The hotMaMa Diaries Blog - Breastfeeding blog and parenting blog

Breastfeeding and parenting blog

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

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  1. wbw2019_logo

    World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from 1 to 7 August all over the globe to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world. 

    It's been great to see so much going on all over social media to support WBW19.  Just in case you wanted a bit more information we've covered it in this month's blog post.


    "Empower Parents. Enable Breastfeeding."

    The theme for 2019 World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is - Empower Parents. Enable Breastfeeding. ILCA is partnering with organizations around the globe - including United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organization (WHO), International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN), La Leche League International (LLLI), The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM), Wellstart International, the Global Goals, and the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) - to promote the role that breastfeeding plays in valuing our wellbeing.

    Breastfeeding is a universal solution that levels the playing field, giving everyone a fair start in life.
    It improves the health, wellbeing and survival of women and children around the world.


  2. I get so many comments usually from the older generations such as my grandparents and their friends about my life, I think they forget it is mine to live and I understand they may mean well however I wish they would understand it is my life. Now I have 4 children with a range of ages as that is just how life happened so I have a 10, 8, 6 and 20 month old. They are fabulous kids and I love them to bits however being a mum is not the only thing I am. I am also a wife and I make time for my husband, we have monthly, sometimes even fortnight dates if we can get babysitters and we have something to do or go see. It doesn't have to be a long date or anything brilliant just a game of bowling or a cinema show where we just go out as a couple with no kids and we chat to each other, we kiss, hold hands and just enjoy each others company. Now we have been married nearly 2 years so probably in the honeymoon stage still but I love that we make time for each other and the reason we do is just that when the children grow older and then leave home, what if you don't like the person you have spent the last 18 years living with? What if you have nothing in common or don't really talk to know each other. Even if you can't go out because you don't have a babysitter just put the kids to bed or in different rooms and enjoy just a meal together or have a nice massage with each other, play a board game or just have a drink and a dance in the living room but spend the time on your relationship. 

    Work - My grandma hates me working for some reason. She loves and is so proud that I completed University while having 4 kids at home but then when I am in employment she feels I should be at home with the children, like I should feel guilty for being a working mum and I do see this from both sides however I work part time so my older kids know which days I am home. I am around to take them to their classes, I try and move my shifts and days to accommodate when they are on Celebration chairs or when they have plays at school so I can get involved however they know there will be times I cannot attend these things and having a good chat with the kids about work is helpful, explaining to them it doesn't mean you don't love them but you go to work because you need the money to provide opportunities, to pay for extra classes, their hobbies, their birthday parties or even just for rent or a mortgage. I work because I enjoy it, because it gives me a break from the kids and because I have worked hard to learn things that I want to put to good use, I don't have time for an 18 year career break and why should I have to when I can work part time and still be at home some days to get the cleaning done and catch up on the mountains of washing we go through as a family of 6. I won't feel guilty for trying to provide a better live and nicer holidays for my kids and my truth is explaining to them more about money so they understand how work and money goes hand in hand so they are more knowledgeable when they grow up and so they understand more about why I am not their sometimes. I grew up where my dad worked 60-70 hours a week, we had great Christmas and Birthday presents but we hardly ever saw my dad. Him and my mum just did things separately on weekends and they divorced when I was 11 so this is why I like my husband to do his 40 hours and then we are hope to be as a family getting this quality time together. 
    Breastfeeding Blog, breastfeeding clothes, breastfeeding dress, breastfeeding tops
    Friends - I feel like I have never really had a lot of friends, I have had acquaintances and don't get me wrong I have tried to make friends but I find it quite an effort sometimes so the people I have as friends are usually just those I can be myself around and even though I don't have many of them - Probably 3 good friends if I am honest and we don't see each other all that much I know that when we get together we can say and do anything and we will just get each other, everything is easy from choosing where to go, what activity to do and we all just get on with it and have a laugh doing it so essentially we arrange meet ups probably twice a year or more if there are some local strippers on as that is guaranteed to get other acquaintances out as sometimes it is really difficult to get mummy friends out - They almost hibernate all year round and may come out once in the summer, which is fine but I need my friend time sometimes, time to get drunk, dance, party and just have a laugh and a moan about the men in our lives, or the kid dramas we have. 
    Breastfeeding Blog, breastfeeding clothes, breastfeeding dress, breastfeeding tops
    Hobbies - Now I have never been one for too many hobbies. My parents never really pushed me to try any clubs or activities. I was good at Netball and always picked first because I was tall. I did swimming classes and got my lifesaver award but that was as far as I wanted to take it. I was a good academic child, I learnt and had a passion for reading and wanting to better myself. I enjoyed learning and finance and business and as I grew older I had an interest in property. My hobbies when I was a teen involved a lot of karaoke and drinking and relaxing with friends shopping and attending the cinema. When I became a mum I didn't have time for hobbies, I tried a local line dancing class and then a Zumba class, I tried the gym, cycling, home exercise, a dance class and even kick boxing and circuit classes but none I ever stuck to. I just don't have the motivation for those sorts of things. Which is why I am glad I re-found Netball quite recently. I haven't played for around 14 years however it was great to be put in a team and now if I don't go I will feel like I am letting my team down, we play weekly matches every week and we have noticed we are getting a lot stronger. I think I have finally found the hobby for me. 
    So you see a Mum isn't the only thing I am, and I don't want to feel guilty for having other interests and letting my hair down once in a while because I am still Gemma, a wife, a daughter, a netball league team player, an employee and also a girlfriend to my friends - And as much as I love my children the fact I have other interests is great as well as they see me supporting them financially, they gain a good work ethic and hopefully interests in sports will inspire the to stick to their hobbies and develop those. 
    Written by Gem at
  3. Breastfeeding Blog

