Meet the team – Becca

As part of our meet the team , here’s 10 Questions with the lovely Becca….

1. Crayon- yellow. Happy colour. Useful for the sun and stars and bright cheery things!

2. 90’s jam- strawberry! 😉
TLC- no scrubs. Used to know all the words and put on shows at break time!!

3. Animal- Dog probably! If had good owner- good walks, comfy bed, lots of cuddles- being loved despite being a pain in the arse sometimes!!

4. Inspiration- Different things! Current book- positive parenting. Buddhist ethos of positivity.

5. Fight- batman- he’s batman ffs! Way cooler than Spider-Man.

6. Crisps- barbecue beef hula hoops!

7. Holiday- langkawi. Truly beautiful and exotic.
Devon is pretty good in good weather too!

8. Best mummy bits- unconditional overwhelming love! Laughter, cuddles, pride and being a family.

9. Worse mummy bits- Tiredness! Mess! Headspace! Constant whining!

10. Mantra- hurry up!!! Feel myself saying it enough to be a mantra.
Or- find a solution! Works quite well in lots of ways.

Meet the team – Hannah

10 questions and 10 answers with the lovely Hannah

*You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What colour would you be and why?

Red. Yellow. No, green. Maybe white. I don’t know. This is a really weird question. I love colours, is this some kind of strange psychological test?

*What’s your favorite ’90s jam?

Nirvana, Smells Like Teen Spirit.

*If you could be any animal in the world, what animal would you be and why?

A labrador, because I am loyal, and I love a cuddle and a stroll round the park.

*What inspires you?

My amazing parents and sisters; my wonderful husband; my beautiful children who teach me to see the world through their innocent joyous eyes; my lovely friends and fabulous business partner; all the incredible mothers and mothers-in-waiting I have the privilege to meet as a midwife and at TBJ; all the knock-out mumpreneurs I meet.

Oooh and Sarah Willingham, Karen Brady, Clemmie Hooper, the Innocent team and Barack Obama.

And the sea.

And coffee and chocolate and a bit of a chat.

(In fact, let’s have a party on the beach and enjoy the magic)

*Who would win a fight between Spiderman and Batman?

Batman. Obviously.

*What is your favourite crisp flavor?

Salt & vinegar. Cheap ones, posh ones, flat ones, ridgy ones, love them all.

*Best holiday destination ever?

Adored the Amalfi coast. Love Devon. Planning a trip to Paris. Daydreaming of taking Mr H to New York and the Maldives.

*Best thing about being a Mummy?

The beautiful hilarious little things they say in their tiny voices. Seeing them learn and flourish, and be proud of their own achievements. Watching their kindness. Feeling empowered to do anything because of the strength motherhood brings. The moment they reach for your hand with theirs and hold on. Their utter unconditional love for you just the way you are. Them whispering “I love you Mummy” as they cuddle you goodnight.

*Worst thing about being a Mummy?

Not being able to help them when they are in pain or somebody has hurt their feelings. The relentlessness when you want to press pause. Second guessing every choice you make and still feeling like you’re probably getting it all wrong. Feeling lonely but never alone.

* What’s your daily mantra?

Action not perfection.
Just keep swimming.
Be grateful and enjoy this.
#dontgiveafu*k

Meet the team – Jules

10 questions & 10 answers….with Jules

1) You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What colour would you be and why?
I’d be blue – so that everyone could colour in the sky with me

2) What’s your favorite ’90s jam?
Definitely Natalie Imbruglias Torn. I love singing that song as loud as I can in the car. Kids hate it!

3) If you could be any animal in the world, what animal would you be and why?
Meercat – they live in cool little gangs, they are really fast and they like the sunshine

4) What inspires you?
Usual stuff – my lovely family and close friends. Plus Alan Sugar. I love that man.

5) Who would win a fight between Spiderman and Batman?
Without a doubt batman. Bats eat spiders. fact

6) What is your favourite crisp flavour?
Easy peasy, ready salted. standard.

