Expressing, Milk Storage & Banishing Boob Pain


It’s been six months since I started breastfeeding and though it’s been tough at times, it’s something I’m so glad I persevered with. For Arthur and me the benefits far outweigh anything else. I’ve been weaning him for a couple of weeks now (something I’ll talk more about in another post) and it’s made me treasure our feeds even more, as I know there will come a day when he just won’t need them anymore.

Something I’m happy to admit is that if the option to express milk wasn’t there, I’m not sure I’d have coped with breastfeeding so well or even been able to do it for as long as I have. I seem prone to soreness. I don’t know if it’s Arthur’s latch or just my sensitivity but if I go a few days in a row breastfeeding without doing a couple of bottle feeds (with expressed milk) I end up feeling quite uncomfortable!


I started giving Arthur a bottle (or sometimes two) a day of expressed milk from around six weeks. It’s recommended that you wait that long so babies don’t get confused, as latching on to a breast is different from taking a bottle. Having said this, there are a number of bottles available that are specifically designed for breastfeeding babies. One of my favourites is the Lansinoh mOmma Bottle, which comes with a NaturalWave teat.*

The specially designed teat helps to promote babies’ natural latching, sucking and swallowing actions, so they can continue switching between breast and bottle without any problems. It also has an air ventilation system, designed to reduce air intake and the chances of colic. Arthur’s never had any confusion and although he definitely prefers milk from me, he’ll happily take a bottle without any fuss.

Expressing Breast Milk
Over the past six months I’ve trialled a number of different breast pumps, including both manual and electric and I’ve found that each type has its pros and cons. For example, whilst electric pumps are quick and require virtually no effort to use, they can be particularly noisy (at least the one I have is anyway) and some are rather on the pricey side.

Manual breast pumps tend to be a lot cheaper but you do have to put a bit of elbow grease into using them effectively. A good, ergonomic design is therefore essential and that’s exactly what the Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump* offers. I have to say I was a little dubious going back to trying a manual pump after the ease of using an electric pump but thanks to the specially designed handle, pumping was an effortless and pain-free process. I hardly needed to squeeze to work the pump and I also loved that it didn’t make a sound. It meant I could express without Arthur getting upset that a plastic bottle was stealing his precious milk!

This particular pump comes with adjustable 2 phase technology, so you can adjust the pumping rhythm and simulate how your baby feeds from you, much like my electric pump does too. By mimicking a baby’s feeding rhythm through the initial ‘let down’ phase and expression phase, you’ll find that you can really help to maximise your milk flow.

Other things that can really help you to boost the amount of breast milk you pump include:

1. Looking at / thinking about your baby
2. Using heat (more on this below!)
3. Gently smoothing and squeezing your breast while you pump
4. Pumping while you feed baby on the other breast (can be a little tricky though!)

I managed to get 5oz in just over 5 minutes and couldn't quite believe it! I'm so impressed with the speed and ease of use of this manual pump. It's a great alternative if you don't want to splash out on an electric pump. I've personally found it works just as well as mine!


Storing Breast Milk
Once you’ve expressed your milk you can either use it straight away or store it for later. If you’re storing milk in your fridge or freezer, I definitely recommend using milk bags, as they take up way less space than bottles. Lansinoh’s milk storage bags* are a great size and have a label that you can fill in with your name (if you’re storing milk at work) and date, so you know how long to keep it for. Breast milk can be stored in the fridge for up to five days and the freezer for six months (see the NHS website for more info).

Make sure you use the double seal to secure the bags and place them away from anything potentially sharp in your fridge or freezer. I once got a hole in a milk storage bag from another brand - needless to say I didn't enjoy spending an hour cleaning out my fridge that morning!


Banishing Boob Pain
The final thing I wanted to touch on in this rather long breastfeeding post is relieving boob pain. Mastitis and plugged ducts are quite common when you’re breastfeeding but for me, the best remedy is heat. Taking a nice hot bath is preferable but from personal experience, I know when you’ve got a new baby, you’re lucky to get a wash, nevermind a bath! So instead I recommend using something you can heat up in the microwave and pop over your affected boob. Up until recently I was using my microwave Beddy Bear but now I’m using the Lansinoh Thera°Pearl® 3-in-1 Breast Therapy packs* and I only wish I knew about them sooner!