    The mum tum is wobbly and wrinkled with rolls.

    The mum tum is saggy and stretched with folds.


    The mum tum can make you feel more self aware.

    “If I wear that tight top will anyone stare?”


    The mum tum can make us feel shame of our size.

    We squeeze into control pants what we want to hide.


    We are jealous of others who are only too happy to say

    They used to have a mum tum but then it went away!


    “Why is she so slim?”

    “What am I doing wrong?”

    All too often woman are singing this song.


    Stretch marks or tiger stripes, call them what you choose

    Either way scars are souvenirs that you never lose.


    A reminder of the unspeakable gift that you grew inside.

    A gift that is denied to so many who have tried and tried.


    A gift that you nourished, kept safe and warm.

    This gift never felt pain, shame, sadness or scorn.


    A gift that once in this world to them you became

    The most perfect being who could ever be named!


    Your mum tum was soft where they laid their head

    Comforted by your smell and the words that you said.


    The very fact that this miracle was born alive

    Is a blessing that to many is tragically denied.


    I hope you can see how special you are.

    How blessed you have been to have come this far.


    To have flourished new life in the depths of your being.

    To have been blessed with the growing reminder that you are daily seeing.


    It is an emotional journey becoming a mum.

    And the wonder of it all is so much more than your tum!


    So take comfort in the knowledge that you are not alone.

    When your child hugs your tum remember that was their first home.


    When you look in the mirror smile and feel proud

    For you have grown brand new humans for crying out loud!


    My body reminds me of joy and of loss.

    And how my arms ached for a baby I wanted whatever the cost.


    If the cost of a baby is a sag here and there

    I will take it and own it and see beauty there


    Your tum is a reminder of how far you have come

    On this miraculous journey of becoming a mum.



