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Tips for Breastfeeding and Returning to Work

Top Tips to make Breastfeeding and Returning to Work Easier

Going back to work following Maternity Leave is essential for most of us rather than a choice. There are so many things to think about and organise long before your first day back such as childcare and possible changes to your hours. Something that kept me awake at night, other than the baby was worrying about how I was going to carry on breastfeeding when I went back to work.

Do I have to stop Breastfeeding when I go back to work?

The answer is simply, NO. There’s no reason why you should stop feeding your baby but you may need to express milk for your baby to take whilst you’re at work, and you may need to express during your working day.

This is something that is asked time and again on Parenting Groups and Forums, and a lot of women use their return date as an ‘aim for’ date when thinking of weaning their baby from the breast.

This isn’t the case for everybody though. Some babies don’t take from a bottle or cup at all so feed before mum goes to work and then when they get home again. Some mothers also find that they aren’t able to express milk easily so it’s worth having a go a little while before you go back to work.

The European Commission recommends that Employers should provide Breastfeeding Mother’s with:

  • Access to a private room where women can breastfeed or express breast milk
  • Use of a secure, clean refrigerator for storing breast milk during working hours
  • Facilities for washing, sterilising and storing receptacles

What will I need to Express Breastmilk?

A Breast Pump – This could be a manual or electric pump but I find the most effective way to pump is with a Double Electric Pump.

Bottles/Cups – This is personal preference to your baby. Some will take breast milk from a bottle whilst others will take it from a sippy cup or other form of beaker.

Teats – If using a bottle, it may be that you might have to try out a few teats before finding the right one for your baby. I’ve been using slow-flow or newborn teats so that the milk comes out slower which mimics the rate at which your baby feeds from the breast.

Milk Storage Bags – Milk can be expressed and frozen which is great for building up a bit of a stash for when you’re away from your baby. This could also be useful if you were ill or need to catch up on some sleep when they can be fed by someone else.

A Cool Bag – For putting your expressed milk into. I pour all milk into one bottle and cap it, pop it into my cool bag and put it into the fridge. I prefer this since I don’t want colleagues to question it or touch it to be honest. This also keeps it nice and fresh on the commute home.

A Safe Place to Express or Breastfeed – This ideally needs to be a comfortable lockable room with a chair and access to the above. A toilet cubicle is most definitely not an option and if this is suggested I would seek further advice via the Health & Safety Guidelines for New and Expectant Mothers.

Accessible Clothing – This may seem like a no-brainer but the first time I wore a dress as I considered myself ‘baby free’ I had to get pretty much undressed to express. Clothes with buttons I find best.

Letting your Employer know you’re continuing to Breastfeed

If you’re planning to express breast milk or breastfeed (if baby is nearby) then you will need to notify your Manager so that they can put the necessary arrangements in place

Other things to consider when discussing this with your employer is that you have somewhere comfortable to sit with a plug socket within reach.

It’s always a good idea to keep the lines of communication open with your employer so that you both know each others expectations. I thought that I would need to express twice during the day which is what was agreed between us. Once in the morning and again in the afternoon, but I find that once a day suffices and leaves me comfortable to work and doesn’t eat into my working day too much.

If you work with hazardess substances your employer will need to make the necessary arrangements in place to ensure your safety for the duration of your breastfeeding journey.

When is the Best time to Express Breast Milk?

This is very individual to you. I thought that I would need to express at around 11am and the again at 2pm which were when Freddie would usually feed, but I’ve managed to get it down to one pump session at 1.30pm which is enough until I get home again.

Also be prepare for your baby to want to feed more than usual when you get home, and unfortunately they might start to wake up to feed when they’ve previously slept through the night.

Like breastfeeding in the beginning, it’s all about finding your feet. Having been back at work since May I feel that we now have a good system in place. Freddie does feed more when I get home and the following day but it’s working well for us. As far as work is concerned, I schedule the time into my calendar like I would a meeting and so far it’s gone without any problems.

Looking for a decent Breast Pump?

I’ve been using the Ameda Finesse Double Electric Breast Pump which is designed with the same technology as a hospital grade breast pump. It can be plugged into the mains or be used with batteries so you can move about.

The pump is both easy to use and wash, and is light enough for transporting to and from work. There are multiple settings to find the perfect speed and suction for both comfort and optimum supply. The proven Airlock Protection reduces the risk of contamination for safe milk.

It was recommended to use the Dr Brown’s Options+ Baby Bottles featuring the new breast-like teat shape which is great for switching between breast and bottle feeding. The teats flow mimics the flow of the breast which is perfect and reduces confusion for your baby.

