An inspirational story of a Paediatric nurse becoming a mum by Emma Gilpin

My Story

So, I’m not sure where to start. I’ve never written a blog so this is new to me and I’m dyslexic so please mind the clumsy writing as I’m not great with words!

I guess maybe I’ll start with who am and then move on to pregnancy and baby number one and the road travelled with the birth of our first boy, being different, being opened up to a whole new world and breastfeeding battles.

Then comes boy number two and what life is like being pregnant while already having a toddler, the birth and breastfeeding battles round two and what is like being a mum of two, how much harder it is than one and the isolation that comes with it. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a mum and I wouldn’t change my boys for the world. They’re incredible and they have taught me so much but it’s is so damn hard sometimes!

breastfeeding mum sling

About me

Here’s where it starts. I am Emma and work as a Paediatric nurse, a job I love and have loved my whole life. I haven’t ever wanted to be anything else, but I know it has also distorted my view of pregnancy and birth and has supplied me with what I believe is a whole host of extra worries.
My now husband and I got engaged April 2016, got married in the following September, found out I was pregnant in the October as we returned from honeymoon and had our first son in the May of 2017. We got engaged, married and had a baby in 13 months. I think that’s pretty good going. It turns out I was just pregnant at our wedding (nice to think Miles was with us). I had been convinced it would take months to get pregnant but no, it does sometimes just take once. Surprise.

My pregnancy anxiety

We were so happy to be expecting our first child but with the excitement came the worry. I now know that this Mum worry and, oh lets not forget Mum guilt, will be for the rest of my life. I was instantly worried that our baby wouldn’t survive delivery, and I definitely wasn’t going to let my pregnancy go over term. This baby was coming out on or before 40 weeks.

I am sat here with tears in my eyes typing at the panic and fear I still feel. Rationally I know that thousands of babies are born healthy and happy every day. I have spent my career looking after poorly children and families of babies that haven’t survived or haven’t stayed with us long after being born. All I could think was that being pregnant didn’t mean I was going to come home with a baby.

I didn’t mention our pregnancy on social media and I didn’t want a baby shower because what If I didn’t have a baby at the end? However an amazing friend hosted me a pre baby afternoon tea and it was fab.

It sounds like I was a miserable wreck the whole time, I wasn’t, I loved being pregnant the first time, I was well, my hair was lovely (but not the post baby hair, no one warned me about how much hair you lose, who knew?). I was excited, I couldn’t wait to become a mum. 12 weeks came and went baby was growing healthily. Then came the 20 week anomaly scan. I was so anxious to hear babies heart beat. It felt like forever and then there it was … annnnd relax. The sonographer was great. We didn’t want to know the sex so she was careful when she went through all the bits. She then went a little quite and explained that ‘baby wouldn’t unfold their left arm’. Her wording was perfect. I keep meaning to find out who it was as they really should know what an amazing job they did. It didn’t create huge panic in me and I just thought ‘hmmm ok what does this mean?’ My husband on the other hand is a Doctor and he knew all the possibilities and the not so great things this could mean. I then realised this might not be great news. I can’t really recall what happened next. I just remember that we had to go to the foetal medical department the next day for more tests. The worry overnight was overwhelming. I worried that my worry about the baby not surviving was going to come true.

Our scan showed a complication …..Ulnar aplasia

The team in Foetal Med were fantastic, Our consultant was great, to the point and calming. We had an in-depth scan and it became clear the babies left arm hadn’t developed the way you expect it to. One of the bones in our baby’s forearm was missing and the other was small and they had a small hand. What did this mean for baby? We didn’t know if it was just baby’s arm, if there were other complications or even if our baby was going to be able to survive. My husband and I were devastated. We agreed to have an amniocentesis to look at babies genetics. Yes, there were risks with the procedure but we didn’t know if our baby could survive at all. We agreed this was the right decision for us. We decided at that point to find out the sex. I didn’t want to risk losing the baby without knowing. We were expecting a boy! I don’t know why I didn’t already know we were having a boy. At the time, my husband and I both had 5 nephews each so that made our boy number 11.
We didn’t lose our amazing baby boy and he had already taught us so much!

Fast forward several weeks and a bit more worry around CMV (a bug that could affect baby). Our baby boy arrived healthily. I had a planned induction at 39 weeks. He arrived 4 days later (yes 4 days!). When he finally decided to come, he came in a hurry. It felt like everyone and their mum had ‘examined’ me. I’ll never forget “we need someone with long thin fingers’. You all know what that means, urgh!

