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!

To be featured on the hotMaMa Diaries contact us an email to [email protected]

lactation award

 RSS Feed

Category: Breastfeeding

  1. Lactation smoothie recipes

    Posted on

    Lactation smoohie, recipe, blog, breastfeeding blog, parenting blog, new mu

    These recipes aren't too different to standard smoothies but they contain ingredients that are said to help boost milk supply (Woop Woop!)  According to Belly Belly, fenugreek, oats, brewer's yeast, and nuts can all increase lactation. Spinach and flax contain phytoestrogens which is thought to promote lactation, as well.  Having them in smoothie form can also make them easier and tastier to drink.  Some of these recipes also have added energy boosting  ingredients like bananas which also give sleep deprived mamas a little boost!

    Banana and oat lactation smoothie

    Lactation smoothie, recipe, blog, breastfeeding blog, parenting blog, new muIngredients
    1 Banana
    1 cup of Almond Milk
    1/4 cup of Oats
    1-2 TBS of Honey
    1 TBS of Flax Seed Oil
    1 TBS of Chia Seed
    1/2 cup of Ice
    Sprinkle of Cinnamon

    Place all ingredients into your blender.
    Blend on high for 1 minute, or until smooth.

    Strawberry and banana lactation smoothie

    1/4 cup oats
    1 banana
    8 strawberries frozen
    1/2 cup milk
    1 tbsp honey
    1/2 tsp vanilla
    1 tsp brewer's yeast
    1 tsp ground flax seed

    Put oats into blender and process until the oats are well ground.
    Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.

    Chocolate lactation smoothie

    Lactation smoothie, recipe, blog, breastfeeding blog, parenting blog, new muIngredients

    1/4 cup oats
    2 tbsp 100% cacao powder
    1 tbsp Flax seed
    3/4 cup Milk (or almond milk)
    2 cups Ice

    1 Frozen Banana
    2 tbsp Peanut butter
    Honey (for a sweet flavor)

    Place the cacao powder and milk in the blender. Blend for about 30 seconds. Add other remaining ingredients and blend until smoothie consistency.

  2. Awesome Lactation Cookie Recipes

    Posted on

    Lactation Cookies, recipe, blog, breastfeeding blog, parenting blog, new mu

    Lactation cookies, New baby photos, newborn baby blog, breastfeeding blog, parenting blog, mummy blog, nursing clothing, nursing clothes, nursing tops, nursing top, nursing dress, nursing dresses, nursing wear, breastfeeding clothes, breastfeeding clothing, breastfeeding top, breastfeeding tops, breastfeeding sweater, breastfeeding jumpers, breastfeeding friendly clothes

    These are great snack for a breastfeeding mum as they will give mum a much needed energy boost and  contain many milk-boosting ingredients.

    Top Milk Boosting Ingredients

    You can substitute out some of the ingredients for alternatives but to ensure you get the best chance to give your milk a boost these are the ingredients not to be messed with:

    -Brewers yeast: Contains vitamin B and the minerals chromium and selenium. B vitamins which are great for breastfeeding mums.

    - Flaxseed:  This contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These are healthy fats which are great for us mums and can be passed on to your breastmilk for a nutritional boost for baby. 

    - Oats: They contain a high concentration of saponins, an immune-stimulating compound that may help increase levels of prolactin, a key hormone for milk production. Oats are also packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals, which makes them a healthy choice regardless of whether or not you're breastfeeding as they'll release energy slowly to ensure you don't have a sugar crash!

    Lactation Cookies, recipe, blog, breastfeeding blog, parenting blog, new mu



    •  65g coconut oil
    •  100g cup brown sugar
    •  1 egg
    •  1 tsp vanilla
    •  2 tbsp milled flaxseed
    •  3 tbsp water
    •  130g cup whole wheat flour
    •  2 tbsp brewer's yeast
    •  1 tsp cinnamon
    •  1/2 tsp salt
    •  180g cups oats
    •  60g cup raisins
    •  2 tbsp whole flaxseed 


      1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celcius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit

      2. In a mixing bowl, mix the coconut oil and sugar until soft. Add the egg and vanilla and mix.
      3. Combine the milled flaxseed and water in a separate bowl and then add to the mixing bowl.