7) Best holiday destination ever?
Thailand, sunsets in Koi Samui are breathtaking

8) Best thing about being a Mummy?
Cuddles and proud moments

9) Worst thing about being a Mummy?
Whinging and bodily fluids

10) What’s your daily mantra?
“You are enough” or ‘What would Alan do’

Halloween and all things scary….

Happy Halloween!

Today got us thinking about all things scary…….one of the things is how your lovely lady garden/fanny/Minnie/fanghita is going to fair following birth? The though of tearing and stitches can leave ladies feeling a bit green round the gills, worried about whether it will ever be the same again? Or maybe it will just all fall out whilst walking around the garden centre, pushing your pram. Awkward….you’d be scraping it all up off the floor running out clutching your precious uterus shouting ‘ I might need this again’ ….

Anyway…. Good news is, you don’t need to be afraid, here’s our guide to looking after your beloved vagina.

Like a scout (or beaver!) Be prepared, there are a few things you can organise in advance to help out. About 75% of women who have a vaginal birth will have some sort of stitch, graze or tear that involves the skin and muscles layers in the vagina & labia. So….

Sanitary towels: Buy decent ones (we quite like Mothercare) as you don’t want them to irritate any stitches you may have. Use ones with wings, change them regularly and sometimes you might need to wear 2 at the same time. One at the front and one at the back.

Lavender/tea tree oil: These oils are great for helping to heal and soothe your lady garden, and you should aim to bathe twice a day for the first week or so if you can. Just run a shallow bath, pop a few drops of oil into a 1-2 table spoons of milk, shake and add to the bath. The milk helps the oils to disperse in water. Sit in the bath for about five minutes…. Enjoy a quick relax!

Hairdryer: The thought of rubbing your bits dry with a towel leaves you howling like a banshee… So lots of patting dry is necessary. You could even pop your hairdryer on a cold setting and waft it up between your legs, ensuring everything is nice a dry. You might look a bit strange if your beloved walks into the bedroom at this point. Kinky!!

Arnica: This is a fantastic little homeopathic remedy, perfect for speeding up bruising in your slightly battered Minnie. You mustn’t use the cream though, tablets only and you can pick them up in Boots.

Drugs: Welcome back ibuprofen! They’ve been absent during the pregnancy, but welcome them back with open arms, for they have magic anti inflammatory powers. Safe when breastfeeding your little bundle, and non drowsy, so take regularly to combat any pain.

Jug: It can be a bit uncomfortable to wee when you’ve got stitches or grazes, so try having a jug full of warm water nearby when you go, and pour it down the front of your labia. The warm water is really soothing and it helps to dilute any concentrated urine that can make it stingy. Think paper cut finger and salt and vinegar crisps….
Make sure you drink lots of water too!

Sit like a man: don’t be all Lady like and sit with your legs crossed, it can pull on the muscles causing pain. So sit like a big burly bloke!

There’s always a lot of poo chat when it comes to having a baby, but it tends to be focused on those ‘poonami’ nappies that baby produces… But what about your poo?! The first poo after childbirth can be more nerve wracking than an English A level in Mussolini…when you haven’t revised. At all.
Good news is, it’s never as bad as you think. Take your time. Drink lots of water. Take a step (or stool!) to the bathroom with you and sit on the toilet with your knees elevated, it makes it easier to empty your bowel. Good diet full of fruit and veg (sound like my mum!) Once you’ve been, don’t forget to congratulate yourself on the safe delivery of your first post baby poo!

Frozen peas: If it all seems a bit swollen and puffy down there, try something cold like a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel. Or even a sanitary towel in the freezer? Just hold close to your swollen bits for 5-10 minutes to gain some relief. I can remember using a cold can of G&T… It was a sad waste of a G&T!

Pelvic floor: You can start these exercises when you feel ready, don’t worry if it all feels a bit numb to begin with. Just take your time and it will become easier with practice. Try and find a point in the day when you remember, a nappy change maybe? Or when your feeding? Whilst waiting at traffic lights is a favourite of ours….. everyone has weird pelvic floor face so fear not.