When our son arrived, he was perfect and we called him Miles. I was so excited to meet him after spending weeks trying to picture his arm and hand. We had many 3D scans but still, how would it look? We had been through the ringer and we had grieved the ‘perfect’ baby we thought we’d have. Why us? Why me? I had spend my life looking after everyone else’s perfect baby so why wasn’t I getting on?. But that had all passed and when he came he WAS perfect.

It turned out thar our amazingly perfect little boy had Ulnar aplasia, an isolated difference with nothing else involved, just one of those things. His ulnar bone in his forearm is missing and he has a small left had with two fingers and a small thumb. He has a limb difference but not a disability. We have found a whole community and family that we are now part of and have made some great friends. Miles is now 2 and a half and I swear he is yet to find something he can’t do. All the worry about whether he would hit his milestones and how he would do it has gone because what ever it is, he will find his own way. The mum guilt still comes and I still worry if I did something to cause it. A part of me will always have moments where I wonder. But I KNOW I didn’t and I wouldn’t change him for the world. To anyone else who it going through a similar worry, it WILL pass and you WILL come out the other side.

Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding mum

Anyway, I was now in a world as a first time mum with a brand new baby, BREASTFEEDING. What a battle that was. I hadn’t put any pressure on myself to do it and took bottles, formula and dummies to hospital with us, just in case, but I was going give it a try. Things seemed to start ok. He had a reasonable latch from the get go, needing a little work, but they were happy for us to go home the same day. He was born about 9.30am and we were home at 5pm. Now what? It was May 2017 and it was roasting! It was such a struggle not to be a nurse. It was 29 degrees in our bedroom and I must have checked his temperature 20 times over night. I continued with the feeding but it didn’t feel great, jees it hurt. Thankfully I had had warning I knew it was gonna hurt but really, was this normal?

Tongue Tie

Oh I nearly forgot, it was picked up in hospital he had a tongue tie, (actually I noticed it and the midwife agreed). He had it snipped at 9 days old, but up until then we had battled so much to improve the latch. My left nipple was bleeding and I had an open wound. Sorry for the over share but this is the reality isn’t it? It was like an open mouth! My nipple had an actual mouth and it was on his favourite side. However once his tie had been resolved, he latched on the right and I thought that was it home sailing. I was advised to rest the left a little, pump if it wasn’t too painful or hand express. My nipple healed but would he go back to the left? Nope, not one bit. I exclusively expressed from my left boob for the next 3 weeks! Whenever Miles fed, I had the pump on my left. I went to all the clinics and drop-ins I could but he just didn’t want the left boob again. Then, one day I went to a breastfeeding drop-in and I don’t know what it was that the lady said or did that day but it just happened. By this point my boobs had been poked and pulled and squeezed by so many different women, I didn’t think he’d ever feed from both boobs. It’s right when ‘they’ say you leave your dignity at the door once you have a baby.

Finally feeding from both boobs and we’d got there, Breastfeeding we can do it. We did it. I never knew until I was doing it how much I wanted to do it. It wasn’t until about 8 weeks that I would say it started to become easier. I was feeding in public now and was getting to grips with one up one down. I had even invested in some breastfeeding clothes. I was beginning to feel confident and would even feed in front of my Dad.

My husband was able to support my breastfeeding

We started to introduce a bottle so my husband could feed him and because I had expressed so much from the left side that we had a freezer full. It took some work but he finally took the bottle and had a dummy to settle him off at night. It was lovely to see the bond develop more between my husband and Miles. My husband was, and is, an incredible support. He was so supportive of breastfeeding and I couldn’t have done it without him. He was right there with the EBM bag or the gel cooling pads to put on my boobs when I needed him. Who says romance is dead? And I 100% wouldn’t have got through our pregnancy stress with out him. He is who I was meant to be with, although I would never tell him all this. I do remember though, maybe on day two looking at him asleep on the sofa. There I was, topless in the middle on the lounge trying to get a stroppy baby to breast feed. It was hot, I was sweating, exhausted, milk was leaking out everywhere and all I could think was how dare you sleep. But he was also exhausted too. It didn’t stop me being a little annoyed at him for a few minutes. We’ve all been there, haven’t we?

