The hotMaMa Diaries

The hotMaMa Diaries

Everyone has a different experience of parenting and motherhood and there is no right or wrong path along this crazy journey. The hotMaMa diaries is a place to read stories from other mothers and even share your own!

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  1. JulyI am still breastfeeding my daughter well into toddlerhood and the experience has been so rewarding watching my child thrive and grow.

     

    I always knew I wanted to breastfeed even before falling pregnant. While I was pregnant the thought did seem daunting to me. I came from a small family and was the first of my cousins to fall pregnant, and the first in my friendship circle too. I had not really seen anyone breastfeed their baby in front of me. 

     

    Although breastfeeding is natural, it doesn't always come easily and is a learned art. Like any new skill, you will get better with practice.

     

    Here are my 6 tips for success:

     

    1. Get educated BEFORE the baby arrives

    I can't stress this enough. Let me tell you when that baby comes you won't have time to shower let alone read up on breastfeeding. Most babies breastfeed within an hour of being born, so it pays to learn what to do well before your baby is due. Please guys if you do any online research, make sure you are seeking good quality information from reliable sources. I would recommend reading some good books instead though. Learn about all the amazing benefits of breastfeeding, and all the facts and myths. Mentally preparing yourself is so important. 

     

    2. Sign up to a breastfeeding course

    During your second trimester you may attend a breastfeeding course. The NHS and breastfeeding support groups such as La Leche League UK offer some amazing courses.  Run by a qualified educator they will cover important content like: the first feed, skin-to-skin contact, positioning, attachment, milk supply, partner roles and common concerns. They will allow plenty of time for questions and will give you information to take home with you.

     

    3. Stock up on the necessities

    Look, lets me real here, you don’t really need anything to breastfeed other than a comfortable chair. But if you want to be super prepared here is a list of some items which you may want to purchase: a few nursing tops (or button ups) that are easy to pull down, a few good supportive nursing bras, nursing pads, cream for sore nipples and frozen gel packs. Some mums also find it helpful to have a rocker, a sling, a pump, breast milk storage bottles or bags, or a nursing pillow, but you can do fine without these.

     

    4. Be educated about how labour can affect breastfeeding

    You can improve your odds for successful breastfeeding if you can reduce or limit interventions during labour. Attend the labour course run by your hospital to get more information and ask plenty of questions.

     

    5. Know your body

    Check to see whether you have inverted nipples. Do not worry if you have inverted nipples, just know that there are devices which you may need to use to help you.

     

    6. Breastfeed your baby as soon as possible after you deliver.

    Babies who are breastfed within the first hour generally have more successful breastfeeding experiences than those who aren’t. Give plenty of skin-to-skin contact with your baby.

    July2

    Nina Belle (aka Judgy Mummy), is a 30-year-old Australian blogger, wife and mother. A breastfeeding advocate, Nina is successfully breastfeeding her 20-month-old daughter. Passionate about breastfeeding she aims to inspire and encourage other women to breastfeed their children well into toddlerhood. Nina also writes about pregnancy, baby topics, parenting and fun DIY activities. Her blog is www.judgymummy.com

     

  2. In a world where millions of people can be reached in the time it takes to post an emoji, these are meant to be the most connected, the most engaged of our history. And yet despite all of these advances, these opportunities and methods of communication, people, including new mothers, are still suffering in silence from something that you would think no longer exists in the 21st century: loneliness. Myself, as a first-time mother, included.

    According to the Office for National Statistics this year: "In the UK, 5% of people aged 15 and over reported feeling lonely most or almost all of the time in the week (...)"

    I'm a happily married 31 year old who had her daughter 'R' fifteen months ago. For context, I live with my husband in a lovely small town in Cheshire but sadly, our closest family live 120 miles away. My friends consist of a mix of ex and current colleagues, university friends, and a new social group of local mums who had babies around the same time I had mine. Little R is my only child and I have felt repeatedly lonely since she was born.

    A few hours after my daughter was born, she was taken away from me and admitted into Special Care with suspected meningitis. Even writing this, I can't stop the tears smarting my eyes. It should have been the most joyful, love-filled memory and yet I can still picture myself sitting in a side room of the hospital, with an empty chair where my husband should have been (he was sent home), and an empty cot where my baby should have been. That was the first, but not the last, moment I felt truly lonely.

    Loneliness should not be confused with being alone. You can easily be alone, or be just you and baby, and not feel one iota lonely - in the same way you can be in a room full of friends or other new mothers and feel so desperately isolated from everyone in that space that you hide in the toilet with your baby and cry (she says from experience.)

    An article by the Daily Mail said: "In a new survey, commissioned by AXA PPP healthcare and Netmums, more than a quarter of first-time mums admit to feeling lonely, with 24 per cent also admitting they had no family nearby to help with the workload of caring for a young child."

    Yep, that'll be me then! But at the time, I didn't realise I felt this way as I was trying to overcome separation anxiety from my baby (you can read my blog post on this here) and I hadn't really thought about loneliness as a first-time mother. After all, how can you be lonely when you have another human being with you 24/7I had a rough start with Little R being in Special Care, and also with a multitude of breastfeeding complications (tongue-tie, mastitis, low milk supply, bleeding that caused R to vomit  blood...) but the love I felt for my daughter meant my every waking (and often sleeping) moments were about her, what she needs and wants above my own needs and wants. Feeling lonely was just 'one of those things' - and that it wouldn't stop me doing the activities I felt I *had* to do with Little R.

    Then one day I had spent a whole day at home because R's sleep was so erratic and I didn't want to disrupt her routine (are you nodding along there?) Out of the blue a friend dropped in for a cuppa on her way home from work to see how I was and I preceded to sob my heart out and utter four life-changing words: "I feel so alone." That was the breakthrough.

    After finally admitting it to myself (and my poor friend), I was then able to identify what triggered those feeling, and know when I needed to ask for help. My triggers were trying to fit in all the chores during baby's very short nap times, often crying in the sink and desperately wishing I wasn't doing this on my own. I was also worst in the period between my husband leaving work (which is erratic, as he works away a lot) and waiting for him to come home; that countdown was my nemesis as I felt chained to the house due to feeding/nap time routines but was very ready for someone (anyone) to be there, talk to me, make me a cup of tea or simply provide enough of a distraction that I could 'let go' whatever was overwhelming me at the time. Once I had established a pattern, I was able to put things in place that made me feel supported when I suspected I may need that the most, with the love and support of my husband, friends and family.

    If you're reading this and feel the same then I urge you to do what I did and speak out. Whether it's to your partner, a friend, your GP, your health visitor, or even a neighbour, everyone deserves to feel like they have someone to turn to in a moment of need. You'll be surprised just how many people will be there for you, so long as you are brave enough to speak out. I urge you to be brave. After all, becoming a mother is the bravest thing you will ever do and you've already done that bit.

    Laura Tweedale
    Styles by nature (no longer by name)
    https://stylesbynature.blogspot.co.uk

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