Sex: At some point in the distant future, you’ll look at one another and decide you’re going to have to sex again. It might be a mad 5 minutes of crazy hornyness on the sofa, or a planned night of passion (Maybe even M&S 2 dine for £10!!) Either way you’ll be a bit worried about how your fanny will manage, will it completely repel the advancing penis? Will he think it feels different? Baggy somehow? Will it all disintegrate?!
Once again, it’s never as bad as you think. Use LOTS of lubricant (think online shopping!) and take it steady. Foreplay is a must…..you might even enjoy it!

Bottom line, Your vagina is amazing, look after it!

labor-pumpkin

And breathe…..

And breathe……

Here at TBJ towers, we are big fans of pregnancy yoga. We have all taken part in classes, but most recently Jules attended Ann Carrol’s Lotus Bud yoga.
Initially…. If I were being totally honest, cards on the table type honest, I wasn’t sure pregnancy yoga was for me, thought I’d struggle to relate to it…… I was very, very wrong.

It’s a fantastic experience, and totally worthwhile….even if you are planning all the drugs on offer during the birth, or your being induced… yoga will still help you during the pregnancy, birth and beyond. I think that there is a common misconception that by choosing yoga, then no pain relief will be offered during labour. Or that medical inventions mean that yoga will no longer be useful, in reality, the 2 can work really well together.

I really looked forward to my yoga classes each week, they became a peaceful opportunity to totally absorb all things positive, thinking solely about my growing baby. Classes would start with the chance to just clear your mind of all the activity from previous days, leading into comfortable stretches. My body went from tight, achy and broken… to supple, bendy and strong.
As busy working women, we don’t often get the opportunity to focus on what baby is doing, yoga allows you the time to think about babies movements, their positions and their gorgeous little faces. Ann always encouraged us to ‘smile’ at our babies, an unusual concept that I came to love and practice. When I smile at Bertie now, and he smiles back… it’s just how I imagined it would be. Perfect.

The fear of childbirth is ever present in society and in our own minds. A miserable grey cloud coming across the sky, creeping up on you when you least expect it. You’ll be happily putting on your mascara in the mirror one morning, when all of a sudden you’ll think ‘my babies head is huge, how am I going to get it out my fanny?!’ and this little bubble of fear and anxiety starts to rise upwards. Midwives get it too you know!

All the ‘helpful’ and often unintentional comments of previous women come to the forefront of your mind. Reminding you how awful it could be, how you’ll never have sex again afterwards and you’ll never cope because you’re too tired. As your resting heart rate starts to rise…… that’s when the yoga thinking comes in. The power of the positive thought can squash those nasty bubbles of fear and anxiety. Reminding you that your body was made to do this, you are strong and your baby knows how to be born. Remembering that your body has done a fairly amazing job so far…….

So how did it help on D-Day, well the amazing ‘Golden thread’ breath helped me to focus – even having the syntocinon drip to start the labour off. I felt in control in a situation that was very much out of my control. I felt him moving, focused on that little smiling face, remembered that he knew how to be born and that I was strong enough to do this.
Breathing techniques learnt at yoga can help with a range of scenarios, those hours in early labour at home, vaginal examinations, stitches, even painful breastfeeding.
The different positions and stretches that we learnt, showing how capable your body is. Making you more confident in labour that you could find a position that would work for you. Practicing them at home amused my husband no end, when I would suddenly leap off the sofa and start stretching during the advert break of location location location – encouraging him to join me!

There is something really empowering about sitting with other pregnant women, comparing bumps, ailments and worries. Sharing funny stories, thinking collectively about labour and motherhood. 2nd and 3rd time mums sharing their experiences and 1st time mums absorbing all that they can. Feeling excited when one mum has her baby and everyone sharing the news.

So whatever birth you are planning, whatever path it may take from being in the pool to being monitored… yoga can help. It can make you feel more positive, empowered and ready for whatever Baby Journey you go on.
There are lots of options for yoga in Cheltenham. We love Ann Carrol at Lotus Bud Yoga (look for her on facebook or tel: 07973 892 404)
And Emma Whitehouse at Mini Moments, you can find them on facebook & website or tel: 07966 160817

Namaste – Jules x
pregnancywoman

Why are newborns so noisy?

