Breastfeeding uncovered documentary...Seeing it from both sides.  |  Blog

Last night there was a very well publicised programme on channel 4 made by Dispatches called “Breastfeeding uncovered”. I purposefully didn’t watch this programme as, even though I am currently breastfeeding, I have some very unpopular views when it comes to programmes like this. 

This programme was billed as the following- 

“New mum Kate Quilton sets out to find out why Britain has some of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world and whether more support is needed. She meets scientists at London's Imperial College who have measured the presence of hundreds of vital living components in breast milk that make it so much better for babies than formula, and also explores how cuts in public health funding have led to breastfeeding support services closing down. She also breastfeeds her baby in public to find out why mothers feel discouraged and shamed.” 

When I read this I knew that this documentary wasn’t going to be for me. This may surprise you as if you have read my blog for a while then you will know that I’m a Confident Feeding ambassador for Lansinoh and I’m a huge advocate for public breastfeeding. What you may not know if that I am actually even more passionate about women being confident and supported in which every feeding journey they choose. Reading the bio of this programme made me feel like it was going to bash formula feeding mums and that is one think that really rubs me up the wrong way! All ways of feeding your baby can be hard! Women who choose to formula feed usually do so because they feel they have to. Baby has weight gain issues or latching problems and sometimes it is just too much mentally for the mother to fight to get their baby to breastfeed. I’ve been there! I know how awfully hard it is and I also know the gut renching guilt that comes with giving your baby formula. You feel a failure, feel like everyone is judging you and you feel like you’re a bad mum when in fact you are the complete opposite. Deciding to formula feed is such a hard choice and I am yet to find a woman who makes the decision lightly. These women need support too! They need help learning how to formula feed. They need help with dealing with the mental carnage that comes when you choose to do what society deems as “not best for your baby” as all we are told for 9 months during pregnancy is “breast is best”. It may be scientifically “better” but sometimes us Mums have to look at the bigger picture and make decisions that are best for us and baby. Formula feeding, breastfeeding feeding... it’s all bloody hard and we all need support!!!! 

Before having Smidge I had only ever formula fed. Pickle had some issues when he was a baby and therefore he went onto formula. This time round however I have been able to breastfeed so I can see this debate from both sides and I know first had that both need support. Formula feeding Pickle was hard! I felt like I’d failed and like I was letting him down as I wasn’t breastfeeding but mentally I just couldn’t battle as he was poorly right after birth. The doctors wanted to know how much he’d been fed in ounces after every feed because they would then checked his blood sugars. This, coupled with the threat of a lumber puncture and him being taken away from me twice a day for half an hour to have IV antibiotics meant that I was not in a good head space. I just wanted my baby with me and wanted to help the doctors as much as possible so therefore we formula fed. This wasn’t easy! Pickle had horrendous silent reflux so we went through numerous different bottles and milks trying to find what worked for him. The first 2 months of his life was totally draining...feeding whilst screaming, constipation which caused more screaming, stress and fear from me as to why my baby was struggling so much... it was NOT the easy way out and I needed support but as there are no “bottle feeding support groups” I had to muddle through on my own. 

This time I have been Combi feeding Smidge. I have managed to get him on the boob but also express and formula feed him to top him up as he is so hungry. This hasn’t been without its challenges. I struggled at first to get him to latch on and it actually took 2 weeks until he’d feed from me. I found it hard to maintain my milk supply. I felt guilt about having to top him up and blamed myself for not making enough milk. The biggest difference this time round however was that I had support! Health visitors asked me about feeding and gave me advise about latches. I went to breastfeeding support groups where we discussed milk boosting ideas and shared our struggles. Where was this kind of support 4 years ago when I was formula feeding Pickle? Just because society thought I was taking the “easy way out” didn’t mean that I didn’t need support! If anything I needed it more!!! 

And that is why I didn’t watch the documentary last night. I knew it was going to be filled with calls for more support for breastfeeding mums and I disagree with that. It isn’t just breastfeeding mums that need support... it’s ALL Mums! That is why I want to see feeding support groups where all mothers can go no matter how they feed their babies and they can all get support. After all, we are all trying to do the same thing and that is to do the best we can. So... I urge you to talk to your local children’s centres, start making some noise locally about making a change because unless you start the conversation it will never change. 

Yes breastfeeding mums need support but so do all other mums! The change will only happen if we make it! 


Thank You Midwives | Blog

To my Midwife,

Back at the start of June you gave me the most positive birth experience I could have asked for given my circumstances. I came to you bleeding and contracting at 36 weeks pregnant and I was terrified. There was so much blood and it was too early for my baby boy to come but you were solid and strong. You calmed me and reassured me that everything would be okay. And it was.