To use the packs, you simply slip them inside the covers and pop each one in the microwave to heat up. You can then either put them in your bra (just check the temperature first) or pop one round your breast pump (securing it with the popper). The heat will not only help to relieve pain but also stimulate milk flow, allowing you to get rid of any uncomfortable blockages.


The great thing about the Lansinoh Breast Therapy pack is that they can also be frozen and used as a cold compress to help with swelling and engorgement. I’m yet to try this myself as the thought of an ice pack on my body currently sends shivers down my spine but if you’re braver than me, the option is there! It goes without saying that if you are experiencing a lot of pain from breastfeeding or believe you may have Mastitis it’s worth contacting your GP / breastfeeding support worker for advice.

So there we have it! A rather long post about breastfeeding but hopefully it’ll be useful for any new mamas or mamas to be out there. A big thank you to Lansinoh for sending over these products for me to try out - I’m seriously impressed!

Have you got any tips you want to share or any concerns about breastfeeding? Let’s talk! Feel free to leave a comment below, tweet me @meganjane03 or even drop me an email
xx
*PR Sample
View Post

Things I Miss and Don't Miss About Pregnancy


In a few days it will be six months since I gave birth to Arthur. Six whole months! Time seems to fly when you're older and even more so when you become a parent. Can you remember how the six week summer holidays felt like a lifetime when you were at school? Now six weeks flies by in the blink of an eye and even six months zooms past faster than you ever thought possible.

But even though time seems to have flown by, at the same time it feels like so long ago that I was pregnant. I feel like I've known Arthur forever and I can't remember what life was without him. Carrying him inside me was such a magical experience and I guess there are a few things I do miss, like feeling him kick and turn. It's a feeling that's so hard to describe to others but it just makes you feel so amazing. You learn your baby's pattern, know where they're awake and asleep and can interact with them before you've even caught a glimpse of their beautiful face. It's strange, there's been a few times since I've given birth that I thought I'd felt those kicks again, even though that's impossible because Arthur's here. Has anyone else felt like that?

Something else I quite miss about bing pregnant is body confidence. I can honestly say I've never felt as good about myself as when I was pregnant. I think that's because in my head, I was exactly what I was supposed to be. I loved my beautiful round bump and even though I was absolutely huge (and pretty damn swollen) at the end of my pregnancy, I still felt happy and confident with the way I looked.

Of course, there's also things I don't miss about being pregnant. One of these is the intense pain I felt in my hips and pelvis during the third trimester. It hurt to walk, it hurt to lie down and trying to haul myself out of bed was one of the most painful experiences of my life...apart from, you know, child birth! I think it was something to do with the way Arthur was lying, as one day the pain just disappeared, which I was so grateful for, as I really don't know how I would have managed to give birth feeling that way.

Many pregnant women hate maternity clothes as they're pretty boring (and sometimes even rather ugly) but I was actually happy to spend months in stripy tops that accentuated my bump, comfy maternity jeans and stretchy leggings. But something I definitely don't miss about being pregnant is 'pant problems.' I'm not kidding - finding pants that were comfortable became a tiring mission. Small knickers were uncomfortable but big granny Bridget Jones style pants dug in below my bump. I was so stressed about it and so fed up of feeling uncomfortable one day that I just didn't wear any. Problem solved.

Everyone's pregnancy experience is completely different and some people miss being pregnant more than others. Whilst I wouldn't say I miss pregnancy all that much, I did truly love the experience and hope one day I'll get to feel all of those amazing things again.

What are the things you miss and don't miss about being pregnant?
xx
View Post

Shake It Off


Will people think I’m skiving because I’m too anxious to go to my lecture? Will people think it’s weird that public transport makes me feel panicky? Will people think I’m lazy if I choose to work from home? Do people judge me because I still live with my parents? I wonder what people think of me now I’m a single mum?