Why are newborns so noisy?

Whoever said the sentence ‘Sleeping like a baby’ clearly never had one, or slept in a bedroom with one, or even a house with one.
It seems to be that there is a massive chapter missing in all the baby books, or maybe it’s just a huge big secret and someone at GCHQ will be knocking on my door next week… but I’m going to say it anyway, ready…. Newborn babies sound like truffle pigs. There, I said it. And I’m not afraid of the consequences.

It’s actually totally annoying and paranoia provoking. For those of you who are yet to produce your bundles of joy…. Here’s an insight into a common scenario across bedrooms all across the land.

The snuffly newborn has just fed, then been winded, thrown up a bit, been fed again, pooped its pants, been changed, thrown up a bit more and then fed again. Finally, the little darling has nodded off into the land of dreams.
You then have this pressure to fall asleep as quickly as humanly possible before the miniature human wakes again (anywhere between 1-4hrs later)
So you quickly have a wee, change sanitary towels and breast pads, grab a glass of water, check the room temperature, stare at the baby and feel a bit teary at how cute they are… then feel completely knackered with dry and itchy eyes and jump under the duvet. Dad is probably already snoring next to you at this point.

You lie there with your eyes shut (tight) thinking ‘I must sleep, I must sleep’ but next you is the worlds noisiest sleeper (& we don’t mean Daddy)

Babies make so many different types of noises whilst they are sleeping, here are a few that we have discovered:

Snuffles – snorts – hiccups – sighs – grunts – straining – gurgles – squeaks – weird little giggle noises – farts – hums – weird throat clearing noises….

PLUS – they have a habit of changing their breathing rates, sometimes they speed it up… sometimes they slow it down. This is what leads to new parents frantically turning on the light and checking baby is OK. They remain fast asleep during all of this, getting quality kip, whilst you are lying there, exhausted and unable to sleep through paranoia and been kept awake by the cute micro piggy in the cot next to you.

Just as you have nodded off….. the piggy wants feeding!

Welcome to Parenthood……

The 1st Winter

Loving the first flush of spring after a long winter of baby illnesses? Welcome to our latest guest writer’s blog! Thank you Frankie for sharing your story and all the fun of poorly baby-ness that comes in the first few months. We hope that the springtime banishes the bugs and we’re in for a lovely healthy snot-free few months ahead!! Take it away Frankie……

first-aid-kit

 

In the last 3 months it seems that snot is the new buzz word in our house. How can somebody so small produce such a large quantity of ickyness.
The cold sneaks up on you so quickly there is no time to prepare. One sneeze and bam you’re off on a journey of sleepless nights, sore noses and coughs that sound like they are coming from a 20 a day smoker.

8 months ago I did not think I would be sucking snot from my babies nose – with an aspirator I hasten to add, not my mouth; although that would probably be easier..
The older she gets the more she seems to dislike it, I can’t wait for the day she understands the words “blow you’re nose”

The cold seems to linger for weeks and just when it seems to be retreating and you’re giving yourself a big high five, you hear a new sound, what is it? A wheeze! Up to the doctors you go, they say all these scary words like nebuliser, inhaler, asthma, antibiotics. “How can this be” you ask yourself, she’s just a baby. She seems to cope far better then I do, but I’m not the one getting the yummy banana medicine, maybe they should prescribe a bottle for the parents too. She seems amused by the mask on the inhaler, spending the whole time licking it. The steroid tablets aren’t a lot of fun , Trying to mix them with as little amount of water as possible so you can fit it in a syringe, it’s not easy I can tell you. You spend 10 minutes trying to dissolve them and get the water into the syringe, just for her to then dribble and spit it all back out within 30 seconds. (Grits teeth)
A week or so of meds and puffing away on inhalers and daily nebulisers and she’s on the mend.
Or is she?