I wanted to have a home hypnobirth but obviously that had gone out of the window yet you still tried to do whatever you could to give me what I wanted. You clearly took the time to read my birth plan even though you probably knew the majority of it couldn't happen now. You understood my need for a calm, natural birth. You used language that was in line with the hypnobirthing principles. You let me move around rather than condemning me to the bed. You dimmed the lights and let me listen to my hypnobirthing tracks. You were so supportive.

When it came to making decisions you gave me all the information. You listened to my concerns about the induction drip and about having an epidural after 8 hours of labour and just gas and air. You understood my fears yet gave me all the information and reassurance I needed to make an informed decision that was right for me.

You caught my tiny baby boy after guiding him safely into the world. You smiled and praised me as you put my little bundle onto my chest. You respected my wishes to have skin to skin for as long as possible and for that I am so grateful.

You didn't stop caring once the baby was here either. Whilst I was having a very large post partum bleed you kept in mind what I wanted. You didn't let anyone take my baby off me. You fought as hard as you could to stop them from taking me to theater which I will be forever grateful for as the bleed did stop on it's own like you thought it would. You stayed with me for an hour after everyone had gone and showed me how to hand express and feed my new baby. Your shift had ended but you didn't leave. You cared and you supported me right until I was moved to the recovery ward.

You went above and beyond the call of duty on the 8th June 2018 and I will never forget the wonderful and positive experience that you gave me.

Thank you!

Smart Cells, a private cord blood collection and storage center based in London are currently running  campaign called #ThankYouMidwives to highlight the hard work and commitment these amazing midwives do. You can find out more about the campaign here: https://www.smartcells.com/baby/b/thank-you-midwives/ 
Make sure you get involved by sharing your story of gratitude and tagging @smartcells and using the hashtag #thankyoumidwives

Note: this is a collaborative post with information provided in a press release. 

How we Combi Feed | Blog

When Smidge was born in June 2018 we accidentally fell into our Combi feeding journey. I had every intention to try to breastfeed as I had tried with Pickle back in 2012 but it didn't happen for a number of reasons. When I was pregnant this time I told myself that I’d try again but I wouldn’t pressure myself and if it didn’t happen then that would be okay. Once Smidge was here he would latch on but wouldn’t suckle. I think it was a mixture of him being so small as he was 4 weeks early and also my nipples not being big enough for him to really get a good latch so I started to express. Smidge started taking expressed breast milk from a bottle but as he was a very hungry baby we also “topped him up” with formula milk. Once he was a couple of weeks old we decided to try him at the breast again to see if he would have the strength to latch properly and suckle. He did!! This has lead us to where we are today.


Keeping Babies Safe in the Sun | SnoozeShade Review

Right now in the UK it is hot! Temperatures are pushing into the mid 30’s and the summer shows no sign of slowing down. It’s lovely to see a bit of sunshine but when you have a small baby like I do then summer becomes more of a headache than a joy as you have to constantly find ways to protect your little one from the sun. It’s a nightmare as babies skin is so delicate and they can’t regulate their own internal temperature so it’s down to us to help them and protect them. One way of doing this is to keep babies shaded and out of the sun but how can you do that when you can’t put anything over them to cover them in case they over heat?? Well, that’s where the SnoozeShade comes in! 

The SnoozeShade was originally invented by frustrated Mum Cara Sayer who was trying to find some way to cover her daughters pram to help her sleep. She soon realised that blankets and muslins weren’t working and weren’t safe in summer so she created the SnoozeShade which is now Britain’s best sleeping range of baby buggy sun shades and sleep aids!
The SnoozeShade comes in a range of different options. They have travel cot covers, pram and pushchair, car seat... there really isn’t a time where you would need a black out cover or a sun shade that hasn’t been thought of! We were lucky enough to be sent the SnoozeShade limited edition steel grey  version and it has been a god send with this warm weather and it is so easy to use. Smidge is still in his carry cot pram at the moment so all I have to do is hook the SnoozeShade over the hood and use the small, stretchy Velcro straps to secure the SnoozeShade in place. That’s it! It is that simple. Once that is done, I have piece of mind that Smidge is protected from the scorching sun whilst still staying cool under the breathable fabric.