These are all questions that I’ve asked myself and often worried about at different times in my life because as much as I protest against it, I’ve always cared about what others think of me. I often feel that I need to justify my decisions so that people understand where I’m coming from or I worry that because people don’t know the real story, they’ll make the wrong assumption and I’ll come off badly. I even feel relieved if someone says something that shows they do understand or think I’m doing the right thing.

The thing is I don’t think it’s necessarily bad to care what the people close to you think about you. Their opinion and impression of you is important. The problem is when you’re worrying about people that aren’t close to you, don’t know you or aren’t really important to you. That’s something I’ve been guilty of recently. As much as I’ve said (even out loud) “It doesn’t really matter what they think” I’ve still continued to use up time pondering over it, which now I’m typing this, just seems so silly. I think I’m finally coming to a point where enough is enough and (in the wise words of Taylor Swift) I need to shake it off.

I want to teach Arthur to always be himself, to have confidence in the decisions he makes and not to get wrapped up in what other people might think but the only way I can do that properly is to believe and practise it myself. I guess I’m writing this post as a reminder to myself that I don’t need others’ approval or to care about what they think. As long as I am being true to myself and doing the best for my family that is all that matters. Plus if the people I’m worrying over aren’t important to me or even really in my life then I doubt that I even cross their minds, let alone will they concern themselves with what I’m doing!

So Megan (yes I’m addressing myself as I’m bound to need to come back to this post at some point) shake off any negativity you’re feeling, stop fretting over what others could possibly be thinking and continue doing what you’re doing to ensure the best possible life for your gorgeous son because he is everything.

And to you, the person reading this who may also feel the same…don’t let unimportant people take up your headspace. Don’t waste time worrying over what others could possibly think about you. Your time and headspace are valuable. Use them on something that truly matters.

xx
View Post

Let's Talk Bum Cream


Don't you love it when a product name is straight to the point? Bennetts Bum Cream. There's no messing around with super pretentious long winded names that no one can even remember. You don't get more simple than bum cream or as Bennetts call it, Bum Crème (slightly more fancy, no?)

I was sent this pot to try as apparently loads of celebrities are now using baby bum creams on their faces. Whilst I can't picture celebrities choosing a nappy rash cream over their favourite hundred-pound-odd serum, I know that this sort of cream is effective in soothing problem skin, so maybe they do...after all celebrities must get spots too?! I've actually used a similar nappy rash cream (you all know the one) for a nasty spot on the odd occasion and whilst it did the job at night, it wasn't something I could layer under makeup. It tends to cling to the problem area and may as well put up a big sign saying "Hey there, check out Meg's spot!"

Bennetts Bum Crème* seems slightly thinner in consistency than other similar nappy rash creams but when you rub it in, it doesn't leave the same white patch. Since being pregnant and giving birth I've not had any major spot breakouts (maybe I've finally waved goodbye to teenage skin) but I've tried this on a little spot I got this week and it certainly felt moisturising. It rubbed in easily and didn't leave a nasty white patch. I often feel a little overwhelmed by skincare ingredients but I've read that this contains essential lavender oil, which is great for soothing irritation and also zinc, for quick healing - just what you need when a nasty spot rears it's ugly head.



Although this was pitched to me as being great for problem skin, since I have a (nearly) six month old baby, I thought it'd really be more appropriate to review it as a bum cream! I've been using this on Arthur instead of his other nappy rash cream for the past few days and it does exactly the same job. I've said before that he hasn't really suffered with nappy rash but I still like to use a barrier cream and for that, Bennetts Bum Crème ticks all of the boxes. It's super easy to apply, sinks in and definitely appears to have kept him free from irritation.

Although it's multi-purpose I'm keeping this as a bum cream (what it says on the pot) and it's now sitting in Arthur's nursery, ready for the next nappy change!

If you're interested in finding out more about Bennetts Bum Crème as a skincare cream or as a nappy rash cream, the Bennetts for Babies website will have all the information you need. You can also pick up a pot for yourself for £3.99 from Amazon, Morrisons, ASDA, Superdrug, Ocado and many UK pharmacies.