      4. Add the flour, brewer's yeast, cinnamon and salt to the mixing bowl and mix again.

      5. By hand, mix in the oats, raisins and whole flaxseed.

      6. Scoop out the batter onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Flatten the cookies slightly. Recipe will make 12 cookies.

      7. Bake for 12 minutes.

      8. Eat and enjoy!


    Lactation Cookies, recipe, blog, breastfeeding blog, parenting blog, new mu


    • 3 cups Old Fashioned Oats
    • 1 1/2 cups Flour
    • 5 Tbsp Brewers Yeast
    • 3 Tbsp Ground Flaxseed
    • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
    • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
    • 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp Salt
    • 16 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, Cubed (2 sticks)
    • 4 Tbsp Virgin Coconut Oil
    • 1 1/2 Cups Sugar (feel free to reduce by 1/4 cup)
    • 2 Eggs
    • 1 Tbsp Vanilla
    • 1 1/2 cups Semi-Sweet or Dark Chocolate Chips/Chunks
    • 1/2 cup Shredded Coconut
    • 1/2 cup Chopped Walnuts *optional*


    1.  Preheat the oven the 160 degrees celcius or 350 degrees F.

    2.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, yeast, flaxseed, baking powder, soda, cinnamon and salt. Next, add in the oats and combine.

    3.  In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the butter and coconut oil on medium speed until creamy, about 1-2 minutes.

    4.  Add in the sugar and beat on medium to high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed.

    5.  Add in the egg and egg yolk, beating until combined, about 2 to 3 minutes. Make sure you scrape the bowl to make sure that it is all evenly mixed.

    6.  Add in the vanilla extract and beat until combined again. Gradually add in the dry ingredients, beating on low speed until just combined and mixed.

    7.  Stir in the chocolate chips, coconut and nuts, until combined.

    8.  Scoop the dough into 1-inch rounds, or use a large cookie scoop to make them uniform, and place on a baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes, or until the bottoms are just golden. Let cool completely before storing in a sealed container.


    Lactation Cookies, recipe, blog, breastfeeding blog, parenting blog, new mu


    • 1 cup 150g wholemeal flour
    • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
    • 125 g butter
    • 3 tablespoons of flaxseed meal
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 3 tablespoons of water
    • 1 tablespoonvanilla extract
    • 2 tablespoons of brewers yeast
    • 1 1/2 cups of rolled oats
    • 100 g of flaked almonds
    • 1/2 cup of dried apricots, roughly chopped
    • 1/4 cup of white chocolate chips



    1. Line two trays with baking paper and preheat your oven to 180 degrees centigrade.

    2. Place the butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on a high speed for 8 - 10 minutes or until the mixture is pale and smooth.

    3. Add the vanilla and egg and mix on a low speed to combine.

    4. Add the wholemeal flour, baking powder, flaxseed meal and brewers yeast and water to the bowl and mix on a low speed to combine.

    5. Remove the bowl from the stand and add the rolled oats, flaked almonds, white chocolate chips and dried cranberries and stir through to combine.

    6. Use a tablespoon to scoop up the mixture and roll it into balls before placing on the prepared baking trays. Repeat until you have used all of the mixture.

    7. Lightly flatten the Cranberry Almond and White Chocolate Lactation Biscuits with the palm of your hand and place into the oven to bake for 12 minutes.

    8. Leave the biscuits to cool on the trays for 10 minutes before carefully transferring to a wire rack to completely cool.

    9. Store in an airtight container for up to a week



  3. Breastfeeding Support Networks

    Posted on

     Breastfeeding Support, Breastfeeding Blog, Parenting Blog, Breastfeeding he

    Breastfeeding is hard.  There's not reason to go it alone, if you're feeling stressed, overwhelmed or just have a few queries there are loads of places you can go to get some support:

    Association of Breastfeeding Mothers

    Tel: 0300 330 5453

    Voluntary mum-to-mum support, counselling and information for breastfeeding women.

    Association of Tongue-tie Practitioners

    Find an NHS or private health professionals specialising in tongue-tie.

    Baby Cafe

    Coordinates a network of breastfeeding drop-in centres and other support services.

