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My breastfeeding journey


Breastfeeding causes such controversy. Some people agree and others don’t, it gets caught up in the headlines and as usual you have the odd incident which causes uproar. I feel very level headed about feeding, I have fed both my children, I am fortune enough to have done so, it wasn’t easy but I persevered. Nonetheless, I am by no means a breastfeeding ‘promoter’. How you feed your baby is your choice, like it was mine. I disagree with women being made to feel uncomfortable about breastfeeding and thankfully I haven’t been subjected to this negativity. 


I was quite a young Mum, having Jenson before I turned 24. I never really knew that I wanted to breastfeed, I knew I would try but I hadn’t made my mind up with Jenson. I wasn’t really sure what to expect either and I was very laid back about the whole feeding thing. Emeline’s journey was different, I loved feeding Jenson by the end and knew that I wanted to feed baby two.

Jenson’s feeding journey

Once I had delivered Jenson in the pool, he was whisked off for some oxygen. I laid on the bed and waited for him to be handed to me for my first cuddle, it was a whirlwind and I remember feeling so overwhelmed. We cuddled and cuddled. It was a good few hours before a midwife suggested that I tried to feed him. I had no idea, I didn’t even think and actually he was 4/5 hours old at that point and he should have been fed before. He had a little feed and then slept for the majority of the night. He didn’t make a peep. I spent most of the night watching him and weeping after the ridiculously amount of water I drank! The next morning, I fed him again around 11am, so in 14 hours he only had two tiny feeds. I had no idea what to do or how to do it. I don’t think there is enough midwife support with breastfeeding and still to this day, I feel the advice is inconsistent and not always accurate. 

Our journey with Jenson was a slow one. Two days after his birth he was still slow at feeding and I wasn’t sure on what I should be doing, we were admitted to stay at our local hospital for some jaundice treatment and Jenson had time on the sun bed! I could not fault the support we had there, Jenson needed food and we had a two hour plan, every two hours a midwife came in to support me and help Jenson latch. From there on, things started to work out. As expected my boobs became so painful, something that creeps up on you. I used some different techniques to help me manage the pain:

  • Breast shields
  • Nipple lotion – in my opinion there is no other cream that does it better than than Lansinoh.
  • Cold drinks – my husband would always have a really cold drink ready with a straw for me to drink as Jenson latched on.
  • Stress balls to squeeze


I finally felt like I was getting the hang of feeding. My boobs were still sore and incredibly full, they looked amazing, however, the constant weighing of Jenson brought the negatives. Jenson lost more than the 10% during his first 10 days. He was on the 9th centile, he stayed there but was slower at putting weight on, I was therefore hounded by health visitors telling me to top up with formula, pump breastmilk and see how much he is taking. I was unbelievably strong for a first time Mum and trusted my body and my own instincts and decided to ignore their advice, I knew he was putting on weight and he was such a happy baby that I didn’t feel I needed to give him formula. I had pumped but he wasn’t particularly interested in a bottle, in fact, he didn’t take a bottle until much later on and I wasn’t fussed by this. When I returned to work, I tried to express but I couldn’t really and he began to go off milk and opted for his food over milk. He would have follow on formula when he fancied it and I would feed him when I was off and morning and night. 

We got there.

After a year of breastfeeding, with his little teeth, he bit me. It bloody hurt. It also bled! At that point, I decided to call it a day. Jenson had his last nighttime feed and he didn’t bat an eyelid. I also felt relieved to be free again too a little. As time went on, I felt sad, I missed the closeness and the cuddles and I saw others feeding and looked on with gratitude to have experience that moment. 

Emeline’s feeding journey. 


The two of them could not be any further from the same. Same Mumma so same milk! Proves how every baby is different! I fed Emeline when she was just an hour old, mainly to get the placenta moving as I wanted a natural delivery. She latched on perfectly almost every immediately and suckled away. From there on, she fed every 2-3 hours and she was an incredibly efficient feeder so she fed for 10 – 15 minutes a time. 

Emeline loves her milk. Even now, she still loves to be fed and nursed. Her weight loss was minimal in the beginning and therefore her weight gain was on track and we were left alone. I felt more in control of feeding this time and I knew where I was going, however, I needn’t had worried as Emeline was a bigger baby who enjoyed her food more than Jenson. 