Our Breastfeeding Journey has by no means been an easy one, but Freddie is fifteen months old now and we seem to have quite a good feeding routine going on which is definitely a weight off.

 

 

*We were sent the Ameda Finesse Double Electric Pump + a selection of Dr Brown’s bottles for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Relactation – Using Domperidone

Relactation – Using Domperidone

Relactation using Domperidone – Taking tablets to increase my milk supply was not something I’d considered or knew about so I was a bit apprehensive. However, little Freddie has started to refuse formula so what’s a mama supposed to do.

Relactation Using Domperidone

I was advised by a Breastfeeding Consultant through my Health Visitor to go to my GP and request this armed with the information from the Breastfeeding Network regarding dosage.

My GP is a reluctant prescriber so I didn’t feel particularly optimistic. I had to take an urgent slot at the surgery which, again I felt a bit uneasy about buts it’s almost impossible to get in any other way AND it’s pretty urgent when your baby is refusing to feed.

My usual GP was away so I was seen by a locum doctor who wasn’t that keen on giving me a prescription, but after showing her the info from the Breastfeeding Network and telling her it was on the advice of the Breastfeeding Consultant, I came out clutching the golden ticket (or green prescription sheet).

I was to take three tablets a day to start with for two weeks and then reduce down to two and then one a day until they were gone.

I’d read about Domperidone and had expected immediate increase in my milk which I didn’t feel was the case. I was still trying to force feed Freddie (not literally) formula after every feed for fear of him being hungry still.

The Outcome

After taking the tablets for a few days, the mornings were the most noticeable. Every morning I was drenched in milk and my boobs were engorged to the point of being ridiculously uncomfortable. Holding Freddie was uncomfortable and he was finding it difficult to latch whilst battling the letdown spray.

But during the day I still didn’t feel that he was getting enough.

I had to take a huge leap of faith that he was getting enough and stopped topping him up with formula.

What a difference it made. I fed him whenever and as long as he wanted to which felt like having a newborn again BUT I’m pleased to report that apart from his night feed he is boobed all day. At night he seems to quite like the faster flow of a bottle and that’s fine.

The tablets are gone now and we seem to be doing well. He’s still a chunk and having regular wet and dirty nappies.

It hasn’t done much for us getting into any kind of routine as he doesn’t have a set timing between feeds and naps (if at all) are sporadic cat naps during the day mostly on me or in the pram but he’s a much happier baby so we’ll keep on going until we hit the next hurdle which I fear will be teeth!!

Happy Boobing

Lisa x

My Breastfeeding Essentials

My Breastfeeding Essentials

My Breastfeeding Essentials – breastfeeding your baby is supposed to be a natural process. It wasn’t for me and many other women so I’ve put together a list of the things that can make your breastfeeding journey easier on both yourself and your baby.

My Breastfeeding Essentials

Lanolin Cream

This has to be my number one must have when breastfeeding. It’s a cream that forms a protective barrier for your nipples to help prevent and aid cracked and sore nipples. I personally started using this right from the get go as a preventative measure so would recommend that you pop a tube into your hospital bag. You only need a very small amount but it definitely makes a difference.

You tube

You tube has been a major source of advice and tips since Freddie was born since it’s much better to see somebody demonstrate things rather than reading about it. Here are some of the ones I would recommend:

Nancy Mohrbacher has loads of goods videos to watch on latching and positioning – https://www.youtube.com/user/NancyMohrbacher 

Georgina Clarke’s Breastfeeding Tips – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0smiuCa9Vo 

Breastfeeding struggles – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0C0V4MzMbG8 

How to get a good latch – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lO91hEr9u64 

Getting a good latch – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKhDJVWN7lI

Emily Norris Breastfeeding Tips – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2xlxRO-Y_Q

Breastfeeding Positions – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ioVDnC4A8ug 

Breastfeeding pillow

You have to get as comfortable as you can when you breastfeed so a pillow can help with both your comfort and the baby’s position.

Muslin cloths

Great for mopping up baby sick and popping on your shoulder when winding, but also great for leaky boob moments. These are also great for giving you a bit of coverage when feeding out and about.

Snacks

Breastfeeding definitely gives you the munchies so it’s good to have some snacks within reach.

Drinks

You definitely feel the thirst when breastfeeding so it’s a good idea to have a water bottle within reaching distance. There are also loads of breastfeeding teas which can help with your milk supply. I’ve tried Hot Tea Mama and Pukka Motherkind Pregnancy tea which are both lovely (even Luke warm).

Nursing bras

Jeez these are ugly contraptions but essential to make feeding easier. I bought sports bra style ones from H&M which are underwired and made from really stretchy material making them a comfortable option. I also wear soft bra tops at night which makes you more comfortable and easy to pop a breast pad if you need to.