I loved breastfeeding


I had been warned how hard breast feeding was but you never know how hard until you do it. I wasn’t one of the lucky ones where baby just snuggles in and finds the milk like a piglet and feeds. However, we got there and what a breeze it was after that. Feeding became so easy and I can honestly say I felt like a took to mumming like a duck to water, I didn’t really have any down days, Miles slept reasonably well, he took a bottle so I could go out with friends and, his limb difference, what limb difference? I found I forgot about it or didn’t notice. He is just like everyone else. Life was good, tiring but good. Although when I heard the baby sensory mums talking about their zombie like lack of sleep I kept quiet, I felt good, I sometimes wonder if a previous life of night shifts has helped there.

Baby number two

So shall we try for by number two? Miles is still so small but it won’t happen straight away will it? I’m still breastfeeding. And then there we were on a rocking boat in the middle of the sea in Australia on holiday with 8 and a half month old Miles and a stick with two lines on it. Take two. I went back to work for 4 months (sorry) and then it was time to start maternity leave all over again, it all went so quickly.

Health-wise, the pregnancy all went well, although I was much bigger. It’s normal don’t worry I told myself. But everyone is so happy to have an opinion on how you look or how you’re carrying when you are pregnant. I am not saying its always a bad thing and I know I’ve done it. Oooh, baby looks low or don’t you look big today. Once I’d heard how big I was so many times, the panic set in again. I was going to have a huge baby and it was going get stuck it wouldn’t survive the delivery. It sounds crazy to the rational me now. I know this is a life-long worry. If I was ever pregnant again I would be just as worried about baby surviving delivery. We saw the consultant we had when I was pregnant with Miles, he scanned baby number two. It was healthy, no worries, not massive and no limb differences. All was well. It wouldn’t have made a difference to us if baby number two had got a limb difference but it would have pointed to a genetic problem rather than a one-off thing.
Oh, and we were having another boy! I couldn’t wait to expand our family. Pregnancy was so much harder the second time round. I couldn’t rest when I needed to as Miles was still so little and they don’t play by the rules at that age. I was bigger and more uncomfortable but I still managed to be a bridesmaid at 37 weeks pregnant. Again I was booked in at 39 weeks for an induction. Baby boy number two decided to worry us all in the delivery room but in the end he came out at super speed. He was so quick that he had blood shot eyes and fired my waters inside the shoes of my fantastic midwife! I must say I had amazing midwives for both our boys. They got our boys into to the the world safely and I will be forever in their debt. Our second baby was also perfect and we called him Seth.

Breastfeeding again….

I decided to breastfeed again. I had stopped feeding Miles at 10 months as I was already a couple of months pregnant and wanted a break before starting it all over again. Seth latched pretty much straight away. I felt cramps instantly when he fed. No one warns you about that either, I didn’t get them first time round. I noticed Seth had a bit of a tongue tie again and was always a bit awkward to get him on but he did latch pretty well from the start once you got him in the right position he would feed well. He got referred for assessment of his tongue tie. We got out the same day again with Seth given that he fed so well. We had had a bit of a delay in getting home ask it seems our boys like to worry us. It was found during Seth’s baby check that he has a coloboma of his left eye meaning the the iris is an irregular shape making his pupil appear the shape of an upside down pear and a heart murmur was heard. Again came worry and my husband knew that this could mean many other not so great things for our perfect boy. He was seen by some special eye doctors and his heart was reviewed and it all can back fine. We escaped home.

mum

Taking baby home

Miles was at home and waiting for us after staying with my parents. He seemed to like his little brother but to be honest at 17 months old I am not convinced he had any idea what or who Seth was and the fact that he was going to be staying forever. Although it probably didn’t seem he was staying forever as after 9 lovely days at home Seth didn’t seem all that well. He was still feeding but it was hard work. He was full of cold, and I knew it he had bronchiolitis. We took him to A&E and luckily, Miles was having his first night at my parents since Seth had been born with the idea that we might get a lay in. Seth and I spent the next 10 days in hospital, it was awful! Having to be on the other side on the NHS was the hardest thing I have ever had to endure, being a Mummy and not a nurse. He was quite poorly, and I have looked after plenty of similar babies, but always as a nurse, and never as a Mum. I can honestly say that I lost my mind. I turned in to a crazy woman and I couldn’t tell if he was getting better or not. I didn’t know how to cope and I didn’t think I would be bringing him home. I couldn’t leave the hospital as I didn’t trust anyone other than myself or my husband to keep him alive. I was totally not being a Mummy. I was his Nurse and I was terrified. The only other person I could cope to look after him was my sister who also a children’s nurse and also intensive care trained. I was forced home by my husband after 6 days, and finally got some sleep. I woke up like a new woman feeling so much better. Sometimes you just have to listen to someone else. Seth improved after a rest, having having feeds down a tube in his nose and some support with his breathing. Not only was it hard seeing Seth so unwell but I had never spent so long away from Miles. I was so worried he’d think Seth had taken me away. I didn’t need to worry as he had been having a great time with Daddy and his Grandparents. We finally got home after the 10 days of hell and could restart our family life as a 4.