My advice

Not that I am really in any place to offer advice, but here goes, this is what worked for me. Some things that I found helped me with feeding, both my confidence and just my ability to feed too:

  1. Take your time – feed when and where you need to, don’t feel rushed or rush the baby. Everything can wait, even if that does include parking tickets.
  2. Feel confident – babies can be a nightmare. The amount of times Jenson would display my boob to a coffee shop was ridiculous. I wore a cape to keep my ‘dignity’ and also had a necklace for him to play with. 
  3. Don’t spend a fortune or nursing clothes – I used a lot of nursing vests and bras, these would be the two essentials but nursing tops are not necessary nor are they particularly comfortable. You can feed comfortable using a nursing best and wearing a normal lose top, also half the price. The tops where you open to pop your boob out did not work for me.
  4. Always carry breast pads – I particularly like reusable pads that I can wash, they need a few washes so they aren’t too fluffy and stick but you never run out, the sticky part doesn’t hurt your boob and they don’t make the papery noise. They also stay in place better throughout the day when you feed and turn your bra and top down.
  5. Wear a comfortable feeding bra – I love Marks and Spencer’s. They offer a good fitting service too and it’s generally advisable to get your nursing bras from 37 weeks onwards. 
  6. Use a high quality nipple cream – do this in advance to toughen up your nipples and continue to do so to keep yourself comfortable. You will still suffer some discomfort but it takes the edge off.
  7. Eat and drink plenty – breastfeeding takes lots of goodness, keep your fluid and food intake up. Keep snacks and bottles of water beside your bed, in your changing bag and at the bottom of the pram. Looking after Mum is the most important.
  8. Use shields – when my boobs were so sore and bleeding, I would use a shield to give them time to heal. I would cover my nipple in cream and continue to feed alternatively using a shield for a feed, then a break, then the shield again. 
  9. Get a good quality breast pump – definitely an electric one. Manuals need to have a good rhythm and take longer, time is not something you don’t have as a parent.
  10. Enjoy it! You have to dedicate your time, you will be the exclusive feeder for your baby, snuggle down, find the perfect feeding positions for you and your baby and enjoy it! Successful feeders are lucky, not every mum has a good journey and this can really upset and unsettle some mummies.

Finally, when Emeline was born, we had some photos taken at home. Our photographer was amazing and mentioned some women having feeding photos, I asked her to take some whilst I fed Emeline and I was delighted with the outcome. It really made me treasure these early days and I’ll look back on them with warmth. 

I feel so lucky to have been able to feed both my babies but also how much I enjoy it. I hope to feed any more we have. 

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We have started weaning…

Scott and I have been so looking forward to starting to wean Emeline, she follows food, shouts and is generally obsessed with whatever we are eating. We presume she will follow the family in being a real foodie.


We had a really successful weaning journey with Jenson too, he is such a good eater and will eat almost everything and I want the same for Emeline. It has always been, within reason, that he eats what we eat, from spaghetti bolognase to Indian take away – he is extremely well cultured food wise. We have also taken him out to lunch a lot, he chooses his dinner and loves this responsibility. 


So far, so good with Emeline. I’ve been using the Ella’s kitchen app and recipe book, although it’s just purées so far so it’s really straight forward. My weaning plan with Jenson worked well and I am trying to remember how we did it, so we are going for this: 

  1. Breakfast – porridge or cereal with baby led fruit.
  2. Lunch – baby led
  3. Dinner – purée for a taste of different foods with some baby led vegetables on the tray. 

We are only doing two meals a day as she is 5 1/2 months. We started with dinner and gradually introduced breakfast and finally we will add lunch. She isn’t overly keen on porridge or breakfast as a whole but loves the baby led part, I wonder if she will opt for that over being fed by us. Around 7 months, we moved totally to baby led and I’ll do the same if Emeline has chosen to do that first. 


It’s been so lovely seeing her try different foods, her favourites are carrots and peas. She definitely doesn’t like broccoli or cauliflower! Everything else she would happily eat but wasn’t over fussed on, butternut squash, parsnip, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and blueberries. Emeline has also been unwell this week so it has been tricky to work out if she was off her food or just didn’t like what we tried, apparently it takes the babies 10 attempts to try something to decide if they like it. 


We are going to start combining vegetables together for different tastes so tonight’s dinner is carrots and parsnip. I make sure I mix all her food with my milk for dose consistency too. I hope it continues to go this well! 

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Cosatto 3Sixti

It was about a month or so ago that we took the highchair plunge and I spent most of my time searching, researching and reading reviews on the perfect chair for us. 


We sold Jenson’s Mothercare highchair once we had finished using it as it didn’t fit in with out wants and expectations – dramatic highchair feelings! It wasn’t easy to put up or down, especially if you were holding a child! Nor did it pack away easily. It did have a snack tray but this also meant we couldn’t have the highchair at the table for dinner times without the tray, we always had to have the tray. This highchair just didn’t work for us. 

I spent one evening finding a selection from Stokke, Mamas and Papas, Chicco and Cosatto. Scott wittled them down, mostly based on design I think, the practicalities didn’t shout out for him! 