Clothes

This is definitely something you will need to think about. Dresses are pretty much out unless they have buttons down the front. As long as you have easy access you could wear whatever you like. I would highly recommend the Bshirt Breastfeeding Vest (Read my Review Here) and the range of Breastfeeding T-shirts available from the Milky Tee Company both of which look like normal tops but give you easy access to breastfeed.

Nipple shields

These aren’t something everybody uses, but I was recommended these when my nipples were cracked and bleeding as a way to protect them. I had a couple of successful feeds using these but mostly they pinched.

A breast pump

This has been essential to our breastfeeding journey to increase my supply as well as giving my poor nipples a break. There are loads of different types including manual and electric. A manual pump can be good if you need to pump to relieve your full Breasts or the odd session, but if you want to express quickly and often then an electric pump would be the best option. I started out with a single pump that I hired through my Health Visitor before getting a Lansinoh Double pump which is really quick and easy to use.

Milk Storage Bags

If pumping you’ll want something to keep your milk in. Storage bags are great as they can be filled and easily stored in your fridge or freezer without taking up too much space.

Breast Pads

I would pop some of these in your hospital bag but you may not need them at the beginning. You can get disposable ones or washable breast pads which are much nicer and cost effective.

Diet

Not a diet diet, but there are a lot of foods that are recommended for breastfeeding women which can give you the energy you need for feeding and looking after a newborn as well as increasing your milk supply.

Hot/Cold Compress

These are great for blocked ducts. As well as massaging the area, taking a hot shower, a hot or cold compress can help to reduce any redness.

A Latch Assist

Can be used if you have everted or flat nipples to draw the nipple outwards into the perfect shape for feeding.

I’m sure there are far more things that I could add to this list, and if you are a seasoned breastfeeder and think of something that I’ve missed then pop it in the comments as I’m willing to try anything and everything.

Lisa x

*This post may contain affiliate links which means that I receive a small payment should you click on the links and make a purchase at no cost to you.

 

Relactation – An Update

Relactation – An Update

Relactation an update – It’s around six weeks now since we restarted breastfeeding and I was hoping that it was going to be positive news but we haven’t got any further forward than we were when we started.

Confession time

I started off pumping and feeding with formula as well and it was going well. I felt like my breasts could cope with breastfeeding three times a day as well as pumping and I was looking forward to the breast pain/discomfort to stop at some point.

I should confess that the pumping became very intermittent and there were times when I missed it out completely. This was because Freddie only wants to sleep in my arms during the day which rules out pumping during those times. He also breastfeeds for around 40 minutes at a time and then topping him up with formula takes another 20 minutes. I know babies are time consuming but fitting this in around getting dressed, eating, having a wee, the school run etc etc has really been taking its toll.

I’m not going to lie, this is hard. I feel slightly trapped at home with very little support. Leaving the house is getting harder not easier since the time between feeds is so small it doesn’t really give me time to do very much. It feels like all I do is feed Freddie.

I had my arranged phone consultation with the Lactation Consultant on Wednesday last week and explained everything from the time it takes to feed and also the lack of milk produced when pumping. I’ve also been getting sharp pains through the whole breast during and after feeding/pumping which is also a factor in reducing the pumping so that I feel recovered enough to feed him the next time.

I was asked to make an appointment with my GP to be tested for thrush of the breast and also to get a prescription for Domperidone which is used to increase your milk supply.

I don’t like to take tablets but Freddie wants Breastmilk and is refusing formula more and more. I was told to print off the information for both the treatment of thrush and also the guidelines for Domperidone for the GP who aren’t always prescribing the correct dosage.

Ideal situation

In an ideal world I would either be exclusively breastfeeding or at least feeding and pumping enough to replace the formula. I think there is also an element of him using me as a comforter rather than just hunger which we need to knock on the head.

GP Appointment

I managed to get an appointment at the doctors on Friday, taking along the info. The GP which wasn’t my usual GP dismissed oral thrush in Freddie with barely a glance in his mouth so was reluctant to treat either of us but I insisted that a swab and sample was taken on the advice of the Lactation Consultant.

I asked regarding the Domperidone and she initially said she would give me a few days worth to take a couple of times a day. The Breastfeeding Network advice is to take 10mg three times a day for seven days, and then a reduced dose under the management of a trained Breastfeeding Advisor.

I felt a bit like ‘teaching your Granny to suck eggs’ when I offered the information I’d been given, but the GP was happy for the information as she said she would have needed to look this up and so I was given a prescription to be managed by the Lactation Consultant which I felt happy with.