Groan…

Let me introduce you to RotaVirus. You thought poo was bad? Ha diarrhea is a whole new level, and this then leads to a raw little bleeding baboons bum. Changing nappies every 30 minutes, even through the night.. We get prescribed more antibiotics and cream that you put on so thick it looks like you’re icing a cake. Bring back the cold you think to yourself. (am i the only one that loved when one nappy started been enough for one whole night sleep?!?)
After 10 days things return to normal. Warning – when re introducing solids, be prepared for more poo then ever, as can cause irritation to the already sore gut, bleurgh!

Suffice to say my little bear has been through the illnesses, yet still she manages to smile and giggle her way through most days.
Were on 1st name terms with the doctor, Isla always has a beaming smile waiting for them, I’m sure by the end of the winter I’ll have a platinum loyalty card, if there were such a thing..

As I write this I’ve just received a bite to the boob (ouch) by the 2 new teeth that are trying to disturb the blissful non illness peace we have been enjoying for the past few weeks. To be continued.

 

Thank you lovely lady – we can totally sympathise with the *joys* of poorly little ones. If you’d like to find out more about first aid for infants (or baby massage or new mum’s fitness) why not book on to one of our new baby workshops? www.thebabyjourney.co.uk/booking

If you have a story you would like to share we would LOVE to hear it. Send us your words at hello@thebabyjourney.co.uk

x x x

 

Me time!

Hey Peeps! Hows it all going? I hope you are all ok and managing to smile through the wet and windy weather……

Here at The Baby Journey we are all good, Hannah’s bump is growing really well (only 10 days left to go….) Apart from the hideous heartburn and niggling tightenings she’s totally rocking the pregnant thing and looks blinking gorgeous!

I’ve been doing really well, feeling very smiley and happy – I’m putting it down to my new exercise sessions. I am really enjoying my new challenge and I’m getting a lot out of it. For those of you who read our January blog, you’ll know that I am doing ‘Your Final Fitness Formula’ with the lovely Laura Milne www.laura-milne.co.uk

I was initially worried about how I was going to fit the classes in, would I be falling asleep at my desk? Would I have to sacrifice time with the little people? Would my husband forget what I look like?
Well, I needn’t have worried about any of that. Completing the classes has given me a whole new bundle of energy and my husband has commented on my energy levels (especially at 7am when I am making him tea!)

I am managing to fit in 3 classes a week, Laura offers over 13 options per week in Cheltenham, so there’s always something that works. Admittedly I was initially doubtful that I would actually get my backside out of bed and start an exercise class at 6am…… but I genuinely enjoy it. I find that I am home before 7am, the kids are still all sleepy in their little beds and don’t even know that mummy has been up and out already. The evening classes are easy to fit in around bedtime and bathtime – Husband has played a star role and has been really supportive, encouraging me lots. He has enjoyed cooking lots of new recipes that Laura has sent us, nothing crazy, just good old fashioned, heathy, tasty and nutritious food (its not a million miles from what we were eating before, just altered slightly) We have got a real taste now for using coconut oil in cooking and I now crave peppermint tea!

So when it came to stepping on the scales it was lovely to see them telling me that I weighed 9lbs less (I had thought my trousers were a bit loose) but it wasn’t really about that. I just wanted to feel that I was doing something for me……. As soon as that baby is born your world changes and you’re a Mummy. You put yourself second/third/forth every time – you have to. You have their needs at the top of your list and after a while this can feel a bit suffocating. For me, getting out at 6am might seem a bit crazy but I feel so good afterwards, it sets me up for the day.

Laura and all the ladies who do the classes are so lovely and welcoming that you can’t help but start the day smiling. Even though somedays I have been seriously aching and my family have sniggered at me as I have come down the stairs on my bum as its easier – It’s totally worth it!
I can feel my body shape changing, clothes fitting better, muscles feeling stronger and a more positive outlook. Its easy to feel a bit down in the dumps, especially at this time of year when the weather is cold dark and miserable. Bank accounts look a bit sorry for themselves and your summer holiday seems miles away….. but Ive been breezing through these last few weeks. Exercising has had a real positive effect on my mental attitude.
I could have just joined a gym – but I know I would have let myself down. Laura offers a perfect balance of encouragement (without being pushy) and support (without being too soft!) So if I’ve told her I’ll be there at Thursday’s session, then I don’t want to let her down.

