings. If you read my recent post about how I think we might be nearing the end for breast feeding you’ll know that mostly just due to the practicalities of breastfeeding a baby who takes an awful long time to feed, alongside looking a toddler, I am now giving Gabe some bottles during the day. If I can manage to express enough milk in the evenings then one of these bottles can be breast milk rather than formula and I know Gabe is getting all the benefits of my milk, without me having to spend hours feeding him. I’m actually finding expressing milk oddly satisfying – I was very pleased with myself last week when I managed to pump 3 ounces in one session!

Ardo breastpump

The Calypso pump is very easy to use and also easy to clean. As it is a closed system there is no possibility of any milk getting into the tubes or the pump itself. This means only the parts that come into contact with the milk need to be washed and sterilised. The Easy Clean microwave sterilising bags have been perfect for this and I’ve also used them when sterilising Gabe’s bottles.

Overall I have found the Ardo Calypso Double Plus Electric breast pump very easy to use, and although I haven’t been able to pump huge amounts this breast pump has certainly made the whole process a painless one. The only small criticism I have of the pump is that there isn’t a seal where the bottles connect to the pump itself. This isn’t really a problem as long as you use the bottle holder when putting the bottles down. I didn’t do this the first time I used the pump (which is entirely my own fault!) and because having the pump attached makes the bottles top heavy they don’t stand up on their own. I didn’t realise this, or that one of my bottles had fallen over and while I tidied up my hard won breast milk was slowly trickling away. Only a woman who has spilled expressed breast milk can know how truly devastating it can be! Having said that, as long as you are aware of this and use the bottle holder then it really isn’t a problem.

If you are looking for an electric breast pump then I would highly recommend the Ardo Calypso Double Plus.


**Disclosure: I was sent the featured products in return for this review. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

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Breastfeeding: The beginning of the end

I’ve tried. No one can say I haven’t tried. But as I sit here at 5 am having been feeding a baby for the last hour and twenty minutes I think this is the beginning of the end for breastfeeding and me.

In fact, the beginning of the end was probably when I gave Gabe formula when he was just a day old. Or maybe it was when I started using nipple shields on his second feed. Or perhaps when a second or third bottle in the day became the norm rather than the exception about a week ago. Who knows?

I think maybe though that breastfeeding and me are just not meant to be. For me it’s just not the wonderful experience all the breastfeeding literature and baby books tell you it’s going to be. In fact, dare I say it, I simply don’t like it. I don’t feel any special bond with my baby as we sit ‘enjoying’ those breastfeeding cuddles. What I often feel is pain (because yes, even seven weeks on, with nipple shields, it still hurts half the time), and frustration that it takes so long to feed a baby in the way nature intended when I could bottle feed him in a third of the time. I don’t know, maybe cave women didn’t have much to do with their days so they could sit around feeding all day but I have a toddler to look after and a house to run and I just can’t sustain breastfeeding my baby for endless hours of every day.

I know everyone talks about the convenience of breastfeeding; no bottles to wash and sterilise, no formula to prepare, no need to plan ahead because you’ve always got milk on tap, and I suppose it is all those things but when every feed takes over an hour, feeding in public involves trying to get a baby latched on to a nipple shield without showing everyone your entire boob…then suddenly it’s not that convenient after all.

So I don’t really know where we’re going to go from here. I guess I’ll just take it one day at a time. Gabe is already getting half his feeds from a bottle and I reckon by the time he gets to 8 weeks old we won’t be breastfeeding at all.

And yes, it makes me a bit sad. I really hoped that breastfeeding was going to work out for us this time. By Toby’s six week check I wasn’t breastfeeding him at all so we’ve already made it further than that. So Toby was formula fed from about five weeks and he’s turned out OK and I’m sure Gabe will too. There’s still plenty to be proud of; that we made it this far, that I’ve managed to breastfeed in the park, and in the Night Garden(!), that I’ve tried my best to find a balance that works for all of us. I think I just need to accept that breastfeeding and me are not meant to be. But no one can say I didn’t try.

Breastfeeding and me

Review: Theraline Plushy Moon pillow

If you’ve ever been pregnant you’ll know how hard it is to get comfortable in bed, particularly in the later stages. The Theraline Original Maternity and Nursing pillow was my saviour throughout my pregnancy and I reviewed it here. Although the original pillow can be used for nursing it is pretty big and can be a bit tricky to get arranged in a comfortable position. So when I was given the opportunity to try one of Theraline’s other nursing pillows I was delighted.