Domperidone is given to mums who have a low supply or for Mums if baby’s who are born prematurely to initiate and keep the supply so they can express.

It’s Monday so this is Day 4 of taking the tablets and I have noticed a slight increase in supply. My let down is quite fierce, Freddie struggles a little bit as the milk flows so fast. If he comes off he literally gets sprayed in the face!

I’m pumping and feeding but still not the recommended times a day as I’m still sore. I’m hoping that thrush is found which would give a good explanation for the pain and would hopefully stop after treatment.

Onwards and upwards as they say!

If you’re breastfeeding and experiencing the same problems I’d love to hear your experiences or tips you may have. I need to get this baby into some kind of routine that suits all of us.

Lisa x

How I Re-established Breastfeeding

How I Re-established Breastfeeding

How I Re-established Breastfeeding – You many know that I made the decision not to continue breastfeeding after I was re-admitted to hospital and treated for sepsis when Freddie was a couple of weeks old. I was totally gutted and felt that I’d failed my third and final baby. I made this decision based on the fact that my poor nipples felt and looked like they’d been savaged by a dog, and the only thing that was coming out was blood and pus.

I was seen by a Breastfeeding Consultant whilst on the ward who was prepared to get me back to breastfeeding, but the thought of feeding my baby and possibly passing on a nasty infection was enough for me to shut the door on that completely.

How I Reestablished Breastfeeding

I cried a lot! I cried every time I fed him a bottle. Freddie struggled away from the bottle not knowing how to feed from it. He turned his head in towards my breasts searching and crying for all he’d known. My breasts were engorged and sore, showing no signs of recovery but reacting to my little boys cries by leaking milk that he desparately wanted.

I hated giving him formula milk, not because I’m against formula but because it was a constant reminder of what I hadn’t been able to achieve. I was reassured by people telling me that a fed baby is a happy baby when all I wanted to do was scream at them to shut up. Since starting formula, Freddie had become constipated and was suffering with colic after each feed. It was awful watching him strain knowing that it was the change from breast to formula, and winding him after each feed took forever.

The healing process from the infection was slow going and my breasts remained engorged and sore, but the milk kept on coming. I wanted it to stop so that I didn’t have the constant reminder and hopefully Freddie would stop trying to get to my breasts because he could smell it. I had to have a further course of anti-biotics as again I woke up with extremely engorged breasts and a cold shakiness. My attempts to hand pump enough milk away to be comfortable was impossible. It felt sore and uncomfortable to hold Freddie against my chest which is really hard with a newborn.

When Freddie was six weeks old, I’d just got out of the shower and Freddie was awake in his crib. The sound of his cries left me dripping in milk and my instinct was to put him to my breast and feed him which I did. It was uncomfortable to latch him on and he didn’t quite get it at first but then it clicked and he was away suckling and content.

When he’d fed I felt happy and it got me thinking that as my milk hadn’t completely gone, and now I was healed, could I start to feed him again.

No, because once you’ve stopped you’ve stopped. Finished. Finito!

“He’ll have got used to a bottle and you won’t get him to latch” and my discharging Midwife told me just not to even think about it “what’s done is done”. I know she was only trying to make me feel better about my decision to stop, but it was upsetting all the same.

I wasn’t prepared to accept this. Freddie had fed and although my nipples felt sore again, it felt right. So this is where good old google steps in as the fountain of all knowledge (and a load of crap).

Freddie was still searching for the breast. This little guy wasn’t ready to finish our breastfeeding journey, so if Freddie wasn’t going to give up on me then I had to give it a go.

Did you know that it’s possible to re-start breastfeeding? No me neither but I figured that as I was still needing to use breast pads the milk must still be there even if only a little.

Relactation

Relactation is the term used for restarting breastfeeding after a period of either stopping completely or very little. It is even possible for adoptive mums to lactate with the right level of support and guidance.

I feel a bit shortchanged that this isn’t common knowledge. I asked a few friends if they knew that you could re-start breastfeeding and none of them had a clue that you could. Why isn’t this information given by Midwives or Health Visitors so that new mums know it’s an option? I wonder how many mums stop breastfeeding and then later regret it, but are unaware that this is a possibility.

I asked my Health Visitor for support as she knew that I wasn’t happy with my decision to stop and when she visited I’d already done some research and had started my relactation journey. She gave me some details on power pumping which essentially you pump a lot as well as feeding and looking after your baby. To make this easier, a double pump is pretty much essential or it will take double the amount of time. I’m using the Lansinoh Double Electric Breast Pump which can be battery powered or plugged into the mains.

After that first feed, I’d been quite sore so decided that I would try expressing the milk so that at least he was getting the breastmilk even if it had to be from a bottle. I knew that feeding and pumping was going to take a lot of patience but I wanted to give it a shot.