I eventually settled on the Cosatto 3Sixi but it was a toss up between that and the Cosatto Noodle. Both have a variety of beautiful designs, this delayed me ordering by about a week as the choice was ridiculous! In the end, I decided to go for the Apple 3Sixti highchair. What a brilliant decisions that was. At a very expensive £170, I was certain that if there was anything I was slightly unhappy with then we wouldn’t keep it. 

Needless to say, I love this high chair. Although a little heavy, which works in our favour when you have a ‘Jenson’.

  • I love the gas lift that I can do with my feet. It allows Emeline to sit both inside and outside with us at the table, which she can reach as the tray removes. My husband purpose built our gorgeous garden table but it doesn’t fit in with standard ‘chair height’. The gas lift means the baby can be any height, whilst I sit in the sofa and feed her, at the table or outside. 
  • The 360 feature also means she can be turned and twisted safely. This is good when feeding between myself and Scott at dinner time, it also means that sometimes Jenson tries to swing her round like a carousel. This is a handy feature that makes easier at times but it isn’t the best in my opinion. 
  • I like the recline for Emie once she has finished to sit back a little bit, it was also handy in the lead up to weaning. It meant I could sit her in their safely without her toppling over to join us at dinner time. 
  • I love the tray. It is easy to move, brightly coloured and easy to clean. Specifically, the fact there are two trays, the top level makes it so much easier to wipe clean for a small snack rather than removing the whole tray. My mum was super impressed by this!
  • Now the best bit is the straps, once you put baby in you build the straps around them, it’s a 5 point harness which is essential but rather than battling to squeeze arms backwards and sideways through places, you sit the baby in and place the over the arm and slide the side bit in (see photo). You can also do one side at a time. It’s a nice easy clip and no fingers or body parts get trapped or pinched either.
  • The tray is also at a good level so that smaller babies can still sit comfortably in it.
  • The designs of this and other Cosatto products are beautiful. I hope you’re more decisive than I am in deciding. 
  • It was easy to put together. I know because I watched my husband! 
  • The chair  comes with a 4 year guarantee! Ideal for first use and further uses afterwards. 

So yes, I would definitely recommend this high chair and make sure before really research about what you want before you purchase one in haste. The cheap and cheerful IKEA one is also really good! 

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I love my Mum

There has been many times, throughout my life, where my mum has driven me potty. Most days, she drives me mad at some point and she can be a bit of a fruit loop at times too but she has the biggest heart too and we are very lucky to have her. There is something special about a mother and daughter relationship and I hope I get that with Emeline. My Mum, would do anything to help us and both my children and I think the world of her. 


I remember the first time I saw her after giving birth to Jenson, I was so pleased to ‘see’ her, our relationship changed in that moment. I knew the love she felt, I knew how proud she felt and I felt proud to have given her a grandson. She knew how I felt having my first child, how excited and exhausted in the same breath. I cried and she cried with me. I immediately understood her reasons, her worry, her love, her battles and her feelings towards me and my sister. As the years have gone by, I have understood her neurotic crazy moments when you totally lose your shit over the smallest thing but in actual fact, it’s a build up of events, or a stress you parent moment you’re protecting little people from that bubbles over. I know how she feels and my respect for her has changed so much since having my own children as well as my love and my patience. On top of that, I am so grateful for her, her endless love and support and sometimes, advice. Often, I don’t want it! 


Whenever we need anything, she will almost always come running, unless the sewing bee is on. No joke. My children idolise her, they have a truly wonderful relationship and I am so reassured that they have such trust in her and adore her as much as she does them. My parents taught me some wonderful lessons, they were always fair, although at the time, it felt like they weren’t. My sister and I were brought up well and have good morals, something I want Jenson and Emeline to have, I want their parenting to filter through mine, although of course I want it to be different and do it my own way with my own style too, it’s a learning journey and one I want to discover but I learnt so many skills from them. Sometimes, it amazes me that my sister and I survived with some things my Mum and Dad say and do… There is a huge generation gap between parenting and grandparenting!

 
I don’t think I say thank you enough, I always say it as I have good manners but I don’t spontaneously thank her. I used to take her for dinner but maternity leave and busy lives has put a stop to that recently. I want her to know I am grateful for what she does for us. 

Today, both children are unwell, and like before, she came over to help with my sanity. Mum went to Lidl to collect bread rolls for Jenson’s soup and biscuits as requested by Jenson in a lovely, long voice message. She then San and cuddled him, then Emeline, then played, then watched a film before leaving for her Sainsburys food shop. We had a nice time chatting and sympathising with Jenson and Emeline and it was such a nice afternoon. 

So, Mum, thank you. For everything over the past 28+ years. More specifically, the recent 4+ where you have shown your value as a Mum as well as a Nana. 

Love you. 

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Emeline’s Christening 

On Sunday, we celebrated our beautiful daughter and her Christening. Emeline was christened at the church Scott and I got married in, and the church that Jenson was also christened in. It holds very fond memories for me. 