    Baby Milk Action

    Campaigns for the ethical marketing of breastmilk substitutes.

    Best Beginnings

    Offers information and support to help every baby in the UK have the healthiest possible start in life.

    Biological Nurturing (laid back breastfeeding)


    Information and resources to support laid-back breastfeeding, a positionthat helps to tap into babies' natural feeding reflexes.


    Tel: 0808 8801 0322

    Emotional and practical advice for parents of babies born sick or premature.

    Breastfeeding Network

    Tel: 0300 100 0212

    Independent source of support and information for breastfeeding women, and those involved in their care. 

    Lactation Consultants of Great Britain

    The professional association for qualified lactation consultants. Members of the association provide advice, support and consultations on breastfeeding in the UK.

    La Leche League

    Tel: 0345 120 2918 

    Counselling, advice and information on breastfeeding, plus local group meetings.

    Maternity Action

    Tel: 0845 600 85 33

    Provides information about breastfeeding and working.

    National Breastfeeding Helpline

    Tel: 0300 100 0212

    Staffed by trained volunteer mums from the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers and the Breastfeeding Network. Support via online chat and phone. Lines are open 9.30am to 9.30pm, every day. Also offers information on breastfeeding, one-to-one local support, and information about drugs and breastmilk.


    Tel: 0300 330 0700 (Option 1)

    Information on feeding your baby. Offers trained breastfeeding counsellors for individual advice and support.

    UK Association for Milk Banking

    Supports human milk banking in the UK to provide safe and screened donor breastmilk for babies who are premature or unwell.

    UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative

    Works with the health services to enable and support parents to make informed choices about how they feed and care for their babies. Provides information and advice on the benefits of breastfeeding.

  4. Dontating Milk/What is cluster feeding?

    Posted on



    1506455289343Donating milk had been something I heard about while on a car journey with another Mum. We were discussing how we were both really fortunate by pure luck to have really healthy and what appeared to be, above average supplies. Through surrounding myself with the world that is breastfeeding through books, Facebook groups, discussing with other Mums and most importantly experiencing it myself, I have come to realise that a lot of women struggle to use breast pumps well enough to make a full feed in one session. Some mums can spend hours hooked up to a breastpump and only achieve a few drops/ few ounces and others can make ounces in minutes.


    When I was in NICU I went straight to the pump, which may be why I'm able to create such a high supply but may just be luck. I truly believe, through speaking to a number of women and seeing multiple Facebook posts, that it really is just luck. You can either do it or you can't, sadly. Some women believe eating oats and taking supplements are a few of the ways you can increase your supply and others say purely by having your baby feed more will increase your supply- no supplement or type of food will help. I have never needed to and therefore never tried these supplements, but if my supply was dipping or I believed I needed to make more milk for my baby I would try everything under the sun- so no judgement here. I'm simply repeating what I've read!


    A lot of times during the early days, Oscar went through phases of cluster feeding and had I not been properly informed through reading up about the subject or being told by my experienced breastfeeding mama friends, that although it seemed like both my boobs were flat, deflated, empty and I simply couldn't produce any more milk- this was impossible. Breastmilk is a river not a reservoir, as they say. You will always make more milk. Cluster feeding is combined with all sorts of leaps and growth spurs that your baby is going through so it's a tricky time to have faith in yourself and your milk. A lot of women see cluster feeding as that their baby isn't satisfied with their milk and that they're crying because they're starving or that they're sucking and nothing's coming out. Believe me I thought this too when it first started happening. This can then lead to a lot of Mums falling into 'the top up trap'. When you're well informed about cluster feeding it allows you to understand what's happening in your babies life. When a baby cluster feeds it's known as 'putting their order in for the next day'. So if your baby is likely going through a growth spurt, their bodies are smart enough to know that, right, Mum, tomorrow I'm gonna need to feed double what I had today. And how do they do that? By cluster feeding. By feeding over and over and over they're sending all sorts of signals to your body to pick up the pace and that they're hungry. Come tomorrow, your body will start producing more milk to support this growth spurt. Cluster feeding happens every 6 weeks or so in a newborns life. If you've read my previous posts it's all about getting prepared. Having great films to watch, plenty of snacks and water around you and getting comfy in bed. Oscar once cluster fed for three hours. The first time I didn't know what the hell was going on and thought I can't possibly be making any more milk. I was also desperate to go to sleep so I was willing for him to go to sleep even more so.