I wasn’t sure how Chris would react since he was worried about me getting a further infection, but I felt that I knew what signs to look out for and would get help if I needed it.

Support

After watching Breastfeeding Uncovered it seems that there are a lot of women who are offered very little or no support to enable them to breastfeed which is shocking. The UK has pretty poor breastfeeding rates compared to other countries. Only 34% of babies are still breastfed at six months, and this is an improvement since 2015.

It’s definitely not my place to judge and I don’t think any less or more of other peoples choices. There are loads of reasons why people make the decisions they do and sometimes the decision is taken away from them. Quite frankly it’s none of mine or your business – I really hate that total strangers (other mums mostly) feel like they can ask about your feeding choices, and I always feel that I have to give my full upsetting story as a justification. Us mums really are the most judgemental bunch.

I feel lucky that my Health Visitor had a lot of information for me, but it was through me seeking and asking for help and support. I know that I needed help to check my latch which I think was the downfall and decline into infection in the first place.

As I had been discharged from the midwife team, I no longer had access to the Breastfeeding Consultant at my local hospital, but the Health Visitors have various support they could offer me.

Latch and Attach – This is a pilot scheme and is a one-off session offered to mums where you go along and essentially check your babies latch is correct. They offered advice on different positions which can work for both you and your baby. I attended this and Freddie behaved beautifully (as he did whenever anyone else was looking) but as I was re-establishing feeding it was felt that I would benefit from one to one sessions which I was booked in for.

Infant Feeding Clinic – This was an hour one to one session and is offered to all mums, breastfed, express fed and bottle fed. Each of these groups of mums are offered support and guidance. We discussed and checked the latch and any issues that I had. I felt that Freddie wasn’t opening his mouth wide enough to get the best latch since he had become used to a teat so we worked out the optimum placement of his bottom lip as a guide. It was nice to air all my concerns which were specific to both Freddie and I, and we are to receive ongoing support whilst we need it.

Local Facebook Groups – These are a godsend since you can access and ask questions around the clock, and theres always another mum there who has been in your shoes willing to offer advice on anything from supply issues, cluster feeding or if you’re just feeling a bit meh. These definitely give you a mental boost in the middle of the night when you feel basically alone.

Breastfeeding Groups – I think these are on the decline due to funding cuts which is a shame. Look for locally run groups which you may find via word of mouth or via locally run Facebook Mum’s Groups. We’re lucky in Exeter that we have an independently funded Baby Room which is run by trained Breast Peer Support Workers where you can gain great advice on all things breastfeeding, washable nappies, slings and everything else baby related.

Online Support Forums – There are numerous forums and online support which can be both helpful and overwhelming. Find a couple that you like and stick with them.

Social Media – As a blogger this is and has been my support network for a lot of things. My relactation journey started in the midst of World Breastfeeding Week so it was a more than a hot topic than usual. There were loads of positive and negative issues. It seems to cause a huge Breast V Bottle divide so lots of controversial debates shall we word it were had.

Increasing my supply

I did some research on increasing my supply and it seems that there are various foods that can help increase your milk supply including oats, fennel, brewers yeast and fenugreek. I’ve started drinking fennel tea which thankfully does taste really nice and am having a predominantly oat based granola and yoghurt every day for breakfast.

There are loads of recipes for lactation flapjacks, cookies and smoothies which I have added to a Breastfeeding Pinterest board which I will continue to add to as I find useful things.

Hydration is also key to making sure you’re producing a good supply of milk. I keep a water bottle filled all the time so that I have no excuse to make sure that I’m drinking enough.

Progress

Having done that first feed since stopping and seeing how content Freddie was, I knew that I had to pursue it further. The first week that I started I attempted to breastfeed him once a day and express and feed for the remainder of the feeds. Pumping started off well, but then the amount that I was getting declined and was barely enough for a feed so I had to persevere with this.

Turning to social media and you tube is pretty much standard these days, and started to follow the progress of a fellow blogger and mum, Through Ami’s Eyes who is documenting her journey of combination feeding her baby boy which also gave me hope during the really hopeless feeling moments. It’s nice to know that you’re not alone even when it feels like you are.

Power Pumping was recommended which is essentially pumping for 20 minutes, rest for 10 minutes, pump for 10 minutes, rest for 10 minutes and then pump for another 10 minutes alongside pumping after every feed.

Massaging the breasts also helps to clear the milk ducts and causes the milk to flow more freely which will help to empty the breasts and trigger higher milk production.

Using hot and cold compresses as and when needed and lots of skin to skin which is no hardship with a new baby.