I was so excited for this day, having my children christened is important to me. I want them to belong to a community and have comfort and safety in a faith, similar to what I do. Scott is atheist but understands why it is important and supports that for our children. We are always well looked after and we have been very lucky in life, I feel that someone is out their looking out for me and my family and protecting us, I want that for my children.  


Religion can sometimes really confuse me, when bad things happen. That isn’t fair and never seems it, but I guess that’s also the circle of life. I also feel safe and secure that there are reasons and answers to some things too, it’s a mind field. I should and could probably invest more time and understanding in it but I know what I need to and I am happy with that. 


Jenson talks about God and I answer the best way I can. He will attend a Church of England school in September and I am sure that will be give him his own understanding. 


We had an amazing day on Sunday, surrounded by our closest family and friends. We were not traditional and like Jenson, Emeline had 5 wonderful Godparents. Our children did us so proud, they also had a lovely day celebrating and behaved beautifully. I was a very proud Mummy, wife and friend. 

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Talent 

Well, let’s start by saying, I don’t have one. I am ‘good’ at lots of different things but I definitely don’t have a specific talent, or a hobby really. I am so easily distracted too that I rarely complete things. 


My mum and sister on the other hand and brilliant bakers, and cake decorators. I am so lucky, we often have brilliant desert treats after dinner or my sister will do ridiculous amounts of baking. Her flapjacks are amazing! 
Since Jenson has been born, Mum has made and decorated every cake he has needed. Each year, Jenson’s demands get bigger and she never disappoints! 

  • 1st birthday – The Gruffalo
  • 2nd birthday – a farm
  • 3rd birthday – digger cake 
  • 4th birthday – Paw Patrol! 


She also made his christening cake and this weekend, she has made Emeline’s. I find my ideas on Pinterest and send them to her and she makes something spectacular. Everyone always comments on how special they are, especially as Nana made them but also how lovely they are. Recently, mum has been diagnosed with arthritis so she struggles with the finer details a bit more, I hope it never stops her form baking as I know she loves it. I used an eBay shop to buy the sugar craft bits, they arrived in perfect condition and they’re so reasonable for the resources, time and effort that go in. I also bought her bunting stencils – at the time this was ridiculous apparently but after making all the bunting, she got her money’s worth apparently!

So here it is, the beautiful cake for Emeline Charlotte’s christening day! She even sent me a 360 tour!

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Grateful for two healthy, happy children. 

This day, last year is stuck in my memory. Thank god we had a beautiful outcome, Emeline. 


My year two children were about to start their SATs, I was nervous for them. I woke up in the night of  Monday 18th May, I was 8 weeks pregnant. I was bleeding. I panicked and rang my midwife unit who told me ‘not to panic’, easier said than done and that I was to make a doctors appointment for the next day for an emergency scan. 

I woke the next morning and went to work, what ever was happening was happening and I also needed to set things up for the week for my class. Time off as a teacher is ridiculous! It was easier to go to work, sort things out and speak to my headteacher and deputy there. As soon as my headteacher knew, I went sent home immediately. I had my doctors appointment and an emergency scan was booked, for Thursday. Not sure why they’re called emergency for a scan four days later. In the meantime, if the bleedin got worse, or if I experienced more paint I should speak to midwife but I should rest!

All I heard that week, from the doctor, midwives and people I knew was: 

It is normal to lose blood in pregnancy, it’s very common.

Thats great, but right now, I don’t want to hear it. I want to know everything is okay. I also had my 8 week booking in appointment, my midwife was less that sympathetic. She even shared with me many reasons why I could be having a miscarriage, that was reassuring. Especially when she made reference to my BMI and being overweight. Thanks for that. 

I left that appointment, deflated, stressed and upset. At that point, I decided to really look in to homebirth and 121 midwives. My friend had given birth a few days earlier, and had a wonderful homebirth with their guidance. 

My scan day arrived, I had relaxed and rested as much as possible for the week, Jenson was looked after by my Mum like normal, so it was just me at home. Scott and I filled out the questionnaire and waited to be called. There was a doctor, midwife and sonographer present, that was daunting. My bladder was too full, so it was squashing my uterus, I needed to empty it for the scan. 

It felt like 76 years but eventually, our little dot was found. There was no clear evidence of where the bleeding had come from, but a tiny seed on the screen had a strong heartbeat. I cried. 


A year later, I am so grateful for Emeline. To imagine life without her now makes my heart sink. I am so lucky that my bleeding wasn’t a miscarriage, but it felt like the worst week. The stress, worry and anticipation. The desperate need for everything to be okay. 

I feel overwhelmly emotional today. I treasure her and our moments together. Thank you Emeline for brightening our world!