    The 'top up trap' is an unfortunate cycle where by a mother thinks she isn't providing enough milk for her baby due to cluster feeding and wonders why they're feeding so much and not falling asleep as they used to after a big feed. Then they go and buy a bottle of formula to a) fill their babies tummies because they feel like their milk isn't enough b) make the baby sleep.


    By skipping cluster feeding and going through the long and tedious process of feeding, baby falling asleep, waking up as soon as they're put down, feeding, falling asleep, waking up, feeding AGAIN, falling asleep, waking up, feeding AGAIN... you get the picture. Instead of going through this process and carrying out the signals needed to be sent from their baby to their boobs, effectively, their body WONT make more milk. The baby will be full of formula, sleep and the Mums supply will remain the same. They make wake up the next day and want to continue their breastfeeding journey exclusively and come night time the baby will do the exact same thing, why? Because their body didn't get the signals needed from their baby to produce more milk for the next day. Their baby went to sleep, skipping all that vital cluster feeding and having a belly full of formula that takes a lot longer to digest than breastmilk, thus letting the baby sleep for longer. Sleeping baby = happy Mum. Skipping cluster feeding for sleep = Mums supply won't increase.


    If the Mums supply then doesn't increase and the baby tries to cluster feed again. If the Mum is ill informed about cluster feeding and thinks its 'Night 2 of me not making enough milk for my baby', the Mum will most likely make another bottle of formula. And come night 3, 4 or 5 will go for formula straight away. By missing those lucrative night feeds the Mums supply WILL drop. She then WILL not be making enough baby for her milk and WILL choose formula full time for their baby. (Everything they dreaded in the first place and could have avoided) It's a sad, vicious cycle and sadly does cut a lot of Mums breastfeeding journeys short. There's nothing worse than feeling like you're not enough for your baby and having to swap to formula despite it being the last thing you intended. By being well advised, well prepared and having faith in yourself and SCIENCE - it should all work out.


    Formula fed babies also cluster feeding and this can lead to a lot of Mums putting their baby on 'hungry baby milk' as they mistake a baby trying to cluster feed for a baby that's 'extra hungry'. This is simply a marketing ploy by formula companies that take advantage of Mums that will buy a thicker, higher calorie formula to fill their babies tummies to stop them crying for more food (the way nature intended). It is the only thing that truly upsets me when I read other Mums putting their baby on hungry milk, 'bed time milk' or rusks in their bottles just to get them to stop crying/sleep more. Breastmilk digests in 2 hours roughly in a newborn and formula takes a lot longer and therefore baby is more 'content' supposedly. However I would much rather my baby fuss a little to increase my supply, and be breastfed, than fill their little tummy with a powder based milk just to get them to be quiet. (If a Mum tried everything they could to breastfeed and simply couldn't, I don't judge this, but formula just to get some sleep, makes me sad!)


    Anyway, enough about cluster feeding and rocking the boat with my formula opinions. Back to pumping. I have never had any trouble with pumping and have always had a great supply. A lot of women who struggle ought to check the 'flange size' this is the size of the hideous bit that goes over your nipple. The pump needs to mimic your baby suckling, a flange too small and it will only stimulate the end of a nipple. And breastfeeding works by the baby suckling way further back and getting a flow from the back of the breast. A baby doesn't suck on the end of a nipple so a flange needs to not just 'tickle the end'!! Too big a flange and the machine won't be able to produce a big enough force when mimicking sucking as there will be too much air/space around the breast for the machine to really latch on. So finding the right flange size is crucial.


    Having the right settings is also important. Most machines (I've used two- one from the hospital and my own Medela double swing) and both have settings available where you can start the pump on short, quick bursts of pressure to stimulate the breast and encourage flow. It's also a nice gentle way to ease you into a pumping session instead of going HAM straight away. Once you've done a few short, high pressured pumps (not a lot will come out during these pumps but it's important to stimulate flow) you can swap to long, medium pressure, exaggerated pumps. This is when the pump reeeeeally starts to sound like a cow in a field mooing to the lasted Electro House track. This is when you should start to see the milk coming out. It should feel tingling but by no means painful.