So, I am not training for the Rio Olympics – but I am a healthy, busy and happy Lady which helps me to be a better Mother (I hope!)

Get in touch if you would like to know more about our services here at The Baby Journey or Laura’s wonderful Final Fitness Formula.149322_10153723113925181_1995712390_n

New Years Resolutions!

Hello & welcome to the first blog of 2014 from The Baby Journey Team!

Where do we start? So much has happened! Christmas has now gone, the tree is looking sad outside in the garden and the batteries from the kids toys are running out already. The mini chedders have been scoffed, the cardboard is building up in the recycling bin and you felt all sentimental on New Year’s Eve (big softies!)

So whats 2014 going to bring you? A bigger bump? A crawling baby? A return to work? Here’s what it’s bringing us……

We would like to welcome a brand new member of the team, Becca. She has started teaching classes with us and is already proving to be an invaluable member of the TBJ team. She is a Midwife (currently working in Oxford) living in Cheltenham and has 2 small people of her own, Sophie & Teddy. She can’t function without a cuppa first thing in the morning, she’s a big dog lover and full of bright ideas!
She will be with us now as our business grows offering lots of new and exciting classes in Gloucestershire – Welcome Becca!

Hannah’s bump (nicknamed Lola) is growing really well and Hannah is looking radiant, albeit the heartburn. Just a few more weeks working for the NHS and then maternity leave (aka her ‘Gap’ year as quoted by Mr Hannah) begins. Lola is due to make an appearance at the end of February – we will of course keep you all posted on the intended new arrival. My guess March 3rd 7lb 10oz…….

We also have a lovely new venue at the Cheltenham Park Hotel – we were very sad to leave the Manor by the lake but planned renovation work their end and a growing classes our end meant pastures new were required. It should tick all the boxes though (nothing less than the best for our clients) lots of parking, great location, air con, heating, refreshments a plenty and course, The Baby Journey Team!

So did you have any new years resolutions then? Mine were to improve fitness and the old ‘lose weight’ cliche – so I have recently embarked on a fitness programme with the rather lovely Laura Milne (www.yourfinalfitnessformula.com) in Cheltenham which is a great combination of exercise classes, sensible eating ideas and online support from a great group of people. So far I am 2 classes in and feeling healthier already (plus one class was at 6am and I haven’t seen that time in the morning since my babies were awake being fed!) So wish me luck as I plough through 2014, getting healthy and losing weight! I will keep you all posted on my progress, hopefully the results will be visible in a few weeks!

Our style night with the fabulous Kate Evans in December was a great success, it was lovely to see you all in Copa with (shock horror) NO changing bags/babies/prams – apparently we do all manage to stand up straight without a buggy! It’s important to try and factor in a little ‘me’ time, especially when baby arrives. To remember who you are and what your interested in. Maybe you might join in an exercise class (there were lots of mums at Laura’s sessions and buggies/children are welcome) or start a book club, or take up a new hobby (archery anyone?!) Remember that ‘happy mums = happy babies’ and sometimes that might mean 30 minutes once a week without them.

We are so looking forward to meeting our latest bunch of recruits tomorrow evening, if you are expecting a baby and you’re keen on learning more about birth and the first few months with your baby, then book onto one of our classes. They are practical, non-preachy and very honest (the sort of advice that your best friend would give you)
Remember that we also host scrummy coffee mornings at Wholefoods once a month (all bumps and babies welcome) and New Baby Workshops at The Queens Hotel covering baby massage, baby first aid and new mums fitness. You can book any of these through our website, so what are you waiting for – join in The Baby Journey fun!

See you all soon

Jules (& Hannah & Becca) xx

Breastfeeding trophies

Hello beautiful readers, welcome to this month’s guest blog, one lovely new mummy’s story of her journey along the path of breastfeeding. Thank you for sharing your story Rachel…….