I chose the Plushy Moon pillow with a grey cover, and it arrived a few weeks before Gabriel was born. The pillow is filled with micro beads which make it really easy to squash into the shape you want. The cover is a super soft plush fabric on one side and stretchy fabric on the other. The whole pillow is machine washable which is incredibly useful when you’re dealing with a newborn.

While I was still pregnant I used the pillow behind my back for getting comfy on the sofa (and to be honest I’d recommend one even if you aren’t pregnant) but since Gabe arrived it’s really come into it’s own.

Plushy Moon

The Plushy Moon has the perfect amount of squashiness and supportive-ness to use when breastfeeding. I can get Gabe in a great position on the pillow on my knee and then it allows me to have my hands free for important things like playing Candy Crush or eating Maltesers. He’s then very happy to fall asleep on the pillow and sometimes I can even manage to transfer him next to me on the sofa and he’ll stay asleep – I don’t blame him, it looks super comfy!

Plushy moon nest

The Theraline Plushy Moon has an RRP of £23.95 and I think it’s worth every penny.

**Disclosure: I was sent the featured product in return for this review. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

We're going on an adventure

Review: Bravado nursing bras

Whilst I was pregnant with Gabe I was sent two maternity/nursing bras by the lovely people at Bravado. I wore both bras through the rest of my pregnancy and you can read my review of what I thought of them as maternity bras here.

Now Gabe is here I am, so far, managing to breastfeed and this boy likes his boobs so my nursing bras are getting plenty of use! I thought I would write a quick update on how I’m finding the Bravado Essential Embrace and the Body Silk Seamless nursing bras.

I’ve found both bras very easy to use as nursing bras. The clips are easy to open, and I’ve almost mastered closing them with one hand! Both bras also have cups that drop down fully which I prefer as it makes for easier access. I find this particularly important in the early days of breastfeeding when getting the baby in the right position and latched on is hard enough without having to push bits of bra out of the way!

Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra

The absolute star bra for me in these first few weeks though has been the Body Silk Seamless. If you’ve read my first review you might remember I was a bit concerned that it wasn’t very supportive but the soft, stretchy material has been an absolute godsend in these first few weeks. I have pretty much lived in this bra day and night since Gabe was born as it is so comfortable. The stretchiness of the Body Silk Seamless was invaluable in the days when my milk came in and my boobs were bigger than my head and very uncomfortable. There’s no way I could have squeezed them into any of my other bras.

Essential Embrace Nursing Bra

Now things have settled down a bit in the boob department I am also wearing the Essential Embrace bra more – particularly if I’m going out in public as I do find it a bit more supportive.

The Body Silk Seamless has just launched in a new colour – the lovely Silver Belle. This silver grey colour is lovely and makes a change from boring black. In fact I love this bra so much I’ve just ordered another one myself!




**Disclosure: I was sent the featured products in return for this review. All opinions are my own.

We're going on an adventure

Review: Bravado maternity and nursing bras

When I’m pregnant I’m all about being comfortable so as soon as I found out this time I ditched my underwired bras and headed straight back to the comfort of maternity/nursing bras. I still have the bras that I wore when I was pregnant and breastfeeding Toby but some of them are looking a bit sorry for themselves to say the least. I was on the look out for some new bras but being a 36G I find my choices are sometimes a bit limited so when the people at Bravado got in touch to see if I would like to try two of their maternity/nursing bras I was very happy to give them a try.

Essential Embrace Nursing Bra

Essential Embrace Nursing Bra

The Bravado Essential Embrace Nursing Bra is made from Bravado Dynatex fabric which is a combination of cotton and microfiber. The breathable fabric has a four-way stretch so it can mould to your changing shape throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding. The bra has a full drop cup for easy access when feeding, and this also allows for that all important skin to skin contact.

I received the Essential Embrace Nursing Bra in black with purple piping in size 36 FF/G. I found the bra fits well and is very comfortable. As I’ve found with all non-wired bras and having quite a large chest this bra doesn’t quite manage to avoid the mono-boob look, but this isn’t really a problem. The material of the bra is quite thick and so feels very supportive. I also like the full drop cup, I found this style much easier when feeding Toby. The clips are easy to open, even one handed. The bra has four sets of three hooks at the back and also included with the bra is a bra-extender which I think is a great idea. I know in the latter part of my pregnancy with Toby my ribs really expanded so having a bra-extender will mean this bra will still fit comfortably and I won’t have to buy another size. Bravado even include some extra clips/hooks with instructions which allow you to convert the bra to a normal non-nursing bra when you have finished breastfeeding. To be honest I don’t know if this is something I would be bothered to do but I think it’s a great added extra which again would help extend the life of the Essential Embrace bra.