    When I decided to donate, Oscar was 8 months old, so instead of trying to increase my supply drastically, I simply let him feed on one side during the night so that I woke up with a FULL side and pumped that, then when I put him to sleep and he began his stretch of around 5 hours sleep, after 2/3 hours I would pump half one side and half the other. These sessions I was able to pump for 7-10 minutes and get 5oz each time. This is something I almost feel embarrassed to share as so many women struggle to get that amount. But I'm sorry, can't be helped! I think by donating it made me feel like I was putting my super strength pumping abilities to better use and really making the most of them.


    I wrote on the Facebook page Human Milk 4 Human Babies UK and stated my age, smoker status (non-smoker), good diet, no health conditions and where I was located. I had two women contact me, one was a woman who struggled to breastfeed and baby had really bad reflux so was vomiting a lot of her feeds back up and also didn't take very well to formula so the woman was searching for a donor, the second woman who contacted me lived a little further away than the first, but her baby was born 6 weeks premature, was now 4 months old and was fighting some health conditions. This 'case' was a lot closer to my heart as I know exactly what the Mum went through and couldn't imagine her pain not being able to feed her baby. But thought it was amazing that she went the extra mile to find donated milk for her baby as breastmilk has so many more beneficial factors over formula and will improve the likely hood of her daughter getting better due to the properties of breastmilk.


    I ended up pumping for two and a half weeks and donated 150oz of milk. She drove an hour to me and I met her 20 minutes from my house in a pub carpark.


    Using the Facebook group to donate milk meant there was no guarantee of the health of the person donating. I felt a lot of pressure to make sure I cleaned my breaspump thoroughly inbetween every use and made sure every 5oz bag I pumped went straight in the freezer so there was no chance of any of it being left out too long.


    One day I came downstairs in the morning and found the freezer settings had been tampered with and the box had started to melt so I went down to Currys and bought a chest freezer thinking mine was broken (OH came home and fixed it at the end of the day in seconds after all that) I lost 10oz but just fed Oscar them in a cup and pumped the feeds he would have had.


    I'm so glad I was able to give back and do something for the 'premature community'. I stopped after two and a half weeks and donated 150oz and then went on holiday two days later so I'm glad I didn't set myself a goal too high, pump loads and make my supply double only to be left uncomfortable or have to pump on holiday!


    Pumping that much brought back all the memories of pumping in NICU and I am so glad we were able to ditch the pumping and just breastfeed because I forgot how tedious it all is! But so worth it.


  5. What Breastfeeding Has Taught Me.

    Posted on


    What Breastfeeding Has Taught Me..

    Hi I'm Rachael and im a 25 year old gal living in Manchester with my fiance, our little boy Teddy who arrived May 2017 and our two fur babies! I run a parenting and lifestyle blog, from Rachael Claire where I share the ups and downs of being a first time mummy. Along with more personal posts, blogging tips and updates. Thank you so much for letting me share this post here, it's one of my favourites...

     you have read my blog for a while or follow me on social media, you will know that I exclusively breastfeed Teddy and have done since he was born four months ago. I have always been really open and honest about breastfeeding, sharing my Breastfeeding Journey and although it is possibly one of the hardest things I have ever had to do (a close second to building his fucking cot bed) I wouldn't change it for the world. I thought I would share all the things that breastfeeding has taught me, aside from needing nipples made of steel...

    Trust Your Body..

    Whenever I read parenting books, they always talk about baby feeding on a schedule, how many oz's they should have at what age so when you are breastfeeding & feeding on demand like I do, it's hard to know what's right & wrong. It's also hard to trust your body to make exactly what your baby needs! When you can't physically see how much your baby is drinking it's hard to know for definite that your baby is getting enough & you constantly second guess yourself. If they are being fussy or feeding all the time, you worry that you aren't making enough milk. If you decide to express some milk but only manage to pump an oz or two, you worry that that is all your baby is getting (which I can't stress enough is NOT the case!). The first time we got Teddy weighed, I was shitting my pants. He had fed like hangry wildebeest and was constantly attached to my boob but I still worried that he hadn't gained weight or wouldn't have gained much. I needn't have worried though as at his first weigh in when he was 5 days old, he had only lost 4% of his weight, whereas a lot of babies lose up to 10%. He has gained weight rapidly ever since and now I have complete faith that my body is making the exact right amount and I've learnt to just let it & Teddy do it's thing.