Sleeping or lack of it…

While we had all good intentions with bed time and Seth going off to sleep in his own bed, this had all been blown out of the water in hospital. When he was ill, he basically spent the whole time sleeping on me and I am sure that was the start of our bed time troubles. I had continued to breastfeed Seth with some struggles and he went straight back to the breast well after NG feeds. Unfortunately, we had now got in to a habit of being fed to sleep and sleeping on mummy, both things I never did with Miles and never intended to do with Seth. At the end of the day I swiftly learn you just do what you have to do to survive. Sleep, what was that? Neither Seth, I nor Daddy for that matter were getting very much. When I sounded smug about my sleeping, breastfeeding, bottle taking Miles, I was. But that bit me in the bum with Seth. He didn’t sleep or take a bottle or take a dummy. Miles had a dummy, but only for naps, and he never even noticed when we stopped giving it him. Seth just wanted Mummy, Mummy was his dummy. This led to far more sleepless and co-sleeping nights than I had ever planned but with Miles the endless energy toddler to care for at the crack of dawn we had to get some sleep, any way, anyhow. I knew having two was going to be difficult but it’s the logistics I hadn’t thought about. How do you put a baby down for a nap with a toddler whirling around? You don’t, he napped on me. All this was re-enforcing the mummy and bed time association.

Being a mum of two

mum of 2

Seth seemed to do everything at super speed. He crawled quickly and was climbing at 9 months and walking at 10. He just wanted to join in with his big brother. I found maternity leave harder second time round and baby groups just don’t really happen for baby and toddler. No baby sensory for Seth, no baby swim classes, no MummyFIT. I loved mummyFIT with Miles and while pregnant with Seth, I was doing something for me and meeting other like-minded mums. Miles was meeting other babies and being stimulated which was just great all round. But, unfortunately, you can’t take a toddler and baby to mummyFIT so there it ended. I don’t really feel like Seth missed out. He had, and still has, Miles. We see other mums and go to toddler groups but it isn’t quite the same. I missed meeting new mums with babies the same age and I felt quite isolated at times. Everyone else is at work and it just hard work leaving the house as there is just so much stuff. I soon learned that no matter what, you have to get out! Get out or go mad, even if it was just to the super market or 10 minutes in the park. Everything always feels better after getting out. Staying in all day can only be described at mind numbing and exhausting. There’s only so many times you can watch Ryder and his strange talking dogs rescue someone badly.

Breastfeeding and mastitis

Back to breastfeeding. Not long after our hospital admission I got mastitis, I never got it with Miles and I’m so glad I didn’t. It hot and agonising and you just have to keep feeding, There was actual pus coming out with my milk but you just have to keep feeding. I had antibiotics and it slowly improved. Luckily Seth had his tongue tie appointment. Seth was assessed and yes, he had a tongue tie but it didn’t need treating. For the next 45 minutes, the nurse spent what can only describe as pummelling my boob. We had Seth in all sorts of positions but nothing seemed to improve my rock solid boob. They were sad painful times! I was worried my milk would stop and again I would be feeding from one side. As it turned out the nurse was magic, the next morning my solid boob had softened and my mastitis had pretty much resolved…..until next time. Feeding seemed to carry on reasonably well but when Seth was 9 weeks I got mastitis again. At 2am on New Year’s Day, I woke up with those very recognisable shivers. I got an emergency appointment at 6am, got antibiotics and I caught it early. Following this, the advice was to have Seth’s tongue tie snipped and since having that done feeding was home sailing.

What I learnt as a breastfeeding mum

Seth had his last feed on his first birthday our breastfeeding journey was over. What I learned when I stopped this time was that I hadn’t need worry about a missed feed. My milk wouldn’t have dried up as 2 weeks after stopping feeding I was still getting milk.