This product is just brilliant!! There isn’t one aspect of it that hasn’t been fully thought out. Every product that SnoozeShade have has been designed to exceed standard safety requirements. There are no long straps, no buttons or hooks that little ones could chock on and the strongest zips. This not only ensures maximum saftey for your little one, it also means that the product should last a decent amount of time.  For me, the fabric is the most amazing part of this product. We have all seen the terrifying videos doing the rounds on social media where they put a thermometer in a pram and then drape a muslin cloth or a blanket over the top haven’t we? Well the SnoozeShade is totally safe to put over baby and will not make them over heat. This is thanks to its laboratory tested air permeable and breathable mesh fabric. As it’s air permeable it means that air actually passes through it which is what causes the over heating with blankets and muslins and they are not permeable. Amazing right?!?!
At just £23.99 I think the question has to be can you afford not to have one?? Under £25 for the knowledge and piece of mind that your baby is being kept cool and safe from the sun. To see the full range of Snoozeshade products and to get your own visit the Snoozeshade website here! 
Note - this product was sent to me for the purpose of this review but all opinions are honest and my own


Bravados Clip & Pump | Review

If you’ve read my blog before then you will know that I am currently Combi feeding. I do feed Smidge at the breast but I also express using a pump as it means that Hubby can help with feeds and I can have a stock of milk in the fridge. We also top him up with formula as he is such a hungry baby!! Combi feeding works really well for us but one thing that I get asked so much is how I find the time to pump as it can be time consuming to sit down and have your hands full with the pump and usually a baby. Luckily, Bravado have the perfect solution for this!! Their Clip and Pump hands-free nursing bra accessory!

This is a complete game changer of a product and a must have for any breastfeeding mums as you can pump with both hands free! The Clip and Pump bra accessory looks a bit like a strapless bra but with holes to allow you to push the pump cushion against your breast and then push the tube through the hole. This means you can attach your pump and the bottle will stay in position so you don’t have to hold it! Amazing right??

The Clip and Pump secures around your underbust and then is designed to clip onto the Bravado nursing bra B-Clips. This means that you can continue to wear your normal, supportive nursing bra and then just add this attachment as and when you need. You can also use it with any other nursing bras, although it doesn’t fit as well, meaning that you don’t have to buy a whole load of stuff to get it to work. All you need is the Clip and Pump accessory!

I use mine daily!! Normally it’s first thing in the morning whilst Smidge is still sleeping. The bra means that I can pump milk whilst doing my hair and make up for the day. I seriously don’t know what I would do without the Clip and Pump now!
To get yours head over to the Bravado website here - https://www.bravadodesigns.com/uk/products/clip-and-pump-hands-free-nursing-bra-accessory?variant=3800878252043

 Note - this was sent to us for the purpose of this review but all opinions are honest and my own! 

Safety 1st Flat Step Gate  |  Review

When you have a baby you know that at some point you will have to “baby proof” your home. Whilst I was pregnant I didn’t really think about the safety of the house as Smidge was going to be immobile for at least a few months as they don’t start to crawl until about 9 months or so. However, what I didn’t think about was how I would actually need a safety gate as soon as Smidge was born and not for the baby... for the puppy! 
If you have read my blog for a while then you will know that we have a cockerpoo called Maisie who is the soppiest yet most excitable dog. Hubby and I had been speaking whilst I was pregnant about how we needed to think about making sure the baby stayed safe around Maisie. Ultimately she is a dog and no matter how much we trust her I would never want to leave her alone with a baby as you just never know.

Luckily Saftey 1st was on hand with the perfect saftey gate to solve my problems. The gate we were sent is a pressure gate which meant that we didn’t have to drill into the walls or cause any damage to the door frame. You can also purchase separate extenders that will make the stair gate bigger so they will fit most door ways and door frames. We have placed our gate across quite a wide door way where our lounge meets our kitchen. This means that Maisie can still stay in the kitchen and go outside to the garden but it means if I need to pop to the loo or go grab some nappies, I can leave Smidge in his swing or Moses basket and close the gate knowing that he is safe in the lounge.

There is so much about this gate which makes it superior to other saftey gates that we’ve tried before.  Features of this particular saftey gate include -
  • Ergonomic handle design which means you can open the gate with just one hand. Perfect for me as I’m either carring one of the boys or something for one of them. 
  • A coloured indicator that shows you if the gate is locked.
  • A super thin step over bar that is only 1.1cm thick. This is so important for us as I can’t tell you how many times Pickle has managed to trip over previous gates we’ve had. This time it is pretty much impossible for him to trip over! 
  • Easy to use hand wheels for instillation and to restore pressure if the gate is pushed too hard or is moved. 
All of that for just £30 as well!! As I have mentioned above we were sent this gate but I would honestly recommend it as it has been the best one we have tried before. So much so that we have actually ordered one to go across the top of our stairs as our current one is a bit naff.
You can grab your own Saftey 1st pressure gate by clicking here.
Note - we were sent this item for review but all opinions are honest and my own. 