What are your thoughts on using nappy creams as skincare?
Have you tried Bennetts on your baby?
xx
*PR Sample
View Post

Lost My Name


The other week Arthur received a really special gift from one of my best friends, Katie. It was the Lost My Name book, which you may of heard of if you're a parent or happened to catch it on Dragon's Den a couple of years ago.


For those that don't know, the Lost My Name book is a personalised children's story book, which sees the character going on a courageous journey to find their name; meeting a host of characters a long the way. You simply order the book directly from the Lost My Name website, enter the child's name and it will tailor the story to fit it. It's such a lovely idea and the book is so beautifully illustrated. I've already read it to Arthur a few times but I can't wait until we read it together when he's a little older. I'm already picturing him getting all excited when he discovers the little boy's name is actually his name.


The Lost My Name book would make such a special gift - perfect for new babies, christenings and first birthdays. The softcover version (which I have) costs £19.99 but there is a deluxe, hardcover edition too, which costs £34.99. All orders come with free international shipping. The people behind Lost My Name have also released another book called The Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home, which looks equally as exciting and can be purchased from the website; personalised with the child's home address.

A big thank you to Katie.
This is a gift I will treasure forever.
xx
View Post

Foodie Fave: My Quorn Chilli



Something you may not know about me is that I've been a vegetarian for over ten years. People have all sorts of reasons for being a vegetarian but if I'm going to be totally honest with you, I initially did it because the boy I liked at the time was a vegetarian too. I know, I know, that's a terrible reason but that's the sort of thing you do when you're fifteen going on sixteen, isn't it? Even before that though I didn't particularly enjoy eating things like chicken and pork and I'd never eaten red meat, so it wasn't a huge lifestyle change for me. I also love animals and whilst I don't have anything against other people choosing to eat meat, being a vegetarian is important to me and a decision I'm glad I made, even if it was probably for the wrong reason at the time!

One of my favourite vegetarian dishes to make is chilli, using Quorn as replacement for beef mince. It's a great recipe to make even if you're not a vegetarian, as Quorn is a healthy protein that also happens to be low in saturated fat! It's main ingredient is Mycoprotein, which is derived from an edible fungus. Even though I've been eating it for years, I didn't actually know much about it until I had a quick read of the Mycoprotein Information site. Now when people ask me what Quorn is I'll actually be able to go all scientific on them and tell them exactly how it's made!

Anyway, onto the bit you actually want to read - my Quorn chilli recipe! I'm not claiming to be Masterchef worthy - this is basic cooking at it's very best but what I can tell you is that it's quick, easy and tasty. What more could you possibly want?!


Quick Quorn Chilli | Serves 4 | 15 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • Quorn Meat Free Mince 300g
  • 2 tbsp Cooking Oil
  • 1 Onion (diced)
  • 2 Garlic Cloves (pressed or finely chopped)
  • Chilli Flakes / Powder (or you can just buy a Chilli Mix)
  • Tomato Passata (500g box)
  • 1 Tin of Kidney Beans (400g)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


Method:

  • Start by heating the oil in a large frying pan
  • Over a medium-high heat cook the onion for 2-3 minutes
  • Add in the garlic and cook for a further minute
  • Next add the Quorn Mince, tomato passata and drained kidney beans.
  • Shake in the chilli flakes / chilli powder or pour in your ready-made mix. How much you use will all depend on how hot you like your chilli. I like mine pretty hot!
  • Leave your chilli to simmer for ten minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Season with a little salt and pepper to taste
  • Serve with nachos, rice or chips – the choice is yours!



Told you it was super easy! I sometimes like to add in mushrooms and peppers if I want extra vegetables and you could also pop in a few jalapeños, if you can take the heat!

Whether you're a vegetarian or simply want to try going meat-free once a week (like Meat Free Monday), Quorn Chilli is a dish you're bound to enjoy! You can find out more information about cooking with Quorn by visiting the Quorn Facts site.