I had never really planned to breastfeed I just thought I would give it a go. I became stubborn and I wasn’t going to let two tiny humans beat me. I am so glad I persevered, but I know it doesn’t work out for everyone that way and that is fine. You have to do what is right for you. What is right for you is right for your baby.

And to add to the breastfeeding achievements, as of the 1st of January this year at 14 months old, Seth has finally started sleeping at night. He is now just waking once rather than every 90 minutes. To be honest I am not sure what changed but what ever it was, I like it. I am finally getting some more sleep and beginning to figure out who I am again.

Having our boys had taught me you just have to do what gets you all through the day. Oh, and night! As long as you are doing that you a winning. Mums AND Dads are far far too judgemental of each other. I could have never imagined how two babies brought up in the same home could be so different, but they are both incredible in their own ways.

Becoming a mum changes you. You don’t mean it to but it does and it is NOT a bad thing. Mumming, actually parenting, is hard but it is all worth it when you feel those little arms wrap around you.

mum of 2 breastfeeding

I was anxious about breastfeeding a newborn whilst looking after a toddler By Faye Stafford

Breastfeeding first time around was difficult

After an unsuccessful yet emotional breastfeeding journey with my son Zachary, when I got pregnant again ten months after he was born I was determined things would be different.
I was so nervous and anxious second time around though. Would I be able to love another baby as much as my son? What if he got jealous? How would he cope if mummy was breastfeeding a newborn all the time? How could I make sure he didn’t feel left out ? So many questions and thoughts raced through my head through the whole pregnancy. I made it my mission though to keep him involved in the pregnancy. We talked a lot about the bump and let him rub my belly a lot. We read him the new baby sister book, and when we found out we were having a girl referred to her by name to get him used to having her around

toddler bonding with pregnant bump
toddler bonding with pregnant bump

I was worried when I was pregnant

What worried me the most was he was such a loving boy. This isn’t a bad thing of course but he liked to be cuddled to sleep even when he was having a nap. How would I manage that with a crying newborn? How would we cope? Would he adapt to the change. I found towards the end of the pregnancy my husband did a lot of the night time routine. I read the story but didn’t always put him to sleep as I started to struggle bending over his cot with my baby bump!

My second baby was born

I needn’t have worried about his reaction to her being born! Once she was born he seemed to love her instantly. Wanted to cuddle and hold her straight away.

Newborn baby and toddler breastfeeding Newborn baby and toddler
Newborn baby and toddler

He was only 18 months though when she was born and was only just walking unaided and was still really unsteady on his feet. I needed eyes in the back of your head! I’m not going to lie those times were stressful but I somehow managed.
I loved how he enjoyed pretending to read to her as he babbled away.

baby and toddler breastfeeding
baby and toddler reading a book

Breastfeeding my second baby

When my daughter was born she had a shallow breastfeeding latch and I struggled to feed for the first few weeks and my best position then was lying down. I’d put my son in his cot with his favourite toys and that worked for a while, like a playpen. Once he was a bit older I got him things to distract/occupy him like sticker books! He loves those and for me they were a godsend.

My breastfeeding journey continued past all the milestones. I initially set a 6 month one, which I changed to 12 months and then somehow this continued until just before she started school at 3 years and 3 months.

During my maternity leave I became a volunteer for the B.O.O.B.S project (be open on breastfeeding in Salford), and was part of their fundraising breastfeeding calendar. This really helped me gain in confidence and gain new mummy friends. You can see more about this project on the BOOBS Facebook page

He is still such a loving brother even now, and they are 4 and 6 years old. He always watches out for her and plays with her, even if its something he doesn’t want to play.

I’m not going to lie, we call her boss baby! She rules the roost and her brother literally idolises her and she bosses us all around. I love the fact that we bought them a beanbag each but she would rather share his and snuggle up to him.

Having two children 18 months apart may have been hard initially but it’s truly the best thing we ever did! They are truly best friends and however long that lasts I know as parents we enjoy watching their friendship blossom every minute.

brother and sister breastfed
brother and sister walking in the park

The Christmas nursing top of dreams from Stylish Mum!

The Christmas nursing top of dreams from Stylish Mum!

Everything about this Christmas top is so beautiful. Let’s start with the print design!
It’s a sweet little print or a mother and baby intertwined into a traditional Christmas fairisle print! Which is so unique, and very cute, and even cuter on the small baby sized top!