After the first week I increased it to a couple of breastfeeds a day. This was kind of forced on me by Freddie who would refuse a bottle sometimes and search for the boob until I gave it to him.

At week three he was breastfeeding three times a day with expressed/formula milk for the remainder of the time.

We’re now at week four and I’m offering him the breast before each bottle feed since breastfeeding alone doesn’t seem to satisfy him completely as a top-up.

He also prefers the breast if he is tired or grumpy which I think is part hunger and part comfort.

I’m also pleased to report that he no longers suffers from constipation and the colic has gone completely, he winds perfectly fine these days. So far so good and both Freddie and I are happy with how things are going.

I will keep you updated with how we’re getting on over the coming weeks.

Lisa x

*This post may contain affiliate links which means that I receive a small payment should you choose to click on the links and make a purchase at no cost to yourselves.

 

 

 

The Bshirt Breastfeeding Top Review + Giveaway

The Bshirt Breastfeeding Top Review + Giveaway

The Bshirt Breastfeeding Top Review + Giveaway – My Breastfeeding Journey when Isabelle wasn’t what I’d expected so this time round I did a lot of reading in preparation for our third baby and felt that it would be different. Apart from the pain that I experienced I didn’t feel particular comfortable feeding in front of people and felt that I was in a constant state of undress which left me feeling all hot and sweaty most of the time.

The Bshirt Review and Giveaway

Did you know that stress can hinder your milk production so taking the time to find a comfortable place to feed your baby is advisable. Finding suitable clothes to wear is a big factor when breastfeeding, and I still think that maternity and nursing wear has a long way to go in terms of being both wearable and looking nice.

I also felt that I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on clothes that I wouldn’t get much use out of which looking back seems silly since a lot of people breastfeed for 6 – 12 months or longer so you would get quite a lot of wear out of them.

The Bshirt

The Bshirt has definitely been a key piece since Freddie was born as it’s a simple black top that will go with anything from jeans, leggings, shorts and skirts.

Unlike other nursing clothes the Bshirt looks like a normal top with no hooks or clasps to fiddle about with. It has a built in layer which you just pull up for access to your bra. As you don’t have to lift the entire top up your tummy remains covered which can be an area  that many of us are self-conscious about.

The Bshirt is made from 95% Organic cotton 5% lycra to make it stretchy. Its lightweight which is great for layering and also drying once washed.

You will be pleased to know that the Bshirt is available in several different colours in sizes from 6 – 20.

About the Bshirt

The Bshirt Breastfeeding Vest was developed by two fellow Devon mums, Lisa and Philippa who understand the difficulties that mothers face when breastfeeding in public. Essentially the Bshirt was designed to allow women to wear their pre-pregnancy clothes whilst having easy access to breastfeed. They are keen to encourage breastfeeding within the UK where current rates are pretty poor by supporting charities that promote and support women through this journey.

You can also find out about the Breastfeed with Confidence campaign and find out which local retailers, cafes, restaurants and attractions local to you are in support of this.

Our thoughts

I’m not a fan of a lot of maternity or nursing clothes because as a size 8 most of them drown me or are generally quite frumpy but the Bshirt ticks all the boxes in terms of look and fit. Most maternity vest tops that I’ve tried have been baggy rather than fitted which I don’t like.

This exceptionally hot weather we’ve had recently has made breastfeeding that little bit harder in terms of feeling hot and sweaty so it’s great that it’s lightweight and can be easily dried.

I’ve worn the Bshirt underneath clothing and also on it’s own as a vest top as it looks like a normal black top. It gave Chris and I had a bit of a giggle as when you lift the flap it is a bit ‘peek-a-boo’ but that might just be our childish sense of humour.

I would definitely recommend the Bshirt to other Mums and feel that I’m going to get a lot of use out of mine.

Competition

You can get your own Bshirt Breastfeeding Top by popping over to the website or try your luck at winning a Bshirt by filling in the rafflecopter form below.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*We were gifted a Bshirt for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own. 

 

Getting ready for My Breastfeeding Journey

Getting ready for my breastfeeding journey

Getting ready for my breastfeeding journey. When I breastfed Isabelle I was naive enough to think that when a baby is born, you put them to the breast, they latch on and off you go.

My Breastfeeding Journey

Learning the hard way

God I wish I’d known what I learnt the hard way!

I knew about mastitis being a possibility and that cracked nipples could be an issue but other than that it was portrayed as the most natural second nature task a woman would complete. You sat lovingly staring into your baby’s eyes whilst they fed, taking in all the goodness as it’s the best and only way to feed your baby. Oh and of the adverts in magazines are to go by, you will look amazing in a white floaty dress.