What are your favourite dishes to make with Quorn?
xx

Collaborative Post
View Post

My Changing Bag Essentials


I can't speak for other mummies but I found choosing a changing bag quite the challenge. It was a case of head vs heart as whilst I loved the likes of the Elodie Stroller Changing Bag, I felt like I couldn't justify £50+ on a changing bag at the time. So I let my head win and I went for the Caboodle Everyday Baby Changing Bag, which was on offer at the time of purchase and much cheaper around the £20 mark. Don't get me wrong, it's a lovely changing bag with a fantastic design but I still find myself hanging my nose over arguably more stylish offerings like the smarTrike Infinity changing bag £64.99. Isn't it lovely?!

Anyway enough of me moaning about not having the most stylish changing bag (a true first world problem right there) and onto the purpose of this post - my changing bag essentials.


Other parents will understand when I say that going out with a baby requires you to pack as if you're going on holiday for a week. Maybe that's a slight exaggeration but you really do feel like you need to pack everything but the kitchen sink just in case. And even if you've packed and re-packed your changing bag ten million times, you'll still spend the journey to wherever you're heading thinking about all the things you've probably forgotten to pack. It's not just me, right?

So rather than do a typical what's in my changing bag where I show you all of its likely contents (ten million breast pads can get rather boring), I thought it would be better if I stripped it back to the basics and talk about the things that I actually use for changing Arthur, day-in-day-out.

Nappies are of course the biggest baby essential and Naty is my first choice. Whilst everyone's heard of Pampers, I bet fewer people will have heard of Naty. I certainly didn't know they existed before another mama blogger mentioned them. Basically Naty is a Scandanavian brand that specialises in creating eco friendly nappies. They're as natural as they can be with their choice of materials and work hard to reduce their impact on the environment. They don't contain any nasties and offer excellent performance - something I can definitely attest to. 

I've been putting Arthur in them since he was born and he's not had any cases of nappy rash nor have we had many leakages. Naty do not test on animals (unlike other big nappy brands) and they make me feel better about using disposable nappies. Side note: If you're a cloth nappy user, I commend you and your washing skills!


Baby wipes are another big changing bag essential. You could just use water and cotton wool for nappy changes but honestly, I find wipes so much more convenient. Like with nappies, there's so many different brands to choose from but I knew from the start that I wanted to use Water Wipes. They're a great alternative to cotton wool and water as they are free from chemicals and actually contain 99.9% water! Grapefruit seed extract makes up the 0.1% and is a natural skin conditioner. As I said before, Arthur's not had any real cases of nappy rash so the nappy and wipe combination seem to be working really well.

My other essentials include nappy bags (not pictured), muslin clothes, a breastfeeding cover up (though I've not been using it as much recently), a fold-up changing mat and a rattle to keep Arthur entertained. I also like to pack him a change of clothes (vest, leggings and socks), which I roll up into a bundle to minimise space in my changing bag. I actually saw this in Kate Murnane's recent Mummy Hacks video and thought it was such a good idea!

At home I tend to use a lovely multi-purpose ointment from Burt's Bees on Arthur but the pot I've got isn't very travel friendly, so I just throw my Sudocrem samples in the bag instead. Sudocrem Care & Protect* is designed to act as a barrier cream to prevent nappy rash and the Sudocrem healing cream is a great antiseptic. The only thing is, I have no idea whether Sudocrem tests on animals or not? I definitely need to look into this, as if it turns out they do, I'm going to use them up and then move onto a cruelty-free alternative.

*Edited to Add*
The lovely Sudocrem PR emailed to confirm that Sudocrem is not tested on animals and is cruelty-free, which is fantastic news!

Even though the Caboodle bag isn't necessarily the changing bag of my dreams (that sounds so sad when you say it out loud) I've got to say it does tick all of the boxes. It's a great medium sized bag with plenty of room for all of Arthur's changing essentials and much more. There's internal pockets (including a zipped section and phone holder), pockets at the front and an adjustable strap. It also comes with a changing mat, zipped bag for dirty clothes and an insulated bottle bag, all of which are pretty useful. And for £30 (or less if you're lucky enough to get it on offer sometime) you can't really go wrong!