The colour, now have you ever seen any colour more Christmassy? Nothing screams Christmas to me than all the bright red colours! I absolutely love it. I’ve never owned anything this colour in my wardrobe before, now I have this I think it’s given me the confidence to buy some more items this colour too.

The fit of the top is perfect, and true to size for both mama and infant. It’s material is super thick! (Just what you want on cold winter days).

The nursing flap is placed amazingly on the top, and underneath is a wrap style top. This is amazing because it makes it easy for you to adjust yourself and baby when you’re ready to feed, and you can be as discreet as you like! (And also keep yourself warm without having to reveal your skin too much).

I try to match my outfits to my children as much as I can, so My most favourite thing about the top is that I can match with my baby throughout the christmas period!
Yay!✨

Thank you Stylish mum for providing these amazing tops!!

See more from Chloe Chloe Roles

Zoe’s Breastfeeding Journey – My premature baby , exclusively expressing and breastfeeding!

Zoe’s Breastfeeding Journey – My premature baby , exclusively expressing and breastfeeding!

Being Prepared

My breast feeding journey with Leo and Rosie have taken 2 complete different directions! With Rosie, she was your typical, textbook newborn. Within minutes of being born, she latched on and had an amazing 1st feed. Leo however didn’t. Being born slightly prematurely, he didn’t know how to latch. In this blog I’m going to talk you through our journeys so far! I have always had a positive attitude to ‘fed is best’ when it comes to babies, I had brought loads of bottles, breast pumps, a steriliser, nipple shields… you name it! I was prepared for a breast fed or a formula fed baby! What I wasn’t expecting was an exclusively expressed breast fed baby! I didn’t even know that was a ‘thing’! During antenatal appointments, midwives never talked about exclusively expressing milk, they talked about formula feeding and breast feeding. Thankfully during our 3 week hospital stay with Leo, the midwives supported and educated me about expressing!

Things did not go as expected….

Being diagnosed with preeclampsia at 34/35 weeks pregnant with Leo was a super scary time for me. I couldn’t wait for him to arrive, but getting my head around the fact that I will be a mum to a teeny baby any day, weeks early was horrible. I just wanted to put the breaks on, but my placenta was failing so he needed to come early! The midwives warned me of the complications that could of occurred with his temperature, breathing etc, but they never warned me about feeding complications! Whilst in hospital Leo wasn’t able to latch properly, partly due to him having such bad jaundice he was under lights for a week. Every time I’d take him out to feed him, I’d be battling to try and feed him for an hour. His jaundice levels where getting worse and his temperature kept dropping. A midwife came over and offered me a bottle of donated breast milk. She sat and fed Leo this tiny bottle of milk with a special premature teat and he drank it straight away! (I’ve kept the teat and bottle, obviously cleaned in his memory box!) From that moment I knew what was best for my baby.

Expressing for my baby

I sat for hours and hours expressing milk for him, storing them in the hospital fridge. A couple of nights before he was discharged, I ordered an electric breast pump online as I only had a manual one at home. When we where discharged, I went home and pumped, pumped, pumped! I used to walk around the house, tidying up with a double breast pump strapped into a special bra! I felt like daisy the milking cow! Gosh knows what my postman must have thought when I had to poke just my head around the door to get my parcels! Within a few weeks, we noticed something wasn’t right. He started getting awful eczema and he was losing weight, rather than gaining it. At around 5 months Leo was referred for allergy testing. At this point, I was on a dairy, egg and gluten free diet (can you imagine having a frozen dairy, egg & gluten free 21st birthday cake from Tesco when your used to the real deal?!). At 7 months he was finally diagnosed with a Milk & Soya allergy and an action plan for introducing Egg. I knew I couldn’t cut this out of my diet for much longer. I needed to stay healthy. We where given a prescription for a ‘free from’ formula. Within a couple of weeks, he was the happiest baby! Although our breast feeding journey was short lived and very hard work, I’m glad we tried.