Baby Bjorn Mini Carrier | Review

If your a parent then you’ll know that Baby Bjorn is a bit of an institution. The Swedish family-owned business is well known for it well thought out, simple yet reliable products. There products have a classic yet contemporary design and are made with parents in mind. All of their products are designed to make parents lives easier. From carriers to bouncers and travel costs... Baby Björn has something for every parent and every baby.

Their latest offering is the Mini Baby Carrier. This is a softer version of their classic carriers, aimed at babies under 12 months old. We were very kindly sent one to try and I was able to see first hand how much thought has gone into this carrier.

The first thing that I loved was how easy it is. I’ve tired slings and other carriers before and they always seem so difficult and complicated. This carrier is so simple that you can put it on with one hand!! Perfect when you holding your baby in the other. It has adjustable buckles and straps all of which are concealed if near baby (so they don’t hurt baby) and/or super soft. The entire front section of this carrier easily unfastens with a simply push of a button meaning that if your baby has fallen asleep you can lay them down without waking them.

This carrier is not only super simple, it is unbelievable soft. It’s thick enough to provide support to your babies back and hips but it’s soft enough for your to feel your babies position underneath. The fabric that this carrier is made out of was actually developed specifically for these baby carriers. The fabric consists of 3 layers - an inner layer, an outer layer and a middle layer. This means that instead of having to use padding that can make baby too hot, the middle layer consists of a fine, single-fiber thread that helps keep baby warm whilst not overheating them. Amazing right?!?!
There are so many other features of this baby carrier that makes it so unique and brilliant -

  • It’s super small meaning that it’s perfect to take out and about. 
  • The positioning of the carrier means that baby is carried higher up therefore they lay on your chest and can hear your heartbeat. This instantly soothes newborns as it is familiar to them from when they were in the womb. 
  • You have opinions! You can have baby facing towards you for when they are newborns with less neck control and then when they grow you can turn them out so they can see the world. 
  • It has an adjustable head support that is so easy to use. The head support folds down for when your baby wants to see out but you can easily turn it up again if baby falls asleep or needs extra head support. 
The Baby Bjorn Mini carrier is available for £79 (amazing price!!!) and comes in a huge range of colours. To see the range and to get yours head over the the Baby Bjorn website!

Note - this carrier was sent to us for the purpose of this review but all opinions are honest and my own. 

The Best Kids Bath Bombs!  |  MiniU review 

What is it with kids and bath bombs these days? If your child is anything like mine (I’m taking about Pickle here not Smidge) then you will know what I am talking about. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shared my lush stash with him. I have even brought him his own stuff from lush before but at £4 sometimes £5 for just one bath bomb it can get very expensive. I started looking for alternatives and that is when I found the amazing MiniU.

I made my first purchase from MiniU back in December of last year and I was blown away by their products and the value for money. First let’s talk about the range of products as they are so much more than just bath bombs. They do bubble bath that changes the colour of your water. Lovely Bubbly Coloured Bubble Bath £3.40...and the bottle is HUGE. We got at least 25 baths out of ours. They also do water colour changing tablets which are a steal at £1.95 for 9 and 1 tablet is enough to change a whole bath. The Fizzy Plops Bath colour tablets come as a single pack of 9 or you can get a multi pack of 3 packets for £7.95.

The next thing I want to mention is the value for money when it comes to the products, especially the bath bomb. The bath bombs come in a range of colours and all colour the bath water. They are only £1.95 each (you can get bundles that have more bombs in for a discounted price) and they all come with a hidden surprise. As the bath bomb dissolves it reveals a hidden sponge. The little sponges come in loads of different shapes from rabbits to stars and Pickle loves collecting them and sticking them along the side of the bath to see which ones he has. It’s something so small but he really does love it.
The collection is huge! MiniU are so much more than just bath bombs and colour changing fun. They have a huge range of hair care goodies from brushes to conditioners and also hairstyling products and a skincare range, all aimed at the little loves in our lives. The greatest thing about the entire range that MiniU offers is that the collection is SLS/SLES and paraben free to help protect your little ones skin and hair.  What more could you want???

We love MiniU and would highly reccomend it if you have a little one who loves a colourful and fun bath. If you want to try the range out then you can use my discount code to get a whopping 20%! Just head to the MiniU website here and type in Miniu20% at checkout!
Note - some of these products where sent to us but I have purchased from this company independently before and all opinions are honest and my own. 


 Unusual things you need with a newborn  |  Blog 

When you have a baby you know what you need...cot, nappies, baby monitor...all of the things that you see in magazines and lists on the internet. Since having Smidge it got me thinking about the other things that you need when you have a newborn that you wouldn’t normally think of. So I thought I’d share with you today my unusual list. 