 

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“I think we all deserve a trophy…

It seems that each of us mums have had a hurdle we have had to leap over, a battle we’ve had to fight or a mountain we’ve had to climb, where finally we get through it and really should be quite proud of ourselves. Maybe it was pregnancy, or just getting pregnant, or birth, or P.N.D, or inlaws, or weaning. Well for me, it was breastfeeding.

I’d read all the books, I was aware of the benefits and I was surrounded by boobtastic breastfeeding friends. I knew it wasn’t going to be a doddle and I was ready for sore nipples but I knew breastfeeding was something that I wanted to do, just because I wanted to do it. But let’s start from the beginning because to be honest, I feel like I want to buy myself a trophy!

After over an hour in surgery after a less than enjoyable birth I finally got to feed my hungry new baby boy. And to my surprise, he knew what to do. He immediately latched on and had his first suck. Wow! I loved it, I felt like a mum. Until probably 2.5 seconds later, when he suddenly didn’t have a clue what he was doing, licking away like a toddler with an ice pop, and that was pretty much the story for the first 3 months of his life. So I hand expressed those precious drops of colostrum. All was fine, I realised this was normal and was ready for a bit of perseverance (even though I felt like a bruised, battered, knackered, hormonal, terrified new mum).

Over the next few days in hospital and then at home, I managed to get the hang of the feeding (I thought). It was sore and really tricky and was one of those things I always thought I really could have done with practicing before I had a baby! I had all sorts of advice floating around my head…’nose to nipple’ Jules and Hannah had said whilst holding a doll up to a knitted boob. But getting that technique was hard, never mind that I looked like Dolly Parton, leaked all day and all night, and was still trying to get use to clipping and unclipping my nursing bra. But it really was getting very sore. In fact I would dread every feed. I started to realise the sore nipples that I was persevering with had progressed to some seriously hardcore damage.  My nipples had cracks the size of the Grand Canyon across them. They were red raw, bleeding, and looked like my baby had just chewed them off. It was pretty horrifically painful.  I spent many a night just weeping in pain. Basically, I didn’t have the latch right, and the damage was just getting worse every feed.

I tried to keep my spirits up because I knew I didn’t want to give up. I had nicknames to get me through. I fed more often with Baddy Boob (on the right) rather than Killer Boob (on the left). I had to clamp down on a muslin in my mouth, I allowed the odd swear word to creep out and wiggled my toes until I got used to the pain each feed. I tried nipple shields, fed in different positions, expressed, but it was all so painful and worse, a total head screw. I was glad to use the odd bottle of formula in the night to give myself a rest. Yes I used dummies, bottles and shields whilst trying to get my latch right, probably not advised but stuff that, in my eyes those people didn’t know the pain, I just needed to get through each day! I saw my friends who seemingly had no problems with it at all, and I desperately wanted to continue but I worried my boy wasn’t getting enough milk and I just didn’t know what to do to change it.

Thankfully I had amazingly supportive friends who gave me hugs, nipple shells, demonstrations etc. After one of those nights where you kind of want to send your baby back (or was that just me?!), a beloved friend came round (3 month old in tow), gave me breakfast and shoved me into her car and took me to B.A.P.S (Breastfeeding and peer support group). I will always remember the love from my friend, and the care from the ladies at B.A.P.S. I left with fresh determination. I knew if I could just make it to each Tuesday morning, to B.A.P.S, then I’d be ok.

To be honest, I didn’t see much improvement for a long time. I still felt like giving up, I still cried with pain during most feeds, I still longed for the day I could get out of the shower and wrap a towel round me without avoiding the nipple area, and for when I could put on my bra without taking in deep breaths, or put on a jumper without leaning forward to avoid nipple contact! But, I stuck at it. Not particularly because ‘breast is best’ or because I felt pressure to, but just because I wanted to. And do you know what, it got better.

It was the hardest thing I think I have ever done and it took well over 3 months before the pain began to go and I healed, but I got there. 7 months on and I am still going. I am so proud of myself. And I tell you what, it took so long to get here, I’m not stopping any time soon!!”

 

Would you like to share your story? We would love to hear from you and feature a guest blog every month – please send it to us at hello@thebabyjourney.co.uk

Love H&J x x

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