My Second Baby

When Rosie was born, like I said in my introduction, she latched on straight away! She has been a booby monster ever since! I still do occasionally express milk for Rosie, but not having to sterilise 10 bottles and a breast pump everyday has been a dream! Like every breast feeding mother, getting used to ‘whipping your boob out’ in public or in front of family can be a little awkward. I found feeding in front of family members the hardest, I don’t know why! They have all been incredibly supportive! 6 months down the line, I’m a lot more relaxed. If she needs feeding in the middle of Aldi, I’ll feed her! If she needs feeding whilst out for lunch, I’ll feed her! I know some people can be unpleasant and find breastfeeding in public unacceptable (although it’s a completely natural thing…but that’s an on going argument in society) but luckily I’ve never had any negativity! I think I’d just squirt them with milk if I did get any grief! However I am always conscious of my surrounding and like to ‘cover up’. Normally, I just pop a muslin cloth under my bra strap and over Rosie’s head! I’ve also purchased a beautiful nursing jumper from Stylish Mum, which opens up each side for easy, discrete access! This was also my ‘coming home’ outfit when Rosie was born in March! Now winter is approaching, I’ll be wearing it a lot!

Breast feeding Rosie has been such a beautiful journey, but it’s not always easy. The nights seem to be longer, my boobs seem to be a little more uncomfy and with teething in full swing…well you can imagine the discomfort of a bitten nipple! I have lost count of the amount of times I’ve sworn I’d be buying formula in the morning if she wakes me up 1 more time….but I haven’t. 1 sleepless night…more like 150 sleepless nights will never take away the amazing bond that I have built with my daughter and will continue to grow. Plus, it’s saved me in a fortune not buying formula! No matter how you feed your baby, you’re doing a good job. I salute those who spend hours cleaning and sterilising bottles for their babies formula. I salute those mums who spend hours each day and night expressing milk as if they where on a dairy farm and I salute those breast feeding mums who have their nipple bitten at 3AM whilst your partner is sound asleep next to you…! If we all support each other, formula, breast or expressed, we will continue to NORMALISE NORMAL. A FED BABY IS A HAPPY BABY.

You can follow Zoe on her mother journey at www.instagram.com/life.with.the.hjs

Benefits of Skin to Skin for Breastfeeding

This week is National Breastfeeding Week and the theme is ‘skin to skin’.

This is where a baby is placed directly onto mums bare chest. It is recommended that his takes place directly after birth – where baby is dried and placed without clothing onto mum and both are covered in a warm blanket for at least an hour after birth or until after the first feed. It is ok if this is not possible as skin to skin can also be very beneficial for many months – at hospital, at home or even in a bath can be nice. Skin to skin helps baby to adjust to life outside of the womb by helping to regulate babies heart rate, breathing and temperature. It also helps to colonise the baby’s skin with mums friendly bacteria which will help protect baby against infection.

Skin to skin also helps to initiate feeding and to develop a close and loving relationship between mum and baby. This includes stimulating digestion and an interest in feeding from baby. So even if you are not planning to breastfeed skin to skin can be very beneficial. Skin to skin is also often used for premature babies to help parents to bond and to support developmental outcomes for baby.

However, it can be used at any time when baby needs comfort and to help boost a mums milk supply. Often mums ask what foods they can eat or how often they should pump to increase their supply and I often suggest trying skin to skin first and often this does help – it’s also a cheaper, more accessible and more comfortable option too !!

I would love to hear more about your skin to skin experience…. Come and share with us on our social media.

You can read more about the benefits of skin to skin here:

Unicef skin to skin benefits

Sheffield For Kids Awards

I am honoured to be sponsoring the Sheffield For Kids Awards. As many of you will know I live in Sheffield and my business is also based in Sheffield. I have lived in Sheffield for over 14 years and I now couldn’t imagine calling anywhere else home. I have had 3 children in the last 6 years and thought I knew Sheffield pretty well (well maybe I did know my way around all the bars and clothes shops!) but as I didn’t grow up in the area I quickly realised that kid wise I really didn’t know Sheffield well at all. I didn’t know the best places to go or things to do, especially those that would be toddler friendly, well you know, if anything can ever be completely toddler friendly!