    Read more from Jo at

  4. No one told me that one of the side effects of having a new baby was stiffness like all get out in the upper body and shoulders! It's chronic in the first few years. I remember being 5 or 6 months postpartum and catching sight of myself in the mirror: my shoulders were rounded and hunched forward, and I seemed to be working on a pretty impressive Dowager's hump for someone in their thirties. *grimace face*

    When we teach our regular postnatal workshops, this is a common complaint. The many hours we spend holding, rocking, cuddling, and milking our babes in the front plane of the body result in tiredness, tightness, and shoulder-rounding of epic proportions. One very useful pose to help iron out the shoulder space is downward-facing dog. But that pose alone isn't enough. And Lauren and I know how hard it is to roll your mat out in the early months of new motherhood (mine collected dust in the corner for a goooood while.)  That's why I LOVE these 3 moves, explained below: they take all of 10 minutes to do (at most), you can do them at the wall with no mat or other props, you don't need to be in yoga clothes, and they will honestly, truly, actually help your shoulders feel better / stronger / looser in all the best ways.


    Breastfeeding Blog, breastfeeding clothes, breastfeeding dress, breastfeeding tops

    This may look deceptively easy, but it requires some muscular engagement. Stand facing a wall, close enough that you can let your head drop onto the wall. Bring your hands up, a little wider than shoulder width apart. Take a breath in, and as you exhale, contract the muscles in your arms and shoulders by pressing in with your hands and pulling DOWN, as if you were *trying* to slide your hands down the wall, but they don't actually move. You could contract and release with your breath a few times (inhale, soften; exhale, contract) or you could simply hold the contraction for a few rounds of breath.


    Breastfeeding Blog, breastfeeding clothes, breastfeeding dress, breastfeeding tops

    Stand next to the wall, feet parallel. Standing closer to the wall will result in more sensation, so if you need to go slower here, step a little farther from the wall. Reach your arm closes to the wall back and press it into the wall, palm facing in, thumb up. You can bring your other hand to the wall, in front of you (as I'm doing in the photo) or your can wrap your hand around your ribcage closest to the wall and gently pull your ribcage forward. That feels pretty nice. Stay here for anywhere between 5 rounds of breath to 2-3 minutes. Repeat on the other side. BONUS: tip your chin slightly up and away from the wall as you hold to get a sweet little neck stretch.


    Breastfeeding Blog, breastfeeding clothes, breastfeeding dress, breastfeeding topsypga 4

    Stand facing the wall and fold forward at the waist, making your body into an L-shape. Walk your hands down the wall until they are parallel to your shoulders. (If your hands are higher up than your shoulders, there is more pressure on your rotator cuff which may feel a little pinchy.) Find softness in your knees or even bend them a bit, as I'm doing in the photos. In the starting position, keep your arms straight. You might squirm a bit here and do cat-cow movements with your spine or rock your hips side to side.

    For part II of this movement, inhale and begin to bend your elbows outward, pressing your hands into the wall. As you exhale, straighten your arms again, squeezing your shoulder blades toward one another as you do. (These are essentially down-dog wall push-ups!) Repeat between 5-20 times.


    When your shoulders need some love, opening, and attention, try this little sequence. Do you have another favorite move or pose for shoulder relief? (Aside from Netflix and wine; we already know about that one.) We'd love to hear your tricks, tips, and favorite poses for shoulder opening. And if you try this sequence and love it, let us know that, too!



    Read more from Alexandra at Lifelong Yoga | Whole Mama Yoga | Facebook | Instagram 

  5. She made an effort.  She got the kids dressed and fed.  She even dressed herself which was no small feat, considering the walls felt like they were closing in on her this morning.  If she had been able to she would have stayed in bed.  But the kids were lively and restless, she knew they needed to get out even if she didn’t feel like it, they needed company even if she didn’t want it.  So she made an effort.

    She thought she would try that toddler group around the corner.  She pushed open the door and tentatively peeked inside.  Playgroup was in full swing, kids screaming with delight tearing around the room, toys flying left to right, parents and carers deep in conversation, sat on a line of chairs encircling this chaos.