The reality for me was feeling agitated as I tried to get Isabelle to latch on whilst digging my toes into the carpet as her attempts felt like I was being put through a mincer. Her latch was rubbish so much so that she was on and off so often that not only did I have cracked nipples but they bled!

BUT it was fine, as it was the right thing to do – breastfeeding that is. I was giving her all the goodness that she needed. Except I wasn’t. She was losing weight so we were still having daily midwife visits.

You’re Starving Her!

I was told that I was starving my daughter!

I was told to hand express and cup feed her. If you’ve ever tried to do this then you will know how ridiculous this is. You hand express the smallest amount of milk and then try and feed it to your by this point screaming newborn only for their flaying arms to knock it out of your hands wasting what precious little milk you have to offer.

Have a day of skin to skin contact which will increase your milk supply and calm both you and baby down which should make latching easier.

Feed in a comfortable place where you feel relaxed so that she relaxes enough to feed.

Electric pumping but try not to give via a bottle – again with the cup feeding.

Nipple sheilds!

Cabbage leaves!

Breastfeeding Support Co-ordinator advice.

Feed on demand even if it is for 3 minutes every 29 minutes day and night.

I had all the advice under the sun about what I should be doing.

Don’t give up was the consensus.

Perseverance was the buzz word.

Every single time Isabelle cried I dreaded that she might want to be fed. I held my breath as I attempted the latch.

Left her crying too long before I tried to feed her as I built up the courage.

I pretended it didn’t hurt when it was excruciating.

We went along to a Breastfeeding Cafe where I watched other mums breastfeed and chat at the same time. There was even a mum sat cross legged on the floor tandem feeding twins. Needless to say that was my first and last visit.

I drank special breastfeeding teas to up my supply along with lots of water.

I bought all the creams and shields, hot cloths and cabbage leaves.

A total Failure

Enough was enough and Chris intervened by buying some formula milk so that Isabelle could feed and I could have a break and a bit of sleep.

I fought it as I wanted to do what was best for our baby. Feeding Isabelle was the priority but I felt like I’d failed her.

She guzzled the bottle down and fell into a milk induced sleep. It’s what she needed and it was what I needed both to allow myself to heal and also get some sleep, but it wasn’t what I wanted.

From then on we did combination feeding which wasn’t such a huge pressure for me and Isabelle gained weight and was a much more content baby.

We carried on this way until she was five months old when she began to reject the breast.

I was gutted and felt like I’d failed.

It took me a long while to not feel like this.

And now as I wait for baby number three I’m already feeling quite anxious about my impending breastfeeding journey.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

Lisa x

Pregnancy Diary 37 Weeks

Pregnancy Diary 37 Weeks

Pregnancy Diary 37 Weeks – My last week at work and so glad since each day has been a struggle. I’ve also had lots of Braxton Hicks with lots of ‘am I, am I Not’ moments.

Pregnancy Diary 37 Weeks

I’m really tired this week and each day when I’ve finished work I’m literally hanging so I’ve just eaten and then sat comatose on the sofa watching TV.

The dog has undergone a good summer cut to reduce the amount of fur around the house. I know that dog fur is going to be an ongoing battle since we haven’t had a dog and a baby at the same time before.

I am really looking forward to being able to walk normally post-baby and top of the list is taking my fur baby walking again. I wonder how he’s going to get on walking next to the pram. I’m sure we’ll have a fair few instances where I wheel over him as he is a bit daft.

Midwife appointment

I had my midwife appointment on Tuesday and the head is way down ready which is good. I wasn’t measured this time as it was less than two weeks since I was measured last.

Everything else was fine and although we booked in for my 40 week appointment I would be very surprised if I get to this point.

A further blood test was booked for me due to the slapped cheek incident but this is considered to be low risk as I was well past the twenty week mark.

Thursday was my last day at work and I was treated to lots of cake and donuts and lots of lovely presents. It’s funny when you go on maternity leave as you feel sad but not. I’ve literally been counting down the days because I’m tired and also counting down to meeting the scrummy babes, but I will miss my work family.

I’m wondering how many days of maternity leave I’ll have before the baby comes. Considering how many Braxton Hicks I’m having pretty much all the time I’m guessing I won’t last that long. In fact I’m not sure I’m going to get past the weekend so we’ll see.

Funny Questions

Isabelle is still full of questions and I’m quite honest in answering things with her in a factual way. We’ve never spun her the stork story etc so she knows that the baby is going to come out of my front bottom and is suitably grossed out by this.

Her latest query was the other night was when she wanted to know if the baby could see out of my front bottom like looking out of a window! You’ve got to love how a kids mind works!

She also has lots of breastfeeding queries which I’m sure is going to be an ongoing thing. Hopefully she’ll get bored at some point.