1. A Netflix subscription -

In those first few new born weeks you will be doing a lot of snuggling with a newborn which is so wonderful but after watching day time TV for the fifth day in a row, can get a little tedious. We have a Netflix subscription and it has been invaluable in these last few weeks. I’ve watched all the things I’ve been meaning to watch for ages and been binge watching new series that I’ve found. It’s not only great in the day time either! I pop it on the iPad in the night when I’m feeding to stop me falling to sleep! It’s been worth its weight in gold! 

2. A cabbage -

This one may sound strange but trust me!! When your milk is coming in during your first few days there is no better relief than a cold cabbage leaf in your bra. Don’t believe me? Just try it! 

3. Sharpies -

I use a sharpie pretty much every single day! I use one to write on the milk bags and record how much milk I’ve expressed. I use it on the Tupperware lids to remind me what left overs I’m putting away and when they were cooked. They are just so convenient and easy as they dry instantly so don’t smudge, you can write on pretty much anything and it is permentant. They are also super cheap if you get them from the right place. I brought mine from Office Stationary and they were a steal!! 

4. Stick on heat pads -

Once you have given birth it can feel like you’ve been hit by a bus. Everything hurts and this time round I found that my back was especially painful. The stick on heat pads are perfect as I can stick one on and not have to worry about it moving around or coming off whilst I’m snuggling/feeding/changing Samuel. 

5. Coconut oil -

This stuff is a god send! You can use it on pretty much everything and when it comes to babies it’s amazing. You can use it on cradle cap and dry skin and as it is a natural oil it is perfect as it won’t irritate baby like some products do. This stuff has become pretty popular recently so you can also get it from anywhere now too. 

Note - this is a collaborative post 

I only cover myself up for YOUR sake!  |  Blog

If you have read my last few posts on here then you will know that I am combi feeding Smidge. This basically means he has a bit of every thing... boob, boob milk in a bottle and formula from a bottle. I explained why this is working for us here but something that has been bothering me recently is breastfeeding in public. There has always been a lot of discussion round breastfeeding in public and how hard it can be and I never really understood until I started doing it myself. The thing is it’s not actually breastfeeding in public that is difficult, it’s other people!! 

Here’s a situation for you... you’re in a public place like a park or a shopping centre and you walk past a newspaper on the floor that’s opened at a page with a full page photo of a glamour model. Looking gorgeously glamorous with a teeney pair of pants and no bra. Boobs out proudly for the world to see. Would you care? Would anyone bat any eyelid? Most probably not. The people least likely to see it as inappropriate would probably (sorry for the generalisation) be men. Here’s the next situation... I’m sitting in the park or in the shopping centre. My tiny baby is screaming as it’s scorching hot and he is thirsty and hungry so I discreetly take my boob out and pop my baby onto it so he can feed. All you can see is the fleshy part of my boob. No nip as the baby’s head is covering that from view. Would you find that offensive? Would people be bothered and find it unsuitable? YES...some do and usually (and bizarrely) it’s usually men who find it so uncomfortable!! How on Earth does that make ANY sense???? They are happy to see boobs on page three but not when they are feeding a child?!?

 I don’t stand up and announce my naked boobies to the world. I don’t seductively strip off my very unsexy maternity tee and bra to show off my swollen, milk filled boobs and my leaky, cracked nipples. Is that why it’s inappropriate? If I was a sexy 18 year old with perky boobs and a washboard stomach who was taking her clothes off to have her picture taken would it then be “appropriate” and make people less uncomfortable? It blows my mind that some people are made uncomfortable by a mother doing one of the most natural things in the world but yet they will happily watch boobs on telly, accept them in advertising and appreciate women showing them off for people’s pleasure! 

That is why I feel like I have to cover up when I’m in public, so I don’t I “offend anyone”. I would much rather just get my boob out and feed my child but instead I have to wrestle him under a cover and then try to get my nipple into his mouth properly whilst trying to keep myself covered and “decent”. All of this in the middle of summer when it’s stupidly hot so my poor baby ends up all hot and bothered as he’s under a cover and I’m sweating as it’s another layer that I just don’t need. All of this just so that I don’t “offend” someone?!? It’s ridiculous! 

So I saw free the boobs! If your happy to feed your baby without a cover then do it! Don’t feel pressured to cover up because that’s what other people want. Feed that baby of yours in whatever way you are comfortable! 

What are your thoughts on this? Do you think women should cover up when they are feeding or do you think we should free the boobs? Let me know in the comments.