    Her son took off straight away loudly tearing around the room with a headless doll in one hand and a plastic saw in the other.  She flinched as she saw a group of mums look at her child, she could almost hear them thinking “Who is this loud crazy child?” The mums and carers looked at her briefly then looked away and carried on talking.

    She swallowed hard as she looked desperately for an empty chair, while dragging her second child along the floor who was wrapped around her leg, stuck to her like a limpet.  She glanced up and felt a few more stares.  She felt a little bit like those strangers in the old western movies who walk into a bar, she almost expected a mum to come up to her with a western drawl and say “Yer not from around these parts are ye?” but at least that would mean someone would actually be talking to her.  She turned her attention to her daughter/limpet and tried to encourage her to pick up some nearby dolls. She glanced up again and then she saw it, a lady was looking at her and smiled!  In the midst of backs of head or quick glances a smile is like a lighthouse shining in the dark, standing out like a beacon.  “How old is she?” the lady kindly asked.  She replied and entered into a very short polite dialogue but a dialogue nevertheless.  Between that and the snacks/songs and home time there were a couple more smiles and the owner of the playgroup who had been previously talking to someone else came over to introduce herself.  All these things made a huge difference between her feeling even more alone than when she was at home, and feeling like this was somewhere she could come again.

    You may not have experienced the example above.  Maybe you have.  I can certainly say you have been in the same room as someone who has experienced the above at some point.   Don’t underestimate the power of a smile, a kind word.  It doesn’t have to be much.  We can all think of a time when a kind smile lifted us but may not always be aware when we need to be the one aware of who needs a smile from us today.

    Amazingly it is absolutely possible to feel alone in a crowd.  To feel isolated in a lively buzzing building filled with noise chatting and laughter.  Connection is more than just being in the same room as other mums and children.  Sometimes you can arrive and leave feeling just the same as if you had never left your sofa.

    Other times loneliness comes from not hearing from other mums in the week.  Feeling like if you never made the effort to contact people you would never hear from them.  Surprisingly though very many people feel like this, it’s not just you, and the people you never hear from they often feel the same way.  More often than not you are the one required to take that first step hard as it may be. How refreshing it is when someone takes that first step for you, and that can be as simple as a smile.

    We have many things in place to help you if you are feeling like this.  To provide a safe space to socialise, where those in charge are trained to be observant and discerning and signpost you to different organisations if you need help.  There are also groups that are set up for PND counselling and countless others.  Wherever you live as you read this article please do search for similar organisations local to you.  Many also have found support within a church that they are comfortable in.

    Nurturing birth and beyond and local NCT groups are active and passionate about empowering mothers and being a friend and providing invaluable information, networking and support.  Pregnancy yoga classes and mother and baby yoga are built on the foundations of peer support in mind, passionately making sure mums don’t feel left out.

    Home Start provides a proactive home visiting programme for families under stress to offer practical support, help and friendship.  This in turn will reduce the family isolation and encourage the building of social networks and many more.  Home Start also run playgroups. Dragonflies meets every Tuesday and Thursday morning.  There is also a dads group, story time and lots more.  Please see their website or Facebook page for updates and more information.

    Bright Beginnings at the edge of Delancey Park and The Kindred Centre at Les Genats offer a welcoming Community Centre where there are varied activities during the week. Their highly trained staff are on hand to help or offer support or signpost you to other helpful organisations.  Please see Facebook pages or websites for more information.

    Breaking free is a course run by Health and Social Services Department for mums suffering with post natal depression.  This eight week course gives support and coping strategies as well as sessions where you can explore relaxation techniques too.  Please ask your Health Visitor or Doctor if you would like a referral.

    The incredible years programme aims to prevent and reduce behavioural and emotional problems in young children whilst supporting and educating parents.  You can contact your Health Visitor or Doctor for more information.

    The above support and more are available locally.  Don’t be afraid to ask.

    We all suffer loneliness at times.  Being a mum can be very isolating it can also be very rewarding.  Let us be aware of those around us who may be needing support, even just a smile is something we can all do.