Braxton Hicks

I’m not really sure if I experienced Braxton Hicks that much in my last two pregnancies, but this time I seem to be getting them all the time.

Every day this week I’ve convinced myself that today is the day that the baby will be here as my stomach tightens and pain radiates around my pelvis and into my back in a rhythmic and regular way BUT still no baby.

Winding Down

You may have noticed that I haven’t been as active this last couple of weeks since I just don’t have the energy to do anything, and actually sitting with my laptop is becoming ridiculous as my laptop is precariously balancing on my lap.

I’ve also been going to bed earlier so that I can listen to my hypnobirthing tracks which I hope will help even in some way to make labour easier.

I want to be as relaxed as I can when this baby comes which in turn will hopefully give the breastfeeding process a better chance of working. My breastfeeding journey with Isabelle wasn’t a smooth or particularly enjoyable experience, one that I hope doesn’t get repeated.

I’m reading like a crazy woman at the moment on Breastfeeding. Everything from latching tips to increasing my milk supply in the hope that third time lucky really is a ‘thing’.

Development

My baby is the size of a Honeydew Melon now weighing around 6.5lbs and measuring about 48.6cm. The baby will gain around half an ounce a day up until they are born.

He or she’s lungs are capable of life outside of the womb and it’s tummy will be full of icky sticky meconium which will be it’s first poo.

The head should be engaged at this point ready for birth.

Until next week………If I make it!

Lisa x

To read the rest of my Pregnancy Diary click the link or head to the top of the page.

Pregnancy Diary 27 Weeks

Pregnancy Diary 27 Weeks

Pregnancy Diary 27 Weeks – I know I’ve said this before but this pregnancy seems to be whizzing by. I’m now in my third trimester and am on count down to maternity leave now.

Pregnancy Diary 27 Weeks

There’s still so much to do. I should be soaking up every moment of this pregnancy as this is my third and final baby, but we seem to get caught up in the boring bits of life.

My back is still giving me a lot of pain but I do have a physiotherapy appointment next week, have been using my wheat bag, and trying not to do too much walking around which seems to make it worse actually sitting too much does as well so it’s a no win situation really.

Breastfeeding

I’ve no doubt that I will breastfeed this baby but it does fill me with anxiety as it was so disastrous last time. I’m going to go into this with an open mind and also a formula back up option just in case. I’m NOT going to stress about this too much.

Oh I’m such a liar! With this and the thought of actually giving birth again it’s nearly sending me over the edge!

Hands up if you’ve had to explain the intricate details of breastfeeding to your kids. Isabelle had decided that she was going to feed the baby when it is born and so I had to explain that I would be the one to feed the baby when it’s born.

But why? She asked.

I was quite surprised that she asked this as she’s seen and been around breastfeeding mothers. Clearly they were discrete enough that she hadn’t realised what they were doing.

This has given her seven year old brain endless amusement.

She’s questioned everything from how the baby gets the milk out to will I be walking down the street with my top off (let’s hope not).

We just know that she’s going to have her beady eyes on me to witness this hilarious (her words) act.

Gestational diabetes

I was told at the time of my glucose tolerance test that if I didn’t hear anything I could assume that it was negative. This should mean that it’s negative but with the snow we had last week causing a backlog at the hospital, I’m not going to assume until I get the actual result which I will get from the midwife when I see her next week.

Giving birth

Nobody is letting this one go. As much as I would like to bury my head in the sand it’s a hot topic since my bump is so pronounced.

I know what I don’t want:

  • Pain
  • A caesarean
  • To tear
  • An epidural
  • To be induced
  • An episiotomy

I just want the baby out once the time comes. I’m not going to plan as such as this hasn’t worked out for me at all.

I wouldn’t mind having a water birth a go as this wasn’t an option previously, the first being too quick and the second the pools were in use.

Would I have a home birth? Probably not. Images of the dog watching and Isabelle either being too interested or ending up traumatised spring to mind.

Development

The baby is now the size of a head of broccoli weighing around 1lb 9oz and measuring about 36.6cm.

The baby can now distinguish the difference between light and day and may have hiccups.

If the baby was born now it would have a chance of survival. I hate reading stuff like this as it’s way too soon for the baby to come considering how many changes happen from day to day.

Apparently if Chris was to put his head on my tummy he may be able to hear the baby’s heartbeat – we must try this.

My appetite should increase at this point, but it’s the complete opposite. I feel full all the time and when I do eat it’s much smaller amounts than I would usually eat. The baby feels like it’s right underneath my ribs and pushing upwards at the moment which isn’t particularly comfortable.

Until next week.

Lisa x