Essential Embrace

The Bravado Essential Embrace Nursing Bra is available in white, chai (skin-toned) or black and from size 32 B/C to 36 HH/J. It has an RRP of £34.00.

Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra

Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra

The Bravado Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra is made from soft stretchy material, and as you may have realised from the name it is seamless so there are no bits to rub or irritate. There are pockets in the cups which hold foam inserts designed to hide nipples or breast pads, these are removable if you wish. I normally avoid any sort of moulded cup as I think they tend to make my already ample bosom seem even bigger but that isn’t the case with these inserts. There is a wide stretchy band that sits under the bust which makes this bra very comfortable and the stretchy fabric means it can easily accommodate your changing shape throughout pregnancy and nursing. Like the Essential Embrace Nursing Bra, the Body Silk Seamless has a full drop cup and the clips are very easy to open. It also comes with the kit to convert it to a regular bra when you no longer require it for breastfeeding.

Body Silk Seamless

I found the Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra to be very comfortable but I do have a few niggles. This bra does not come in regular bra sizes, it is sized as small, medium, large or extra large. I had to get the extra large in order for the cups to have enough material to cover my boobs but this means that it is quite loose around my ribs and rides up a bit at the back. The other problem, similar to with the Essential Embrace bra is that it does not separate my boobs leading to a rather sweaty and not entirely attractive mono-boob. Like I said, this is a common problem for me with non-wired bras but I did find it slightly worse than usual with the Body Silk Seamless. Lastly, the stretchy material, although very soft and comfortable, did not provide me with a huge amount of support. It was fine for most things but I definitely needed to be careful I didn’t run down the stairs! With all this in mind I would recommend the Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra for those of you who are perhaps a bit smaller than me in the boob department, it is incredibly comfortable but for someone who is a G cup it maybe isn’t the best option out there.

The Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra is available in a selection of colours and has an RRP of £30.

I obviously haven’t had a chance to try these bras when breastfeeding yet, so I’ll be back with an updated review after our little bear arrives in August.

**Disclosure: I was sent these Bravado nursing bras in return for this review. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

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In the news: Paid to breastfeed

My social media has been awash with outrage today over a story that women in a pilot study are going to be ‘paid to breastfeed’. I’m not going to explain the whole thing here; chances are if you’re reading this it’s because you are already aware of the story and the resulting furore. (If not you can read the BBC news story here). It’s worth noting that although this has been a massive story in my timelines today it didn’t even make the main headlines on the BBC News app and was tucked away in the health section.

Anyway, it seems everyone is having their say so I thought I’d get my two penn’eth in while it’s still a hot topic. I’ve already written about my breastfeeding story so I’m not going to go into all the details again but suffice to say I really wanted to breastfeed my son and I would love to still be doing it now.

Would the chance to get £200 of shopping vouchers helped me to carry on? Probably not. I just wasn’t producing enough milk to exclusively breastfeed. Chances are that missing out on the vouchers would just have added to the feeling that I was some how failing my son.

However, would the possibility of me losing those vouchers meant that the midwife would have been less eager to suggest top up formula feeds when my baby was only three days old? Possibly.

Would the very presence of a scheme designed (in whatever misguided way) to encourage me to continue breastfeeding have led to me receiving more support in order to do that? Quite probably.

I think that Becky over at The Laughing Owls made a good point in her post on the matter – it sometimes seems health visitors and midwives are so concerned with a mother’s mental health that they pussyfoot around the issue of breastfeeding rather than providing encouragement and support. I remember repeatedly just being told I needed to do what was best for me, even if that meant stopping breastfeeding altogether, rather than being given encouragement to continue.

I’m sure most people reading this would agree that we would rather see money spent on training midwives and health visitors to better support breastfeeding, or on more specialist support workers, or more peer support groups, than as a direct financial incentive to try and get mothers to breastfeed and I’ll admit my first reaction was to join in the outrage going on all around me…

But this is where I’m going to make my, perhaps controversial, point. It’s a point I’ve not seen made in any of the blogs or comments I’ve read today (although I’ll admit I’ve not read even half of what has been written). You see, in amongst all the outrage I think we might have missed the point. This pilot scheme (and let’s remember it is only a pilot) isn’t aimed at me. It isn’t aimed at all the people who I follow on Twitter or Facebook. It isn’t aimed at women like me who really wanted to breastfeed but couldn’t, or even at women who considered all the pros and cons and then made a perfectly legitimate and informed decision to bottle feed their baby. This scheme is aimed at mothers in (and I quote the BBC) ‘deprived’ areas…

The areas have been chosen because they have such low breastfeeding rates. On average just one in four mothers are breastfeeding by the six- to eight-week mark compared with a national average of 55%.