Are any of your changing bag essentials featured here?
What did you look for when buying a changing bag?
xx
*PR Sample
View Post

Get the glow: My favourite highlighters a year later


It's been over a year since I shared my favourite highlighters for getting beautiful, glowing skin so I thought it was about time I did an update. I have two new favourites to share in the form of the Soap & Glory Highlight and Sculpt Cheek Stick (that's a mouthful) and the Autograph Illuminating Touch Under Eye Concealer (what is it with these super long names?!) As well as an oldie but goodie, theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer -  a highlighter I go back to time and time again.

Let's start with arguably the most interesting product, the Soap & Glory Highlight Sculpt Cheek Stick, which as the name suggests comes in stick form. You simply twist it up, run it over your cheekbones (and anywhere else you like to highlight) and blend. The thing I like most about this highlighter is the ease of application - it's virtually foolproof! Blending is effortless and it leaves a lovely pink toned highlight on the skin. It's described as having a champagne glow but to me it's definitely more of a cool pink tone. See what you think when you look at my swatches below, I'm sure you'll agree?


Whilst I'm all for embracing my new mummy body, dark circles are still not welcome on my face! Luckily, the Illuminating Touch concealer from Autograph at Marks and Spencer is great for covering them up and brightening the under eye area. I feel like it immediately zaps the dark, gloomy tones and uplifts my complexion. It's another simple-to-use highlight. You click the bottom to release the liquid, dab it onto the required area and then gently pat it in. You know the drill.

Soap & Glory Highlight & Sculpt Stick // Autograph Illuminating Under Eye Concealer // TheBalm Mary-Lou Manizer
Last but not least is my oldie but goodie - theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer. This highlighter is a blogger favourite and it's not hard to see why. The gorgeous champagne tone immediately brightens your complexion, highlights the cheekbones and provides a warming glow. A little definitely goes a long way with this one though so you have to be careful not to over-do it! It was the highlighter I reached for on a daily basis but since being introduced to the Soap & Glory stick highlighter, I tend to alternate between the two, depending on whether I'm going for a cool-toned or warm-toned makeup look.

What's your favourite highlighter?
I'd love to be introduced to some new ones!
(As long as they're not tested on animals)
xx
View Post

Mummy Scribbles


My 10 Thoughts I've had as a New Mummy post went down really well with other new mamas on Twitter, so I thought I'd turn it into a bit of a series called Mummy Scribbles! Every month I'll share some of the thoughts I've had and parenting things I've pondered over. I'd love it if other parents shared theirs too! Maybe we've had similar thoughts about things or there's something you can relate to here...

1. I don't have a routine? Do I even need a routine? What age should I have established a routine by? Is routine even a word, I'm not sure now I've said it so many times?

2. I own about ten million muslin cloths so why isn't there ever one to hand when I need one? Suppose it doesn't matter since he'll find a way to get to my cardigan instead.

3. Why isn't there a single parent emoji? I know emojis aren't important but still...there should be a single mum emoji and a single dad emoji, don't you think?!

4. Must not turnover, shuffle, cough, sneeze or breathe loudly or he might wake up. Oh no, I think he's heard me thinking too loudly.

5. Mmm dribble fingers.

6. Why are you collecting my hair in your fist? Is this the reason postpartum hair loss is a thing?!

7. He's rolling over, oh god, he's rolling. Careful baby. Careeeeful. YES, YES YOU DID IT! MUMMY'S CLEVER BOY!!! OH GOD YOU'RE AMAZING. (Definitely said that last bit out loud at the top of my voice)

8. "If you like it then you shoulda put a bib on it!" (To the tune of Single Ladies obvs.)

9. Oh that's why vests have a fold-over wide neck - for easy post-poo explosion removal! Why has it taken me this long to discover this?!

10. That smile. Nothing is better than seeing you smile. What was my life without you?

Have you had any funny parenting thoughts this week?
Or can you relate to some of the thoughts I've had?
xx
View Post
Previous PostOlder Posts Home
BLOGGER TEMPLATES BY pipdig