    If you are feeling lonely to the point of feeling regularly low please do take steps to attend one of these friendly playgroups who are geared up to helping mums in this situation. Do ask your Doctor or Health Visitor for a referral where you can learn coping strategies for day to day life, and benefit from the care and support you will also receive


    Read more from Jo at

  6. Social media is awash at the minute with mothers celebrating their post birth body. They are embracing their lumps, bumps and imperfections because their body created amazing little people. They grew humans inside of them and then brought them into the world to breath new life. It’s wonderful to see such an outpouring of love and pride for a realistic image of a woman’s body. It’s left me feeling a bit left out though.

    You see, my body didn’t create my little human. Another woman did that. She grew and nurtured our daughter in her tummy. She felt her first kick and watched her bump grow as our daughter developed in her womb. I can’t begin to imagine how she must have felt when her waters broke. She had already decided then she wasn’t going to be able to look after the baby she was about to bring into the world. She endured a no doubt excruciating labour knowing she wasn’t going to be taking home the little human she’d grown inside her for 9 months.

    For a long time, I fell out of love with my body. Since time began, women have become pregnant and given birth. I felt such a failure that I didn’t and incredibly let down by my body. It was the complete opposite to the way that the social media mums are loving their bodies because they created a life. I was loathing mine because it didn’t. Every month I’d get a punch in the face, as regular as clockwork, reminding me that my body COULD get pregnant, it just wasn’t.

    Infertility is one of those things that unless you’ve experienced it, you really can’t understand how someone who is going through it is feeling. Month after month, I’d be on a rollercoaster of hope at the start of my cycle, followed very quickly with crushing disappointment. Every twinge during the “2 week wait” would be analysed, googled, cherished and then quickly thrown away in despair.

    Why couldn’t I get pregnant? Everyone else seemed to be. I was reasonably fit and healthy, as was my husband. He went along with the endless attempts at new positions / baggy underwear / bath ban / vitamin overkill I forced on him as I desperately clung on to the hope that it would happen. During that time, my best friends had produced 10 kids between them and my sister had 2. There had been crushing miscarriages too, but 12 babies gave me hope that it would happen for us.

    But it didn’t. I felt completely inadequate. A failure as a woman. It wasn’t that I was getting pregnant and then my body rejected it. I just didn’t get pregnant. I have never experienced the thrill of a positive pregnancy test of my own. I’ve seen the line change for someone else which was a feeling I will never forget. It’s never happened to me though.

    If I’m being completely honest with myself, I think I knew that it never would. That thought didn’t help with the hurt and the pain and the all consuming disappointment I felt for a long time. My body had let me down, big time. I felt like I wasn’t a real woman because I couldn’t grow a human inside me. My lumps and bumps weren’t badges of honour. They were stark reminders every single day that my body hadn’t done what it was meant to.

    I was so desperate to become a mum. As the months went by I was terrified it was never going to happen. At times, I didn’t know if I could cope with that. I felt a physical ache as I contemplated a future not being a mum.

    I’m a great believer that things happen for a reason. The reason may not always be as clear as it could be, but it’s there, somewhere. The reason I didn’t get pregnant is because I wasn’t meant to. I wasn’t meant to be a tummy mummy. I was meant to grow my child in my heart. She grew there for a very long time, but once we met her, everything made sense.

    Mother nature decided that my route to motherhood was via adoption. I was always meant to be our daughter’s mum and if I’d got pregnant and had a birth child, that would never have happened. The thought of our daughter not being part of our lives utterly terrifies me.

    We waited such a long time to meet her. I get now though that I had to go through all of the pain, heartache and despair so that I could be her mum. And also so that I could appreciate how hard it must have been for her tummy mummy to walk away.

    So my body didn’t let me down at all. It took me on a journey and kept me going until our daughter was ready for us. My jelly belly may not have been created by our daughter growing inside me. It was created while she grew in my heart.


    Read more from Suzy at 

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