I came across ‘Trips with a tot’ on Facebook. It was set up by a lovely mum called Naomi. Naomi post videos and blogs about all the trips she does, she certainly gets about! She is so inspirational not just in terms of where you can go with little ones, but also other tips to keep costs down, where to eat, other places to visit whilst you are there and she is so honest in her reviews she became an online mum that I knew I could trust. Oh by the way she also visits other cities on weekends away and she doesn’t drive and makes sure she gives you all the details of how to get there. Naomi is also an amazing breastfeeding advocate, she often talks about it or breastfeeds in her videos and photos. She also produced a blog specifically on places she likes to breastfeed.

breastfeeding spots in Sheffield

She has also created a really supportive online community where parents share their trips and share local advice. She really is an excellent ambassador for Sheffield as she really makes you see all the wonderful places we have access to. I am therefore honoured to be supporting the second year Naomi has run awards for Sheffield.
The Sheffield For Kids Awards is a chance to really promote, shout, be proud and celebrate what we have here in Sheffield for kids – such as best local parks and playgroups, to best indoor and water play, best toddler groups and best place for family eating.
If you are a business your users can vote for you ! If you have visited or used activities or services in Sheffield you can nominate them under various categories (don’t worry there will be one which fits! ) AND you get a chance to enter into a huge giveaway with over £400 worth of prizes! It is a quick form and doesn’t take long!

The results will be available at the end of July and will help provide an amazing database of the best of Sheffield for Kids! So please do get involved.
The deadline is the 31st May so you need to act quick ! Nominate here

Are you up for the water challenge?

Do you have headaches, a sore tummy, feeling tired, suffering from constipation? Have you considered that you are not drinking enough water (or equivalent)?
Did you know that if you are exclusively breastfeeding you produce on average 700ml of milk a day?! This can be higher if the weather is warm or baby is going though a growth spurt or is poorly and off their food (if weaned).
Your body produces this milk from the things you eat and drink and so you need to make sure you are getting enough fluids and extra calories to support your body in this amazing task. We often hear about the 300-500 extra calories needed per day, but often forget about our additional water requirements. A normal adult should be having 2 litres of fluids a day but for a breastfeeding mum this should be closer to 3 litres!!

Please also note that more fluids does not mean more breastmilk unless you are severely dehydrated.

Drink more water

Want to step up to our water challenge…. It is easy enough to do!!

Our water bottle is an average sized bottle and holds 700ml of water (will be less depending how much you put in the infusion) and you need to drink at least 3 of these per day! I would suggest one full bottle in the morning, one in the afternoon and one in the evening /night plus other drinks with meals. Our bottles have a handy chart on it to help you out, but any similar sized bottle would work. The best thing to do is to listen to your body and drink when you need to, but this is a useful reminder and helps you to commit to making YOU a priority.
Like any challenge or target you set yourself you are more likely to carry it out if you share your target with others as a form of accountability. I definitely need to be drinking more water – I will be sharing my goals with you, what I am putting in my infusion and letting you know how I get on. I would like to invite you to do the same and tag Stylish Mum or #stylishmumstribe and let me know ‘I am up for the water challenge’. Help keep me motivated and in return I will be issuing some special surprises for those who take part 😊 check out my progress via Facebook in Instagram.

Stylish Mum Facebook

Join the Stylish Mum Breastfeeding Tribe

Stylish Mum Instagram

Welcome to my blog

My name is Sarah and after having and feeding my third child I became fed up with the options out there for breastfeeding mums. A lot of the breastfeeding specific clothes I found were mostly maternity which frustrated me, firstly because they don’t fit right, but also there is an assumption that breastfeeding is only for those early weeks. So, when I was up feeding one night I designed my own top and arranged for some samples to be made. I wore the tops and the feedback was that they were amazing and I should set up a business selling them – and so Stylish Mum was born!

I did a lot of market research with other mums and found that winter wear was the most difficult – due to the amount of material to lift up and of course wanting to stay warm. Mum’s also said that the item they missed the most was the hoodie and so this is where we started. We had a number of samples made which were tested and tweaked by mums and our colours were chosen by mums too!

Stylish Mum started selling in November 2017 and the feedback we have had has been breath-taking. Customers have really appreciated the clever design which allows for discreet feeding with no fiddy zips or buttons so easy to do one handed. Mums have also said that they are easy to feed in in a sling as material doesn’t need to come upwards. No zips or buttons also means no marks or anything sharp near babies face when cuddling, feeding or carrying in a sling. Mums have really liked the material for our hoodies and tops which is 95% cotton and 5% spandex stretch. This gives the items a soft luxurious feel. Mums have said that the shape and stretch is very flatting and forgiving to the tummy area and also means less/ no ironing !!

My ambition is to keep growing the brand and adding new items as we go along. I am really passionate about helping mums to feel stylish, comfortable and confident when feeding. So please do follow this blog, sign up to our newsletter and/or check us out on facebook or instagram.

Sarah