So, this scheme is aimed at mothers who often don’t even try to breastfeed or if they do then they don’t keep it up for long. And maybe this pilot will show that for these women, a financial incentive, which I’m sure must be coupled with some sort of increased support from the midwives and health visitors who are to monitor the scheme, will help encourage them to breastfeed when otherwise they wouldn’t have done. And in my mind that can’t be a bad thing.

A breast feeding story

I’d like to start with a little bit of history. I was breastfed as a baby. So was my brother. I always assumed if I ever had kids that I would breast feed my babies too. That said I’ve not always had a very good relationship with my breasts. When I was about 13 they sprung out of nowhere to be big, very quickly. This led to a lot of comments at school, mostly from boys but sometimes from the girls too. Around this time I started having issues with my weight too. I wasn’t really overweight but I thought I was and I thought if I lost weight then maybe my boobs would shrink too. Which eventually led to me, at the age of 17, on the verge of anorexia, weighing just over 8st with 32FF boobs. I looked ridiculous. I couldn’t find clothes to fit me properly and was very self-conscious.

So eventually I went to see my GP and just before my 19th birthday I had a breast reduction on the NHS. At the time it was explained to me that the surgeon would do his best to preserve the nerves and milk ducts but that it was possible I would never be able to breast feed. Although I took this risk seriously, I was 19 and kids were a long way in the future for me. For a while I was really happy – my boobs were reduced to a C cup and I felt normal (whatever that means!). But after 3 years of university I had put on quite a lot of weight and my boobs were already starting to grow back.

A breast feeding story


Anyway, fast forward 13 years and after a pre-wedding diet I was happy with my body. My boobs had settled at an acceptable (to me) 32F and for once I felt comfortable in my own skin. But after just 6 months of marriage we were thinking of starting a family. Two months later I was pregnant with our first baby and amongst all the other pregnancy worries and joys breast feeding was a the forefront of my mind. I didn’t know if I would be able to breast feed at all and no-one could tell me – it was simply a case of wait and see. I was determined though that if there was any possibility then I was going to try.

Toby was born in July after a swift and fairly easy labour. He was immediately given to me for skin to skin contact and I put him to my breast. He seemed to latch on quite well initially and certainly seemed to know what he was supposed to be doing. Toby was born at 1pm and we stayed in hospital until about 5pm the next day (my waters had broken two days earlier so he had to be monitored in case of infection). During that time I struggled to get Toby into a comfortable position for feeding. He was so small (6lb 10oz) and my boobs were so big that I just found it really tricky. He would latch on but then pop off again. Because there was so much boob in the way I couldn’t see if he was latched on properly.

A succession of well intentioned midwives tried to help us but every one told us something different; at times even contradicting each other. They suggested we stay in hospital another night to get breast feeding properly established but by this point we had had a couple of fairly successful feeds on our own and I just wanted to go home.

So we got home and I kept feeding Toby as best I could. Whenever he woke up I would feed him and he seemed to be doing OK. My nipples were in shreds however – I’d managed to get a blister on one which then scabbed over and every feed was agony. I sat around with no bra on and my nipples covered in Lansinoh ointment. But that didn’t matter – I was breast feeding my baby! Despite my surgery I was definitely producing something… The tricky part was that it was impossible to tell how much Toby was getting from me. There was a chance that although I was managing to produce some milk that I might not be producing enough.

So then the midwife came to visit on the first day at home and when she weighed Toby he had lost 10% of his birth weight. She wanted to see me feed and after some more manhandling (apparently the midwives aren’t supposed to touch you but several of them did – trying to get enough of my nipple and surrounding tissue into Toby’s mouth. One suggested getting my husband to do it as I didn’t have enough hands to hold Toby, keep my boob out of the way and get my nipple in his mouth!) he seemed to be feeding again. However, I was still finding that he wouldn’t stay latched on, or he would fall asleep after 5 minutes.