    Be Prepared..

    Take it from me, there is nothing worse than settling down for a mammoth feeding session (especially in the early days where you constantly have a small human attached to you) & realising you haven't got the TV remote, your phone is on the other side of the room & you've only got a spiteful of your drink left. Preparation is KEY! Before you sit your ass down and whip the bad-boys out, grab your phone & the remote. Go into the kitchen and make yourself a large drink, I always have mine in a large sports bottle so I can have it right next to me on the sofa & won't need to worry about it spilling. Have a large variety of snacks on hand; some in the living room in a drawer and MOST importantly, a large selection in your bedside drawer ready for the night feeds! Night feeds are a right ball ache but knowing that you have a Galaxy cake bar or a Crunchie waiting for you to devour, makes the three hourly wake ups that little bit easier. Also be prepared for the moment that your baby decides to rip their mouth off your boob and have a fountain of milk spurting in all damn directions! 

    Savour The Moment..

    I know it's hard when you feel like you've been up all night or when you actually HAVE been up all night, but try to enjoy the moments. I've learnt that time really does fly by when you have a baby and although it feels like it at the time, this won't last forever. Before we know it they'll be grown up and whipping your boob out to comfort them & nourish them will no longer be acceptable. Or wanted. I can't see Teddy being happy at me chasing around after him with my boob out when he's ten...
    If you follow me on Twitter (@Rchi_B) you will know that recently Teddy hasn't been sleeping the best and spends the night almost constantly feeding & as much as I have been complaining, there are some nights when feeding him is my favourite. We're all snuggled up in bed, he gives me his sleepy smile and I know he is perfectly safe, milk-drunk and content. Savour the moments. They'll be over before you know it. It's so hard to get caught up in the whirlwind of motherhood that you forget to just sit and cherish the moments. Cherish our babies being babies. We are constantly waiting for the next milestone, the next month or year that we forget to sit & just be.


    It Will Get Easier..

    As I said, breastfeeding is one of the hardest thing in the world. You are solely responsible for nurturing your child. You have the heavy burden, particularly in the newborn days of; hormones that are going haywire, engorged boobs, up all night for the feeds all whilst recovering from giving birth! Your other half just sits there with their useless ass nipples, loving life. Fuckers....
    I promise it will get easier, all of it. Soon your hormones will calm down and although you may still have moments where you want to cry at the slightest thing, your boobs will calm down & not feel like they are going to erupt if your baby goes longer than two hours between feeds..


    My Body Is Fucking Amazing..

    If I do say so myself. Not only have I carried a baby & birthed a baby, all be it with a little help, I am now 100% feeding my baby. Any Mama, whether her breastfeeding journey be short or long lived should feel this way. There are fleeting moments where I will sit and just be in awe of my body. Especially on the days where I have had Teddy weighed and see he's piling on the pounds. I did that. Me. All by myself. It's crazy thinking that we can actually make, just with our bodies, milk. One that our babies can solely use to survive. Aaron may sit there happy as a pig in shit with his worthless nipples, but mate..who is really winning? My body grew, birthed and nurtures our baby, What does yours do? Fuck all!
    I am in no way saying that if you formula/bottle feed, that you are any less of a good mother. At the end of the day, who cares how your baby is fed, as long as they are! I salute every single woman on this planet who is raising a child. It's fucking hard work. 
    We are all absolute female champions.
    I am woman, hear me roar..
    Read more from Rachael here
  6. My Physical & Emotional Agony of Breast Feeding

    Posted on

    20170621_182015Throughout my first pregnancy I did absolutely no research or preparation for breast feeding. It was one of those things I just assumed was going to be easy. I did attend one of the free NHS classes on breast feeding where they make you hold a doll and a knitted titty for practise, which I'm sure we'd all agree is pretty useless. There was no mention of difficulties you may come across and it was all made to sound very dreamy and beautiful.