My memories of the first few days are a bit hazy but at some point shortly after we came home one of the midwives heard Toby crying, said ‘that’s a hungry baby’ and suggested that I top up the breast feeds with formula. Looking back I wish I had said no and we had just persevered with the breastfeeding but as a first time mum I just wanted what was best for my baby and I assumed the midwives knew what that was.

Around this time another one of the midwives visited and she said she thought I had small nipples and using nipple shields might help so we tried that and it did make things a bit easier. From when he was about 3 days old then I would feed Toby on both breasts and then between us, my husband and I would feed him formula from a syringe as I wanted to avoid using a bottle. We carried on with that for I think a week or so but it was so time consuming, every feed was taking an hour and a half and then Toby would want feeding again an hour later. So we carried on breast feeding but gave formula in a bottle as well.

That lasted until Toby was about 4 weeks old but at that point I was just so fed up. I was upset that I couldn’t provide enough milk for my baby. I knew it was good that he was getting some breast milk from me but I just couldn’t see how feeding the way we were was sustainable. I felt like I’d never be able to leave the house! So slowly I started reducing the amount I was breastfeeding, sometimes only giving Toby a bottle, sometimes still doing both until when he was just under 6 weeks old I stopped breastfeeding all together.

And now? Now every time I see a mum breastfeeding her baby I wish we had carried on. I wish I had resisted the midwife’s suggestion of topping up with formula and instead got an electric pump and done more to try and increase my own supply. I wish I had contacted one of the many helplines available and got some more support. Because I don’t feel like I did get a lot of support. I feel like because the midwives and health visitor knew about my surgery they almost wrote me off and just assumed that I wouldn’t have enough milk to feed my son.

The suggestion of the nipple shields really helped but why did it take almost a week and about 5 different health care professionals watching me struggle to feed my baby for someone to suggest them? A week or so after I stopped breastfeeding, and only because I did some research online and then went to the GP, Toby was diagnosed with silent reflux. That’s another story really but I do think it affected his early feeding and it wasn’t picked up by any of the midwives or the health visitor. Maybe with an earlier diagnosis we might have been able to work out a way to continue with breastfeeding.

In my more rational moments I know, in the circumstances, at the time, I did the best I could for my baby. I’m happy that I was able to feed him at all and that he got that vital colostrum and breastmilk in his first few weeks of life. And in the darker moments I feel like I failed him. That the only reason he isn’t still being breastfed now is because it was too inconvenient for me. But what’s done is done and there’s nothing I can do to change it. My boy is healthy and happy and for that I am grateful. And if I have another baby one day I’ll try again and hopefully next time I’ll manage to exclusively breastfeed for as long as my baby needs me to.

breast feeding a newborn baby

Here I am all set up for one of our long haul feeding sessions. It was during the hot summer hence the lack of clothes on both of us!

An introduction

Let’s start at the very beginning…

Introduction…A very good place to start!

Right then. A brief introduction to me and my little family…

I’m Sarah and 15 weeks ago I had a little baby boy called Toby (that’s him up top, isn’t he adorable?). Since I found out I was pregnant I’ve been reading lots of baby related blogs and articles; I really enjoy reading other people’s stories, advice, opinions and reviews so I thought I would add my own experiences to the mix.

I’ve been blogging on and off for years now – in fact looking at my other blog (you can find it here if you’re interested) I wrote the first post on 15th February 2009! Back then, I was single, working at the Bank of Scotland, I’d just joined Twitter, got into stand-up comedy (watching rather than doing) and I was pretty obsessed with Tim Minchin. How much has changed in four and a half years!! In August of 2009 I went back to university to do a teacher training course. In May of 2010 I met the man who was going to become my husband. In August of that year I started work as a Modern Languages teacher. In April 2011 I got engaged, in August 2011 we bought a house together, a year after we got engaged we got married and then 6 months after that I was pregnant with our first baby. I think it’s fair to say there have been some pretty big changes in my life. And despite a  few bumps along the way, they’ve all been changes for the better. But that other blog is about my pre-baby life and I know a lot of people who read my posts there (if I ever get round to doing them) aren’t really interested in baby stuff. Hence the new blog.

So. What am I going to write about here? I’ve got some ideas for my first few posts – they’re going to include things I wish someone had told me before Toby was born, my breastfeeding story, coping with a reflux baby, cloth nappies and reusable wipes and a few reviews of things we’ve already got that are proving useful (or useless!)

I think that’s probably enough waffle for today though. Hopefully someone out there will read this and maybe even find it interesting or even helpful.

Ta ra for now though.