    Dreamy and beautiful it was...for perhaps the first couple of weeks. Junior was born with an infection which meant he was rushed to the hospital’s neonatal unit for special care. Despite the tubes in his mouth and nose to help regulate his breathing, I was able to breast feed him with ease. After a week, he had responded well to antibiotics and gained enough weight for us to take him home, where the feeding continued to be a success. After week two however, his appetite increased to the point where he was feeding constantly, probably around 90% of the day he was latched on. This obviously took its toll on my nipples and I was in absolute agony. I found the Community Midwives and Health Visitors quite unsympathetic and unhelpful, simply telling me it was normal and to persevere, rather than recommending any helpful solutions. As a new mum, I knew nothing about products available that might help like nipple shields and lanolin cream, and there was no mention of these from the medical staff.


    By this time, I was really struggling with the pain and Junior was clearly starving. My husband suggested trying some formula, which I really didn’t want to do but seeing how distressed both me and Junior were, he insisted. So off he went to buy all the kit we needed and after just 2 ½ weeks old, Junior had his first taste of formula milk. He gulped it down in seconds and fell asleep for hours. After this we never looked back. Obviously I had the guilt almost every day, and I have to say, I know a lot of people talk about public breast feeding shamers but I found the amount of criticism I got when formula feeding in public far outweighed when I breast fed. Seeing how much more content Junior was made it worth it though. For the following 4 to 5 months, I persisted with a small amount of breast feeding alongside the formula. I still feel regret sometimes that I should have tried harder, but I look at Junior today and he is a happy, healthy boy with good eating habits so we must have done something right.


    Following this challenging experience with Junior, I have felt super determined and motivated to make it more of a success with my twins. During the pregnancy I focussed a lot of my time on preparation for breast feeding, making sure I had all the right kit and getting myself well informed by reading loads of books and info online. I bought a brilliant twin feeding cushion made by Peanut & Piglet, something I genuinely don't think I could have tandem fed without! Other things on my shopping list included a decent supply of nipple cream, nipple shields, washable breast pads and a double electrix breast pump. I began hand expressing colostrum during the final couple of weeks before the birth and froze it; this meant I had a small stash for those first few days, which just took the pressure off me a little at a time when milk production and supply can be unpredictable and often insufficient. I wish someone had told me about colostrum harvesting first time around! It was also so nice to later see my husband feed them in the hospital with the colostrum I'd expressed. 


    The twins are now more than a month old and as I write this I'm sat on the sofa breast feeding them. I'll be honest, it's not been easy (particularly during the hot weather!) but I think I have a better attitude this time around and have not put any pressure on myself which has ultimately made me relax into it better. I think it's also helped that the girls are nowhere near as hungry as Junior was. The key thing about the twins has been feeding them in tandem; if I didn't stick to feeding them together I would literally be feeding every hour of the day. I've also discovered some great tips about "lactogenic" foods from Hilary Jacobson's book 'Mother Food." I've been amazed at how much diet can affect my supply and fenugreek supplements have been my saviour. We've introduced a bottle of formula at bedtime every night and unlike last time, I feel absolutely no guilt about this. The girls love their bottles and it's nice to share the work with my husband, not to mention the extra sleep they get when they've had it! It's a welcomed moment of peace and calm that the whole household appreciates. I'm now focussing on expressing more so I can build up a supply in the freezer. This will give me more freedom both at home but also when I go out. As I'm trying to keep the girls fed together, I'm forced to use bottles when out and about as tandem nursing in public is pretty impossible, so that supply of expressed milk is really important for my sanity!


    I'm still on the journey and I know there will be highs and lows ahead, particularly as the girls go through growth spurts, but I'm proud of what I've achieved so far. If you'd told me during my son's first couple of months when I was a hormonal and emotional new mum with no idea what I was doing, that in 4 years time I'd be successfully breast feeding twins, I would have laughed in your face. My biggest advice to anyone about to embark on a similar journey is just to prepare as much as you possibly read read, learn as much as you can about what to expect, talk to others who've been through it and absolutely 100% do not put any pressure on yourself; that way you'll actually be able to enjoy the experience.

    Post submitted by Amy, a thirtysomething brit mum of three (including twins!)

    Read more from this amazing mummy at:

    Instagram @mummyhustle